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Wabi-Sabi made in USA

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These old bikes may be originally from America, but I think they actually evoke an aesthetic similar to the imperfection and asymmetry found in traditional Japanese art. Truly moving works of art (when you can get them to actually move).

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Also, although we didn’t plan it this way or anything, the five Harleys that got together for camping this weekend covered the entire history of Harley Davidson engines since the 1940s, turning our campsite into a temporary motorcycle museum.
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From the top: a 1946 Knucklehead, a 1957 Panhead, a Shovelhead, my 1993 Evolution, and a Twincam, with a Kawasaki W1s thrown in for good measure.

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That’s my girl!

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Last Saturday, I had to drop my youngest, Mai, off at her swimming class, but my wife somehow managed to lose the car keys, so I had to take her there on the back of my bike.

Apparently, she had fun even just riding through the neighborhood, because she insisted that we take a real ride on Sunday. It’s still a little cold, but I can’t refuse a request like that.
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Mai has never shown any interest in bikes until now, even when her older sister Lin and I come back from a ride with happy stories. Now they’ll have to argue over who gets to go.
面白い石をずっと探してた。
Thanks for losing the keys, Yuri!
Father and daughter on a bike jaunt

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Cold morning ride with Fujisan

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This has not been much of a year for motorcycling for me, for a number of reasons–some good, like a trip to Taiwan and a long stay in Yellowstone and Tetons, and some bad, like my father-in-law’s funeral and my own bout of cancer (I’m fully cured, but recovery from the surgery took a while)–and I’ve really missed the mountain roads. I finally got a free morning last week and took a spin on some of my favorite roads in Hakone for a photo session with my ride and the mountain.

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Bike and Ocean

The ride can’t always be great


I realize that nearly all my touring reports start and end with something along the lines of “that was an amazing ride!” And I pretty much always feel that way when I get back from touring, because even when we have nasty weather or mechanical trouble, the positive stuff and great times always outweigh any negatives.

But it can’t always be that good.

Today, for instance. I woke up bright and early ready to conquer the roads and go visit the mighty Pacific, but cloudy weather and other stuff delayed my departure. Then once I got out of the tunnel on the Aqualine across Tokyo Bay, the wind was gusting so strong I had to slow down to a crawl and was still getting blown around to the point where I couldn’t ride in a straight line. On top of that, the air was filled with cedar pollen, particulate pollution, and yellow sand from China, and the haze kept visibility to a minimum. Even when I did finally make it to the ocean, blowing salt and sand and haze made for a much closer and less impressive horizon than I had been hoping for.

I think I got ten or fifteen minutes in the twisties where the mountains blocked the wind enough that I could enjoy the winding roads, but I spent pretty much the entire ride battling wind and grit.

But the thing is: I somehow enjoyed myself anyway, and I still can’t wait to get back out on the road the next chance I get. Because these unpleasant ones really are the exception, not the rule. We just have to keep riding.

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Kanagawa Toy Run

This will be the final post in my “get the 2012 stuff out the door before the end of January 2013″ series!


Every year, riders from Gaijin Riders, Japan Riders, and SBK (all active sites with real communities—far more useful and informative than this fossilized site) dress up as Santas and reindeer to bring presents to children at orphanages in Kanagawa Prefecture.

For privacy reasons, I can’t upload the pictures of the huge smiles on the kids’ faces, but we had a great time playing, eating pizza, and joking around with the kids, and their smiles were a better present for us than anything we could give to them.


This giant reindeer’s going to have to make time to visit them next year too.

The continuing adventures of a couple of American bikers in the Land of the Rising Sun