Jordan expressed it better than I could when he said how easy it is to overlook the impact car culture has on our lives.
Japan has been rather fortunate with its COVID-19 response thus far. The country has really come together as a whole and worked hard to keep the infection numbers low. Face masks have become the social norm; virtually all stores and shops have shields and alcohol stations; and the majority of events – both small and large – have been postponed or cancelled.
This of course includes car events, something that I’ve really come to take for granted since living in Japan – because there’s always something happening.
I’ve really missed the local events, as I have those in Southeast Asia where car culture is young but booming.
That old saying ‘you don’t know what you have until it’s gone’ has never rung truer for many of us in 2020, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I had been praying for the day I could point my camera at something other than Project Rough in my driveway.
Recently, that day came.
While helping out at a design studio called Croco Art Factory, I spotted a collection of Idlers 12-Hour endurance race trophies out the back of the offices. My interest was immediately piqued, so I wasted no time striking up a conversation with Croco’s CEO, Tokuda Yoshiyasu.
That conversation led to Tokuda asking me to join his two-man team in the Wako’s Cup 7-Hour Endurance Race at Tokachi International Speedway in Hokkaido. Tokuda’s four-wheeled weapon of a choice? A Suzuki Alto Works kei car.
I’d never driven an Alto Works before. Hell, at the time I didn’t even know if I would fit in one, as I struggle to fit in many kei cars. This would also be my first time driving at the Tokachi circuit.
Of course I said yes. But little did I know at the time, that this was about to become a weekend I’ll never forget…