Preparing to be Fast at Tsukuba

Author: mirai  //  Category: All Posts, Cars and Racing, Life in general

I have decided to put my acting “career” on hold for a while and go back to pursuing my main interest and hobby, cars. Up until now, its all been about buying upgrade parts to make my car look and perform better, and maybe an occasional street race here and there, but nothing too serious. But recently, one of my cousins who shares the same interest in cars like many other people in my family, has taken it a step further and is racing on an amateur circuit. This is something that I have been wanting to do for the longest time, but didn’t quite have the know-how to get started in Japan. Also, with my car being the “main car” to do the grocery shopping and other what nots, I couldn’t really afford the downtime in the event of the car not making it back from the circuit in working condition. But that has all changed. With better lines of communications and an established intent to make a business out of all this, my cousin has pointed out a few races and time attack events in which my Integra and I can participate in. And I have also bought a second car, a 2004 Subaru Forester Cross Sports 2.0 Turbo (no I am not kidding, that is the full name of the make and model of this car), which in itself is a very race worthy SUV, capable of taking a Porsche Cayenne with just a few modifications.

With my newly established intent on racing next month, the Integra is in the process of going from street driven sports car to a race ready circuit racer. The first order of business was to rip off all of the “looks only”Top Fuel aero kit that actually created more drag than downforce. Additionally, the aero kit was aging and hanging off of the car poorly, which caused vibration, which in turn disturbed the aerodynamic efficiency (aka drag). In its replacement, the car will get a better, lighter weight, and more durable carbon fiber package. This will not only eliminate the fiber glass parts, and its tendency to crack and warp over time, but increases efficiency and aerodynamics, so it not all about looks anymore.

The Integra will receive a custom made vented carbon fiber hood, which is what this car was gagging for for along time, because the turbo creates a lot of under hood heat. In addition, i will also get a carbon fiber grill, front spoiler, canards, and rear wing. The only thing that will be fiber glass is the side skirts. Overall, it will be a weight saving of over 20kg and and increased front end downforce and efficiency. I have also replaced the air intake filter to a Apex’i intake which is suppose to be the best in terms of cleanliness and performance.

Over time, the car will get bigger brake calipers and rotors, and probably more chassis stiffening parts. But for now, this should be enough to pull a descent time at Tsukuba Circuit next month. Since its my first time, I willbe happy to get a time of at least 42 seconds on the short course.

The new car

The race car under construction 

Snow!

Author: mirai  //  Category: Life in general

For the second time in two weeks, east Japan got it’s fair share of snow.  When I saw the weather report on Friday, I initially though that it would be just a small spinkle like the round of snow we got a couple of weeks ago, but it turned out that we got a nice dose of hard and heavy snow that piled up on the roofs and roads. 

The one thing I dislike about snow in Japan, is that the stupidity factor rises proportinally with the amount of snow that falls.  I don’t say this to be cynical, but as my personal observation throughout my years here.  Case in point, its only common sense that you don’t wear high heels a after a snow storm. Why?  Well for those who live in areas where it doesn’t snow or if you do live in an area where you get snow, but still don’t get why, allow me to enlighten you.  Up in the mountains,  is usually a nice powdery, cold substance that usually keeps its powdery state for a fairly long period time.  This is because there are fewer, if no buildings and asfault that absorbs heat that would otherwise melt the snow.  Futhermore, the higher altitutes, and colder temperatures help to keep the snow colder, longer.

When snow falls in highly populated areas or areas where there are more man-made structures like houses and roads, the snow usually has a substancially shorter shelf life.  In many cases, the snow will melt upon contact with the ground.  When snow melts on the ground, creates puddles of very cold (near frozen) water, and overnight these icey puddles solidfy into slushy ice.

 Now, back to my original statement about how the stupidity factor rises in proportion with the amount of snow.  Although I personally don’t have anything against high heels, heels aren’t something that should be worn the day after snow, because of these patches of ice on the roads and sidewalks.  Unfortunately, a surprising number of young and old don’t get the fact that they are extremely dangerous on days like this.  Hence, hospitals in Japan are overwhelmed with a number of people who slip on ice and fall.  I wore reqular shoes with rubber soles to work today, and even with them on, I slipped and nearly fell no less than 5 times today.

I really wis that people would use common sense when it comes to things like this, but people being people, I guess that will never happen.

my back yard yesterday morning