Welcome To Japan; Get Naked, Longboard Down This Mountain And Hit The Arcade
Day 1: I’ve been dreaming about coming to Japan, a place of endless mountains and televised weirdness for years, and today is the first episode. I’m going to Japan from the Philippines after two and a half weeks of racing on my Rayne Fortune Longboard, so there was some culture shock when I first landed, but nonetheless I’m extremely glad to be able to skate in this country.
The first day consisted of a lot of chores and housekeeping. The flight into the country was a sleepless night of layovers, but I made it. When I landed in Tokyo, Nori picked me up in our rental car with his Rayne Vandal V3 Longboard (which we would later use for a follow car) and we were off to go explore the city!
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image title="The Takeshita Arch in Tokyo Japan"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Being a full on man-child really gave you a strong appetite, so as per Japanese fashion, we found ourselves a conveyer belt sushi restaurant to fill ourselves up. For those who have never been, sushi comes around on a conveyer belt; it’s like fast food, but the quality was amazing and we were all full after around $12 CAD of food. They had green tea taps at every table which meant we could help ourselves as we pleased. Sushi restaurants in Vancouver could really use one of those. After exploring the core of the city we were exhausted, so we headed to Nori’s apartment for the night.
The morning after we drove 4 hours North to our first mountain pass, the “Echo Line” near Yamagata. It’s on a volcano and the road consists of over 50 sharp bending turns or “hairpins”, ideal for any longboarder who loves getting pitted! When we arrived, we were delighted to see that the pass was closed off for the winter season, so we didn’t have to worry about traffic.
The road was absolutely breathtaking; 48 hairpins and not a car in sight. Most of the run was pretty sweepy with turns, which meant you were on edge and alert in preparation for every corner. We got a bunch of awesome runs in and got to film a follow car run; you see this in the video . The roads in Japan had some incredible geography. They were designed unlike anything you would see in North America; the corners would bend in erratically and their infrastructure would be placed in unbelievable environments.
It was really surprising to see how many interesting, skateable roads there were in Japan. Before the trip, if you asked my opinion on Japanese roads, I wouldn’t have been able to answer; I just never expected the landscape to be so ideal for downhill longboarding.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image title="Clayton Arthurs and Danny Carlson About To Hit The Money Line"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]After skating, we visited a local Onsen, a public Japanese bath house. Crazy hot, but exceptionally relaxing. Swim shorts aren’t allowed so we had to go commando for this part; Clayton who rides a Rayne Bromance being the youngest member of the group, felt extra uncomfortable with this. We camped out that night under an overpass, since it was raining we avoided the chance of flooding our tent.
Thanks for reading,