☆Sleepless Idling – The 12 hours☆
Coming to you live from the shiny floors of Narita International Airport. I hope your cozying up for a good read in your man den or where ever you log onto the most addicting form of entertainment in the world because this is going to be pretty, if not very good. That statement would be up to interpretation for anyone who is reading this though. Whether or not you like my definition of sleepless, exhaust fume filled nights is up to you.
I was with the guy the on the right and I had just dropped off the guy on the right but since starting to write this post more than a few weeks have past so there were start and stop points.
Japan, summer, and humidity. Oh Japan, you and your humidity push me to the brink of the no fuck limit, if the no fuck category had one. Well in all seriousness I really don’t give a fuck. Japan turns into a giant bucket full of millions of people and their sweat in summer, and theres not much you can do about when they don’t even sell proper deodorant. Holy crap powdered spray?! How’s that supposed to keep me dry. And add that to what we have deemed as swass. Or a good case of sweaty ass. Learn to love and love to hate, because thats exactly how my relationship with muggy ass days in Japan are.
Don’t get me wrong though. Despite it all I still don’t have a problem going outside. Which is why Noogz and I decided to walk the extra little ways for some traditional Japanese food. Tsukemen Udon with Pork Katsu over Omori (a large portion) rice, all for under ¥1000.
Noogz aka: MugenOtaku from Circuit Soul was staying with me this past week (now quite a while ago) and I just made the trip out to Narita Airport with him where I’m writing this right now; to drop him off.
Alex, on the other hand, well to my right hand actually. He’s laying down on the fake white marble linoleum floors of the Airport lobby because he’s stuck on standby. Over-BOOKED baby!
If we rewind though, just about a week back to last weekend, the Circuit Soul crew plus the small addition from LA, Fighting Dog of Narita or NRT for short, Sean, was also accompanying us.
Which takes me back to the story. Naoyuki and I had finished our traditional morning-ish brunch, briskly walked back to my place after a quick chit chat on the phone with Sean. Noogz and I quickly jumped onto the train to Shinagawa to meet up with Sean before zipping along the bay and out to Funabashi. As per usual the “other” side of the Circuit Soul crew, Alex, along with his unpreparedness was still at Park’s place.
Naoyuki and I parked inside the gates near a NewDays and while he whipped back an Emerald Mountain coffee I departed on a hunt for the red haired dog. I found him waiting patiently, hair shiny and set in a slight fohawk. We returned to meet up with Noogz and jumped on my favorite, the Sobu express! Funabashi full steam, actually full power to Funabashi because these days we use electricity.
We got to Funabashi and made a hustle onto the smaller local Tobu line. It’s old green seats are very retro or you could say nostalgic and bring back old memories. But anyone older than me would most probably think of it as a joke because you know, I’m not so old so I have no credibility right? Fuck that man! Old soul young heart. Age don’t make much of a difference these days.
The original plan was to head up to Jet Stroke and wait for Alex to come and fix the r32 which was our main form of transportation to Motegi. But when we came out of the station and 37 degree heat smacked us in the face like a hot, wet towel. Unsheltered from the sun, we took a few steps in the direction of Jet before quitting and scurrying back to the shade to rethink our plan.
Sean slipped a few words under his breath as we were talking that sounded like “cough uNI KLo”, on that note, us perverted gaijin’s took fleet on foot under a dark sky heavy with rain towards UNIQLO. It was drizzling but nothing to bad. Along the way we were going back and forth with Alex; who, as much as he wanted to know, didn’t really have a clue as to what was going on and then suddenly we stepped into UNIQLO and all contact was lost, wink wink. Haha, all Naoyuki and I could focus on was Sean’s aptitude for extraordinarily long shorts that don’t go past your ankles. They also seem to be commonly called capris. Like I didn’t already know that. Sean, with a few items in hand, including some crazy dry technology shirt got in line and I handed him some of those biking glasses you see everyone on the Tour de France wearing that complemented his recently trimmed super mullet. We took a great LOOKING photo for everyone in our small circle to giggle at and hopped back outside into the post apocalyptic atmosphere. As a result, we found ourself reconnected to Alex who battered us with questions. Going back and forth we decided, but in reality it was mostly myself that pushed the us to ditch the R32 idea and head straight to RWB to wait. There was just to much that had to come together to make that plan work.
On our way back to the station we stopped into the Toyota rent a car to attempt to rent a vehicle, which failed. Of course.
