I love my life here in Japan. School is lots of fun, I have tons of great friends here and the skating here is fantastic. Hardly ever a rainy day here in Yokohama, which is awesome because I can take a break from skating my garage during the winter this year. But more importantly what I think is great about Japan is the skateboard community. Everyone is incredibly chill, there aren’t people labelling other people as a poser or labelling anyone as anything for that matter. I haven’t seen anyone throw a tantrum or throw/break their board because they missed a trick. The amount of respect I see here in this country is amazing.
There is a saying in Japanese that is used in sports, especially martial arts, “rei ni hajimari, rei ni owaru”, which basically means “start with respect and end with respect”. I was reading an article in class one day about this and thought it was awesome.
A Japanese professional baseball player was drafted to play overseas for an American team. In an interview he said that what he was surprised by was how the other players treated their equipment. If they got mad a lot of them would throw their gloves or break their baseball bats. He said “That is something I could never do. I just think about the person behind the scenes who made this equipment for me which is allowing me to play this sport that I love”. A lot of Japanese sports players take very good care of their equipment for this reason. The same goes for skateboarding. I was definitely blown away by that. I never really took the time to think about how there was someone who took the time to make the deck, the wheels, the trucks and bearings which are allowing me to keep skating. Since getting here I have made sure to take extra care of my set-up and make sure I am using every part of my board until the very end, even if I get some free product from sponsors. One day, the world resources which are used to make our boards could be quite limited or in an extreme case be gone completely. Nothing lasts forever, and this is true for skateboarding. Lets make the most of it.
– Ryan Brynelson