3 years after my first trip in Japan , it was about time to visit this beautiful place once again and see new places and old friends. The journey started and with my good trip-buddy Nick ‘the Greek ‘ , it was guaranteed that this was going to be a fun and adventurous experience. In those 15 days we saw so many different aspects of the Japanese country and way of living , things that are easily experienced but hard to describe so I will try to emphasize more on the people we met and less on the places themselves, because people can transform every place and experience from good to excellent, and this was the case with the people we met.
TOKYO:First time in Tokyo, and it was as we expected..crazy! Off the airport and straight to Shibuya to meet the 430 crew, Hiroshi , Tamao, Atsushi, Yu-Ta, and our great host Takumi Hamada who did everything possible for us! Sightseeing in the morning, riding in the afternoon and party at night!Talking about party I must say that Takuya Higa was on full party and playboy mode, unstoppable! Glad also that I met the Nao and Koh Yoshida once again, super creative and nice persons, had great conversations with them about art and riding! Same with Koichi aka ‘Forkone’ ,this guy is the new wave of crazy riding in Japan, grateful to ride with him. Kotaro Arai was in town but too busy because of his newborn son, but nevertheless cool to meet even for this short time. Being curious to meet Takaaki Fukuda, I learned about his lifestyle change, and I felt that he chose ,like his riding, a path that only a few are willing to take.. a fact that made me appreciate him even more, even if I didn’t meet him.
KOBE:First time in Kobe too,this was a 180 turn of pace , from busy living, to family life with Kiba family, I felt it was needed after this week in Tokyo. Off the train and our meeting point is Spaceark BMX shop with Tsumiki,( so much fun)Sinichi Kiba and his wife Chika who made sure that we would have all we needed! Big city but with slow rhythm , Kobe was relaxed and friendly, good for riding and sightseeing. The Meriken spot at the harbor was awesome so I had nice jam session with the locals! Few days there and then took the train with the help of Hidenori Ishizaki and straight to Osaka!
OSAKA:Second time in Osaka and last destination of our tour, it felt closer to home. It was so hot but meeting with my good friend IKKO Tanaka and all the locals made me forgot everything stressful. IKKO regardless of being a new father helped with our accommodation and took us under his wing. Yuichiro Asai and Fumiya Sasagawa were are friendly hosts and fellow riders. ‘Tokyo style ‘nights were repeated but this time in the riders’ favourite bar, ‘RIKY MASA” ,in Kyobashi area! Good times also with crazy Yuichi ‘ILL’ Tamiya and Tomokazu Morinaga aka“Mo-rich” at the BBQ night! Again my curiosity to meet another original rider Akira Okamura ,remained unsatisfied, but both Akira and Takaaki shined with their absence! Last day riding with Kazuma (rail killer) and some ‘different’ sightseeing!And finally the day to come back home, we greeted everyone , even Miyuki Shiga and her son Yuya who came at the last moment to say goodbye (thanks for your appreciation) and headed back to Narita to catch the night flight.
LAST THOUGHTS:Japanese people are so discreet. The perfect example of politeness and hospitality. I admire them because they do everything with attention in detail, working, riding, even partying, and that says a lot about their culture and education. They have an appreciation for individuality and elegant aesthetics, they value and respect the beauty of their environment seeking this beauty even in darkness and shadow,(maybe that’s why I feel sympathy for them) while most westerners try to illuminate every corner and force their way thoroughly. In their way , they are content, and that in my eyes is their most important achievement.
Special thanks:Alexis Desolneux,Hiroshi Uehara,Takumi Hamada, Sinichi and Chika kiba,Ikko Tanaka,Yuichiro Asai, Fumiya Sasagawa, and ILL!