Japan: Shredding The Dream[wptouch target=”mobile”][/wptouch]
Mt. Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan with it’s top 3776 meters (12,389 ft) above sea level. It’s an active stratovolcano which means that its capable of explosive and quiet eruptions, (this I’m learning while writing about it, after I bombed down the mountain!) Last eruption was around 1707, and many leading scientists say it can and will erupt at any time. The mountain is surrounded by the legendary “Aokigahara” or “Sea of Trees” or also internationally known as the “Suicide forest”.
The nickname comes from the fact that they every year bring out over +50 dead bodies found in the forest, people that decide to end their lives by wandering off and getting lost. I have been traveling and living on the road for a year and half now, skating hills all over the world. One of my dream mountains to ever skate has been this particular one that I’ve described above. It’s been a dream and something I really wanted to do for a long time.
I couldn’t get any sleep the previous night, and when Ayumi knocked on the door I was quick enough to answer before she had even said anything. We were packed and ready in the car just in time for the sunrise when we pulled out of Ayumi’s tricky and very tight labyrinth she calls her driveway, (It’s a wonder how this woman managed to get the car out of there without scratching the sides off! But she handled it like a boss!).
Thanks to my friend Brad Bennet, who’s known as one of the first Mt. Fuji rippers, we had gotten the insights on what road was the smoothest to ride from him. We knew now where we were headed (at least one of us did) and once I could start glimpsing the top of the mountain the biggest smile reached my face and a great happiness filled within me, I saw the sun shining and realized that this would be a beautiful day! The thought of skating this legendary piece of nature and supposedly being the first woman to ever do this created a feeling I’m finding hard to describe in words.
My first run was down Subaru line road. It’s amazing how fast I picked up speed when ever I’d step into my tuck. Pretty wide for a Japanese road and a couple of wide hairpins and heaps of sweepers that I could just tuck and gain more speed through. Traffic was pretty hectic though, it was a Sunday after all. But I felt safe knowing that I had Ayumi in the car behind and the road being signed with 50km/h signs all over also made me feel relaxed as I was probably riding a good +25 km/h over the limit. Like always it’s so fun to see the expression on the drivers heading the opposite way up, a little wakeup spark in the Zenned mind of the Japanese look. I love it!
After skating over +22 km down the hill ( and maybe 10 km more cause we went up half way to do it again after the first run) we relocated and headed over to the other side of Mount Fuji.
Ayumi had found another road that led up to the top. This part of Fuji is what I would probably call a paradise for drifting hooligans. Such beauty! The top had great views over the whole stretch, and mountain ranges that cross around Japan. It was such a beautiful and clear day. I lost my count of hairpins, but it must have been at least 20 or more, never ending steep banked huge chicanes is a good way of describing this road.
There was heaps more traffic on this side though, (or maybe the fact that it was getting closer to lunch time made it more crowded). Japanese drivers are good, they are pretty calm and they’ll usually, almost all of the time keep to their lane. In comparison to what I had to deal with in South America, I feel safe here.
The run ends in a beautiful, tight, fast and long windy way through the “Sea of Trees”. All the history, and all the stories that this forest holds is not unnoticeable. The trees give such a mystical feeling and the red fall leaves lying piled all over the road just added the extra stoke as I wrapped up an amazing day of skating Mt. Fuji!
My time here in Japan has been amazing. I am so happy for all the friends I’ve made, especially my good mates Ayumi Oride and Brad Bennet who’s helped me and guided me during my time here. I’m so grateful to have met these dudes, and to have been able to spend time with Brad at his studio and gotten to know all kinds of interesting artists and people he’s introduced me to. Shortly I will be posting an article about this legend and his work! Truly cool.
I want to thank all my sponsors
Longboard Girls Crew, for all the support and love whenever I come up with my new crazy ideas. These guys are always behind me and answer my stoke with possibilities and even more joy!
I am really stoked to be here at this time. Japan is really an unexplored territory when it comes to Longboarding, and the possibilities are endless. this country holds many magical spots, and I cant wait for the day when all my friends can come here and experience the great joy and fun that this culture, country and nature has to offer. I know that with time Japan’s longboard scene is gonna grow thanks to the inspiration and stoke that the rest of the world shares for the sport. It’s just a matter of time, and I am so happy to be able to be a part of this!
It’s f$@#!ing legendary!!