Saturday, September 29, 2012


Miss you Duane.  

Kane Moto

This is the evening view from our 9th story apartment in the Kane Moto Neighborhood just east of Okayama City, Japan.  Our front door faces north and after the sun goes down you can see a bullet train pass every ten minutes or so like clockwork.  Even though it happens that often, if I walk out of my front door and see one of those giant sixteen car streaks of window lights one quarter of a mile to the north, I feel like I have been the recipient of some cosmic gift.  Like any kid who wonders where the people on that train are going, I sill want to go with them.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Maki, Beer Me

If you haven't seen Maki's pictures from the Chirihara races then you better hop right over to his webpage........

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

This is my first mail from North America while in Japan.  Thanks Craig

Friday, September 14, 2012

August 26, 2012.  A.G. does not sleep much because he delivers papers in the early morning.  This does not stop him from going for rides in the actual morning when the sun comes up (after work for him).  Lucky for us, Yuka's motorbike was in the shop and she was driving=we get a ride to the beach races in Chirihara.  When A.G. gets tired though, he takes the wheel of the car, cranks the AC up and subjects my wife and I to the dangers of a sleepless driver...  and Yuka gives the old Kneebreaker a go.  The only stipulation is that A.G. has to get the it started.  (Note the left foot kick!)

Thursday, September 13, 2012


July 1, 2012. Cindy and her friend from Germany who I don't know the name of. Cindy is about to wind down to the end of a cross country adventure with her fellow, J.D.  For it they have a photoblog which will  likely get you started planning your own misadventure.   Highly recommended:

Monday, September 10, 2012

Desert Doctor

June 27, 2012. There will be a time in eventuality when I will set this whole adventure to print.  Maybe even actual print on paper.  For now however, I will share the story, in photos, of the Desert Doctor.  A man who has gone by many aliases throughout his long career as a chopper witch doctor, the surgeon has built and seen choppers through the brutal, cracked streets of the windy city in the 1970s to their dry-air chopper graves in his back yard on the high desert of Utah. This was the Doctor.  It was at his invite that we came to drink his beers,  stand on his garage roof, stare at 40 year old cracked bondo, and listen to a few of his wild yarns.  Worth every second, we stayed until the sun crept behind the buttes of the Kodachrome basin to the west.  

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Beach Race 2

As much play as the Japanese custom scene gets on the internet and in American Mags, one might get the impression that every teenager owns a Panhead here.  Not so.  Where there are plenty of killer bikes in Nagoya and Tokyo, overall the old bike scene in Japan is a niche culture.  Most folks in Japan want new stuff that is clean and works quietly and efficiently.   The ladies and gentlemen you see in these pictures are an  exception to almost every rule that I have been able to grasp in my stay here and the families units they have created out of devotion to old machines are admirable.  Any Japanese person is doing good just to get their hands on a vintage engine of any make, much less the rest the rest of the bike in working order.  In the states we still share stories (and lies) about the proverbial old fellow who lived the life in the 60 and 70s with a shed full of parts.  You won’t hear any stories like that here.  By the time any old parts get here they are already worth a fortune, leaving them only for the use of those that can afford them.  As for everyone else, they have to rely on friends, luck and one-offing to get  what they want out of their machine.  In this way many customs you see here are the result of patience, study and hand, giving them a look and style which, although it pays homage, looks distinctly different than the custom bikes put together in the states. 

At the heart of this event was the riders’ willingness to ram their valuable machines down a natural beach surface in the name of finding out who’s handiwork will hold up and go faster... on wet sand.  Triumph vs. Harley vs. Indian vs. BSA vs....... Yamaha.  Calling the track a “sand flat” was either a hilarious distortion of the truth, or a translation mishap.  The beach track was riddled with imperfections which sent the riders off of their seats and into the air regularly while they kept their throttles pinned and their handlebars doggedly gripped. It was a fight more against the sand and and their old front ends as much as each other.  Not all that different from watching rodeo.  An unforgettable day.  

A.G. and Yuka, thanks for everything!  See you soon.