For years, I haven’t been to the mainland often. I used to, like a few times a year or more, when I was racing downhills on the national circuit. The primary reason for not going is the lack of competition events after my focus shifted toward street riding. Whatever the case is, it’s not right for a bike company owner like myself. So I’ve been doing some trials and errors in the last few years to make it happen, if not every year or to every part of the country.
However, such business necessity just doesn’t make the very intrinsic drive since the reason I make things is because I ride. The wild voice from within cries out: slather skid marks on untouched walls, transplant skin to concretes far and away.
I listened to my inner voice, and it took me to a skate park in Gunma Prefecture I’d dreamed of visiting.
Annaka “Death Bowl.” There is one in Hokkaido very similar to this. The beautiful shape of the bowl is pretty, but may send you down 10 feet onto solid concrete if something goes wrong. This particular bowl is characterized by the cutout, which inspires you to do something.
Rode along the line I imagined in the air and I was psyched. What’s next?
Three easy steps: go up, stall, and come back down. It can get scary if you make a mistake, though.
Session over with no major trouble at the end of the day.
Another day, I headed to an indoor bowl in Mizuho, Tokyo.
First time to hit this one too, and it’s been such a long time since I first wanted to come here. I could almost ride with people I knew but that didn’t happen because the plan came up so suddenly. I was at Planet Park in Hachioji earlier, where I couldn’t ride due to rain. Second time to visit, same result as before, no riding there yet.
Mizuho Bowl was fun enough to get rid of the frustration earlier. I’d wanted to hit this wall for years, now mission complete. Local skaters were cool too and I had a good time…until the session was cut short by flat tire.
Then, finally, there was a chance to ride with buddies. This time in Saitama, at a new skate park called House of Pirates.
My bike also looks happy hanging out with its new friend. Unfortunately there is no riding photo because I was too busy and focused.
Ashi, Kudo, and Kengo from right to left, all good riders. Skater fellas in the background were nice people too. It’s always good to ride and eat with people.
Then I moved northbound to Yamagata. Rain. Miyagi, rain. Still managed to ride a little with Kai in Sendai and see Iori as well. Good times, I really should have taken pictures.
The last stop in mainland was Aomori, the northernmost prefecture therein. Pictured here is Gaman Trail I’d seen occasionally in magazines and so on.
I called Gaman to tell him I was going, and he suggested riding at a skate park in Aomori. It was the last day for this newly built local park before it had to be evicted. Why not, I joined the long night, had so much fun that I forgot to take pictures again. It was also inspiring to touch the vibrant local scene and meet people behind it. They said it was all trial and error building the park, and what they ended up with was a bowl with glass fiber layer on top. Super rad.
Despite the apparent lack of pictures especially when stuff was happening, it was a great tour with great riding. Thank you all for riding and having good times with me. To those I missed the chance to hang out with this time, I’m looking forward to the next.