Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Bliss is a skate/surf shop with an ever growing skatepark in the back of it in the middle of nowhere, Ibaraki-Japan. I would have probably never come here if I wasnt for a guy named Sabu. I ran into him on the Tsukuba University campus one night as the sun was going down and introduced myself. Back then my Japanese was like that of a 4 year olds and I barely managed to communicate where I was from. I ended up asking him if he knew of any spots around Tsukuba, we exchanged numbers and I pretty much figured I would never see the dude again. It was a miracle he was even out that day, I have never seen him skate street since that day.
Sabu was about 10 years older than me then, you do the math, I had just turned 21 then. To my surprise he called me a few days later and in our broken japanese and english managed to communicate a time when he would pick me up to take me to a place to skate, which ended up being Bliss. I had no idea how far away it was. I didnt even know this dude that had just picked me up. I didnt know the dudes he was picking up on the way either....... It was a full van load by the time we got there. He drove one of those Hi-Ace toyotas back then. It was full.
We finally arrived at Bliss. I was not good at skating transition at all and at the time all they had was an indoor 4foot ramp with a 5 foor extension. I can remember struggling to do backside 5050 stalls......for some reason I could do blunt rock to fakie though...I think I learned that in Lafayette... Anyway, needless to say, I was probably not that fun to skate with...
He continued to pick me up once a week for about the entire time i lived in Japan. Sometimes we would go out to eat afterwords with his friends. Sometimes we would skate for 4 hours, sometimes only 2 but it was always really fun. Sabu would always do front side salad grinds on the ramp, which seems really weird to be now since nobody really does that...... I learned all my basics on that little ramp and a lot of Japanese too. (as you can probably imagine, this was also my crash course in slang used by 30 year old dudes that skate, drink, and smoke. You know those book they sell about japanese slang with anything from curse words to phrases for picking up women...and more? I didnt need one, I had all the dudes I skated with at Bliss everyweek.....)
Looking back I must have been that foreign dude that they got to say words like....BOOBS.....then laugh a whole bunch....I cant really remember though.

The park has grown a lot since I skated there on the regular. There is a minimini ramp that i forgot to take a picture of and then this ouside section complete with hand poured concrete ramps(and ground!) Brink coping and a steep 2/3ft section too. The 4 ft ramp is now a 5 throughout with much better coping.

It has been about 4 years since I last was able to visit this skatepark/shop in the middle of the country. It brought back a million memories and I am glad it is still around.
From the sounds of it, it will be for a while longer, the bowl in the back is about to become partly a spin on one side which will extend to but up next to the farm ground behind the indoor ramp.
I am glad we got to skate this whole place today! It is the middle of the rainy season and I have been so lucky! It is raining now but I needed a break anyway. Motorcycle parts store later today! Thanks Masaru for taking pictures of me and driving me around!
This ramp is really similar to the one that gets moved around Indiana every year. The coping is not as big, flat bottom is longer and its not as steep but still amazing! I would love to have a few heated session with the old crew here!
Smith stall. I cant grind brick. boo-- Owner looking on in the back, probably dreaming about going surfing. Almost all the dudes that come here also surf as much as possible. Wet suits and the whole bit.
Rock^n^roll Masaru! Sorry the picture sucks..

Another back-d
Bliss skate/surf shop and park. Killing it for almost 15 years!
   tel 0297-35-9494   


Yeah, I still skate.
I will have a full write up on Bliss later. One picture for now.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Honda Dream - the Shop here in Tsukuba

I took some pictures of new or slightly used bikes that are not for sale in the states. Hope you enjoy. Sorry the pictures suck, didnt have much room.....
I really want the cb50 Dream. If i lived here i would probably buy one....looks so fun! but not for 3 grand....


I love this stuff!! Fermented soy beans with hot mustard and tare. Usually the tare has fish in it but Masaru found some Vegan stuff! The package to the left is how it used to come a long time ago, now it is in styrofoam....boo. This happens to be made right here in the prefecture that we are in staying! Yummy!


It`s nice to not have a cell phone. I don`t have to think about who I should, could, might, or shouldn`t call. I don`t have to text or worry about anyone texting me. I think I should live without a phone more often... I might miss a few good opportunities to hang out with friends but at least I won`t feel like I have a leash.

