D’z Garage Racing Cafe in Gunma!
D’z Garage Racing Cafe have just opened and it’s right where the story was set! Many fans will recognise the location as the manga was set in Shibukawa and other areas of the prefecture. The cafe owner and automobile fan, 48-year-old Makoto Okada, bought and renovated the one-story building that is now known as D’z Garage Cafe his reason was: “I wanted to open a spot where automobile fans could get together at the foot of Mt. Haruna,”.
When entering D’z Garage Cafe and be hit by the realisation that you are at Mt. Haruna (Mt. Akina) and that you are quite literally on the roads that inspired Shuichi Shigeno to write the world of illegal Japanese street racing. Most of the street racing is concentrated in the mountain passes and rarely in cities or urban areas and from the entrance of D’z Garage Cafe you can actually see Mt. Haruna.
By standing in the parking area you can tell this cafe was straight out of a racer’s dream. Outside the cafe, seven of Okada’s sports cars are on display, including one AE 86 Sprinter Trueno (dubbed “Hachiroku”) and an RX-7. The inside of the cafe is a playground for any Initial D fan, there are actually life-sized standees, posters and even RC drift cars to keep the theme flowing. The chairs are reminiscent of racecar seats and even the floor is made out of black and white tiles arranged to look like a checkered racing flag.
The food is also themed to Initial D, Okada actually already owns a pudding shop nearby so it makes sense that one of the bestsellers of the cafe is their five different types of pudding. The puddings are placed inside jars have Initial D decals on them (Fujiwara Tofu SHop, Redsuns, Night Kids) and the pudding color to accent the theme (Fujiwara’s pudding is a white soya milk placed inside a bottle that has black horizontal lines on it because it matches Fujiwara’s black and white Hachiroku car). The puddings are also sold in an aluminium carrying case in the shape of Hachiroku’s four-cylinder engine made by Okada’s friend who is a wooden mold maker (The container can hold up to four bottles of pudding). Another bestseller is a black curry and white rice which also matches Hachiroku’s colours.