Tuesday, August 30, 2005

How far would you go for good noodles?

This weekend was the CLUB SPLENDOR Kitakata Ramen Touring & Camp. Kitakata is a town in the middle of nowhere in northern Japan that's famous for its ramen noodles. It's about 4 hours from Tokyo and has lots of great uncrowded roads on the way. The guys in the club I ride with have been doing this run for the last 17 years, and yes, the ramen really is that good. The usual pattern is to get up early to make it there by 10 AM when the shops open, and go from shop to shop sampling as many different types of ramen as possible. My stomach can't handle as much as it did when I was younger, but I make a special effort on these trips, because this stuff is seriously grubbin'. (Does anyone say that anymore?) This time my buddy Go and I took the long way around Lake Inawashiro to the campground and got some amazing views of Mount Bandai. (Go also live photoblogged the trip using his 3G cameraphone.) Up some spectacular twisties to the campsite, then back to town for more. With full stomachs, we head back up the mountain, relax in the onsen (hot springs), and then head to the campsite for draft beer. In the morning we all (only 30-40 bikes this year--in the past we've had 50-60) head back down to town for one more meal before heading home. Nothing like a bowl of hot noodles for breakfast to cure a hangover. I couldn't bear to skip the Katsudon (pork cutlet), which is also famous, so breakfast was pretty filling. More pictures (with comments in Japanese) can be seen at the Gaijin Bikers main site. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Thank You Tokyo!

Saturday was the Stinger's wedding run and party.

We've been doing these parades for years for various biker friends and friends-of-friends, and it never gets old. Throw the happy couple in the back of a convertible, surround it with Harleys, ride around Tokyo waving at everyone like you're celebrities, and people everywhere stop to stare, wave, take pictures, applaud, and shout congratulations to the happy couple.

It really feels like the whole city is celebrating the couple's happiness, and after a parade I always find that the smile muscles in my face are sore from overuse.

In a country where noisy bosozoku bring down the image of bikers, it's great to have events like these parades and our Merry Run to show people the positive side of biker culture.

Our parades have gotten such favorable reactions that some biker friends of mine who run a small event management company have started offering the service for a small fee.

More pictures can be seen at the Gaijin Bikers main site.

由佳とオーエン、結婚おめでとう! 末永くお幸せに!