It’s been 3 weeks now since I came to Japan, and so far it’s been fantastic. The people are amazing, I’m having fun speaking the language, eating the best food of my life, and of course skating with some amazing skaters. When I first got off the plane I couldn’t believe that I finally made it. I had worked part-time at some places as well as doing lots of skateboard demos for the past few years to fund this adventure and I can already say it’s been worth it. Right now I’m going to Yokohama Design College where I am continuing my Japanese studies. To me, Japanese is equally as important to me as my skating, it’s just different. I love skating on using my body to do a bunch of incredibly fun tricks and then when it’s down time, hitting the books and studying. I don’t know, maybe it’s the nerdy side of me that comes with being a freestyle skater, but I love studying and reading as well as the spoken aspect of the language.
I decided to come a few weeks before starting school to have some fun and check out the place as well as find out where some good parks are before I started school. One my ventures, I found Shin-Yokohama skatepark. Built right under a bridge, this place is huge! The concrete is also the best I have ever skated on and best of all, it’s less than an hour away from my house. After skating there for a couple of weeks, I started to meet a bunch of locals and make some new friends. One day when I was skating, I was practising a bunch of 360 spin variations, when this Japanese guy came up to me and said “You spin like Kevin Harris“. I was stunned! Not Rodney Mullen, but Kevin Harris. I was stoked to hear that, especially since Kevin was the one who taught me how to do 360’s. We talked and he told me that when Kevin Harris was in Japan, he did a demo at his school and he was blown away. He introduced himself as Kojima and then introduced his wife Saori to me who also skates. I found out from him that he owns a skateshop called Fabric, and when I looked it up, I found out that is was only 3 minutes away from my house on foot. I went to his shop and he showed me some boards from his collection. Amongst them was a deck signed by Kevin Harris. It was really interesting making that connection with one of the locals.
Right now this is the just the beginning and what a beginning it is. I’m hoping to learn a lot from the experiences that will come with this adventure. I look forward to keeping you all posted, stay tuned…
– Ryan Brynelson