Probably The Chillest D.I.Y. Spot in the World — Yume Farm in Narita, Japan

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Japanese culture is well known for its attention to detail. They seem to master everything they pursue, sometimes even surpassing original versions of things indigenous to other places. Why else do Americans fly to Japan, convert dollars to yen, and spend money on superior Japanese versions of traditionally American products? So in hindsight, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to learn that the most impressive D.I.Y. spot I’ve ever seen — save Burnside, FDR and places that have been around for twenty-plus years — was in Japan.

There is minimal English information about Yume Farm on the internet. It is an actual farm and campsite, serving as a hour-away escape from Tokyo life for anyone willing to make the drive. The skatepark though — …doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s a smooth island of concrete in the middle of the woods. It sits on a mellow slope and there is no sign that it was ever a building foundation. The only story behind how it came to exist was “three years ago, the park gave it to the skaters and said they could build whatever they want on it.” The people who brought us here had last skated it three months prior, and in that time, the entire tall transition section got built.

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Midtown Sundays, Museum Mondays

Antonio via Paul Coots. The footage of this one was in the 2018 “End of Summer” edit, but felt worth reminding everyone how insane it was. This photo does it great justice ♥ Just observe the height ;)

Jawn Gardner uses his gifts to do what nobody else can in an incredible new Earth Day part. The line at CBS is maybe the most third-eye-open choreography that place has ever seen.

What an amazing idea for a feature… “‘Perfect Days’ will interview familiar faces in the Boston and Northeast scene, and pose them with the simple question: what was one of your favorite sessions ever?” The Orchard Skate Shop blog is following the footsteps of the Slam City Skates blog in creating good, old-fashioned web content outside the Insta-sphere. Kevin Coakley is the inaugural edition. (Fwiw, all-time favorite skate day around here is probably Yume Farm with *literally everybody* in fall 2018 ♥)

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#TRENDWATCH2019 in the Form of a QS Travelogue — Athens, Greece

No, we are not above using an iPhone pic of a sunset for a headline image ;)

Truth be told, 80% of skate trips go to the same dozen places. When there’s an uptick in coverage from a new one, it’s no different than noticing a trick return to fashion, or everyone’s pants cuffs starting to homogenize. And lately, a lot of crews have been going to Greece. Not to say that skaters visiting Greece is some new phenomenon — just that this past year has felt like it produced a new “Trip to Athens!” clip each month.

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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 many diverging 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 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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Already Got Those

Five out of five Tompkins skaters agree that this is the best box ever made. Sadly, it’s on the other side of the planet. We got to talking about replicating it — anybody know any welders? (Real question.)

Holy big flip, here is an illicit link to Brandon Westgate’s part in the new Element video, Peace. (Read: Will probably get deleted.) Really sick to see him still gunning for it as hard as he was in the Stay Gold days, and on a lot of new/seldom-seen New England spots at that. Would comment on the THPS music, but Brandon Westgate never struck me as a skater who is too invested in music.

Not much other info on it, but “Background 1” is a fun lo-def video with a ton of faces you’ll recognize from Gang Corp edits, Tompkins, and L.E.S. Park. All street clips.

Nik Stain, Hjalte, Paul Grund, and Bobby DeKeyzer went to the best skate spot on the planet and other European destinations. Ben Chadourne on the beat.

Listen to Bobby Puleo fan out on the Gonz for five minutes. He’s really good at finding the right words to describe why certain small things make a trick or photo extra special.

I’ve found myself using the word “super” too much lately, too :( Gino Iannucci is the latest guest in an hour-long interview on Lee Smith’s podcast.

Always down to plug something that resurrects the lost art of the video review. Live gets all Boil the Ocean on us and uses a bunch of vocabulary stuff and long sentences to do a joint review of Doll and It’s Time, two videos that occupy space on opposite ends of the spectrum (and country.)

If you’re 30+, you’re bound to get emotional watching this nine-minute-long raw Pier 7 greatest hits compilation.

Enjoyed this more than the “pro snowboarder with some ‘summer trip to New York’ footage in his skate part” label prepared me for: Forest Bailey’s NYC/MTL/PDX-based “Florg” part.

Here is what is slated-to-be one of the final Elkin’s Tapes episodes, featuring a good bit of pre-groer Daniel Kim footage.

The general harshness of the world feels extra apocalyptic in an election year, but if you’re an optimist (or willing to turn your sights that way), I read this article (from April 2018) about the [good] ways in which American life is currently being reinvented on a micro level and felt fuzzy inside, at least for a bit ♥ Love you guys, and please go vote next Tuesday!

QS Sports Desk Play of the Week: This four-second video encapsulates the entire history of the Brooklyn Nets. (And yes, if it was by a Knicks player, it’d encapsulate their past 17 years too obvs.)

Quote of the Week: “A Bennett grind is like another drunk tank trick.” — Dana Ericson re: someone else (forgetting who) originally coining a smith kickflip as being a “drunk tank trick.” (Hypothetical: Has there ever been a Bennett grind that’s been better than even the most generic switch back smith? Actually, nvm.)

A lot of parentheses this Monday. Mind’s all over the place. (Or something.)