12 Hours at Motegi

Last weekend my cousins and I participated in our very first 12 hour endurance race at Motegi Twin Ring as Hayashi Racing.  This is the same 12 hour endurance race that my cousin raced in last year.   Ironically the team that my cousin was a part of last year, and actually helped get our car into proper race shape, was our rival on the track.

The day was very long.  My cousins and I were up at 3AM to set up and push our car out to the pits to make final preparations for the long 12 hour and 9 minute race.  I had only had two hours sleep, but strangely enough I was pretty charged and ready to go.  The day started off to be cool and only slightly humid, but my mid afternoon, it had turned into a very typical Japanese summer day, hot, wet and humid.  The pit area was about 40 degrees Celsius, and the tracks got upwards of 50+ degrees.  The temperature inside of the car was also about 50 degrees, but with our 3-layer fireproof  race suits and helmets on, it seem so much hotter.

The car performed well for the first 3 hours, but unfortunately by mid morning, we ran into some technical troubles (again).  Apparently, our car was leaking oil pretty badly, and the race officials were about to disqualify our car.  They had given us a chance to fix the leak.  This proved to be a much more involved task than any of us imagined.  If we sent the car out to the track, and it leaked again, we would surely be disqualified so we had to be absolutely certain that the car would not leak oil.  The task was just short of disassembling the whole engine.  Even the team who shared our paddock helped us fix our car.

After literally 3 hours of blood sweat and tears, we had the leak under control.   There was no more that we could do.  Our car had fallen 20 places and we were in danger of being dead last if we didn’t run.  Luckily for us the car didn’t leak any oil for the rest of the after noon and we were able to complete the rest of the race…well almost.  On the very last lap of the race, the car developed an electric problem which caused it to stall right before the finish line.  So we wound up getting a DNF (did not finish) instead of a completion.  We wound up placing fourth in our class (out of five cars) and 103rd overall (out of 125 cars) Although disappointed by the results, it wasn’t dead last and we all enjoyed ourselves and had a good time.

The next day was family day for us.  We decided to spend an extra day at Motegi and take the kids to the Honda Fun Lab and the Honda Collection Hall.  At first I thought that Haru might be too young to enjoy the lab or the collection hall museum, but contrarily she really had a lot of fun.  She especially liked looking at all of the cars on display.  She was a bit too young to participate in most of the activities, but she liked watching ASIMO (Honda’s experimental robot) and just looking at all of the really cool cars there.

We took tons of pictures during weekend.  Here are some of them:

Our little red racer prior to the race

Our car on the starting grid

Another one

The competition

My cousin giving me final instructions before I start my leg of the race

Then came trouble…. and the 3 hours to fix it.

Race official inspecting our car after 3 hours of hard intense labor in blistering heat

By sunset, we were back in action.

And finally, the checkered flag!

But our car never saw it….

Other Pictures

writing a letter?

getting ready to do a stunt

playing with her toys

big smile

playing on the bed

always the stunt girl

Haru and a vintage Porsche

Jungle gym

measuring her balancing ability

Haruka and ASIMO

Learning from TV

Not much has changed in the last couple of weeks or so.  Haruka continues to pick up new vocabulary everyday.  Sometimes she’ll say something that none of us taught her and even use the word in proper context, which is pretty amazing.  For example, we went to Minato Mirai again to pick up our car over then weekend.  Afterwards, we went to a restaurant to have lunch.  In front of the restaurant, they had little plastic displays of the menu items, and Haruka would point to some of them and identify them by name.  She would, for example, point to a hamburger and say “hamburbur”.  She then pointed to another menu item and say “pizza”, even though it wasn’t really pizza, but something that resembled pizza.  Then she pointed to the model of something that looked fried and said “fried chicken”.  Although I never personally taught her fried chicken, I do remember seing it in one of her children’s videos that she watched everyday -sometimes several times a day.  So despite what some child psychology sites say about children not being able to pick up language or vocabulary from TV, Haru is able to learn new word from TV.

Haru pointing to the plastic fried chicken.

Haru pointing to the thing that looks like a pizza.

Trying on some shades.

New Found Abilities

Lately it seems Haru has been picking up new things faster.  Her English vocabulary has increased a lot in just the last 2 weeks.  She can now recognize and say words like apple,red, blue, up, down, ball, hamburger, eyes, nose, mouth, feet, and bear.  But what really surprised me is that, she brought me one of her picture books one day, and pointed to some objects and asked what they were by saying This?  This? I guess she’s imitating me, because I would usually  point to objects in her books and ask what’s this?

Another thing I found interesting was, just last night as I was preparing Haru’s bedtime milk, she came into the kitchen and started opening all of the bottom cupboards, so I said close close.  At first, she looked at me kind of puzzled.  And since I was still preparing Haru’s milk with my hands, I couldn’t close them myself, so I used my foot to kick them close.   Haru then proceeded to open them all up again.  So again I said close close, and she started closing the cupboards using her feet.  This tells me that she is starting to associate words with actions now, so I have to be careful about how I  show her how to do things.

Finally the biggest surprise, which I noticed just last night is that Haru is able to whistle a little bit with her mouth.  She was sitting on the living room floor looking at her books, and I heard a very faint whistling sound.  When I looked at her face, I noticed that she was whistling to herself.  I honestly don’t know where she picked that up.  Maybe she didn’t pick up from anywhere and she started doing it just out of habit?  Could it be that some learned human behaviors are self taught without outside influences?

Here is a random video of Haru: