It feels like forever since we’ve been out for a drive.
That was the general feeling amongst everyone that gathered at the small parking lot in the heart of Yokohama a few nights back. Although Japan’s COVID-19 state of emergency was lifted a little while back, the effects linger on with all major summer automotive events either cancelled or postponed to a later date. So it felt good to get out and soak up some car culture once again.
My friend Ryohei, who extended an invitation to join him on the night, said the meet was going to be low-key, and a lot like a miniature version of a Mooneyes event, meaning a heavy influence of bombs and lowriders. The guys have a ‘family dinner’ together and then go for a small cruise afterwards before returning home.
Besides wanting to point my camera at something other than Project Rough for a change, I was keen to see what the atmosphere would be like. So I packed my gear, added some new equipment in the form of a mask and some hand sanitizer, and met up with Ryohei at a nearby conbini. From there, we convoyed to the meet location.
Less than 20 cars showed up throughout the night, but the family-like bond between the members was there. Everyone was keen to discuss the various projects they had tackled during lockdown, while observing the new social distancing norm.
One of those projects were Ryohei’s homemade aluminium turbo fans for his AE86. After thinking about it for years, the lockdown provided an opportunity to make it happen and get machining. His preliminary tests have proved that at highway speeds everything feels safe and balanced, but the true test will be performed at a small drift day in a few weeks.
While walking around the small parking lot, a thought crept into my mind: I wonder what the short term future holds for gatherings like this one – at least here in Japan?
7’s Day (7/7) is right around the corner, and part of me thinks that this year won’t be like any other. Besides the police crack down at Umihotaru PA, it’s hard to believe that the ritual takeover of Daikoku PA or any other well known gathering spot will materialize given the COVID-19 climate.
Even with cases dwindling down here in Japan, I think it’s too soon for large social gatherings like the ones we’re used to seeing on July 7.
Perhaps that won’t be a terrible thing, as personally, I enjoy the more intimate meets like this one. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…