Where are you from?
Sendai, northeast Japan. It sucks in winters ’cause it snows and is hella cold, but my homies are here so it makes it pretty cool—that's why I can’t leave. The town is as big as SF. Not too big, not too small. You can skate, surf, or snowboard all year around, depending on the season
When did you start skating?
When I was 14. Non-stop since then.
When was the first time you came to the States?
Ten years ago. All I remember is skating Hubba Hideout everyday. Since then I’ve been coming to The City every year.
Talk about some of the good and bad things about America and Japan.
Americans are good at enjoying life. Japanese are good at living life. Americans are sometimes too crazy, and Japanese are sometimes too shy. Americans are very individualistic, Japanese are very kind. At the same time, Americans are very self-centered, and Japanese are too worried.
How’s your English compared to the first time you came here?
Still sketchy, but I have noticed that more people are starting to understand my Japanglish.
You skate with lots of pros who came to Japan. What are your favorite experiences?
Creature and Vox trips. Creature was in ’08, and Vox was in ’07. When Creature was in my hometown, we went to a local bar and somehow Ed and Navarrette got into a flight and made some ruckus, and the local Yakuzas—Japanese gangsters—didn’t like that. It got sketchy and I had to make everyone leave, except Drehobl didn’t want to. He just didn’t wanna obey. He kept drinking his beer, so I had to leave him at the spot. After that Emman and I went to some costume-themed high school reggae party, and on the way back to the hotel, we saw Drehobl accompanied by a mama-san from the bar walking down the street together. Apparently, mama-san talked the problem out with the Yakuzas, so Drehobl was safe. When we got back to the hotel Ed and Navarrette were still arguing.
There are so many lovable motherfuckers in skating, that’s why.
What’s your view on the Japanese skate scene?
Skaters are busting their asses. They are good as shit. But the ones actually running the businesses are kinda fucked. They’re just businessmen with little knowledge of skateboarding. So whenever skating isn’t “hot,” they just cut it off from their business plan. Pretty sketchy.
How do you describe Japan, or Japanese people, to the people who have no idea?
My granddad and my dad are still Samurais. And I’m making side money from being a Ninja.
I love everything they have going on. Without them, I wouldn’t be here.
Tell me about living in the Consolidated warehouse.
here was this big ass mosquito that bit my face twice and my face became someone else’s. And after two minutes of showering, the water gets cold. Other than that it’s the best home away from home.
What was the sketchiest thing that happened to you while you were here?
I got caught driving without license. I got away with it because I had CB’s (Japanese skater that kinda looks like Maru) license. Police didn’t notice the differences between my handsome face and his ugly face in the photo. So I got away from that one. Another time I got mugged at gun point. Both happened in Hunter’s Point.
Top 5 spots?
SF, Flower Shop, Zarosh’s, Vira Spica, WSVT
Top 5 skaters?
Roberto Aleman, Darren Navarrette, Karma Tsocheff, Zarosh, Dan Drehobl.
My sponsors: Consolidated,Vox, Analog,Black Flys,Spitfire, Independent. Joe for taking the photos. You for this. Domodomo.