Okayama Super GT and Jeans for Days

At the start of April, we took a long weekend trip to Okayama to enjoy the Japanese car racing, Super GT 300 and 500. The Japanese are crazy for this series, which features mainly Japanese cars and drivers.

Our trip started on the Friday morning. We hopped on the Shinkansen and sped our way up to Okayama city. Jumping into our hire car on arrival, we made our way down to a town called Kojima. Kojima is famous for making and selling Japanese denim. Dan was in the market for some new jeans after his stupidly expensive Levis decided to tear in a most unfortunate place…

Jeans street / town is only worth the visit if you are in the market for…jeans. Or other demin related goods, like denim bags or denim skirts or denim hats or denim key rings or pieces of denim or….denim ice cream. Fortunately, that made it the perfect town for us (on this particular day). So as Dan shopped, looking over hundreds of pairs on very similar jeans, I stood in the corner of shops shouting random compliments whilst averting my eyes from the costly denim surrounding me. This is part of the new ‘me’; trying not to buy everything that looks nice and fits me (which in Japan, is pretty much everything).

After a busy day kitting Dan out with some nicely made new legs, we decided to take the back roads to our rather rural airbnb property. This led to some pretty similar GT car racing of our own, as we took on two-way roads which dropped off into woodlands and were, very clearly, only one way.

On arrival at our home for the weekend, we were greeted with the house that airbnb is all about! It is not the type of place we could / would ever own and without airbnb, we would never have had the privilege to stay in it. It was a very traditional Japanese house with three large tatami mat rooms, a lot of traditional Japanese woodwork, and a huge kitchen cum dining space. It was a house for a large family of 50. And the best bit…the best bit was the mod cons. You could run a lovely deep long bath from the kitchen! It was all automated at the push of a few buttons, so you don’t need to leave the shackles of the cooking and cleaning and run your beloved a bath, as Dan found out. Twice a day.

On Saturday it was GT day one. As it turned out, we were pretty slow on getting there due to the several distractions surrounding us. Firstly, said bath. Then, opposite this house in the middle of almost nowhere, there was a master coffee roaster. Dan really knows how to hunt out the coffee! So, naturally, we had two before setting off. Not setting off to the race mind you, no, setting off the to dairy farm just round the back of our airbnb. Here, I enjoyed a delicious breakfast of freshly made ice cream. Hell, I was on holiday!

We finally started on the 45 minute drive to the Okayama race circuit. Arriving near the circuit, it was clear to see why it only lasted as an international F1 circuit for a short time, as it is in the middle of the mountains, surrounded by mountains, which makes it rather impractical to get to. There is no parking at the actual circuit, because of said mountains, so we abandoned our hire car in a nearby field and caught the shuttle bus up to the race.

Having never been to a Super GT race before, we didn’t totally know what to expect. As it turns out, we bloody love Super GT! The noise…wow, you can really feel each car passing in the rumble of your stomach. The cars looked powerful and impressive, and we got to cheer on a Brit in the form of Jenson Button. He actually ended up coming second in the race on Sunday, which surprised pretty much everyone as he qualified for the race in 5th and at the start of the race lost a few places. We partly put his success down to our very low key cheering each time he drove past, which was quite a few times actually.

On Sunday, after another dairy based breakfast, we naturally hunted out a new coffee shop, finding one attached to an old railway. Dan’s dream!  After this we headed to the track for the final. Lots of cars drove round and round at pretty fast speeds for several hours. Dan and I had no idea what was going on, apart from some kind of car race, but we could tell it looked pretty fun and sounded exactly like you want car racing to sound! It was easy to see why the Super GT series is so popular in Japan.

So we enjoyed another great weekend away doing something we love in Japan. Thanks Super GT!

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