We across the street to the mall. TO BUY DRINKS! Sean also found a candy that he mistook as “GOOCH”. I also picked up some film and some karage and we regret tingly left the air-conditioned mall. Sean, Naoyuki and I stood under the misters outside the entrance of the mall searching on Google Maps, as one does. We found the destination and strolled over to the taxi station where Naoyuki politely asked approximate costs as lightening thundered down around us. Prior to our taxi we huddled up and efficiently double checked things over before stuffing our expensive luggage, or camera bags into the trunk of the cab and scooting off quickly through the Shin-Kamagaya back streets.
I kept track of the taxi’s whereabouts on my smartphone just incase we got played as we continued to RWB. Noogz, Sean and I arrived and hurriedly paid and got out. RWB resides on a blind obtuse angled corner, similar to bending your elbow up slightly and can be occasionally dangerous so we didn’t want to cause any danger and got out of the way. We set our things down and noticed some other guys who looked liked they also had recently arrived. I also spotted someone with longer hair and walked around the car to get a clear look at who happened to be Yoko. She unlocked the front door and pushed the button which brought up the bay doors incredibly slow. It was hot inside so she asked me to turn on the fans and then, unexpectedly Nakai walked by me with a casual “Ohayo~”.
“Where the hell did he come from,” I thought to myself.
Apparently he had just woken up. The nocturnal Porsche tuning monster is mostly active at night so I guess spending the hours of daylight sleeping ain’t such a bad idea.
Right before I explain the next thing I want to show you this great peaking shot we took before sitting down outside to enjoy some Emerald Mountain coffee.
Getting back to those people I didn’t know, and till this day I still don’t know. Most of them were wearing rather tight black RWB shirts and were all asian. This one guy in particular was taking photos on his iPad with a dropped knee, or you could say he “Took an arrow to the knee”…… (-_-)ゞ ……looked like a terminator not even breaking a sweat in the mildly stifling heat with his perfectly set hair. I’m guessing he was from one of the Thailand RWB groups, but who knows. He took the heat real well and I was slightly jealous.
Small talk also known as “dropping verbs” or “adverbs” (depending on the mood) and snapping photos proved to be good entertainment to pass the time. Especially in the orange light slowly lowering over the roofs of Chiba. The mood suddenly switched when a few unnamed individuals arrived rather loudly in an unnamed white car. Everything went to whisper mode. A few evil snickering laughs were made quietly by our small trifecta of three and we acted as nothing was wrong as they came to greet us.
A while later the mighty Irish lad Gary showed up. Things were about to begin. I said hi, and after not being able to see him for a long ass time, his heavy Irish accent only meant good times and no bullshit.
More people started to arrive and things started to get underway. People were cleaning, stickering (stickering isn’t actually a word in the dictionary, funny enough, to bad I’m using it) , moving cars around and more. Gary was out back pumping the breaks with Nakai.
“Gary, 1,2,3, push~” Nakai repeated,
On each count he pushed the break peddle in and then held it in on the final “push.”
“This is similar to how I have sex” he joked,
He torqued the 10 inch plus wide wheels and was right back to catching up from lost time in Japan.
The arranged meeting time of 6 o’clock passes unnoticed with no sign of Alex, the entire reason everyone has gathered at RWB. We all love him to death, but we also hand in hand love to give him shit. Haha. With more prep work and the pass of a lot more time Alex shows up a 30 minutes before the Shinto priest blessing started.
I don’t have a picture of it because one of my rolls of film I shot on was damaged “by the light” so it came out blank unfortunately. Thankfully Larry Chen was there and managed to get a few good shots. You can check it out here.
He went through the rituals of blessing every one of the RWB cars with his Shide, or the long stick that has a patterned cut white paper attached to it to complete what is also known as Oharai in Japanese. That was a pretty wild experience. The awesome thing about is that all my film from that roll got completely screwed from a wacky light leak and so none of it exists. So if you happen to be curious about this typeof thing you can either google it or attend next years RWB pre-race preparations. Sorry~~! ¯\(°_o)/¯
Oh, I forgot to mention. The infamous HASEGAWA showed up mid blessing and pulled a blanket of comfort over all of us from Team RWB Canada with his cheeky “I”m a little late” smile and his frazzled rain soaked wet hair. Just after we finished intently watching the priests ritual, everyone someone dispersed to various places inside RWB and then without notice a fire extinguisher went off spewing a light pinkish powder similar to cotton candy across the floor and clouding the air. (Other references of this at NRT here.)
When every thing had settled down, floating particles as well as people; (catch my drift)Toshi and Nakai organized cars and drivers and during that course of time I okay’d a passenger seat in the SuperDry SkyTeam 993, which soon transformed into the Irish SuperDry SkyTeam 993 as I was riding with Gary.
