Monday, November 28, 2011


In Nagoya, Japan, there is a cafe not far from the Museums.  It is also close to the VISE clothing shop. This is where VISE owner, Yoshiki, friend Terry, my wife and I went to discuss the logistics of cross country travel in the states through botched translation.  Everything that I communicated in Japan was with the barest Japanese, taking the only words I knew and attempting to make them convey the most meaning.  Likewise, the returned English was sparse, and often without articles.  Somehow, messages where shared. 
 Translating miles to kilometers in my head was not as difficult for the purpose of the discussion and paper and pencil was also employed, as I had not yet learned how to say three and four digit numbers in Japanese.  At the time I was kidding myself that I might convince Yoshiki to come make a cross country run with us in the upcoming summer.  Information about what I considered to be normal cross country accommodations, or lack there of, seemed to strike Yoshiki with both wonderment and shock.  I wonder if he envisioned himself alongside movie desperado outlaw and loner, “Angel” from in the film “Angel Unchained.” He might have pictured his outrageous hotrod ShovelHead, “Hellcat”, thumping in tune with the top end highway revs of Don Stroud’s long Triumph chopper as they create the music the comprises the search for inner peace.  Just like the desert horizon they race towards, the song has no beginning and no end. Deep right?
“Borrow a bike in Birmingham and come on.  I will pick you up at the airport.  You will need two weeks off. Pack light. Ride to California with us (whoever us happens to be in the summer of 2012).”  This train of thought may have contradicted everything normal for him, as it is virtually crazy to let someone borrow your motorcycle in Japan.  Perhaps it has something to do with the expense of motorcycle ownership and repair in Japan. Speed limits and miles traveled on a cross country tour are a bit higher than that of your average jaunt in Japan. I also asked how often they wrecked motorcycles in Japan and they looked at me like I had lost my mind.  Never, was the answer.  Quite a contradiction to our, “If you ride ‘em you wreck ‘em,” modo in the states.  
 The Cafe was called SMASH HEAD and the front of the shop looked like the picture above. While I drank a beer on a couch, the proprietor was working on a Vespa only 10 feet from me.  I wondered if American health code would allow this.  I didn't think he would poison me.  Through the translation barrier I understood that he collects records too.  Good ones.  He travels to American cities to buy old music in old formats when he is not keeping old scooters on the road via his restaurant.  He had not traveled extensively in the deep south though and this made me think that he has yet to discover some of the best record shops.
But back to the subject of garage kitchens.  Which would you rather have, a little motor oil in your restaurant fare, or genetically modified, processed food with poisonous chemicals added for flavor and coloring?  I’ll take the former thank you.


  1. This was my favorite line of the passage you wrote. 'Quite a contradiction to our, “If you ride ‘em you wreck ‘em,” modo in the states.' This truth gave me a good laugh this morning. Gracias.

  2. Ironhead will be in attendance no matter what.