Sunday, June 26, 2005
Saturday, June 25, 2005
I put the single seat back on because I was going to be picking up a new front fender at the dealer and I figured I'd need as much of the rear carrier as I could manage. But, I ended up with the thing strapped to my back. It was much lighter than I thought it would be. So, I'll be putting the longer single seat back on presently. My legs are a bit too long for the normal single seat.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Super Cub 55 (2)
I'm not sure what year this Cub is. It was sitting in a really interesting bike shop. Komoto Honda.
Bikes were crammed in all over the place. This beauty was sitting right up to the glass in the front of the "showroom". There was no way in Hades you'd be able to get close to it, unless you had a forklift.
I stopped by to take some pics, and found they were open. Lights low, and doors closed. But open. A elderly man in Honda overalls came out and pretended to be doing something nearby while he casually kept an eye on me. I stopped taking pics thru the window and said my hellos. We chatted for a bit, what country am I from, etc, then I mentioned I was looking for older emblems and decals for Cubs and other bikes, and he invited me in. The back room was filled floor to ceiling with interesting stuff. And the lighting was more like a bar, than a dealer's office. Trophies, paintings and posters of races long over, engine parts, and rare thingamajigs were all over the place. This was a biker heaven. I did my usual flattering and complementing, though it wasn't insincere, since I was truly impressed with the place, and he opened up more, pointing out this and that. He told of races, and carbs, and tires, and you name it. He opened some tins and inside were stickers, and patches. He went thru them looking for older ones which he thought I might mean. He put aside several interesting ones. Though, obviously not the kind you'd put on a bike. So, i figured he misunderstood me, and thought I meant decals and emblems ABOUT cubs. I didn't correct him. Just smiled and thanked as each adhesive backed goodie came my way.
I had figured that he was probably dying to talk to someone, back here in this parlor of yesterday's glories. He probably went days w/out customers, since it wasn't exactly your super clean Honda Dream showroom, and it clearly looked closed.
But how wrong I was. Within 10 minutes there must've been 20 people in and out of there. Most, it seemed were regulars, not buying, but hanging out with the guy. And most were under 40. This guy, apparently is some sort of local hero, a guru on bikes. A question would fly and he'd scratch his head, open a drawer, slide out a box, climb up on a cabinet and produce a widget that solved the issue, or made it more complicated. Plus, he sold two bikes while I was there in what ended up being an fascinating two hours. One NSR and a Dax. Both used, and really falling apart it seemed. Each went for around 600 dollars. One customer/regular, surprised to see a foreigner in the back room, sort of backed out, once he saw me in the holy inner sanctum. The owner said, laughing, that I was in there looking for decals and to take pics. American. The younger kid backed out with more haste. I did my best 'oh well, farewell, my good man'.
But about 5 minutes later he returned with a cold canned coffee which he handed to me.
That was nice.
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
What's all this then?
Sunday, June 19, 2005
Saturday, June 18, 2005
I cruised up alongside, and lo and behold, it's CHiPs!!
This guy, who later turned out to work for Bank America (Tokyo Branch) was riding a complete Kawasaki Police 1000, with everything included, right down to the mounted nightstick (you can just barely see the end of it).
I asked if I could take his picture, and he posed here for it. We rode alongside each other for a few more miles, before I had to peel off on a smaller street. Luckily for the traffic lights, I was able to catch up with him after the first sighting.
Needless to say, he was turning heads. One such head belonged to a small child who was holding his father's hand. The father leaned down to his child's level and pointed to the bike as we rode by, and I heard him say, (in Japanese) "Son, look at that!"
With folks imitating, copying, and admiring with this level of detail, is it any wonder that the best plastic models in the world come from two Japanese companies, Tamiya and Hasegawa?
I once saw a California Highway Patrol Chevy Caprice. Fully done. Everything. Even had a (toy?) shotgun mounted barrel up on the dash. The guy driving it was, unlike this Kawasaki owner, wearing normal street clothes.
In the U.S. it would be illegal to drive around in a police car or motorbike. But not here, where niches and obsessions and "getting into character" are as normal as putting on a suit and going to the office.
I was a few cars behind this guy, and all I could see was the helmet. I thought, hmm, that looks like a police helmet, but not a Japanese version, an American one. In fact, a California Highway Patrol one. But how could that be?
I managed to gain some ground, and pass a couple of cars to get even closer. So then, I could see the shirt he was wearing. It was the CHiPs brown. This is strange, I thought.
I had to get closer.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
I had an good long convo with the owner of this bike. First, I wanted to get some photos of it when I saw it sitting there outside of an electronics shop in Akihabara. Then he came out, helmet donned, and ready to scream off. I asked politely if I could take a few pics of it. He was a middle aged man, who obviously uses his Honda to run about town, to and from work, etc. At first he was a bit standoffish, then after I complimented him on his bike, he opened up. His Japanese dialect was a bit hard to catch at times, but he was flattered I wanted to take a picture of his CT 110. I'm sure, I'm the only one who's ever presented such a situation to him. In the end, he talked my ear off for about an hour, and I never got my pics! (except for the one here before he came out)
Cub in Shinjuku: Vespa Face Off
I stopped off for lunch at a ramen shop just down the blvd from Shinjuku station, where 2 million people pass thru each and every day. This particular day was a Saturday, and it was hot! I parked in front of two scooters. One, a nice, though a bit overdone Vespa and the other, a Honda Giorno, which is a Honda Vespa style scooter.