It’s Christmastime in the City, baby!
Jingle bells and the rumble of V-twins brightened up the Tokyo night on Christmas Eve again this year.
We had a bit of a late start, but we managed to spread quite a few smiles around the city anyway. I think GB at Riding Sun got it pretty much right, and I’ve said most of what I want to say about this run in last year’s post.
Merry Christmas and/or best wishes for the holiday of your choice to everybody!
(The rest of this post will be in Japanese for the friends we rode with. Enjoy the pictures!)
Continue reading Merry Run 2005
Yesterday we had a wedding parade (like the one we did for the Stinger in August) for Miyazaki-san from our dragon boat team. We had great weather—great weather in December meaning 10℃ (50°F) with lots of pretty leaves blowing around—and amazing crowds wherever we went. This parade was smaller scale than usual—one convertible, eight Harleys, one X4, a Vulcan, and a big scooter as cameraman.
It being the last shopping weekend before Christmas, the streets were packed with people, so we had a great audience in a happy holiday mood, and we had some of the best crowd reactions we’ve ever had for a parade while riding through Ebisu, Daikanyama, Shibuya, Harajuku, Omotesando, and Meguro. (Unfortunately I didn’t get any good pictures of the crowds, since I was busy entertaining them.)
In front of Harajuku station, where we got stopped at a long traffic light under several pedestrian bridges, and the crowds grew to several hundred people during the time we were stopped at the light, and then the pattern repeated at the next major intersection. The bride and groom got congratulations from hundreds and hundreds of people, and we brought a smile to quite a few faces. This is one occasion when the thunder of V twin engines is an indisputable force for good.
I don’t have anything new to say about these parades that I didn’t say in the last post about them, but it really never gets old. I finished the day with my throat sore from yelling and my arms sore from waving at people, but the smiles on the happy couple’s faces and on the people watching us go by make it all worth it.
I can’t wait until next week’s Merry Run.
I commute to work by motorcyle year-round except under really extreme circumstances.
(Extreme circustances being defined as:
a. bike in the shop
d. plans to get drunk after work
e. I don’t really feel like it that day.)
I remember reading a wise biker somewhere say that when you commute by train or car or bus, the workday ends when you get to your front door, but when you’re commuting by bike, the workday ends the moment you thumb the starter. This, the freedom and thrill I get to experience twice a day as part of my daily routine, even more than the convenience or the gas savings, is the real reason I commute by motorcycle. (Although the reasons GB lists at Riding Sun can’t be ignored.)
That said, it’s getting damn cold. Recently it takes a good while after arriving at work for my fingers to thaw out enough to type. The freedom of the road is diminished a bit by the restrictiveness of many layers of winter clothes, and the sweet music of the V-twin engine is partially drowned out by the chattering of my teeth.
Still, between a freezing ride on a bike and a jam-packed sweaty train ride, the choice is an easy one.
The Stinger and I are featured with our bikes in the “Custom Dojo” section of the Jan. 2006 issue of Mr. Bike.
(I’m on the bottom left with my Softail, Stinger’s on the bottom right with his Zephyr.)
Not the most flattering pictures, but the bikes look cool, which is what’s important, right?
This is far from the first time we’ve been in Japanese biker mags, and far from the biggest feature we’ve been in. What’s unusal about this time is that it had nothing to do with this site. A reporter from Mr. Bike had come to the Club SPLENDOR Hirayu Camp knowing that there would be plenty of custom bikes to take pictures of, and getting gaijin was just an exta bonus. The others on that page are friends from SPLENDOR, including the Stinger’s lovely wife Yuka.
Having this site has brought us a lot of attention over the years, from TV appearances both on Japanese TV and on BBC cable’s “Mary Anne’s Bikes”, to several magazine articles about us, and we even ended up writing an essay for the Japanese Harley mag Vibes. The shots we use on our top page and our about page were from a photoshoot for a Vibes article.
The best thing has been getting mail from bikers all over the world. Just yesterday I got an email from a guy in Brazil politely requesting that I ship him some official Gaijin Bikers in Japan decals (which don’t exist, of course. Is there really a market for Gaijin Bikers merch?) There are also strange things like when some guy linked to us a few weeks ago with only the cryptic comment “Hmmm…” I can only assume he was relating us to his previous post about “dasai gaijin” and calling us deeply uncool, but I can’t really get angry at a guy who’s been touched by the noodly appendage.
It’s also always nice to go to rallies and have bikers we’ve never met treat us like longtime friends because they feel like they know us from the site.
It’s a lot more attention than we deserve for simply living our chosen lifestyle in a country we love, but it’s damn good for the ego.
I’ve imported all the old posts from the I blog into WordPress, and there’s really no comparison.
On another note, I’ve been working on the CSS for the blog, and am still valiantly battling to get the main site out of web 1.0 frame hell, and can I just take a moment to note that IE SUCKS! KILL THEM ALL! IHATEITIHATEITIHATEIT!
um…what I meant to say is I agree with these people. The whole CSS coding process would be smooth and easy if everyone would just use a browser that works. As it is, those viewing this site with IE get a bonus extra scrollbar.
I’m working on it, OK?
Update: I came up with a compromise that at least doesn’t break in IE (I hope).