DSport Tokyo Auto Salon Tour 2017 Day 6 Part 2 - Drift Compatible

Continuing on from Part 1 of our flashback to a time when the Trump administration was newly installed and most people still had hope, it's time for "teh mad drift action" photos.

First out on track at the Mobara drift event were the amateur drivers. Now, when I say amateur don't get the wrong idea that these drivers were level 1 noobs whose sum total of drift experience was two nights of binge-watching Initial D while staying at a Holiday Inn. These guys - and girls - were only amateurs in the "non-professional" sense.

As you can see there was a large variety of cars fielded during the amateur drift sessions. Here's the Mitsuoka Le-Seyde I talked about in Part 1:
And here's the beautifully-prepped red Hachiroku along with its white sibling:
 I mentioned that the little Daihatsu kei cars were no slouches so here's proof:

And my favorite drifter takes the checkered flag at the end of a session:
Some cars were more race-prepped and likely competed in the various drift series that are feeders to D1GP.

 Of course, the headline act were the D1GP pros:

Not only were they getting insane angles and entry speeds but their tandem work was a marvel to behold:

The best part about the pro sessions was that we got the chance to ride along and it is simply a mind-blowing experience to be in a drift car with a pro driver!

Nob Taniguchi sadly wasn't giving ride-alongs to our group since he was in his personal car but he wasn't about to let the other pros have all the fun.

It wasn't all just drift though. For stick-in-the-mud grip guys like me there was some standard road course action squeezed in. There were only two cars that ran but they were two very cool Hondas - a track prepped S2000 and what looked like a stock S660.

As a treat to all of us tour attendees, about halfway through the day's sessions they asked us all to gather at the far end of the course. After we'd all made our way there we got to enjoy the sight of dozens of drift cars simultaneously entering the course!

Car after car blew past us, sometimes solo, sometimes in groups of two or three. To add to all the awesome Ueno-san's wife started doing donuts in the infield section. It was insane!
A few more sessions later and it was time to pack up.
After a big group photo with all the drivers we hopped back on board the charter bus for the long drive back to our hotel in Shinagawa. It was nighttime when we got back so we all divided into little groups to grab dinner and do whatever we felt like for the rest of the evening. I ended up going with three other guys back to Akihabara.

We'd gone to the Maiddreamin maid cafe in Shinjuku the previous night but our little group wanted to try another one, hopefully one that felt a little bit more authentically otaku. We all had fun at Maiddreamin but they're a big chain of cafes so we wanted something more small scale. The plan had been to go to Akiba with the same guy who'd taken us to Maiddreamin since he was a tour veteran but unfortunately he wasn't feeling well and had to stay at the hotel. That left four of us newbies to Japan to fumble our way around.

When we first got to Akiba there were quite a few maids out on the street promoting their shops but the first two we passed by kind of ignored us because we were obviously gaijin. A bit further down someone did approach us asking if we were looking for a maid cafe. We stumbled through in a mix of our miniscule Japanese and her slightly better English and managed to convey that yes, indeedy, we wanted to check out her fine establishment.

She led the way and we had naturally assumed her shop was only a short walk further on. We started to get worried though when we'd walked about a block then turned into a darkish alleyway. Half-jokingly we wondered aloud if yakuza were about to shanghai us into some weird Japanese slave network but most of our group was ex-military so we figured we'd at least put up a half-decent fight. Our friendly maid guide led us to what first looked like an office building until we noticed the signs in the lobby. Yeah, they were all in Japanese but the pictures told the story well enough.
We squeezed into an elevator barely big enough for the five of us, went up a couple of floors, and were surprised to have the door open directly into the cafe, called Heart of Hearts, which occupied a whole floor of the small building.

Sadly I don't have any photos of the cafe itself but it was definitely a homelier place than Maiddreamin - not run-down or low-rent, just not as snazzy and obviously well-funded as the big chain cafe we'd first gone to. The staff were no less enthusiastic though and it had its own authentic charm. We got sat down on a table made up of old school desks butted up against each other (they had this "maid school" theme for the place) and checked out the menu.
We were hungry so we each ordered the food set and I ended up with a delicious hamburger steak and a lovely heart-shaped serving of rice prepared with all the love the maids could muster I'm sure. That's probably why it tasted delish...or maybe it was just the hunger and my sad, nerd soul talking.
While we were chatting away a guy sitting by himself at the table beside us noticed we were all speaking English so he asked if we were from good old Uncle Sam country to which we replied in the affirmative. Turns out he was a Canadian which is why he'd wanted to chat a bit. He ended up telling us how he'd been in Tokyo for a week so far and had been to 15 maid cafes already - now that's effing hardcore!

After the maids did a little song and dance number and we each got photos with a maid of our choice we made our way back onto Akiba's chuo dori (main street). Most of the shops had closed since it was a weekday but we still were able to check out a few. In between we grabbed some wonderful hot coffees from the ubiquitous vending machines.
After some more wandering around it was time to head back to our hotel. Tomorrow was the final full day of our tour. The big stuff like TAS and the drift event were now done but we still had more cool stuff in store for us with a tour of Tein and Tomei. I'll talk about all that in the final installment of my tour travelogue and then I promise I'll be back to 2019 and talking about my trip to the Prince and Skyline Museum. Hope you come back for that and more car-crazy articles!


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