Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Saw a post on instagram today which made me think of this fantastic version of the old Hank W. song. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The guy up at the top of this post is Tomohiro Aria.  He owns Hemisphere board shop, a museum of skate and surf history in Yokahama.  The shop is also an archive of a great deal of work that Gen has produced in the past twenty years.  Long before anyone was riding a chopper painted by LoveEarArt folks were riding boards with Gen graphics.  Gen took me to this place to me Tomo, thinking that we would get along, and he was correct.  Behind Tomo, headed down the steep long curvy hill in front of his shop, I learned first hand how mellow Yokohama surfers bomb hills: like its gonna be their last. Thanks for loaning me a board Tomo!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Verde Yokohama

This is Koni from Yokohama. He has a little shop called Verde Design out of which he sells garden tools Carhartt vests and old chopper magazines as well as planters and garden services...performed by himself.  This is his pony, built at CRIB painted by GEN.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Stance in Nagoya

Mr. Yamada at STANCE in Nagoya.  April 21, 2013

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Vise in April

This crew treats my wife and I with so much kindness every time we visit Nagoya.  Of course the Joints Custom Motor Show is special for them because it is their local show.  Even in the midst of the chaos of preparations, they make room in their shop van for us.  Its never a question.  We never ask.  They just say,  "Get in, you are with us." Cohesiveness and camaraderie make this group tick.  They apply an old Japanese ethos of group before individual to a new format in which each expression of outward individuality finds its place in a small family sized unit.  Thanks for allowing us to be your foreign cousins.  

Monday, May 6, 2013

Chop What you Got: No Rice No Life

Some folks over in the states might be under the impression that every garbage truck driver in Japan owns a pre 1969 Harley (or multiple) by way of some back room under the table connection whereby every surviving chopper or bobber in the states is crated under the cover of darkness and shipped directly from a barn in the states to the west coast and put on a slow boat to Asia in some kind of stealth Ninja operation, never to return.  I too contemplate this often especially at motor shows here.  Just like in the States there are "collectors" with deep pockets who are in the business of grabbing up chopper history to add to their garage or sell at a mark up, to someone with even deeper pockets,  but the grand majority of folks riding DO NOT have pockets that deep and own only one bike which more often than not is of Japanese make (despite what I usually photo for this blog). While most of my personal Japanese friends here do ride Harley's, even  they mostly own one single solitary Ironhead, EvoSporty or Cone Shovel with very few exceptions. Most of them pieced their machine together with some difficultly.  Those are just the twenty or so people I happen to know here, out of however many tens of thousands of folks riding custom bikes in Japan.  These guys and girls are a lot like my (and probably your) friends, not rich, just diggin choppers, diggin riding and appreciating the resulting friendships.  Here are some examples of what some shops are doing with domestic bikes.  For more complete coverage of what was inside the Joints 2012 Custom Motor show go see my friend MAKI's site (also an Ironhead owner).  He has got it covered!