søndag den 22. juli 2007

Friday Nov. 17 - The Shipping Agent, The Brit and The Korean




I leave early, forget about Mooneyes and try to locate the shipping agent, using maps that Yoshiko Obe printed out for me. Knowing now that paperwork can be a bit tricky over here, I want to be prepared. Despite the fine maps I still need the aid of a scooter rider to lead me through the final labyrinths, and after having passed the shipping agent’s office three times, he jumps out and stops me. Tokuda-san then greets me in perfect English, his language skills being a major factor in my decision to use this company.
“We’ve never tried this before”, he tells me as he looks through the carnet, and reminisces about his Copenhagen visit some 40-odd years ago. Registration papers, passport, drivers license etc. gets copied, along with a list of whatever I’ll send with the bike. The 110,000 yen price doesn’t seem outrageous, and I get a map of some harbour area in Yokohama, where I am to deliver the bike on Tuesday. He’s off fishing on Wednesday, there’s a national holiday on Thursday, so we’ll have Friday to sort out possible complications. In theory the bike will be home before Christmas, just like the soldiers in WW1.

Then back through town, between the lanes like some ‘Ghost Rider Light’ (the real ‘Ghost Rider’ is an insane Swede who rides at 200-250 kph this way). Back into Tokyo centre, where I am to meet Simon Godden, that I met at Fuji Speedway some days ago. SG is a co-owner of a video production company, and he wants it to do a bit about me and the Nimbus. He shows up at Tokyo Station on an immaculate Magni with a 1200 cc Suzuki GSX powerplant, one of the last the small Italian company built before concentrating on MV Agusta restorations. Later, as we talk at his office, it turns out he also has one of the new Triumph Rocket III’s, which he uses for going fast. The Triumph is a 317 kilograms heavy juggernaut, examples of which he has seen over here with clip-ons et al. This may explain why he listened to me at the track, when I suggested some sort of two-wheeled truck racing series, using Honda Goldwings and similar bikes for actual racing.

A few hours later we ride through rush hour traffic up to my hotel, where I get as nice a welcome as I do when entering Tepui Bar, the nice watering hole nearby. Nice to ride together with someone where you don’t have to worry the slightest, whether they’ll hang on or not, our progress only being dictated by the wide motocross type handlebar on my Nimbus. Have a long chat with Simon about bikes, about how Brits seem to be able to fit in anywhere in the world, about how it is to live in Japan as a ‘gajin’ – a foreigner – and how it is to run a business in this environment.

One interesting example of the latter, was the time he wanted to fire six employees who were unfit for whatever they were hired for. No can do, his Japanese partner said, in Japan a company has a responsibility for their employees. So the six guys were offered a 75 % reduction in wages, were to sit together in a room staring at a wall, waiting for someone to have something copied on the photo-copier, which now was their new and only responsibility. The humiliation was total, the toughest one held out for three days. But the company didn’t fire anyone….

Later in the evening I meet a young Korean – Jay - at the hotel. He turns out be probably the first person over here who wants to know about Denmark. Having taught himself English by seeing every single one of ‘The Simpsons’ episodes (!) up to ten times each (!!!), his language skills are excellent, and I get my fourth English-fix today. He takes me to a really strange little restaurant at Ueno (Fukuoan specialities, see picture above), and we pay a quick visit to Ueno Park with all the homeless living in and around there. Predictably we end up at Tepui, which is one place I definitely think should be transferred back to Denmark, if at all possible. Together with a) a couple of large mountains (or five) with their wonderful, twisty car-free roads, b) some onsens, c) the better half of the Japanese cuisine, d) electrically heated toilet seats, and e) the Rider House train wagon, the accompanying Iwashita Motorcycle Museum and it’s staff.

1 kommentar:

ross lane sagde ...

Anal TV? Hahaha!