Friday, February 25, 2011

The Motorcycle Factory Ajito

I finally made the trip to Motorcycle Factory AJITO in Kurashiki, about 20km southwest of my residence in Okayama City.  Tanaka and I spoke briefly though what little we knew of each other's language and then he invited me to wonder about the shop and take pictures of anything I like.  I believe if wizards and medieval warriors traveled forward through time to 2011, they might decide that their new modern lifestyle would require a custom motorcycle.  I know what shop I would recommend.
Definitely not trend followers, the Ajito style seems revolve around the fluidity of metal.   They are definitely talented at their craft.  Where many folks are out looking to find the perfect vintage part for an application, Tanaka is making his own.  Nothing wrong with vintage parts of course, after all vintage motors provide the palette on which the small company works.  All details work together to make Ajito’s work unique, even in a country with so many unique approaches to old machines.  
On that note however, I haven’t been able to find any other custom shops of note closer than Ajito.  In America, I believe the impression might be that there are artful and unique machines blowing down every frighteningly narrow road in the land of the rising sun.  In my neighborhood this is unfortunately not true.  Here in middle-western Japan, if there is a community of vintage  custom enthusiasts, it is small and off the radar, much like it used to be in my home town of Birmingham, Alabama.  This makes it all the more significant that Ajito are leaving their mark. Nice work Tanaka.  

If you want to see some past examples of Ajito work and find out what they are into, have a look at the AJITO BLOG  and select some of the past dates on the left side of the screen for some photo history (and literature if you can read Kanji).

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