Plans to meet at the conbini and then at a PA were properly decided on but peopler will still all over the place like bukakke in Japanese porn. Gary and I were one of the last cars to leave because we stayed to make sure Nakai was good with everything and then drove up the street to meet with Alex in the whale tail 964. Continued on from there until Alex caught some trouble with the car and we stopped while Nakai made a quick run back to the shop.
After everything was ready to go, Gary and I kicked back and listened to one of the few CD’s available, Encore, by Eminem.
Arriving at the PA for a quick bite to eat and a stretch of the legs before carrying on up the freeway and slaloming through the back roads to Motegi as a temporary torrential downpour started, crossing over the middle lane pretending the whole road was ours.
By the time we arrived the cold drops of water had stopped splashing on the windscreen and the deep black road and sky was replaced with a heavy wet fog.
Cruising through the access, enormous flood lights showering a very dramatic mood across the race track as we rumbled faintly onwards to the pits where we cut the engines and pushed the rain soaked wide body porsche over to the RWB pit zone.
On arrival Gary and I removed our bags and then went to work removing the seats and plates. After all the Porsche’s seats were removed they were pretty quickly filled with sleepy petrol heads who nodded off without a second thought. I stayed up, so did RWB Canada. In fact with the exception of a few small 10 minute naps during the day I didn’t sleep for nearly 3 days straight.
Alex got to work on the placement of stickers on all the Cars and then returned to put finishing touches on the 946 that I didn’t expect to last as long as they did. Sticker placement somehow turns into a heated discussion sometimes.
Just in the same manner that a drunk salary man in Japan wanders through the streets eating time until the morning train, RWB Canada held strong and stayed awake talking nonsense through our heads on a sleep deprived high with a mix of muggy gas fumes.
Around 4.30ish the sleepy crowd resting upon the shiny cool grey concrete of the RWB pits awakened and groveled slowly around collecting there belongings before most of the guys strolled over to the drivers meeting. The drivers meeting that was also part stand up comedy where the comedian, and owner of Idlers; Seikei-san, was laughing at his own jokes.
Naoyuki wasn’t around to provide Oji-san dialect translations, well he was, but behind the tenr the speech was being held in playing ball boy with the gas tanks running them back and forth with pastel colored conbini dollys. He eventually showed, gut slightly protruding in Seikei-san style; sweat already dripping down his brow as he planted his hand on his hip just above his tight black (RECENTLY PURCHASED AT UNIQLO) jeans, waist cocked out to one side while he filled in for me by providing a more in-depth translation of Seikei-sans interesting perspective of the world of racing, and of course the rules. (We can’t forget those now can we.)
After the speech we walked back to the pit with the sun on our shoulders. It was getting bright and not to mention hot, so everyone placed there gear on their car and sat down to wait for everything to be inspected.
We, and I should clarify since most of the RWB team was gone, we as in RWB Canada and the guys part of our team, pushed the car out of the pits with the best women attending the event in the driver seat, Yoko-san! We got a few feet out of the garage and then stopped, something seemed to have gone wrong. We again waited for that to be fixed before pushing Yoko and the RWB Canada car out onto the home straight to line up on the grid with everyone else.
All the way to the end of the pack, we were literally the last car. Nakai came over to the back and snapped a few pictures behind everyone. Then the announcer came onto the loud speaker and snapped at non-drivers to clear pit side.
Interjecting; We really can’t forget this guy, he worked his ass off the entire time. Yoshinori was the RWB gas boy, a very gear in the cycle of driver changes. After every two refills he would take one driver and run two gas cans two the pump. To fill more than one can there had to be more people with you so that was the reason it was required to take another person. It was interesting how this rule and others like the 5 minute pit rule were followed so well.
Continuing on, Alex and the first Japanese driver tightened up the last GoPro, while we walked casually back to the pits, and perched ourselves among the narrow gaps in the pits metal fence to watch the race start.
The rolling start was waved through in lines on the grid and the race was underway. Now for the grind. I watched people lap for a few minutes and returned to the pits checking for cars before crossing the access lane. The photo above is Nojima-san’s HachiRoku representing the Nojireal team.
Alex and Sean were at the end our teams driver order so they were still meandering around the garage half in half out of their race suits.
From here on out most of the time that passed me by has become a blur because even if you consider how awesome it was, it was repetitive. The few things that stood out were the occasional peaking photo with RWB Canada, the sleeping drivers, and broken down cars that occasionally rolled, or were pushed in. When the problem children came into pit everyone woke up and circled around to watch Nakai and a few of his helpers work on the Porsches. The rest of the timing and minute details were kept in check by these two girls. They kept all the drivers in check making sure no rules were broken, thanks Ladies!
