søndag den 22. juli 2007

Monday Nov. 6 - Temples, Ace Choppers And The Old Nimbus Man

5 hours of sleep, then sightseeing with Jakob at a Buddhist temple which is relatively simple in construction, albeit very long and reminiscent of traditional Viking architecture. Inside there’s 1,000 statues of ‘Kannon Bodhisattva’ (I think), 500 hundred of them on either side of a major version of same. This is my favourite temple so far, and Jakob, who is a carpenter by trade, tells about the different building techniques used here and at our next stop:

Nijo-jo (Nijo castle) is an impressive shogun’s (supreme commander’s) residence, and stylistically very simple and clean. Still the place sports a lot of wonderful technical touches, like floors that in certain places are designed to squeak, secret small compartment where a samurai could sit and wait in case he was needed, etc. etc. All walls are beautifully decorated with simple motifs, often with large areas in (real) gold, in order to demonstrate, Versailles-style, his wealth – aside from being a real fortress with high walls and a mound. Best building I’ve seen here.

In the afternoon I take the train to Kobe, through so much ugly suburbia that I can think of one more good reason for using the Shinkansen, the 300 kph high-speed trains. First I visit ACE Choppers, a hole-in-the-wall workshop under the railway. Some really tough looking bikes came to the rally the other day, and as I’m to meet the old Nimbus man a few hundred meters from here, I thought it’d be a good opportunity to take pictures of the place, and of the dusty Panhead project in the middle of it all.

My translator shows up, and shortly thereafter Ansai-san himself, in one of the tiny, tiny vans. By local standards his workshop nearby is fairly large, as there is room for both six motorcycles and for us to walk between them. More amusing, though, is his ‘office’ with all the books, pictures and motorcycle models, the tiny room measuring 1,3 by 3,5 meters, and 1,9 at it’s highest point near the door. Here he has the Sunbeam he brought to the rally, a Douglas boxer, and a BSA B33. There’s also an impressive 1958 Ariel Arrow with all the factory options and the original paint, and two Matchless motorcycles, a G3 and a G2. The latter is special, in the sense that it has some sort of ‘unit-construction’ engine, where they simply put extra engine covers on the outside, covering both the engine and the separate gearbox. Well, if you have to cheat, you might as well do it in style…

Ansai-san shows all the pictures he has from his 10-year ownership of the Nimbuses, tells about how he got them because he had gotten tired of technically complicated BMW’s, and about where they are now. Unfortunately only the one on Kyushu can be traced - Ansai-san has bought and sold 98 bikes over the last 19 years, so understandably some of the details no longer stand so clear. That part of the chase will thus be left for the next Nimbus enthusiasts going over here.

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tokumura-velan sagde ...
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