It`s been a really long day... Went to a bunch of second hand parts stores looking for old anything of interest and also for an engine for my rotary-loving brother but no luck. I took some pictures, tried on about 50 helmets, and bought some cool crap. The trip back to the airport is going to end up being hell in a hand basket. Probably one like my mom sells.

We just got done hanging out with our friend Ken. He used to skate with us, now he makes all kinds of things out of leather. H also happens to own a jockey shift honda cub custom bike like the ones on the bubblevisor blog. I almost killed myself on it a few times tonight. In the end I was able to show him how to power slide. Riding one of those things feels like a bmx bike....swing that tail around!!
I have video from the rides today that Masaru and I took on his SR400 but they won`t load right so I guess I can`t use them yet. More pics tomorrow. Full moon is coming...i am running on fumes......

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Banana`s, chocolate, and some pineapple juice later, Masaru and I were up and ready to work on his bike. We got lucky today, it was supposed to rain but it is shiny right now! The air filter in this thing had basically turned to a mushy flourish texture so we took it out! bike runs much better but still needs re-jetted. The shop that did his refresh put a more open pipe on but didn`t re-jet or even look at the filter so full throttle let a lot to be desired.... runs better now but still needs to be rejetted. fun to ride! Now we go to get some anpan (bread with beanpaste in the middle....soo good) and see the tofuman of Tsukuba! There is also apparently an auction site for motorcycles here that is for the whole country! We sneak in tomorrow or tonight to take pictures......

kurama to masaru/ tokyo to tsukuba!

KURAMO ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Here are some pictures from my morning with Kuramo. After breakfast we skated around to a few shrines and even got to go to a waterfall. The Shinto shrine for Foxes was having a festival and there were a bunch of cute grandma`s there. After we got back to his place we decided to go eat at a Gyoza restaurant in Ikebukuro that has vegan options. They were out of vegan gyoza but it was still really good. I can still taste the garlic in my mouth 12 hours later.
I finally found a waterproof/shockproof camera for cheap at a new electronics store near the station. I said goodbye to kuramo (capsule hotel next sunday in Ueno!!) and it was off to prepare for my trip to Tsukuba were I am now.
Before coming, i made sure to get my international license again so i can ride Masaru`s motorcycle (sr400) and possibly rent one (200 a day! yeah right!). He is living on his own in some apartments close to a pretty famous skate spot (it has been in a number of american videos and magazines). His bike is parked at his brothers house so we decided to get it. .. .. it is the rainy season here now but had only sprinkled all day so i figured things would be alright for the ride home (i rode the bike, he drove his honda) it started pouring and 15 minutes later we are back at his apartment. soaked but happy. his bike is not jetted right. we are going to check it out tomorrow when it is dry. interesting first ride though, at night and in the rain. I did take a left at one stop light and went down the wrong lane for a bit.

At the fox shrine
Waterfall man made from hundreds of years ago

MASARU ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Good company, vitamin drink, good music, range peels and mugicha. I love Kuramo!

Thursday, June 24, 2010



Since I am in Japan now, I guess I will write in English.

This is a Tofu shop in Tokyo. It is a normal tofu shop, an old man and woman own it and live in the back. They have all kinds of tofu here, all vegan, and some noodles too. The old man told me that he wakes up at around 3:30 or 4am everyday and makes tofu. When he is finished making the tofu, packaging it up, delivering it to local places, he cleans the shop and then sells tofu until about 6 everyday. I love to buy tofu from him and other small shops like this. They put everything they have into what they make. Today when I bought the tofu, the wife sold it to me. I guess the old man must be resting. We talked for a while about different things then I asked if I could take pictures of the shop and the machinery. It seemed like she didn't feel comfortable with it so I didn't take any of the inside. I will ask the old man next time I am around this area.
Tofu with sesame seeds, shitake mushrooms and carrots inside. 4 for 100yen (1 dollar). So cheap-So good. I love this place.

Friday, June 18, 2010

ナップサイド その2





69' Honda Cl350 Scrambler


Tuesday, June 15, 2010




Monday, June 14, 2010




Sunday, June 13, 2010