The boys sitting down right after the race had started
On a bit of a break when the first Japanese driver for Team Canada was racing we sat down together and the Dog from NRT snapped some sweet facial shots of Noogz and I. Thanks Sean \＿(´▽｀)♪＿/
I brought two of my film cameras to Motegi and loaded them both with film. Larry was quite jealous! Haha. This was shot on my Olympus on Ilford Delta 100.
Acting as manager for the entire RWB team as well as driving Yoko provided the pit crew with tire pressure checks and other necessities in her off time from driving. Seriously a hard working lady!
As the day progressed people started to retire and let the more enthusiastic drivers take over stints for them to catch some rest similar to what this guy was doing.
Alex’s stint from a far.
Around mid day just after Larry Chen from SpeedHunters finished his stint he grabbed his camera and invited me to cruise around the track the Porsche Caymenn 4S Turbo to take pictures at some different corners. It was definitely a welcoming opportunity because there was no way I was planning on scurrying across the miles of access road to take pictures in that sweltering heat.
Larry and I jumped out at a few corners around the track blasting off a few shots before hopping back into the SUV and heading back to pit to pit so he could rest and down some liquids for prior to his next stint.
Later in the day this happened. The two boys took over half an afternoon of driving to themselves.
Around the closing 30 minutes or so the army green porsche pits and Nakai is waiting in his race suit, calm collected, leaning pressure on each foot like he was pacing in place. The Porsche stops, Nakai’s top wing men, (and women), Toji and Yoko slide into the Porsches doors quickly with the bright flood lights casting hard shadows against the darkening deep blue sky. They take the harness and meticulously snap everything into place. Driver is “okay”ed and the doors are firmly shut. Nakai clicks the lights on and pauses, revs the engine up a bit and then, with a huge crowd still surrounding the car drops the clutch burning rubber and sliding out of the pits completely ignoring any of the rules including the pit lane max speed. So much for caring. Haha. Not to mention when this all happened I was sitting on the ground in front of the car. Well it was a loud blast of air and exhaust fumes before I had even realized what happened. I hope someone has that on tape cause it would be excellent to watch again. As Gary would say, “BRILLIANT!”
Alex was already out on track and didn’t have a clue that he might of ended up racing against Nakai. A bit of a bummer that they entered at opposite ends of the track and never really met. Alex also was driving with no lights on which is pretty hectic, or maybe I should rephrase that, it was “HARD STYLE” and he kept and “IRON MIND” until crossing the line at the Japanese standard of 12 hours and 10 minutes before proceeding into the cool down lap and entering the pits with the the rest of the RWB Porsches.
The gathered crowd welcomed the final drivers in and with everyone circled up near the middle of the pits we quieted down so that Nakai could be heard. A voice still full of excitement filled us in on some minor details and congratulated us all. Team RWB huddled up behind the cars and took a group picture. Most of the team then moved over to the closing speech from Sekirei. Some of us stayed behind. Cleaning up and loading the Hiace full of spare tires and tools. I had finished reattaching license plates to the Porsches and after fitting Garys passenger seat back into his car I packed up my stuff and set it neatly near the edge of the pits. I continued helping Nakai with other helpers when, during a load of fire extinguishers, one without a pin was let off. Another one bites the dust! All over my bags! Luckliy for my hard case nothing got in and instead I laughed it off with two newly painted pink bags.
The few of us who lacked interested in the speech that had transitioned into a rock-paper-scissor-raffle pushed the remaining RWB cars back into the pit access lane and lined them up for our home trip. Sean and Noogz were over at the kei car waiting for us.
Alex was driving the whale tail and,
“Hold up, I just looked up from my screen and there is an older lady talking to herself at her table…man there are so many looneys out today, hands flying everywhere like she’s engaged in a heated debate over abortion in California”
Okay back to the story, Nakai was running back and forth getting the drivers prepared with directions to get out over the circuit. There weren’t to may drivers and Nakai said, “Matt you drive the black one.”
A few seconds later,
“You okay? Drive black one okay? Wait, *so and so* can drive black one, okay..”
Damn! I thought to myself, I nearly had a chance to drive one of the RWB Porsches home. Well you know, next time Motegi comes around I’m sure I’ll be able to.
Alex looked back at me and goes, “Nearly Matt, Nearly..” I felt kind of down, an opportunity like that just slipped me by.
BUT! All of a sudden, Nakai walks briskly up from the end of the line of Porsches and says, “No no, okay, Matt you drive. You second. wait outside on hill, go quietly, okay?”
