✳AE86 Matsuri – Part 2✳

The AE86 event was at the top of the hill inside a mini theme park with area to hang out and take your family.  Kind of like a fun center but more in touch with nature.  There’s a small hole in the fence if you travel down the road and take a short cut through some small neighborhood.  We got a few odd looks from a few locals.  I bet they were thinking, “Why are two foreigners in this tiny street up on this mountain in the middle of nowhere.”  But it saved us some money when we had walked all the way from the station.

Right as we passed through the fence and walked up there were personnel for the event just a few yards ahead and we just tried to act super natural and walked by.

Slightly ahead there was a photographer sitting at a corner propped up ready to shoot.  One of those guys that gets payed to take pictures of everything from on event.  Man if it makes money I can see the reasoning behind it, but god that has got to be so boring.

Park and I sat at the top next to him and moved around a bit catching a few cars as they rolled in.  It was slightly humid but under the shade was nice since there was hardly any breeze at the top of the hill.  The parking lot was quite secluded and made it feel cozy all tucked away into the mountains.  Just like an AE86 meet should be!  I couldn’t help constantly thinking about Initial D the whole time I was there.

Near the front of the show was this red coupe with a Jzx front grill swap.  It attracted a lot of attention and as we walked around we had a few conversations with various people about it.  Surprisingly the grill doesn’t look so bad and fit nicely in the gap without much reworking.

This little number was a spectacular example of a well put together hatch, ready to race!

For an AE86 Festival, my first time at that, I was glad to see a variety of cars even though the huge quantity of white and Panda models was insane.  I still hadn’t had any sleep since the day before on Saturday morning when I went to RWB.  I was definitely tired.  We talked to a few people who mentioned they were headed to Fuji the next weekend and when I happened to arrive at Fuji it was nice to be able to see some familiar faces even if I didn’t get the chance to talk to them again.

Park and I walked around and made sure to shoot things we liked, and to separate ourselves a bit to not take pictures of the same thing to much.  You have to keep those hungry animals on the internet satisfied.  Got to feed that thirst for the hype.  But really Park and I have moderately different tastes.

I’ve seen video and pictures of this little AE86 ripping around Ebisu.  Hopefully if I get to go up to the Autumn Matsuri I’ll see him up there.

Amongst the cars there were a feel guys selling stickers, nick nacks and rare parts.  Or in some cases guys were just trying to get rid of a set of wheels.  Lots of Momo deep dish steering wheels and lights.

There were quiet a few cars that you could tell touge’d regularly or were actual streeted drift cars.  A few I had seen pictures of at Ebisu and other tracks.  One feeling that I recall, one that reoccurs often in my adventures happens when I see something quiet famous and don’t’ realize it.  I get back home or think about what I have seen so far 20 minutes later or so and realize, “Wow, I just saw a car I spent ages looking at on the internet when I lived in the States, and now its in front of my eyes.”  I had this feeling with RWB, at the AE86 festival with several cars and when I met the guys from the ‘Run Free’ team, who happen to be fairly traveled, super cool guys!

Not sure if it was just for fun or if this guy actually races this car but it looked pretty serious.  Rain light, canards, rear defuser that was sizable, and a full roll cage.

Aside from the two cars in my film post, this red hatch was awesome.  Definitely a tire shredder.

To my knowledge this was the only Black Limited edition Ae86 at the festival.  It’s paint was immaculate and it sat perfectly.  I also was impressed with how shiny the muffler was underneath the car, you can slightly see it in this picture.

Some cars didn’t get to participate in the actual meet in the lower parking lot but there were a number of noteworthy cars in the spectator parking lots as well.  It may not be the cleanest of 86’s but something about it attracted my attention.  Maybe it was the dished steelies.

Custom Garage Speed had out a few cars including this one and a small booth.  Lots of fans taking interior pictures.  Serious race car material.

Park and I had split and gone off on our own for a while but we met back at the Run Free booth and I introduced Park to the guys I was talking to and we exchanged information.  A light drizzle of rain passed in and out throughout the next hour or so and by this time I hadn’t been feeling so hot.  The toll of the previous hours of extreme excitement with all the automotive awesomeness I had recently seen was making my brain hurt.  Plus when you haven’t eaten, even the things that you enjoy most in life can become thoroughly annoying.  Not that talking and hanging out with the gang was but I really wasn’t digging the whole photo taking business by that time.  My feet were really sore and it was probably due to walking a little under 30 kilometers in flats within the last 12 hours but besides that, I just wanted a nice bed to lie down on.

I respectfully took my leave from the Run Free’s guys, (oh and picked up a nice small sticker, glad I was able to do that, good to support your heroes so they can keep killing it) and headed off back down the mountain for a solitary walk of pain to the train station.

At a certain point in my walk I decided to stray from the path we took up and discovered a shortcut which cut my time by about 10 minutes, stoked I entered the terminal and charged my card.  I was so dazed that I stood in front of the ticket gate for about 4 minutes just trying to see which of the three tracks I should take until some unusually tall white guy came up to me out of the blue and asked where I was headed.  He kind of looked like a dork and had those weird sandals that have straps going all over your foot, matched with cargo pants from the 90’s and yea’, a not so great hair cut.  But he seemed like a gentle giant and I wondered what the heck he was doing out in the boonies.  Aside from people at the event I hadn’t really expected to see any other foreigners around.  It was a nice surprise.

After half sleeping, half being a zombie on the train for a good 2 hours I arrived safely home.  I made a small meal and passed out.  I went to bed around 2 in the afternoon, I didn’t wake up till about 8 the next day.  Stoked on my lucky streak of 18 hours of sleep!

Stay tuned for action from the past weekend at Fuji.

 

~Matt

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