Category Archives: biker stuff

Thank You Tokyo!

Saturday was the Stinger‘s wedding run and party.

We’ve been doing these parades for years for various biker friends and friends-of-friends, and it never gets old. Throw the happy couple in the back of a convertible, surround it with Harleys, ride around Tokyo waving at everyone like you’re celebrities, and people everywhere stop to stare, wave, take pictures, applaud, and shout congratulations to the happy couple.

It really feels like the whole city is celebrating the couple’s happiness, and after a parade I always find that the smile muscles in my face are sore from overuse.
In a country where noisy bosozoku bring down the image of bikers, it’s great to have events like these parades and our Merry Run to show people the positive side of biker culture.
Our parades have gotten such favorable reactions that some biker friends of mine who run a small event management company have started offering the service for a small fee.

More pictures can be seen at the Gaijin Bikers main site.


Update: a clip from the DVD of the parade can now be seen at Google Video.

A lesson in Japanese roadsigns

At first glance, this looks like “road closed”, doesn’t it?
But look at the beautiful winding mountain road on the other side, and the perfect weather. It couldn’t possibly be mere accident that there’s just enough space between the barricades to ride a motorcycle through, could it?

Same road, a few kilometers on:

This looks even more convincingly like “road closed.” In fact, to the uninititated, the Japanese “通行止” would seem to mean exactly that.
But no, “通行止” really means “closed to those in vehicles with more than the optimal number of wheels(2), and to those without adventure in their hearts.”

We only had to move three of these roadblocks. It was great riding, though a little harrowing to be leading the pack on this particular run. Not to worry, we are responsible citizens–we moved the barricades back into place after riding through.


Since most of my readers are coming here from Riding Sun,
and I’m listed as one of the “Kamen Riders” on his sidebar, I thought I should mention a weird Japanese biker friend of mine who travels under the name of “Riderman”.

This guy travels around in a homemade, and extremely detailed, Kamen Rider outfit, and greets passing bikers not just with the traditional wave or peace sign, but by standing up on his bike and doing the henshin pose that Kamen rider uses when he shape-shifts.

This is a picture from many years ago when we met up with him at Lake Akan in Hokkaido.

Merry Run

On Christmas Eve, a bunch of my biker buddies and I rode around the streets of Tokyo dressed as Santas, reindeer, snowmen and such, distributing smiles, candy and Christmas spirit. This is a couple of the ladies who ride with us posing on my hog.

Those interested in seeing more pictures should check out my Merry Run page.
(I wrote all the captions in Japanese since the page is mostly for my Japanese friends.)

I love Christmas in Japan. Everybody uses it as an excuse to be happy and have a good time, and it’s completely untainted by the actual Christian nonsense that gets forced down your throat in the States. I can wave and smile and yell “Merry Christmas!” to people I don’t know on the street, and they smile and say “Merry Christmas”(actually meri- kurisumasu, the closest you can get phonetically in Japanese) back, and there’s no religious baggage attached–everyone knows it’s just an excuse for a winter festival anyway.

After reading about all the ridiculous claims by Christians in the States about being oppressed by “Happy Holidays” I am truly thankful that I am able to celebrate Christmas in a secular society. Christmas should be fun–a celebration of giving and joy for people of all creeds and people of no creed, with pretty lights to brighten a dark winter night–and that’s what it is here in Japan.

So a belated メリー・クリスマス to everyone, and best wishes for a happy new year.

something fishy in Yamagata

I rode up to the Vibes Meeting Harley rally in Yamagata this weekend, and some friends from Toyama brought me 鱒寿司(masu-zushi), a famous ekiben (train station bento). After getting drunk I went to thank them for the food and made an embarrassing careless mistake which also turned out to be a double pun. Instead of masu-zushi I said masu-zake, which is something else entirely. 鱒(masu – trout)寿司(zushi – sushi) is just as one would expect, trout on rice, whereas 升(masu – wooden cup)酒(zake -sake) is rice liquor served in a square wooden cup.
I think my beer-addled brain went looking for a compound word starting in masu and grabbed the first thing it found. Then it failed to get an error message before output because sake can also mean 鮭(salmon) which is a pretty similar fish with a pretty similar taste.