The Golden Week comes to a close today, and I couldn't help but notice that you have an extra envelope for me to open. Specifically, you noted the exact day and time to open this mystery gift.
According to your instructions, I awoke at 6 this morning to unveil this unknown message.
To my surprise, a sticky note and a ticket fell out. In a state of shock, I dropped the note and it starts to tumble down to the ground.
I scurry to scrape up the message and receive your orders for the day.
I know that racing runs deep in your blood. It never seemed to matter what kind or if there was a reward, you were always a boy in a rush.
To that point, you'll be happy to know that there's a popular GT race here that takes place during Golden Week.
The Fuji Super GT 500km race is a time-honored event that has taken place for decades.
To end this celebratory week, I figured there wasn't a better way than to allow you the chance to see this high-velocity race, in person.
Your ticket is for general admission and you should be there around noon. The track is about 2 hours from Tokyo, near Mt. Fuji.
Enjoy your time at the races and I look forward to reading your feedback on the event!
I stashed the ticket in my booklet and began to gather my belongings. The GPS says that the route to the track should take around 2 hours (with tolls).
I don't want to get stuck in a traffic jam, so it would be wise to leave now.
It also doesn't hurt to find a place, for the night, before I make my way to the track. I know the area around Mt.
Fuji is more rural, so I may need the extra time to find the proper accommodations.
With my belongings tucked away onto the luggage rack, I can't help but think if this will be the last day in the city.
Despite the crafty planning by you, I still feel like two weeks wasn't enough to see every major landmark.
If I end up defying your itinerary one time in this trip, it might be to take a detour back to this illuminating metropolis.
The DZed appears to be all too eager to add tread, as the engine purrs at idle immediately after starting.
Call me superstitious but I think that the bike knows we have plenty of miles ahead, as the all too anxious revs of the engine are ready for the test.
In the thick of the busy Tokyo streets, we begin to cruise out of the city and head towards the race.
According to my GPS, the nearest city to the track is Oyama, which will be the place to check-in before the races.
The brief morning route seemed to take its time, as this drive felt twice as long.
I guess the convenience of a metro system has spoiled me for the last two weeks, as the miles to Oyama feel longer than any of the routes up north.
It also doesn't help that I've come across my first toll on the trip, which was time-consuming. Fortunately, the process was smooth and the small fee allowed me to go about my day.
I can't imagine having a daily commute with a toll, as that built-in congestion and inspection just seems like a pain in the ass.
Unlike my rides up in Hokkaido, the May breeze feels fantastic, carrying a scent of the Pacific with it. The smell of the Ocean carried me to Oyama.
I immediately came upon a budget hotel (part of a chain) that has plenty vacancy. It's not the nicest surroundings to lay your head in, but you can't beat the view from your window.
Speaking of view, it's impossible to ignore the influence that Mt. Fuji plays on this area. The closer I ride towards the mountain.
, the more it's evident that landmarks like this are paramount in the development of the society around it. The immovable object plays an integral role in this region's economy.
Everything from this race track to hiking trails was established, largely to attract tourists from around the world.
In a largely rural place, it's interesting to see such an undeveloped area cultivate its own pockets of intense activity.
The parking lot of the Speedway is a litmus test for how anticipated the event is, as hundreds of cars are here (hours before the race starts).
It was wise to leave Tokyo early, as there was no way I'd acquire a spot for the DZed by the noon hour.
I found the most spacious, breathable spot possible for the bike and bid her adieu for the afternoon. This race usually takes place on May 4th.
For reasons unbeknownst to me, the race was moved to the 5th this year.
I must admit, I'm not the biggest fan of car racing (of any kind) but I'm fascinated by the concept of these GT races.
The race today is expected to be 500km, but the length depends on the track. Some of these run for nearly twice this length, with multiple riders per car.
The strategy behind these races is intriguing, as teams are allowed to use one rider for so many laps, before switching to another.
On top of that, they have to factor in they'll need to refuel (and not lose position).
There are two classes in this series- GT300, and GT500. The # is determined by horsepower in the engines, with a few exceptions. Specifically, the latter class allows cars with 650 horsepower.
It's a similar concept to when 4 strokes were starting to come back into Motocross. It was common to see 450cc 4 stroke bikes race in a class with 250cc 2 strokes.
I'm eager to see how the difference in horsepower translates to handling and maneuverability in these races.
In short order, the opening ceremonies kicked started the event, followed by the flurry of cars onto the track.
What I proceeded to see was a few dozen cars, weaving between each other at a furious pace. Lap after lap, the race line shifts for each car.
The tight, drifting corners only expedite the line choices for the desperate drivers.
There are so many complexities to this form of racing. Sure, a lot of this crosses over to other styles of racing but the razor-thin margin of error on this track is piercing.
In these highly tuned vehicles, one slight mistake could be the end of your race.
Without being a keen follower of GT racing, It's apparent that their fitness level has to be pristine, to compete at this level.
If there's one thing that casual sports fans overlook about motorsports, it's the fitness level of the riders.
Imagine being strapped into a vehicle, with hundreds of horsepower, and a frame aerodynamically designed to cut all resistance.
Add in the idea of pushing the said vehicle to its limits, for hundreds of laps. That, in it of itself, is an athletic endeavor only few can accomplish.
As the laps began to melt away, I reminisce about a time when you were staying with us.
We had just gotten back from a dollar store and I was all too eager to try out my new toy car on the home track.
I had this oversized toy car track, with a far more exaggerated design than the one I'm seeing in front of me.
I was so enthralled with the twists and turns of this track that all sense of space and time seemed to wither away. You had so many other things you could have chosen to do with your time.
Halfway around the world, in a culture completely foreign to your own. Yet, despite the abundance of experiences to pick from, you sat next to me and joined in on the four-wheeled fun.
We spent hours combining cars, trucks, vans, anything you could think of, on that track. Most of the time, my overzealous, adolescent spirit caused the toys to go off the rails.
That didn't seem to matter. At the end of the day, you were happy to spend that time with me.
You chose to be like a big sister, engaging in seemingly meaningless experiences for the sake of forming a lifelong bond.
Watching the glee on people's faces during this race perfectly reflects the fond memories I look back on when you stayed with us.
In a world where people can be fickle and lose touch, you chose to form close bonds with all of us and become an extended part of our family.
For that, I'll always be grateful for having you in my life. I know it sounds cliche, but such treasured memories like these should come to mind during Golden Week.
The races continued and over time, I begin to absorb more info about this style of racing. Fortunately, I had someone next to me that could clarify some of the rules.
It's a complex style of racing that needs more than one race to fully grasp, but the experience was well worth the trip.
The hair-raising, goosebump-inducing action of this race only ignites my need to race sometime soon.
The sun starts to set and with that, the event draws to a close. I make my way through the excited fan section and locate the DZed.
Before I fire up the bike, I turn over and take one final look at the track. With Mt. Fuji in the distance, I breathe in the picturesque view.
Something about this view just turns up your adrenaline. Between the racing and active volcano, it's hard not to feel a rush of energy in this area.
I can't thank you enough for the ticket. Today was a great way to end this holiday week and give me newfound energy, for the next leg of my trip.
The plan is to stay in Oyama tonight, then see what you have planned for me tomorrow.
Again, thank you for everything and I can't wait to see you soon!