Japan: Understanding the meaning of community[wptouch target=”mobile”] [/wptouch]
In the samurai era, the Edo period, Japan was divided into small towns reigned by powerful lords and their groups of samurais. The lord and samurai system ended after the introduction of new ideas from the occidental culture in Japan. Even though it was a controversial time, it was inevitable to say that was the beginning of a solid and well established country.
The longboard scene here in Japan still has a little bit of this Edo era.
The event held on Sunday, a community sesh with our special guests Patrick Switzer and Tamara Prader helped to realize the importance of being together and skating just for the pleasure, just for the fun.
It was a sunny and windy Sunday. People at first were shy and reserved to get together and especially to say hi to Patrick and Tamara, but once the skating started, shenanigans began to spread. There were some people bombing the hill, some tech sliding, surfing style carves, big standies and very sketchy slides, a big diversity of longboard styles. All together, everybody was having a blast. Some new girls came, so Ayumi improvised and made a very nice introductory clinic for these new riders. They had some big smiles on their faces, they got the stoke.
This was Ayumi’s first event as an Orangatang/Loaded ambassador, and she did such a nice job. After some hours of urethane line painting, Patrick, Tamara and Ayumi held some funny games to win some prizes. Have you seen the Japanese TV programs where participants have to cross some kind of Super Mario Bros scenario, making some epic falls? Well, we had a longboard version. People made some groups and together they came across the silly dares and games; crab walking with the board, pushing up the hill, walking barefoot in the stones, eating a bottle of wasabi and the tuck holding contest. People were laughing a lot, it was about laughing more than the prizes. It was remarkable to see the diversity when they made the groups. Girls, little boys, dirty skaters, old folks all mixed in one group. Even they already knew they wouldn’t make it to the finals they didn’t care. They held onto their group. That’s community, it was about making a effort together.
Japanese are very respectful with each other, they will not push each other just for a set of wheels. That’s the Japanese way. After the games, a small slide jam was held.
Trying to expand longboarding in Japan is not an easy task. How can you compete in a country that has one of the biggest surf scenes, and even their own ASP Japan tour and in winter world class powder runs just a couple hours away from Tokyo? Also, how can you make the scene grow when there are different groups longboarding apart from each other? Well this event was a solid example of what the joy of longboarding can make. These lords and longboard samurais got together on this special Sunday; getting the chance to meet Patrick and Tamara was enough to give up their pride and finally encounter after some years of unsolved business. They all realized it was worthy, and they concluded that it’s more about the fun and having one of a hell skate sesh together. You can really smell that this is the beginning of a maturing process of this small scene. By the way, some groms finally appeared, we really need that new energy.
Japan has been on the spot these last months, with riders and teams planning some trips to explore the large amount of virgin surface. People coming from outside can give us a very new perspective and ideas on how to develop a strong scene. We are open to work together.
In this social network era, we are not alone, we have the privilege to find our tribes and share our passion globally. We are so lucky to have the opportunity to share what we live for.[sam id=”8″ codes=”true”]
It’s about community and constructing the future based on group work. So, you don’t want to come to Japan and make it on your own without reaching out to the local community. It’s not about you coming to Japan to make a nice video, with some nice shots and say to your friends you bombed these gnarly Japanese roads and ate some strange food.
It’s about being smart and opening future opportunities for the brands, the shops, and especially the community, the ones who are skating day by day on these mountains and being inspired by these famous skaters through the internet. My biggest tip when you plan to travel to Japan: try to hook up with the community. People are eager to skate with their idols and see the products they represent. It’s not always about the hills, sometimes it’s about the people and leaving with a big smile when you leave this country.
We are thankful to Skate[Slate], Triple Eight, Orangatang, and Loaded for having vision of Japan’s future longboard development. And special thanks to our friendly guests Patrick and Tamara, you made our day.
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