Japan is a wondrous place indeed. While staying in Mie prefecture I decided to visit a city called Ise-shi to see a friend that had come to my university in New Zealand to study English. She also told me while in New Zealand that her boyfriend was into cars and went drifting in the mountains, so I was hoping that I may get a glimpse of that world during this day of travels.
My friend and her friend met me at the denshaeki (電車駅 – train station) where we then bussed to the Ise Grand Shrine which was absolutely massive. During this exploring I mentioned her boyfriend who was now her ex. Luckily for me they were still in contact and he was keen to meet me in person.
We spent half of the day sightseeing (there is literally so much to do in Japan, it would take you a lifetime and a half to do everything) and then met up with him at a local 7-11 equivalent. He was waiting in a fully slammed Honda Odyssey. When I say fully slammed I mean rails scraping across the concrete.
I used the facilities, if you’ve been to Japan you know just how great they are. Took my time in the store looking for a delicious japanese treat and something to quench my thirst that was created by the heat. After that we were ready to hit the road.
His Honda Odyssey was something very unusual to me, probably rather common in Japan, but not in New Zealand. The inside resembled something along the lines of a luxurious night club. The middle seats had been taken out and the rear were all that remained. Carpet filled the space where seats used to be, it felt like you were royalty in the rear of that car. If you’re interested to see photos of it, we have a full feature coming next! So stay tuned.
On the way to the workshop (yes, we were going to a Japanese workshop – how exciting) we were driven through what felt like multiple different farmlands. Down an uncountable amount of the tiniest little roads you could ever imagine to end up at a little garage in the rural prefecture of Mie.
The shop name was Auto Garage Namaki. From what I could see around the shop, inside and out it looked to be a modification workshop rather than a service/repair workshop. This meant that the shop was filled with lots of intriguing cars. Mostly Nissans as you can see from the photos. This isn’t a massive garage, I can’t even find it on the internet. So I wonder to myself how many of these cool and interesting little garages are scattered all over Japan.
The owner of the workshop told me he is a drifter. I’m not too sure if he meant at the track or illegal drifting – but he was a drifter nonetheless. This is his drift car. Bright yellow and labelled Namaking, dented and bruised from many years of mischief by the looks of it.
My short visit in the Mie prefecture meant that I didn’t have much time to stick around. If I did, a few people from this garage would have invited me to come into the mountains with them on Saturday night (it was a Thursday when we visited which was also Christmas Eve). Next time when I head back there’s no doubt I’m going to stop by on a weekend to join in on some of the fun!
The car was running rather appalling according to the owner, so he didn’t really want to start it up. However, my massive grin and me constantly saying ‘kore wa majide yabai kuruma – something along the longs of ‘that’s a really crazy awesome car’’ convinced him otherwise.
We only stopped for a short while as I had to get back to the train station as it was getting late. Two different trains to get back to where I was staying. Japan looks rather small on the map, but my god – it’s totally the opposite in person.
I’d imagine that even If I hadn’t been taken along to this shop by one of my Japanese friends, I’m sure they’d still be happy to have a small chat and let me have a look at what awesome cars they have in their property. That’s one of the reasons why I loved Japan so much and why I must go back as soon as possible!
Photos: Shaun Constable | Words: Shaun Constable | Proofer: Chadd Davis
© Ambition Works 2015