Lost In Translation — The Alluring Difficulty of Skateboarding in Tokyo

Legos not Lagos

Tell another visitor the truth about street skating in Tokyo and the response is between an eye-roll and defensive denial.

The truth: Tokyo is [deep breath] …not that good for skateboarding.

Ok, wait! Don’t start yelling! Are there spots? Yeah, some. Are there tons of incredible skaters from there? Yes, a lot. Is there a vibrant skate scene? Yes, yes, and yes. Does it have quite literally the friendliest, most amazing locals on earth? Good God, a million times yes. Tokyo has incredible skateboarding culture, but when you find yourself a tourist there, you soon realize this previously unfathomable truth: you’re more likely to come home with five expensive jackets you don’t actually need, rather than five tricks you’re happy with for a video.

This past October was one of those great groupthink travel moments where diverging New York skate crews all happened to be in Tokyo at roughly the same time (a la that one January when literally every New York skater was in Barcelona at once.) As we’d cross paths with newcomers, the following interaction became commonplace.

“Have a you guys been skating a bunch since you’ve been here?”

“Er, um, not really, no.”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s um…kind of hard to skate here.”

Cue the “You guys are probably just hungover everyday,” or worse, the proverbial “We’re more ‘core’ than you” subtext that assures the denying party will have an easier time being productive in Tokyo than you have.

Until you run into them the next time, and they concede to reality.

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All Good Things Must…

All the stuff from the longest T.F. obstacle run in the spot’s history is gone, as of last week. Sometimes you need to cleanse your palette so new flavors can flourish, and we’re excited to see what sort of debris tumbles into Tompkins for 2019. (Still kind of curious about how they let us rock for AN. ENTIRE. SUMMER. — softball leagues and all — then finally decided to get rid of it in…November? Not complaining though.)

“Nevertheless, the same 2018 skateboarding memes exist in each city. Wherever you go there will be the body varial guy. Someone, eyes closed, will spin their board one handed above a precipice. It is now universally accepted that baggy pants give you the illusion of having more grace on a skateboard, you simply have to be very good to throw the right shapes in skinny jeans. There will always be a bottle tosser.” — LOVED this. Daryl Mersom offers up some observations on skateboarding via his travels in post-Soviet Eastern Europeans counties. We out to Estonia, and shout out to apple trees.

Watermelonism has a new clip up from a wallie jam at Parque Las Chimeneas A.K.A. Colombian J-Kwon, and Alex has a bunch of new gear up on his site, Watermelonism.com.

Good vibes, some wild tricks (that Battery Park City pop-over into the rock wall…), and a profound dedication to Three Up Three Down that even exceeds our own in Stephen Ostrowski’s wonderful “Ether” video.

“Someone told me you got into a fight with Wu-Tang a while back?” To follow-up the jump ramp story, Mackenzie uploaded the full audio of his ~15-year-old interview with Macaulay Culkin’s friend, Harold Hunter.

Skate Jawn interviewed Josh Stewart (yeah, I wish Keith skated more too…), and Josh Stewart interviewed Steve Brandi.

Mobster Children paid a visit to Jahmal Williams’ art studio.

Vice has a profile on Supreme on the eve of the “BLESSED” release. The video is due out this Friday btw.

Wasn’t expecting Theories to post a video that had 6ix9ine songs and crooked grind nollie front foot flips in it, but 2018 has been all about expanding your horizons, yaknow. “Legana” is a 20-minute video from a Peruvian skate crew that’s 50% filmed in New York.

Grey interviewed J.B. Gillet about his favorite plazas, and he made me want to get a coffee bean chain.

Boil the Ocean takes issue with Palace picking on Alien and Habitat circa 2018.

And on that note, The Atlantic has a wild article about why we’re all not hooking up enough. (There’s a SoundCloud embed on there that you can listen to in the event you don’t want to read a 10,000 word article about not having sex.)

QS Sports Desk Play of the Week: Looks like the whole Philly thing worked out for Jimmy Butler. Sheesh.

Quote of the Week:

— Slicky Boy

Recently went out for dinner in a place that had no real traces of being a skater-run establishment, but for whatever reason, they were playing Pretty Sweet. None of us had watched it in full since roughly around the time it came out. Two things became obvious: that we’re okay with not seeing it in full for another five years (…sorry), and that Kenny Anderson had fire footage in that video, which seemed to float under the radar during its initial release. The whole “it’s a *normal* Marc Johnson part!”- narrative kind of took the reigns when Pretty Sweet dropped, but Kenny really did have the best bits of the video as far as Girl’s 30-years+ riders at the time were concerned.

We were gassing up this Tennyson remix hard back when it first dropped, but you should give it a whirl if you haven’t in a while. It’s the best part from Pretty Sweet ;)

QS Top 10 — November 16, 2018

Could have been an all GX1000 video edition, but we’ve been running the one-video editions a bit too heavy in 2018. (Probably a compliment to this year’s remarkable pile of full-length skate video releases, more than anything.) But yeah, it’s basically a GX edition, with a sprinkle of Lucas looking cool, and an utterly fucked Pedro Delfino trick. Oh, and that Tampa filmer that got re-posted a zillion times last week :)

*Fingers crossed that we got the names of all the GX skaters right*

Good luck with the slush out there.

