Anyone who has ever played Nintendo’s Mario Kart video game series probably has, at one time or another, dreamed of driving go-karts around the streets of his/her neighborhood, chasing down Bowser and hitting those power up lanes for the win. Pity that this is normally not possible in your city, or somebody would have thought about it. In Tokyo though, a group of enterprising “gaijins” (foreigners) have made a real-life Mario Kart experience possible, and it is awesome fun, not to mention legal.
The group who organizes these awesome Mario Kart-themed go-kart race events call themselves the “Tokyo Gaijins”, and they describe themselves as “a big bunch of gaijins and some Japanese hanging-out, partying, playing sports and enjoying the Japanese outdoors.” The group holds a number of these street go-karting events periodically throughout the year, and anyone who has a Japanese or international driver’s license can suit up and join the race. The group charges a fee of 6,500 yen (around US$64) for a 2-hour go-kart rental, one gasoline refill, and accident insurance. Heck, they even give you pictures and video while you’re driving, so you can share all the awesome fun that you had in the event. And what could be more fun than suiting up in your favorite Mario character costume and zipping through the streets of Shibuya. Look at the pictures and tell us that it doesn’t look awesome.
If you have played Mario Kart at any point in your life, you would know that Nintendo had created a great time-waster and a certified hit. The game was initially available on the Super Nintendo system, going on to make its biggest impact on the Nintendo 64, one of the most advanced consoles of its time. After that, a version was released for the Gamecube and the Japanese game-makers have been releasing sequels based on the racing game ever since.