Our man in NYC is now our man in Japan, at least he was for a little while. Natural Koncept pro Josh Zickert just spent a month abroad in Japan hanging with the locals and checking out their scene. He was kind enough to hit us with this report. So check out Tokyo, Osaka, and more from an insider’s perspective.
Words & photos by Josh Zickert. Additional photos by Izumi Hoshino
JZ in Japan
My girlfriend, Brooklyn Dawn is a bad ass DJ and hooked up a gig in Tokyo for a month—free flights, free apartment, and mad loot for DJing three nights a week at Feria, the hottest club in Tokyo.
Tokyo is massive! This is the view from the top of the Ritz Carlton Hotel.
The plan was to explore Tokyo (this was the first time to Japan for each of us), party it up Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, meet with distributors/skate shops to hook up NK distribution in Japan, and of course skate and film as much as possible each day!
Crazy looking spot in Tokyo.
The spots were endless, the food was delicious, the metro was fast and easy to use, and the people were amazing. It was such an epic trip I extended my flight to NYC by two weeks to head south 300 miles and skate Osaka!
This is the busiest street in Harajuku—pure insanity. Supreme has a store in this neighborhood.
NK is now distributed in Japan! There is a strong chance of a Natural Koncept store opening in Tokyo in 2011. We got lots of footage and skated with some of the illest rippers in Japan.
Lots of people in Japan, mostly the girls, have little toys hanging from their cell phones. This is where they get ‘em.
This is Feria, the club where Brooklyn DJed. The VIP section where we partied every night was filled with models.
Roppongi is like the times square of NYC. Nightime flick on a Friday night.
This was my first session with this crew. We drove around all day skating epic spots. Hede, the filmer, Soturu, Tera, and Kochon scoping possibilities.
Kochon hittin’ this banked wall backside.
Brooklyn and I ate at almost every restaurant in our neighborhood. This one was our favorite. The squid rocked!
JZ, kickflip. Yokohama.
Arktz skate shop. This is a bad-ass skate shop. They had spitfire ramp stickers that were like four feet tall. They also stocked Sk8Mafia boards heavy! The guys who work here are the truth. OG Tokyo rippers.
Hana, ollie north. This guy is the first person I met in Osaka. He works at the Element Skate shop. Unversal Studios, Osaka.
JZ, pop shove-it.
This spot was also at Unversal Studios Osaka. Epic day.
Each night in Osaka the skaters would all meet up here. They called it Takamae. If you hit up Osaka go here and meet up with the crew. The cops had enough this particular night.
Osaka skate crew.
This could be one of the best skate spots ever. JZ gettin’ oververt in Osaka.
And going backside.
Shintaro and Koji Imoto—Osaka Metro.
This place is called San Francisco. It’s along the main river running through Osaka. The iron plaque along the banked wall of this photo lists all the neighborhoods of SF:Chinatown, Russian Hill, Fillmore, Union Square, Haight Ashbury, etc. Just before the cops came and Koji Imoto’s backside tailslide, I explained to the crew that the Tenderloin was my favorite neighborhood in SF because of the strip clubs and overall chaos!
Next time I visit Osaka again I’m going to put a piece of plywood at the bottom of this amazing sculpture and drop in!
Last photo from Osaka. Epic skate scene fosho! Big shout outs to the entire Osaka/Takamae crew—Hana, Jun, Machaan, and Koji shred!
FTC World Tour—Japan! Joey Pepper, Brandon Biebel, Matt Miller, and Marcus McBride and Western Edition pro Toshiaki Toeda. Ando from FTC SF, TransWorld’s very own Dave Chami and Anthony Claravall were also on this tour. It was a massive night in Tokyo as FTC premiered the TransWorld video Hallelujah.
Biebel was teaching young shredders how to shotgun beers throughout the night. The look on this kid’s face after crushin’ one is epic.
Take a close at this photo. So trippy. Sotoru showed us this trick. It’s wild.
An artist named Kami constructed this trippy miniramp spine as an art exhibit for the Mori Art Museum. I went there with my girl a week before and couldn’t believe what I saw. There was a sign posted that a skate exhibition is taking place July 17, so I came back July 17 and snuck past security. Kami knew Natural Koncept and was hyped to have me skate it with his friends. Blunt 180.
Last day in Japan, epic session at the wonderland spot in Tokyo! Radness. The entire Tokyo posse.
Tetsuya Yasuta, nollie bigspin. This dude skates for éS and won the éS Japan game of SKATE and got flown to San Diego for the finals. He’s got the illest kickflip I’ve ever seen in real life.
Shout outs to Natural Koncept, Drunkn Munky, Black Flys, Freestyle, DVS shoes, Skate Lair, and Pull-In for their support on this trip!