Interview by VHSMAG Photo courtesy of Paradise Wheels
VHSMAG(V)： Why did you visit SF in the first place?
AKIRA IMAMURA(A)： I just wanted to skate there.
V： When did you arrive SF? How are things over there?
A： I’ve been in SF since March 28th. It’s fun here. It hardly rains and can skate everyday. The sun’s up until late so you can skate under the sun even if you get up late.
V： Where are you staying at?
A： I’m currently staying at a friend’s shared apartment but before that I was staying at a Pilipino homestay for two months. It was pretty expensive and the food was terrible so I left.
V： Who do you skate in SF?
A： Locals in SF. I skate with a lot of different skaters. They’re all good and have great style.
V： Did you get to see your favorite skater?
A： I got to see Dennis Busenitz. He was skating at Potrero.
V： What’s been the most memorable thing so far in SF?
A： NY’s Thumbs Crew was in SF and skated and filmed with them together. I entered a slappy contest held by Lowcard at a place called DMV.
A video edit made n eight days by NY’s Thumbs Crew.
The fourth annual slappy contest held by Lowcard.
V： So this is your first time getting out of Japan. Any cultural shock?
A： All kinds of different ethnicity is living together and I got to see all kinds of things I’d never seen. It was full of cultural shock.
V： How about the food there?
A： I usually eat at random spots although I miss Japanese food here and there. Burritos here are super big and good.
V： What’s the best thing about skating in a different environment?
A： All the spots feel fresh. I think it broadened my skate style a little.
V： Any struggle in SF?
A： Communication, I guess. I can communicate but you can’t get into deep conversation.
V： Any you found during the stay?
A： Hmm… I don’t know.
V： Any advantage you had in SF?
A： Being Japanese. There are a lot of skaters that are interested in Japanese skating. They don’t see many Japanese skaters in SF. The fact that I can skate street was an advantage.
V： Any crazy incident in SF?
A： I forgot the keys to my homestay and got locked out for two days.
V： Did you get laid?
V： What’s the difference you felt between the scenes in Japan and the US?
A： Population of skaters are so different. You se skaters everywhere in SF. Skating is so normal and accepted so no one care. Skate parks are everywhere too so it’s a great environment.
V： How did your pro wheels from Paradise Wheels come about?
A： We ere filming together and one lead to another.
V： What about the graphic?
A： It was done before I knew it. I think it came from my Evisen board graphic.
V： What’s the best thing about Paradise Wheels?
A： Just like the name, it’s chill. The wheels are super good too.
V： How did the video part come about? Who filmed it?
A： I started skating and filming with the boss Nick Matlin. We gradually stacked footage and decided to make a video part.
V： How’s the filming process like?
A： We usually meet up around noon and look for spots.
V： How’s skating in SF? Do you feel any difference in spots?
A： SF’s awesome. Like I said, Daytime is long so you can skate under the sun everyday. Bombing hills is fun too. Basically the ground’s at spots are cracked and rough. Since there are a lot of skaters, all the spots got skid and grind marks. The edge of ledges are all grinded down so they’re all round.
V： What’s the trick you worked hardest on? Which trick do you feel happy?
A： The Bs bigspin into a slanted wall. That was super hard. The ones I feel happy about are downhill footage since it’s filmed in SF.
V： Anything you want to do before you leave SF?
A： There are still spots I want to try so do that, I guess.
V： You have pro board from Evisen and now pro wheels from Paradise. What’s next?
A： I want to start something new on my own.
V： Okay, message to everyone in Japan?
A： Check out my online part filmed in SF!! Enjoy life!! Keep pushing!! Keep it going!!