Tokyo

Japan: The Art of Life

[wptouch target=”mobile”]Tokyo[/wptouch]

Coincidence is the language of the stars. Synchronization with gut feeling and dreaming led the following adventure to become one of the most memorable and uplifting stories of my life, bringing confidence and self trust to another level.

The following quote was posted to one of my Instagram photos, which led to a rad adventure:

“Mate Troy is skating across Japan at the moment. watch out for a Kiwi with a backpack”

I had already been in Japan for a while. During my first week Ayumi Oride had showed me some of the sickest spots on the north island, Hokkaido. Shredding wide mountain roads and tight forest runs had been heaps of fun!

I’m so thankful for the hospitality from friends during this skate trip and grateful to Ayumi for taking the time to put together such an epic trip!

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After the Hokkaido trip, which had helped me to ease into the new country and its ways, I made it to Tokyo to start another chapter in my Japanese adventure. Lucky me, good friends from Hawaii came to visit for a week at the same time and familiar faces made it extra fun to explore around the city.

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Hawaiian Brother Ethan and his love Nelly made sure to bring the jungle vibes to the concrete city during a weekend cruise around Tokyo.

Some time spent getting to know Japan, and a couple of “first timer” later, I thought of moving on. The busy city and people felt hard to connect with. Hopes of getting into the local way of living felt far away. Still, I didn’t want to leave. A feeling of some thing more was about to happen kept me in the city…

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Collage in the series of #sleepingpeopleonthemetroinjapan

That’s when inspiration came streaming down from the interweb. I got in touch with Troy Bilbrough through an Instagram comment, and this guy seemed to know what’s up.

Troy was just finishing up pushing through all of the main island of Japan, on his “Skateventure–skating one country at a time” mission. Stoked to hear from me he made sure to hook me up with the key to true local vibes and living.

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Stoked. Troy Bilbrough skating one country at a time.

Not long after, I found my self chilling in the heart of Tokyo waiting for Mr. Brad Bennett.

Brad has it pretty well figured out over here! He found his way to Japan back in the 90’s from Seattle. Hustling his photography, guiding people on existing routes around the country, and skateboarding make this guy a professional adventurer!

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With a great smile and warm hug, he greeted me and showed me around his ‘hood. For some reason I felt as if this wasn’t the first time I had met him (even though it was). I felt a familiar connection to him. The tour around the ‘hood led the way to our final destination, Studio C.

 

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Brad Bennett

“Studio C” is a project that Brad and some of his mates started together a while back.

It’s a former post office turned into a studio where workshops, classes, and exhibitions are held with an aim to help and create a supportive community in Tokyo for learning and developing talents and skills.

The sliding doors made of wood, great space to showcase and highlight art, and some Loaded boards stacked up by the walls were everything I had wished for and more.

I ended up hanging out here most of my time. The doors would be open, and neighbors and strangers would often stop by, interested in getting to know more about this place located 10 min from Sasazuka station in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo. Through the best of my Japanese skills I would try and explain the beauty and creativity this place holds as I would sometimes sit by the entrance floor and draw while sipping on some tea.

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Every Tuesday afternoon Brad and his mates meet up in Yoyogy park to throw disk. All of them coincidentally immigrated to Japan over 20 years ago from different parts of the States. Super active and fun guys!

Stories like how he and a handful of friends would gather to skate Mt. Fuji a couple of years back on whatever boards they managed to get a hold of inspired me to get up there and explore the roads my self, leading to the great adventures which can be found at “Shredding the Dream” here on Skate[Slate].

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Mt. Fuji

One of the highlights during the time spent with Mr. Bennett was on one of his missions to explore the forests in the western part of Tokyo, a city called Okutama. From skyscrapers to greenery and rivers, I had no idea how diverse the nature was in Tokyo until this day.

Brad invited along a couple of fiends, me and kiddo Danny to join on this trip. It was Danny’s first downhill experience. He’d been pretty nervous but the stoke made him calm down.

As we arrived in Okutama we still had an hour to kill before the next bus up the mountain would depart, so Brad showed us down to a beautiful river where we chilled for the rest of the time.

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At the top of the run, Brad made sure to show us down underneath the paved road, exploring a huge old cave.

Skating down this road was so rad, with tall red and green trees growing tight next to each other with glimpses of bright light shining through. At some parts the scenery would open up and great big mountains would emerge, being taken by the sublime while skating as if we were one with the nature.

With a long, dry tunnel and beautiful, wide sweepers into tighter sweepers and turns, this hill is worth traveling a couple of hours away from the big city.

Danny did great. The fire in his eyes and shaking hands after the run indicated that he might have fallen in love with skating all over again!

Brad finished up an epic day out in the green by inviting us to have some dank Japanese dishes at the local restaurant where he knew the chef!

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He knows and has found his way of living in the constant flow of creativity, giving so much back and expanding the field of fun and adventure.

This is the art of life: Do what you love and it will grow!

I definitely believe that everything happens for a reason. It’s no coincidence how this whole adventure took place, and how I got in touch with him.

Knowing there are such rad dudes like Brad Bennett out there doing what they love, helping others to find their way in the big world with such unconditional and unselfish care just blows my mind. I’m super thankful to have met you Brad, and I wish you all the best in life! Thank you.

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As a little project Brad and I pimped out the studio during my stay there. I re-made the old “post office” sign into the “Studio C ” sign.

Related links to the article:

Studio C Tokyo
Skateventure

 

Sending my love to all my sponsors:

Daddies Board Shop
Abec 11
Rayne Longboards
Kahalani

And power to Longboard Girls Crew

 

Much love,

Ishtar

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  1. Dan Pape

    I am excited already about going to Japan in March but this story makes me want to stray from the norm and get into something epic. Thanks Ishtar! Great read


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