Thursday, April 16, 2009

Friends In Far Places

The last couple of days were spent in Tokyo. I made the trip to go meet friends of friends, who run a track bike company/lounge, as well as catch up with another Luke that I met out here (who, after several years, is moving back to Australia tomorrow). I started off jumping on the Shinkansen and meeting luke out in Yokohama, we had plans to visit a tattoo museum, at the suggestion of my good friend Julian Zeff. The museum ended up being more like a basement with a good personal collection which was quite good. The owner of the museum is Horiyoshi III, who happens to be one of Japans most widely known tattoo artists; in fact, the museum is right bellow his studio. Luke and I spent some time searching through all the different sections before leaving, we cruised through the local neighborhood for bit, before parting ways. My next move was getting out to the area where I was to meet my recommended friend of friends. They run a lounge which is the public front of their bicycle company; and interesting business front that is really unique and quite impressive. The name of their company is Kinfolk bicycles, so naturally my destination was the Kinfolk Lounge! I got into the area where it was early, before dark, so that I could get they lay of the land before I had to be there. I spent some time riding my bike around the surrounding areas and I really enjoyed the neighborhood; it had some beautiful walkways that ran along a really pretty waterway and there was this amazing park at the top of the hill, where I watched the sunset.

After fetching some dinner I rode back out to the lounge, where I had an arranged meeting with John, one of the Kinfolk owners. I didn't have any expectations about how long I was going to be there, so it was a pleasant surprise to hang out there all night. John and the other guys I met there, later in the evening, were really hospitable and all-around good people. I got the full insight on their business model and the story behind it and I ended up riding bikes with all of them later in the evening. The next day was spent riding around from local bike shop to local bike shop, with Rael who I met at Kinfolk, looking at amazing bikes and meeting the locals; it was perfect and I only wish I had more days like that while in Japan.

My JR Rail Pass is now expired, so I'm pretty much permanently back in the Kansai region throughout the remainder of my stay here, which is one more week. It's really an interesting feeling knowing that I'll be back home, this time next week. This whole adventure was my first real jump into traveling and I've really had an amazing time. I have no gripes with having to go home, however, there's a lot about LA that I miss. I have no doubt in my mind that I'll get the wander-lust's itch shortly after returning home though; this lifestyle is good and I know the times would only get better!

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