Thursday, November 25, 2010

Bangkok, Thailand

OMg this place is hot!!!! But I have a lot to look forward to.

First thought as I deplaned: humid. Are you serious?? I have never sweated so much at night.

Btw, this place has no traffic rules... Or so it seems.

People drive all over the place here.

My plan for this trip is to check out Formula D in Asia and see if I have a place here. So the very next day, I took off to wonderworld park in Bangkok.

With me was Ryuji Miki who already competes in the series.
Also, surprisingly, Ueno-San from T and E was there to help out an Asian driver.

Big props to the top three finishers for the event. The level of competition here is catching up to the US quick. Some drivers such as Tengku Djan, are already at the international level where they can compete anywhere.

Overall, I feel like I can fit in here. If I can find a ride by next season, I would love to be a part of the competition and share with them what we do in the USA. Anyway, much thanks to the US formula d crew Ryan Sage, Daijiro Yoshihara, and Andy Yen. Also many thanks to Marcus of FD Asia for the hospitality.

Now that my work was done, time to see what Bangkok is all a out. The night life is insane here. Japanese tourists everywhere.

Everywhere you go, someone knows how to speak a little Japanese.

The city during the day is nice too. I went to a huge department store known as MBK and I was tired from all the walking

And then in the department store somewhere, my friend found this:

Hahahaha serious?!? That's from 2006!!! Isn't that trademark infringement?! They were only 200 baht which is about $7. Oh well.

Then somewhere in Bangkok, we found this:

Looks like Yoshinoya huh? Well....

It's a copy. GYUNOYA. surprisingly it was better than the American yoshinoya. In fact the American one isn't as great. I was enjoying this copy food.

Yeah, that's a don't cross sign. But why does the dude look weird? Area 51?

A real Thai massage gave me sore muscles. It hurt and tickled so much that I tensed up the entire time.

Then there was this at the night market. Yes, bugs bugs and more bugs.

A delicacy in Thailand. I didn't have enough guts to try it. Maybe next time. See you guys soon!

I'll be here for a few more days and then back to Tokyo for more drifting at Ebisu Circuit!

Tokyo pt 2.

Ahh. Home sweet Tokyo.
Now that I'm back in Tokyo, I get to do what I originally came here to do. Drift

My mom already went back to LA so I'm on my own now. But my good friend Robbie Nishida was nice enough to let me stay at his house again while I'm here.

My first stop was BX Garage, Robbie's old workshop. Here, we had to swap out a motor in a JZX90 Mark II which was my missile car for he next two days.

We finished the swap real fast. I guess 4 people working on a car with designated jobs can finish a swap fast. We knocked it out in a couple hours.
The next day, we had a whole day to relax before packing up for our drifting trip. Since we had time, we went to Shibuya and Shinjuku to do some tourist stuff. The train ride was a wreck!! It gets so packed in the train car but no one says a word! How awkward is that?!

Afterwards, we met up with our friends Maru-chan and Arisa to grab some dinner

The next morning, we were off to Nikko Circuit. This track has been a dream of mine. I have been watching pro drivers drift this track since the very first time I saw drifting (back when I was about 11).

My first challenge was to get accustomed to drifting a RHD. The hardest part? Shifting and Hand brake!!! Wtffff?? I was confused alot. I had a hard time shifting from 2nd to 3rd. I even initiated the first entry in 5th gear once. Anyway, on Daigo's first run out, he crashed into Shinji's x90 and broke his lower control arm while Shinji broke his entire rear shock assembly.

Overall, I feel like I got the hang of it after a few laps.
I wasn't quite comfortable running tandem yet because of my lack of confidence using the handbrake. The best part about Nikko? Going full throttle from the last corner to kicking the car sideways into turn one. I wish I can do this everyday.

That night, we drove 2 hours north to Ebisu Circuit and stayed at a natural hot spring hotel.

It was late when we got there but we had a lot of time to relax and chill while kicking it. Had a few drinks and called it a night. Btw, the milk in a glass they sell at these hotels are the best.

The next morning,

Ebisu!! I can't believe I was here. I've been watching them drift this place since the day I remember seeing drifting for the first time.

Maruchan will make a video so I won't say much about the driving. But damn, jump drift is fun!!!!!

Btw, there is a sign that prohibits entry, but if you don't care, you can see bears there. They are Fu***** huge.

On the way back home, we ate at a popular Katsu-don place. Mmmmmm I wish I can go back there

I couldn't wait!! Hahah I took a few bites before snapping pictures.

Anyway, my next stop is Bangkok, Thailand for Formula Drift. Let's see if I can find a ride to run the series.

Bye Tokyo! For now..

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Okinawa pt 2

During my stay in Okinawa, my mom and I went around staying at a few different homes. The first night, we stayed at my grandparent's house.

This house still had the same smell I remember from 17 years back.

Okinawan homes are much bigger compared to ones in Tokyo. So I felt more at home here since American homes are gigantic.
Then we for the next two nights, we stayed over my mom's sister's house. She lives in Kadena which is near the base. So I saw a few Gaijin Americans.

She has three kids but one of them is missing in the picture.
Afterwards, we stayed over my parents' best friend's house. They live in Naha which is the best city there.

I didn't know I was known overseas!!! Hahaha jkjkjk!
While visiting the Tamaki family, my dad's other best friend Mr Hiyane also helped us around Okinawa. He also took me out on a trip at night to visit his friends.

Anyway, I wanted to thank everyone who has made this trip special. You guys have all made us feel welcome and at home. I will be back again!

Thank you Okinawa!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Okinawa メンソーレ!!

I havnt been home in 17 years. I don't remember much about Okinawa, but I have to admit, my hometown is so country-side. Everywhere I look, I see farmland.

I went farming too!! Planting flowers and helping my grandpa I havnt seen in 17 years.
I was happy to see him still healthy and strong.

Throughout the entire trip, I was pretty much just a tag along. I visited family and followed my mom everywhere.

When Okinawans gather, man, we gather big.

Okinawa is such a beautiful island. The people are nice, the food is good, and the beaches are clean.

The best part of the trip was being able to see my cousins. They grew so big. 17 years!!!!

One of the highlights of this trip was our stop at the Shuri Castle.

Inside the castle, we had to take off our shoes. It smelled so bad.

The inside was remodeled to cater to tourists but overall, the feel was very retro.

I want to live in there.

I'll be back!! But next stop, back to Tokyo to do some Drifting!!!!!!!!
Finally!!!!! OMg