I was in Tokyo proper for the first time in May and I got a phone call from Hajime who said I should see his shop. The problem was it wasn't anywhere near any of hundreds of train stations in Tokyo. Hajime said he would pick me up but that wasn't necessary because walking in Shibuya (a neighborhood in Tokyo) with my wife and, out of however many trillions of people in Tokyo who should we meet on the street but Hajime. He put me in his truck and took me to see his clothing shop, cycle and nic nak collection. Around this time he said, "Hey do you want to go see my friends motorcycle shop, Hawgaholic?" Of course I said yes. Thanks for the lift Hajime!
Monday, June 24, 2013
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Monday, June 3, 2013
My wife and I spent a handful of days with this guy in Yokohama. In that time he showed us the best Katsu in town, the best Ramen in town and a few fine Soba and family dining restaurants like Royal Host. He also took us to Verde Design and Hemispheres board shop, both shops owned by long time friends of his Koni and Tomo. But second only to staying up late sitting on the couch watching him make fun of Japanese television and play guitar while I fought off sleep, was going to his workshop. Its the physical likeness of what the inside of his mind must be like, with old chopper magazines, Bridgett Bardot posters, a few motorcycle parts, pin on paper drawings, several motorcycle frames and tins in mid-process and even model cars and motorcycles with tiny but complete LoveEarArt paint. Of course his Harley XL is parked there. Sometimes his favorite bike is there too, a tiny Honda 50 daily commuter. On this day the 50cc was absent because Gen exchanged it for his mothers car to run my wife and I around. I guess his mom was riding the 50.
Picking through this library of paint fumes and artifacts gives a person perspective on Gen that you might not get by just meeting him. You can see his progression over the last 20 years and some of the things that inspire him that he might never mention in conversation. He is simple and honest. “I don’t want a ‘cool’ chopper. I like funny choppers.... I am not a biker.” These where his own words. He isn’t trying to BE something, he is trying to DO something. “I am not an artist,” he says, “Just a color-holic,” a word that I think he invented along with Coke-holic, Tropical-Fish-Holic and Crispy-Creme-holic.