How did I end up snaking a trip to Vigo, Spain in an unlikely team-up with contest wonder-boy Ryo Sejiri? Well, unfortunately Ryo is unable to speak Spanish so it was only natural that I’d be invited along as a coordinator and translator, an absolute necessity, without which poor Ryo would no doubt starve to death as waiters and supermarket staff grapple to comprehend his desperate cries for food in Japanese, assuming that he’s gone insane and admitting him to a sketchy Spanish hospital with a high chance of contracting the Ebola virus. The chances of survival would be slim to none, but even if he did make it back to Japan, he would infect us all and take out the entire Japanese skate community.
So I didn’t have to think twice about joining, of course after asking “Will it all be paid for?”, but also out of genuine concern for Ryo’s well-being. I hadn’t been on a trip with Sejiri since the VHS ‘Kansai Banzai’ trip last year but it’s always a pleasure. He’s a very well behaved, polite, courteous young man (completely the opposite of myself) but we get on just fine. He smashed the contest once again, getting second place and somehow managed to restrain himself from taking his prize money directly to the club and buying drinks for the thousands of hysterical girls that were fighting like cats for the chance to have their picture taken with the exotic Asian athlete. Naturally, I had to get out and do some networking myself (a.k.a partying) after putting the kids to sleep.
This is one of the few times that I’ve been in Europe with Japanese people and it was so funny to see people’s reactions to a white guy speaking Japanese. First, somebody saw me reading the local paper and said “Oh I thought you were a foreigner”, to which I would reply “… I am.” And that’s not so unusual to see a guiri (derogatory Spanish slang for Northern Europeans) speaking Spanish, but when you turn around to your Oriental buddies and start spouting chinpunkanpun Asian nonsense, people really seem to trip out. Japanese (known simply is ‘Chino’ in Spanish), is world-renowned as being the most difficult language for English speakers, so people immediately assume you’re a genius or something. The illusion is obviously dispelled when they see you later, drunk in the club, trying to do a 360flip on a girl’s wet penny board and it’s obvious that you’re just as stupid as all the other skaters.
When I wasn’t ordering ham and drink for the lads or asking where and what time the contest was, I had a lot of time on my hands. I thought I’d be taking photos of the trip too but Hidden Champion’s Matsuoka-san had that covered so I decided to kick-start my new career as a filmmaker right there and then. Mr. Patrik Wallner has been teaching me some filming and editing techniques for a while now so I got to work and got filming. Despite not managing to extract a single yen from any of Ryo’s super sponsors for a logo, I don’t think the result is too bad and I’m glad to put it out to support Ryo and his global skate mission.
Conclusion – I’m a filmmaker now. So please contact me if you would like to work on any future projects (Skate promos, rap videos, short films, nature documentaries, budget horror movies etc…)