Sunday – Hakone to Leopard meeting

(update: added gallery at the end)

I woke up about 0900 (9am) and started to organize and pack. I was given quite a few gifts and had about 3 bags plus my luggage. I also had to take a quick shower. I got a message from Kuze san saying Mr. Tamai will pick me up at 1100 am, but then I got a message from Yousuke san saying Mr. Tamai will get me at 1000 am.

Regardless, he was coming and I was trying to get things organized. Mr. Tamai walked in and I told him to give me 10 minutes.

We loaded up and stopped by the Family Mart down the street. While we did this, it was the first time I had seen the entry card used on a Leopard!!! I had to video tape it!




During the drive, we watched 80’s Madonna videos/songs, Initial D battle stage and blasted Eurobeat (which Mr. Tamai says is driving music!)


The one thing I didn’t really expect was that Hakone would be mountainous!!! I was just looking at a flat map.. with that said, tons of turns!


I think the drive was like 3-4 hours. We took a route that was near the water. Very scenic drive.

The destination was Forest Hakone, a traditional Japanese hotel/resort with natural hot springs. Carshop Friend had rented out the whole hotel for the 2 days. When we arrived, there weren’t as many leopards, but then they started to pour in!!!


After people arrived, we went up to a small room and had snacks and beer. I didn’t drink beer, but I thought it was dinner, so I ate some sandwiches (I haven’t eaten all day).


Carshop Friend Models.. who were very friendly!


After this snack, the next thing was Mr. Kanasawa gave a speech in the next room. It was the history on how he started Carshop Friend. He talked about his first jobs and that he appreciated the F31. There were magazines passed around showing ads from Carshop Friend. He also talked about how he imported M30s.


Later he had a surprise!!!

Everyone sang Happy Birthday to the F31 leopard!

At first, I thought this must be something traditional in Japanese car culture, but Kuze san told me it was just light humor.


Then dinner time. I didn’t realize this as I ate a few sandwiches during the snack earlier (I actually thought that was dinner).

Of course beer got everyone happy! LOL. During this time, I went out to take some pictures of the Leopards.


I also found the photographer setting up for more shots. I asked to take a picture of me with the Leopards. I then asked him if he wanted to take a picture. I tried my best to explain to him, often times the one behind the camera taking pictures never gets a chance to be in pictures.


Iwashima san – Photorgrapher of 31st anniversary event!



I had to make a run to Mishima Eki, which was about 30 minutes away. I wanted to be dropped off at the station and take a taxi. Kuze san said it’s okay that Mr. Tamai take me!!! So before we left, I took pictures with Fujii san, Ogino san and Kuze san.



I had to meet up with my aunt because I had gifts for her and she has been holding my Estima stuff at her apartment (I didn’t realize how big they were!! sorry). I also needed to buy a bento box for Lucas and some small snacks for my family.

Mr. Tamai plugged in the coordinates in his GPS and we were off. But the shortest route was straight touge!!!

  1. I’ve drag raced in an F31.
  2. I’ve been drifting in an F31.
  3. Now I’ve touged in an F31.

30-40 minutes later, we were met my aunt at a store and bought stuff. We then went to her apartment. I couldn’t believe how tall those boxes were. I opened up all boxes and realize I couldn’t take the 2nd pair of Estima tail lights. I also couldn’t take my Kenstyle Grill either!!!



My aunties in Mishima, Shizuoka.

Mr. Tamai then drove back, busting touge style!


We get back to Forest Hakone and I start to pack. Kuze san tells me that bath and hot spring is open. I wanted to try the hot spring, but I had to get everything organized and started packing. I did most of the packing until I realized that I left one bag of gifts in Mr. Tamai’s leopard. It was late and I didn’t want to bug him.

As mentioned earlier, Forest Hakone was a traditional Japanese hotel. So besides the public bathhouse and hot springs, it was also sleeping accommodations. 3-4 people on the elevated floor. I was packing late in the night and Kuze san and others started to sleep. I passed out on the couch until about 0500 am.


Added gallery of pictures of arrival.



6 thoughts on “Sunday – Hakone to Leopard meeting”

    • thanks brother.. as you know, there is more depth than just these words. The feelings and camaraderie that goes back… it can’t be fully can’t be explained.

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