I’m writing to highlight the severe need for a public skateboard area in Tokyo city.
The only decent space we had in the city at Miyashita Park, Shibuya was bulldozed to the ground a few years ago to make room to build hotels for the Olympics (that will probably be empty as soon as the event is over). All that remains at the moment are huge ugly white construction walls with utopian illustrations of people going shopping holding skateboards, right next to ‘No skateboarding’ signs plastered all over the place.
Can’t help but feel a little insulted by the gesture, what with the first appearance of skateboarding in the Olympics at Tokyo 2020 just around the corner.
A huge part of the reason why skateboarding will appear in the Olympics is because the millennial generation don’t seem to be so interested anymore in watching hours and hours of guys in leotards trying to find out once and for all who’s best at exercising, or can throw a stick the farthest, or swim the fastest. Couple this with the fact that 90% of the planets young minds have been rotten away by smartphones and Instagram to the point of only being able to concentrate for 15seconds at a time on videos of @drunkpeopledoingthings… There’s no chance someone under the age of 30 is going to sit down quietly and be transfixed by a 50km walking race for an hour and a half. That might have been the most exciting shit going on in the first Olympic games in 776BC before they invented running, but we need something a little more to hold our attention these days. Watching them bumble around the course like penguins with something stuck up the butt is only funny for about 5 seconds before it gets swiped away to the next video of the next Chad shot-gunning a beer before jumping off a roof, narrowly missing his picnic table landing pad.
The Olympics need skateboarding to show something with a bit more relevance in today’s world and get some better material for the gram, and that will bring a lot of money to Tokyo in the next few years. It only seems right that some of that money should be used to provide adequate public facilities to help our sport grow in return. Even Pyongyang, North Korea has a better skate park than we do.
Also there’s no way Japan can beat those acai bowl eating, guarana drinking, monster pop switch back tailing Brazilian kids without some kind of skate park to practice in…
It’s also probably worth pointing out that skateboarders are the most resilient, stoic little roaches, and no matter how much we’re told not to skate, we won’t stop. The only chance of containing us at all is to give us public space we can freely use. At least then the police will have somewhere to tell us we should be.
There are plenty of great examples of public space being used in a positive way to provide free space for modern culture grow around the world. It makes cities safer, generates a lot of money through tourism and puts cities on the map as cultural centres.
Southbank, UK : http://llsb.com/theproject/
Landhausplatz, Austria : https://www.dezeen.com/2011/06/02/landhausplatz-by-laac-architekten-and-stiefel-kramer-architecture/
Streetdome, Denmark : https://www.visithaderslev.info/ln-int/haderslev/children/streetdome
Melbourne, Australia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhTOaai6q8A
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