When I started to plan the Wandering Leopard pilgrimage, I mentioned to everyone my intentions. Okuni san told me he would like to meet up and he would take a holiday. Ishii san also said he wanted to join.
Okuni and Ishii san are former Leopard owners. They were part of Le Ciel Bleu Leopard owner’s club (Kansai region). Ishii used to own a Leopard, but moved on to Peugot and Fiat. Okuni san owns a Nissan El Grand.
I met Okuni san last year at the 30th Annual Leopard meeting in Hamamatsu. He was part of the meeting committee. Ishii san I have not met previously, but after I came back to the US, we started to converse on facebook as I would post on mutual friend’s timeline.
When Tanaka san and I met and reconnected (we emailed each other 10yrs ago), Ishii san said he remembered Tanaka san talking about it 10yrs ago. Of course when I went to the leopard meeting, it sparked a conversation.
My Wandering Leopard Pilgrimage isn’t just about F31s and cars… it is about the people. I didn’t go to West Japan to see a Zenki leopard or a White M30, I went there to see Junya and Satoshi. Same applies here. When I said I was going to Osaka, Okuni san said he would take the day off and mentioned I should come to Shiga. That became a priority over going to Jenesis, Auto Select and Den Den town. Then Ishii san said he would do the same.
I arrived at Maibara station where Ishii and Okuni san picked me up. We went to go eat some Shiga beef (known for in the region). We then went to the Kaiyodo Figure Museum. Kaiyodo is a company that is based in Osaka. They make capsule toys and figures. If you been to Japan, you know these are in many places and people love these small collections.
We then went to Lake Biwa. Lake Biwa is the largest freshwater lake in Japan. It is also referred in much of Japan’s history since it is next to Kyoto (old capital of Japan). COOL HISTORY.
But Lake Biwa also has some F31 leopard history. Many leopard meetings were held at the port where Okuni san took me.
After that, we drove to Hikone Castle and headed to my place of stay for the night. After my check in, they took me to a few different stores. Tokyu Hands, Autobacs, Upgarage, an electronics store. Then we stopped by Delicious Bar and had good Ramen. After, they took me to the supermarket and I got my breakfast.
Friendship transcends cars and this was a perfect example. Thank you Okuni and Ishii san!!! See you on Skype.