Original Clips:

Spoiler

Intro via Instagram [link] 10) Lucas Puig via Adidas’ “Shen City Peaks” video [link] 9) Tyler Pacheco via GX1000’s Roll Up video [link] 8) Pedro Delfino via Independent’s “Gotta Pray to Play” video [link] 7) Matt Finley via GX1000’s Roll Up video [link] 6) Jeff Carlyle via GX1000’s Roll Up video [link] 5) Eddie Cernicky via GX1000’s Roll Up video [link] 4) via GX1000’s Roll Up video [link] 3) Yonnie Cruz via GX1000’s Roll Up video [link] 2) Jesse Vieira via GX1000’s Roll Up video [link] 1) Ender via GX1000’s Roll Up video [link]

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Previously: November 9, 2018

An Interview With Bill Strobeck About Supreme’s “BLESSED” Video

Photo by Jared Sherbert

Keeping an almost three-year-long video under wraps — especially in the social media age — is next to impossible. Except all things considered, nobody really knows what to expect from Supreme’s upcoming “BLESSED” video, which comes at the tail end of a year already stacked with incredible full-lengths. We tried to extract as much as we could from Bill about the process behind the video, the legacy of the last one, and where they had to go from there.

+++++++

Skateboarding seems like it moves faster each year. Between “cherry” and today, has any change in skating really surprised you?

I don’t know if much has changed in skating. All the social media stuff was going off when we were doing “cherry” already. It’s so crazy to make a video like this for two-and-a-half years, watching all these other videos come out while you’re filming it. You’ve got so much more to think about. Before, you weren’t worried about if somebody is gonna do tons of psycho shit at the spot that you just filmed something at before you have a chance to put it out.

Would you be watching new videos with that in mind?

Yeah, before the next trick comes up, I’ll be thinking, “This dude looks like he would skate the same kind of shit we were at.” Now, even if somebody posts of a photo of a spot, people might see it and think, “Oh, I forgot about that spot, let’s go there tomorrow.” We were skating this one spot for a while, and all of a sudden, somebody hit me up, like, “Dude, no one’s skated that shit for six years, and since you guys are skating it, people are trying to film there.”

Why do you think that happens? I’ll see it, too. A spot will have been sitting there forever, one guy tries, and it’s like, “Oh, you get 20 minutes,” then it’s in every video. It’s like a collective consciousness thing.

I don’t know, and I’m more into going to classic shit, you know? Like, if I’m going to L.A., I want to hit the school yards. In 15 or 20 years, people will still recognize those spots: “Courthouse, that’s New York, schoolyards are L.A.” They are going to rip out the little things that people hit, but in 30 years, those are going to still be here. I want what I make to last a long time. I’ve seen gnarly parts come out, but I just don’t like the spots.

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T.J. 4 S.O.T.Y.

Pretty much any group of skaters that has passed this spot these past ~20 years has stopped and debated whether it was possible or not. I remember somebody pointing out that if Brandon Westgate hadn’t done it yet (he definitely would’ve known about it), then maybe it was impossible. We even posed the rhetorical “how long until” on Twitter two years ago (that photo does the size of it zero justice, btw.) Really glad T.J. was the one to get it. The fact that an ollie is on the cover should tell you all you need to know about how crazy this is. (Well, that and the fact that it’s broad daylight in midtown Manhattan should color the narrative a bit, too.) Assuming everyone will be onboard the #TJSOTY train when that Supreme video drops, so yeah. Photo by Jared Sherbert.

And on that note, Boil the Ocean makes an assessment of the past eleven months to decide who should be eligible for S.O.T.Y.

The match-up you’ve all been waiting for: Nyjah Houston v.s. Alexis Lacroix.

Here is a #longform, Pineapple Express-based Nick Ferro b-sides remix, and here is a #longform, lo-def Memphis/Texas/(?) rap-based Dick Rizzo b-sides remix.

Office favorite, Jawn Gardner, has a new part over on Thrasher full of hairy spots. Glad you’re ok John! ♥

Remember that Weed Maps clip we admitted to being a bit of a guilty pleasure on here last winter? Well, here’s the less jittery version of the same clip that features Jaws skating New York.

Been a fan of this guy since he skated to People Under the Stairs (yeah…) in 411 — if you need some style inspo for the day, Free managed to unearth a ton of unseen Javier Sarmiento footage from the start of the millennium.

After getting shamed for not putting the new OG.2000 video (the dudes who made the “Mariah” video last year and um, ollied onto a Ferrari) in #QSTOP10 contention a week ago, we finally got around to watching it, and yeah, it got way less shine than it deserved on the skate internet. Tons of incredible Euro skating from names that will likely be unknown to you — though I’m sure some #trend-weary curmudgeons will find issue with something. These two tricks in Paris are fucked.

Brian Anderson is the latest guest on Lee Smith’s podcast. The interview is damn near two hours long. Maybe these could benefit from Soundcloud or Podcast links? Or did we miss that?

Looks like SML Talk is updating their site again. Here’s a listicle of 17 “beautiful” moments in skate video history. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and quite frankly, Jason Byoun’s Astor Place line from Life is Goodie got robbed.

It’s no video blog, but Johnny went to Argentina to film the SB team a year ago, and made his own clip of the trip just now. Can’t wait for Beef Patty 2.

Back when Crailtap was a daily visit and the skateboard internet was a smaller place, they used to post these random digi cam tidbits (pre-iPhone obvs) on their site. Someone compiled all of them, 2003-2005.

The building got tired of replacing the rail in front of the out ledge at FedEx and just… knobbed the ledge instead.

QS Sports Desk Play of the Week: Hell ya Louuuuuuuu.

Quote of the Week: “I could see myself adding a nice siesta to my daily routine.” — E.J.

Shout to Cosme Studio for coming through on a slightly higher quality digital copy of Continuum. These are maybe only 10-15% better quality than the ones that have been on YouTube for ages, but hey, slow motion is better than… Also we’ve certainly pontificated about it in the past, but wow was Jerry Fowler’s skateboarding ahead of its time. Jahmal’s is obvs timeless, but you knew that :)