Monday, December 24, 2012

Ebisu Circuit

When we found out that we were moving to Japan, my oldest son was hoping to be able to "drift" like he'd seen in the movie "Tokyo Drift".  Well, in August his wish was granted.
My son driving his 1997 Nissan Laurel
My husband, son, and a handful of other car enthusiasts made the 5 hour trek up north to Ebisu Circuit for their Summer Drift Matsuri ( this is literally a drift festival).  Ebisu Circuit is located in Fukushima Prefecture and is a world-renowned racetrack with numerous individual and skid-pan tracks.

Most people prepare for these events months in advance making sure their cars are in tip-top shape.  They come equipped with extra tires, tons of gasoline, tools, and extra car parts.  People use the racetrack 24/7, so its very loud.  When you need to get some rest, many people camp, or just sleep in their cars. 

This 3-day festival is quite expensive.  First, to drive to Ebisu, the tolls are around $100 each way.  Next are the entrance fees atb20,000 yen (over $200.00 USD) for the driver, and 3,000 yen (over $30.00 USD) for a spectator.  This can be pretty spendy if you participate in the three drift matsuris held each  year.

Also, if your car breaks down at the racetrack and is too expensive to get back to your home, you can sell it to one of the car companies that does business in the area.  We ended up selling my son's car to Power Vehicles because his clutch went out and there weren't any lifts available to properly install the new clutch.
Towing the car 4 hours back home would have been a huge expense.  This was a big learning experience for my family, but this still hasn't deterred my son from buying another car.  He's been eagerly saving his money and hopes to purchase another car in the new year.

Here is a link to the live web cam for Ebisu:

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Bonenkai held at Yakitori Hisago.
On 6 December I joined my husband and his co-workers for a Bonenkai. A Bonenkai is typically held in December and is a party that means to forget about the troubles of the current year, and is a way to celebrate the year to come.

The Bonenkai we went to was at a small Izakaya close to base.  For 4,000 (yen), we ate a variety of delicious food (steamed mussels, salads, yakitori, rice, etc) and had bottomless drinks for 2 hours.  This was a time for employees and their bosses to mingle in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere.

Great laughs!
I was the only spouse at this gathering because in Japan, its not typical to have a wife accompany a spouse to an evening work gathering.  This is not meant to be disrespectful, its just part of their culture.  I'm just grateful that my husband's co-workers are always so welcoming when I crash their parties.  It was a night full of fun and many of us continued the celebration by dancing and playing pool at a local establishment.

Bonenkai 2012!!