Spend any amount of time traveling in Japan and if the weather is good, you're bound to run into a track event or what the locals call "soukoukai." After the long three-day Tokyo Auto Salon show, it's customary for pbskids to head two hours north of Tokyo to the rather small Nikko Circuit in the Tochigi prefecture for the Super Live drift event. Old-school D1 driver Takashi Haruyama of Car Modify Wonder has been hosting this event for over 10 years now and is one of the oldest open-track days. It's one of those events you'd wake up for at 4am and step into 30-degree weather and leave the warm comforts of your hotel bed - because that's what we did.
You'll find the usual cars at the Car Modify Wonder Super Live event, such as AE86s and S chassis cars, but you'll also run into some outliers like a big four door or something you don't really see in Japan like RWD converted Subarus. A few special guests this year included Tec Art's Kamata San, his brother Takao, and last year's N2 champion Koizumi Shoukai. Luckily, we weren't the only gaijins at the event; this year Hardcore Japan brought out Australian professional drifter Levi Clarke. "Super Live was a rad event!" Clarke enthused. "It was a good insight of the drifting scene in Japan. It's much different than back home. They are quick and very consistent. They drive in a different style than [we do] back in Australia. It's all about high entry speed and big angle the rest of the track. Japan also seems to have a lot more respect."
This year was uniquely special for us with the help of IDR or International Drift Rentals. As the name suggests, the company rents out cars for people who want the authentic Japanese drift experience, and, well, they were crazy enough to hand us the keys to one of their Nissan S14s. In spite of our drift experience, at the end of the day the S14 came back in one piece.
You want to come to these types of events. It doesn't get any more authentic and grassroots than this.