When I started planning for my trip to Japan, I really only had one thing in mind. To see the touge roads around Mt Fuji, the roads made immortal by the likes of Initial D and Hot Version videos. I set upon Google to see where I could find these roads, and possibly even have a go myself. Now I know I am not the world's greatest driver, but for these roads I would have taken a kei car if that was all I could procure.

On the Friday morning, I managed to get up around 5am from my hostel in Tokyo, took several trains, including the Shinkansen bullet train towards Mt Fuji. My destiny was certain. The hours of planning would come to fruition. My inspiration was a piece written on Speedhunters, who I owe a lot of credit. ( you can find it here: )

As I left the taxi in Hakone, there it was. In all its low slung and haunched beauty. I know I had made the right choice, after deciding to switch from an AE86 only a few days before. Might as well right?

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I met Yokoyama-san and Watanabe-san and signed the appropriate papers, decided on the route and assessed the car. It was better than I imagined, the loud exhaust crackling and spitting out moisture in anger. The rock chips on the front and the semi-faded red paint screamed of a car that was actually driven with its intended purpose. A momo steering wheel and Bilstein shocks were the only other changes to the Senna sculpted beauty. I mounted my camera off a makeshift phone holder, and regretted not bringing its charger, as luck would have it the battery ran out just as we finished.

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We got started, my heart pounding faster than the redline. Nervous as first as I got used the manual steering and heavy clutch, Yokoyama-san followed in the Legacy in front. We were communicating via walk-talkie headsets, just adding some more surrealism to the situation. After a while, he said "Tunnel ahead, listen to the exhaust", I had to oblige. The screaming v6 echoed off the walls, I opened the windows and wondered what I had done to deserve this.

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We continued for a whole 4 hours, driving to Fuji Speedway, then down several touge runs. My time spent driving in Australia meant my police scared mentality was hard to shake no matter how hard Yokoyama-san tried. We drove past several military vehicles, some Maserati's and some other old-school JDM cars. The scene was alive and well in the mountains of Hakone.

I still was only giving it 7/10s, but I was such a zen state, body and vehicle as one. As we reached near the end, we drove up to the house that the crew for Initial D stayed in. Then descended, with full power down the Initial D Final Stage. The car was flat, perfectly square around all corners, not a whisper of understeer was noted. The torque was immense compared to my daily, a car that I was now dreading going back to.

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As we finished the drive, the happiness culminated into sadness that I would soon be waving goodbye to a new friend. We filled up on petrol, and drove back to the shop. We chatted cars and I introduced them to Mighty Car Mods, the idea of cars and coffee and shared pictures of my car back home. It was one of the greatest days of my life, one that I doubt I would ever forget. It's crazy to think that this was now 2 weeks ago, because I can still hear the sounds of the downshifts in my head. I encourage you all to go chase your dreams, because true happiness will follow.