Akina, Gunma, JAPAN: The new Toyota 86, fondly known as the Hachi Roku, has made waves around the world with journalists and drivers praising the new 86 as a true driver’s car just like the predecessor well known for. So we are curious to know if the new Toyota 86 is well accepted by a driver. Who in 20 years ago around the curvy mountain pass of Akina, a well known legend who drove the Toyota Sprinter Trueno AE86, whose son is now a legend in the street of Japan.
So I took the earliest flight to Japan and drove for hours to this small tofu shop (strangely it is self-service) in Akina to meet the man who is believed to have driving skills of a rally driver and once rumored has taught the art of drifting to Japan’s father of drifting himself, the drift king Keiichi Tsuchiya. The man, who does not look like a pro athlete to my surprise, looks like the man who lives at the shop near where I live in.
The Tofu shop in Akina
Tall, middle aged, chain smoking and slit eyed man. That describes the man who can defeat current world rally champion, Sebastien Loeb, if both were given equal cars to race in Akina. It is Bunta Fujiwara, and he owns a tofu shop. Smokes around 50-60 cigarettes a day too.
I drove the new Toyota 86 to Bunta’s tofu shop and invited him to drive the new 86 and test it to the limits in the mountain passes of Akina, where he and his son is very familiar. An hour of screeching and crazy sideways actions later, we reached the tofu shop in one piece. I shamefully puked all the sushi I ate for lunch the moment I found the nearest gutter.
The legendary Bunta Fujiwara
Minutes later while Bunta is having his 38th cigarette of the day (it was 7pm), I asked how does he feel about the new 86. You may be wondering should Bunta has given his thumbs up to this car, Toyota has then just crafted a masterpiece.
“Not bad, I quite like it” while puffing smoke into the air. “This is the type of car I would definitely love if I’m young. Feedback is good. Handles brilliantly.” as mentioned by this legendary man with my quite limited understanding in Japanese.
So the moment many are waiting for, I asked how does it compare to the old AE86 he fondly know.
“Not a chance. I prefer the AE86.” while lighting up his 39th stick of Mild Seven Menthol. “Overall, both cars are almost the same. New Hatci Roku is faster. Both also fun cars, but there only one problem. Which makes me prefer my AE86 more”.
Puzzled, I asked Bunta what makes him prefer the new 86.
“Look at the back of the AE86. I still can fit 5 trays of tofu. You see I still deliver tofu, and my son used to do that. With this new 86, the boot is terribly small. I doubt it can fit even a tray of tofu. There’s no way I’m getting this car to deliver tofu. I rather drive my slow van than this car for delivery”, said the disappointed Bunta.
I do admit the new 86 has fundamental problems on the boot size
While I shook his hand goodbye and took home some tofus from his shop, I continued driving sideways in the empty roads of Akina and wondering what made this legend think so. Once I reached the hotel, and I got a shock of my life to see my tofus in the boot had become soya bean milk.
Nope, not going to happen
DISCLAIMER: This article is not meant to taken seriously. If you still want to argue or don’t have any sense of humor, come find me and I will give you a tight slap. Sit back and hope you enjoyed it! -Trav