Monday, June 24, 2013

US and Hawgaholic

I was in Tokyo proper for the first time in May and I got a phone call from Hajime who said I should see his shop.  The problem was it wasn't anywhere near any of hundreds of train stations in Tokyo.   Hajime said he would pick me up but that wasn't necessary because walking in Shibuya (a neighborhood in Tokyo) with my wife and, out of however many trillions of people in Tokyo who should we meet on the street but Hajime.  He put me in his truck and took me to see his clothing shop, cycle and nic nak collection. Around this time he said, "Hey do you want to go see my friends motorcycle shop, Hawgaholic?"  Of course I said yes.  Thanks for the lift Hajime!   

Thursday, June 13, 2013

CRIB Motorcycle Yokohama

I have been fortunate to spend a decent amount of time with and see a great deal of work come out of Akira the one man show at Crib motorcycle in Yokohama.  Akira is on the daily rider, affordable side of the choppersphere.  He will race and/or chopperize, if you will,  almost any make or model.  Before he set out on his own he worked for Bratstyle.  I guess he got a lot of practice there because he can do anything imaginable with metal, but does it with such subtlety you look at his handiwork and think, "I could do that." But most of us can't.  That's why Akira is Akira and we are us.  None the less I feel at home around him just because of the piles of junk I see laying around his shop.  He can make anything you can dream up (see some of the things he had done on the many incarnations of Gen's Ironhead) and he works on anything that comes his way but usually he is working Evo sporties, Ironheads, Honda's, Yamaha's, and Cone Shovelheads, the same kind of machines my friends can afford to ride, which gives him a special place in my heart.   

See pics of Akira's work as well as Gen's at the Mooneyes 2012 Post:

Friday, June 7, 2013

Monday, June 3, 2013

Gen's Shop: Love Ear Art

My wife and I spent a handful of days with this guy in Yokohama.  In that time he showed us the best Katsu in town, the best Ramen in town and a few fine Soba and family dining restaurants like Royal Host.  He also took us to Verde Design and Hemispheres board shop, both shops owned by long time friends of his Koni and Tomo.  But second only to staying up late sitting on the couch watching him make fun of Japanese television and play guitar while I fought off sleep, was going to his workshop.  Its the physical likeness of what the inside of his mind must be like, with old chopper magazines, Bridgett  Bardot posters,  a few motorcycle parts, pin on paper drawings, several motorcycle frames and tins in mid-process and even model cars and motorcycles with tiny but complete LoveEarArt paint.  Of course his Harley XL is parked there.  Sometimes his favorite bike is there too, a tiny Honda 50 daily commuter.  On this day the 50cc was absent because Gen exchanged it for his mothers car to run my wife and I around.  I guess his mom was riding the 50.

Picking through this library of paint fumes and artifacts gives a person perspective on Gen that you might not get by just meeting him.  You can see his progression over the last 20 years and some of the things that inspire him that he might never mention in conversation.  He is simple and honest.  “I don’t want a ‘cool’ chopper. I like funny choppers.... I am not a biker.”  These where his own words.  He isn’t trying to BE something, he is trying to DO something.  “I am not an artist,” he says, “Just a color-holic,” a word that I think he invented along with Coke-holic, Tropical-Fish-Holic and Crispy-Creme-holic.  

What does he DO?  Well, he paints... everything.  As a kid it was tropical fish, then skateboards, surfboards, then interior walls of buildings and after that his own Toyota Van.  His friends’ 1960s Nissan and Toyota Sedans came soon after.  Then, 10 years ago when the Toyota garage that he worked as a mechanic for closed, color became his bread and butter.  Even though the mechanics life might have provided a bit more bread and a bit more butter, the general public can certainly be glad to have his services available to them now.