Event Feature

2016 Autumn Chiba Damashii – 2016千葉魂祭り・秋の陣

Greetins readers, my name is Marko Jeremic and I run a small Facebook based “blog” called Auto Culture. You’ll be seeing me occasionally guest-writing for Drift Life Magazine with some usually grassroots oriented articles and photos straight out of Japan.

Waking up at 4 in the morning on a cold Autumn day is not very pleasurable. As a matter of fact, it’s probably right up there with some of the things I really hate doing; washing the dishes or going for a run.

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This time it was different though. With a small sense of regret about not doing any kind of “partying” for Halloween the night before, the excitement of seeing Silvias and JZXs sliding at speed down the main corner of Mobara Twin Circuit started to bubble up deep in my bowels. It was time for the biannual Chiba Damashii, or Chiba Soul event.

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The weather report had not looked so good the night before, but there was hope of the predicted rain stopping by the time the main action was supposed to start. After getting out of Tokyo and arriving on the other side of the Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line in Chiba, the rain was pummeling down hard. For the next few hours, it was clear that there was no running away from the dark clouds looming above.

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This was my third consecutive Chiba Soul event to attend, and the trend was already obvious to me. The event was split up into different classes based on driver skill, with the top two classes usually filled up with members of the infamous Moccomans and Magician teams. On top of that, there are a few less recognizable cars that show up consecutively for this event.

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One such “OG” attendee is Tatsuya Suzuki, whose C33 Laurel I shot for the first time back in the autumn of 2014 at Fuji’s Drift Course. The car has not changed a single bit in the last few years, which adds more to his “OG” status at Mobara. The man sticks to the wide line of the track’s main course, staying away from the modern D1 and Formula D style of hitting the apex and clipping zones. All the old-school guys try to ride the sponge wall, and this is what made the event so popular.

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The following trio of JZXs recently formed their own team which they call “Minus”, for a very peculiar reason which I can go into another time. The owner of the JZX100 Cresta (the one in the middle) is my best friend who takes me to all these events. Missing from the photo are two more members; an S13 Silvia which showed up a bit later, and an S15 Silvia which did not make the even due to a busted gearbox. All three JZX’s in the photo were built by a small shop in Chiba called Kai Corporation.

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They aren’t all about being uniform; as you can see the exact shade of the paint on each car doesn’t quite match. The styles of the cars don’t completely add up either.

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Instead paying attention to such details and trying to look the same, they concentrate on getting out there and enjoying themselves, tuning up their skills as much as they can. In the end, it’s all about having fun with your friends.

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Pink is a color you either love or hate. You either think it’s too girly or that you’re man enough to pull it off. Whether you are comfortable enough with sexuality or not, a pink car can produce a stunning effect once done right, and if there is anyone out there who knows how to do it right, it’s team Magician.

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Magician always have a huge presence at the Chiba Soul events, and how could they avoid that with all the pink? They have a wide range of members and cars, from street driven cars like the above S13…

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… to competiton ready D1 Street Legal cars. For the last two events, the world-wide famous JZX110 Mark II piloted by Yuki Takamiya also showed up, but not this time unfortunately.

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Not to fret though, Magician rarely disappoint, and there were quite a few other cars to uphold their impeccable reputation, like this beautiful sparkly C33 Laurel…

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… and this unpainted JZX100 Mark II.

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As a matter of fact, there were quite a few Magician cars that were not painted pink, and they have been that way for as long as I’ve been shooting them for the last year and a half. I hope they will eventually be painted because examples like this black S15 would look so stunning in pink.

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As great as team Magician is, it has to be said that team Moccomans steals the show every time. When you think that there couldn’t possibly be anything more flashy and eye catching than pink, they show up in a fluorescent yellow unity that is difficult to ignore.

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As this is a US-based automotive media, I feel compelled to do a small shout out to SerialNine…

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… a Canadian based company out of British Columbia who hooked up this member of Moccomans with the aero for his JZS161 Aristo.

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Many people will hail the S15 with the 326 Power wing as the best looking car of the bunch, but there is something that always gets me about the highlighter yellow RE Amemiya kitted FD3S from the Moccomans team, driven by the team leader. Drifting, and almost always destroying a panel or two of the super-expensive aero at events like this with zero regrets gets all my respect. And why do I say Moccomans stole the show? Well because of…

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… drift trains of course. If there is anyone out there who can do them well, its Moccomans.

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The autumn event this year suffered due to poor weather conditions, but there is also a big elephant in the room that everyone has noticed, but the event organizers and circuit officials have failed to address. When there is a big crash, a car dies in the middle of the track, or the big sponge walls are hit and fly out of allignment, the circuit officials raise the red flag and the heat has to be put to a stop until they can safely resume again. However recently the participants and spectators have been complaining, rightfully so, that half of the red flags raised are very unnecessary and waste too much precious drifting time. Resulting are record low attendance by fans and by drifters themselves, and in turn there have been rumors circulating that the event may not be happening anymore in the near future.

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No more testosterone inducing tandems? No more pushing fun to the limits without overstepping the boundary into competition?

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No more crazy, close-proximity drift trains?!

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Whatever the future holds in store for drifting in Japan, I know I don’t want it to be a future with no Chiba Damashii in it. I for one hope it will come out of its decline and will be expecting even more from it in the spring next year.

Above is a small raw, rather unprofessional, video of the event that I created to aid the photos that I took. Hopefully it helps you connect and feel the spirit of the Chiba Damashii a little more.

You can find more photos and other related posts, such as announcements, attendance of events, live feeds, etc. on the Auto Culture Facebook page.

Hope to see you soon again,

Marko Jeremic
Auto Culture

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