Vans x Frog Skateboards

An all-Tokyo part by the Yokosuka boy, Kouki Arima. Stay Alert; the city is under a state of emergency.
──KOUKI ARIMA (ENGLISH)

2021.01.04

Video_A Haters Production
Photos_Junpei Ishikawa

[JAPANESE / ENGLISH]

VHSMAG (V): Pick Up in 2016 was your first video part, right? How was it like filming for that part?

Kouki Arima (K): I filmed that part with Hon-D, the owner of ours skateboard & co. I was going to Canada for a working holiday that year, so we decided to film an all-Yokosuka part before I left. I started riding for the shop the year before. It was like I was at the right place at the right time.

V: What do you think has changed since then other than the size of your pants (laughs)?

K: (laughs). I think I can skate different kinds of spots now. I can go bigger that I used to as well.

V: You were based completely in Yokosuka back then, but now you're based half in Yokosuka and half in Tokyo, right?

K: That's right. I decided last year that I'm going to film a part in Tokyo. I was concentrating on that this year. It's good to be based in Tokyo because I can move around whenever I want. It takes an hour and a half to get from Yokosuka to Tokyo, and the transportation costs are quite high. But when I'm in Tokyo, I can go out to film once every two days, and I can meet up with a filmer in 10 minutes or so. So it's great for being productive.

V: You've been super productive this year. I didn't know you had a clear goal from the beginning to film a part in Tokyo.

K: I'm just doing everything I can to reach my goals. There are times when I wonder if I really want to live in Tokyo, but I have more important things to do than thinking about that. I was just trying to do my thing.

V: In the past few years, Yokosuka skaters are killing it.

K: I think Yokosuka skaters are unstoppable right now. We got Shintaro and Masaki Hongo, we got Rio Morishige...

V: Yeah, you guys are killing all the spots in Tokyo.

K: I don't know what the other guys are like, but I knew I had to give it a shot in Tokyo. Shintaro had been working with KE from VHSMAG for quite a while, and that's when I started to put more effort into filming.

V: How did you start filming for this part?

K: Even before we started working on this part, KE and I were always filming. I realized that I can get footage if we had time to film. So we decided to start filming the part when the COVID hit and Tokyo declared a state of emergency. This was at the end of March or the beginning of April. That's how it all started.

V: So that means you finished this part within less than a year. That's super productive.

K: I think it was about eight months. And because of COVID, there were fewer people outside in April and May. I was able to hit spots during the day that were basically night-only.

V: Were there specific parts that you watched while filming this part?

K: I mean, the skate style might be totally different but I was watching Louie Lopez and Mason Silva's part a lot. I've been watching Shintaro, Kaito Sagawa, Sora Negishi and Shogo Zama's VHSMAG parts too.

V: I'm sure you encounter a lot of interesting things when you're out in the streets. Anything you can remember?

K: I was skating this handrail in Shinjuku and there were a lot of young people around. I was skating anyway and checked my phone after landing the trick I was trying. Then I got a DM from a random person saying, "I was just watching you trying a trick on a handrail. Hope you land it." I was hyped. Like, "This is so random!"

V: That's nice. Anything you struggled with for this part?

K: You get kicked out super quick in Tokyo. Basically, people were cold (laughs). So I was like a ninja the whole time, watching out for anything that might happen. That's why I didn't run into any serious problems. And KE's the shit. He's really amazing. Thanks to KE, I was able to choose the right spot at the right time and day (laughs).

V: What do you keep in mind when you're working on a part?

K: I know it's obvious, but I pushed myself to the limit of what I could do. I tried not to do anything half-ass.

V: Was there a trick you couldn't get regardless?

K: Yeah,there was one. I went to this spot twice, and a security guard ran up to me and put a barcode scanner on my face and "beeped" me. I'm not sure what it was, but... I guess he scanned my face. I have no idea. I was too scared to go back the third time. That was super weird (laughs).

V: You were hitting a lot of big spots for this part. How do you deal with those spots when you go film?

K: I like to decide where I'm going to skate on the day of the filming. If it's a normal spot, I don't mind deciding the day before. But if I'm going to a big spot, I have to decide based on the flow and feeling of the day, otherwise I get so nervous that I can't get enough sleep (laughs). And then I get to the spot, I'm so nervous that I can't hit the stairs because it feels too big and I'm afraid of slamming. Of course, big spots like the stairs in Hibiya are on my list, but I feel better if I just go with the flow on the day.

V: Which trick are you most stoked on? Impossible tail grab at the stairs in Hibiya?

K: That was a battle... I think we tried for over an hour... We also got kicked out a couple of times. But I knew I had to make it that day. Physically and mentally, I knew I couldn't carry it over to another day. I was a real wreck, but... I made it at the last minute and pissed blood.

V: Pissed blood (laughs) !?

K: Yeah, I pissed blood... I landed it and I was like "YEEESSSSS!!!" And then I went to go take a leak, and I couldn't see my own piss. I was like, "What the...?" So I put on the light on my phone and realized my piss was all black. I continued to piss blood for about half a day. I was freaking out.

V: You didn't hit your dick or anything, right?

K: I guess when you bail and roll on the ground, your kidneys can get damaged a bit. I think the blood is from that. I never want to skate that spot again (laughs).

V: You won the mental battle. You never had a mental breakdown while trying?

K: I did for sure. I was almost crying the whole time (laughs). But I just had to keep trying. I really wanted that clip. I knew I definitely needed that kind of clip in my part. But really, that was a battle. I'd never want to go back again.

V: I'm amazed you managed to recover from that mental breakdown.

K: When that happens, I always try to think like this. "If I quit, all I'll have left is regret." It's better to try and regret than not to try and regret. But that was completely like a mental training (laughs).

V: Any other trick that you were stoked on?

K: A halfcab kickflip over a gap to rail. I had done a bs 180 kickflip about a year ago, but I didn't think I could do any better than that. But when Leo Takayama and I were filming together at that spot, we were like, "It'd be dope if we could do something fakie." So I started trying and after a few tries, I suddenly landed it. That was the only miracle in this part.

V: Sick. Anything you learned from filming for this part?

K: I've learned to look at my surroundings. I think I've learned how to identify haters. I totally got that from KE. I think I've acquired ninja skills (laughs).

V: What do you want people to see in your part?

K: I did most of what I could do. Wallride, pollie, quick feet, hammer... Also, I think I was able to pull some good tricks at spots that everyone knows. I think I was able to show a new side of myself, and I think that would be interesting too.

V: I'm sure it was a battle after battle. How do you feel now that the part is done?

K: To be honest, I miss the battle already. I feel like I did my best but... I want to start filming again tomorrow.

V: Dope. Anything planned in the near future?

K: Well, I'm going to start filming right after this, so I'm hoping to release another video around spring. I think things will change in many ways, so I'm looking forward to it.

V: You just said you're already missing the battle and want to start filming again right away. Where does the drive come from?

K: I mean, I'm a skateboarder and this is all I can do... I'm 24 and I don't know how much time I have where I can skate at the level that I can be satisfied with. I need to go for it and skate my ass off. I just have to go as far as I can.

 

Kouki Arima
@kouki__arima

Date of birth :
October 2, 1996

Blood type :
B

Birthplace :
Yokosuka, Kanagawa

 

  • BRIXTON
  • NB Numeric: New Balance