The passion for cars knows no boundaries. And where there are gearheads, there is racing. While we are against illegal racing, that doesn’t mean the phenomenon doesn’t exist, as the following documentary from Vice shows.
Located far south from mainland Japan, the Okinawa Islands haven’t been blessed with spectacular racetracks like Fuji Speedway or Suzuka, to name only two of Japan’s most famous courses. If we’re to take used car dealer Eikichi Nagayoshi’s word for it, folks from Okinawa have two choices if they want to have fun: alcohol or cars.
Since the prospect of using a U.S. Army’s airfield for racing has been shattered after 9/11, Okinawa street racers discharge their adrenaline by drag racing during the night on secluded roads with little traffic.
It’s a risky thing to do though, as drivers themselves admit that one of their colleagues died last year during a race. Furthermore, local police are keeping a close eye on them, slapping big fines and even impounding the cars that have no permission for modifications.
All of this begs the question: wouldn’t it be safer for everybody if authorities acknowledged the folks’ need for a place to race and helped them organize legal events?
By Dan Mihalascu