What’s up fellas? You may know me as the guy with the BNR32 with the 16 inch BBS that’s been attending several Wangan Warrior meets and events. More likely however is that you don’t know me at all, so here it goes:
I’m Alex from farmofminds.com, FOM in short, and I’m here to tell you about my recent trip to Japan and all the things it involved. The idea behind the trip was a men only holiday with cars, racetracks, food and karaoke. So I grabbed my dad and my brother and we organized a 10 day vacation in the land of the rising sun and crammed as many activities into those days as we could.
So, after a 11 hour flight we finally arrived, picked up our rental, a Nissan Cube (sigh), and made our way to an apartment in Shibuya, Tokyo which is where we stayed the first couple of nights. We were jet-lagged and hungry, so sleep wasn’t gonna be an option for the next 10 hours meaning we dropped everything off and gone right into the heart of Shibuya.
So first up was a Ramen shop at which we stuffed our faces with everything we could eat followed by some beers. It was so good. After that, we were in Shibuya after all, we made a stop at the SEGA arcade to play some games.
My dad got tired so we dropped him off at the apartment at around 23:00 which meant my brother and I were on our own, which in return meant keeping my brother in check. Unfortunately I was not very successful.
After the following sequence: Bar, Arcade, Sushi, Bar, Karaoke, Sushi, Bar, Bar – it was 5am and we had blown our first days’ budget 10 fold.
To give you an example of what one has to watch out for when my brother is around; at the Karaoke, Tom and I rented a room for 2 hours and we were going at it like superstars, but that was obviously not enough for Tom. You have the imagine these are small seperated rooms next to one another so everyone has privacy; Tom however started to open up our door to the Karaoke room and sing in the hallway. Poor Japanese fella walked by and Tom PULLED HIM into our room at his shirt, and confused for just a second, the guy started to sing along like a maniac. As soon as the song was over, he put up a new one – ran into the next room where his friends were and pulled them all over into our small room, and suddenly we were like 8 people crammed into this small room singing Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”. It was a blast. 5am and it was getting light again so we called it a .. night I guess.
3 hours of sleep later, it was JCCA time. JCCA is the Japanese Classic Car Association and on that day they were scheduled to race at Tsukuba Circuit, about 90 minutes out from where we stayed so we grabbed our trusty Cube and went to check out some classics having a go at each other. I made a couple of videos and there will be a full coverage of the event on FOM, please check that out when you have some time! Anyway, listen to that sound:
It was tsuyu season in Japan which meant a constant light rain for the first 7 days of our trip. However that turned out to be a gift of God because at temperatures of mid to high 20’s the light rain was nice and refreshing, especially while in Tokyo at night.
On our way back from Tsukuba it was time to stop by the legendary Daikoku futo. Obviously we had to take the Wangan to get there. There we met this beautiful FD3S RX-7 which looks incredibly similar to the Car Shop Glow FD3S.
Shinjuku was next on the list. I kid you not, there are more lights in that part of Tokyo than in all of Europe. Anyway, I had us booked for the Robot Restaurant which turned out to be a total blast.
A short night later it was 7’s day and time to visit the lovely coastal town Kamakura (Naturally only after a short stop to have some sushi at the Tsukiji fish market). We rented a lovely house right at the beach through Airbnb. We dropped in, had a quick nap and when we woke up it was time to head back into Tokyo because I had gotten a tip that there was another event going down in Akihabara.I covered this event on FarmOfMinds already and would love if you checked that out. It was fantastic.
After Leaving the UDX underground parking we decided to go to Daikoku futo once more, it was 7’s day afterall, unfortunately since we spent so much time at the UDX, most RX7’s had left already, but there was still a constant stream of cars coming in and out. On top of that I shot my favourite picture of the entire trip there – and it was not a RX7. This guy positioned his JZX81 MKII so perfectly in the PA’s light, there was no chance this was gonna fail – If someone knows this guy, please hit me up on FB. To top it all, the Scoot 4 rotor FD made an appearance as well!
By the time we got back to Kamakura it was already 1 am and we dropped dead in bed. Next morning we went and checked out the huge shrine in the center of town. I came here last year already with my wife as Japan was our honeymoon destination as well. Such a great amosphere and so much great food.
Once again stuffed with all the food we could handle, it was time to relax. And that could only mean a day/night in Hakone at a hot spring hotel.
I mentioned earlier the rainy season, and thank God it was raining still. Hot spring water and cold rainy mountain air is literally the single best combination for relaxing there is. If you ever have trouble sleeping, I made a video of the hot tub that was part of our room. It was so relaxing!
Apart from the private hot tub there was the public hot spring bath, we spent nearly all night there, sheer brilliance.
The following day it was time to drive to our final destination: Mount Fuji. Next to Lake Yamanakako we rented a place called the Garden Shed and I will be covering the owner of that place on FOM soon because next to being Architect he is also a massive petrolhead and is part of the JCCA with his LS7, tubeframe 69′ Corvette, which happened to be standing in our living room. Yep, that happened.
The cool thing about this place is that it is only one mountainpass away from Fuji Speedway. But before we get to that, we went for a small road trip around mount Fuji as well as gotten some local awesome food. Those udon were the best I’ve ever had – apart from that heartwarming soup it came topped with a load of horse meat!
In the evening we decided we were too wrecked to go out or drive back into Tokyo, so we stayed in, put up some music, cooked some food and had a couple of beers. But of course, Tom, the person he is, needed more and since we all drank already we couldn’t take the car. That was no issue since there were a couple of bikes. We took ’em, rode to the nearest 7-11 and loaded up on drinks. On the way back we were nearly mowed down by a herd of deer so we stopped at one of the million soda machines for a break.
We finally got home safe but as usual it was way too late because we had to get up in the morning for Formula D at FSW!
Again, a total blast of a day and I will be writing about it on FarmOfMinds!
Here a couple of teasers.
After that it was time to head back towards Narita, we decided it was the smartest to take a hotel close to the airport because our plane was leaving early in the morning.
That concluded our trip which turned out to be unforgettable for the 3 of us and I would recommend a vacation like this to anyone that has an affinity for cars, food and lots of culture, including the nicest people on earth.
Obviously I am nowhere close to the pros like Rens and Allard in terms of photography but I still hope you enjoyed the read and feel encouraged to take a trip like this yourself. It’s well worth it.
If you see me around at any WW event, feel free to say hi!
Please be looking forward to more collaborations between Wangan Warriors and FarmOfMinds in the future. Also, please look forward to my very own gem being featured soon here on WW!
– Alex Gut