Oh my god, woooohooo! Haha, I had to just nod and keep my cool but I was just screaming inside. Okay I was tired as can be running on nearly no sleep for the last 3 days but man, this event woke me up. I got in and sunk into the black felt bucket seat and shut the door, a good German slam and the heavy door latched shut. Fired her up and dropped into first gear and putzed out down pit lane and into the parking lot. I stopped and waited for the rest of the people to come and then realized I had gone to far. I tried to pull a U-we and then realized I didn’t know where reverse was. Thats when I felt like a total noob, the heaviness of the responsibility I was carrying me and I forced myself half out of the car so I could put my leg down and push the car back whilst not being seen by anyone else. I mean, I can’t be letting people see me carry out such embarrassing act. I got her turned around and continued out and lined up behind the others. I was put in a group of three Porsches, Wolf Pack 3 and we headed out down the twisties towards the freeway. Rendezvous point the next big PA. We weaved through the small roads and much to our annoyance, roads filled with construction sites but when we finally got to the freeway I, being last opened her up behind the two in front of me. Holy shit, the noise and acceleration were amazing. Feelings that could maybe rival sex? Who knows. Maybe the reason man created car was to create such emotion and feeling.
Anyway we met up with the rest of the cars at the PA. Everyone was completely exhausted, trying to be friendly but you could everyone was just trying to hide how irritatedly tired they were. Patience was growing thin. I picked up some energy boosters in the form of rice balls and coffee to keep me awake. By this time it was around 2 in the morning and we pushed our feet down to the floors of the porsches as we roared onto the expressway before slowing down shortly for the toll booths, short lived speed demons. I pulled up to take my ticket and realized the ticket was on the other side. Pulled the hand brake and had to get out a scamper around the car, grab my ticket and hop back in. Anyone watching must have been puzzled out of their mind. Foreigner driving heavily modified Porsche, running around his car in the ticket booth.
Alex suddenly zooms ahead and swerves in front of Park and pulls off into another PA. We kept on going and wondered why he had just pulled off when we had just left the PA. Turns out he had brakes. Park and Noogz continued with the pack until we got off the expressway.
I got separated from everyone by a bunch cars and truck drivers giving me the stink eye who wouldn’t let me in. Jealous bastards, rightfully. Haha! I drove on by feel for about 30 minutes trying to pass all passive aggressive drivers around before catching the pack.
I zipped in front of Gary and thanking him with a quick rev and some harare light combinations. We shouted at each other with high revs, and then the finally came; a small tunnel ahead of us. All the Porsches silently lined up and slowly approached the tunnel before suddenly erupting in a plethora of noise. We all dropped a gear and broke the ear drums of the surrounding neighborhood. (Sorry, not really) When Park told me about watching it, Noogz interrupted and explained that when we raced through the tunnel he experienced a rare “Excited” Park with the crazy eyes. Park, Noogz and I were left behind at a red light and continued ahead clueless until I pulled over and put my hazards on, Park rushed by my so my only option was to follow even though Nakai said meet at the conbini I didn’t know the way there but knew the back way, which was the way that wasn’t supposed to be taken. Nakai didn’t want more noise complaints by the neighbors, understandably. Quickly, we raced trough the back streets to RWB and then as I rounded the corner to RWB I clutched in and Nakai was right there pointing to park. Continuing on in neutral I swung the car into the gravel parking besides RWB, grabbed my camera cases and locked up.
It wasn’t over yet though. I got a call from Alex, completely lost after getting off the expressway. He and Sean were calling from a pay phone and I told them to call me back in five. Park volunteered to go pick them up so I handed him my phone and he dashed out to get them. Nakai started putting the cars away. And by “putting the cars away” I mean he coasted them from the conbini, about 1 km, all the way to RWB and threw them up the broken concrete drive way and deep into the garage, us spectators assisting with big pushes when he needed it. Now you know why almost all the RWB cars have rubber front lips.
Sean’s good friend Sekinei arrived at the conbini and I contacted him to let him know he should come down to meet us at RWB. Sean, Park and Alex were still gone and remained gone for nearly an hour. We finished up storing everything away and sat down for a little chit chat while Toji passed out on the lump of Porsche floor mats laying around. I think Sekinei was just super stoked to be able to meet Park again.
Sean arrived, we said our good byes to Nakai and thanked him a lot. Arranged a few things with Alex and then; Sean, Noogz, and I headed back home. Finally, we could sleep.
Thanks to everyone who made the awesome journey possible.
Through the tough and the tedious I’m glad you guys are a part of our ever evolving lives. Live HARD, with SOUL.
Team RWB Canada