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Archive for the ‘レディース’ Category

The once-fictional Tru Blood beverage from the HBO hit series “True Blood” has come to life in bottle form this September.  It’s a blood-orange carbonated drink concoction with a 3-V mixture of Vodka, Vicodin, and Viagra… to bring out the vampire in you!

Actually I made up that 3-V mixture part, it’s just a premium priced slightly tart and sweet flavored drink.  Much better tasting than the two-ounce bottle of “Gulf Water” priced for $9.99 at oilspillwater.com!

But, speaking of bottling up the motorcycle elixir of life, and drinking the water,  long-time Sturgis rally veteran Tom Brandy had a dream to bring the Black Hills of South Dakota motorcycle rally to the rest of the world and now that will happen with the first event set in South Korea on September 17-21st.  In addition to having the common “South” in the festival city name many of the motorcycle events will be similar to the long-standing rally in the U.S.

Mr. Brandy is catering heavily to locals (website is in Korean) and it’s anticipated there will be large groups of motorcyclists from China and Japan in attendance.  There will be hill climbs, entertainment along with a broad set of custom bike builders (Ness, Perewitz, Trotta) in attendance.  No word yet on who from Harley-Davidson will be in attendance and whether they plan to scout potential manufacturing plants?

Harley-Davidsonesque Scooter (photo taken in Tokyo)

I can visualize an Asia blog post reflecting on the event already…

“For kilometers, the bikers have been overtaking the little KIA cars. Gleaming low-slung motorcycles with fat tires and riders settled into the seats, sometimes a pillion person too (i.e. “bitch”). Most built with a Harley-Davidsonesque Hog image, but instead sport two cycles.  Some of the riders nicknamed their Korean bikes the “Kimchi Piglet” as it has the porcine image but still hasn’t properly grown up yet. With legs stuck out in front so they’re nearly parallel to the outstretched arms operating the controls, booted feet pointed at the sky — riders rushed past an artillery range with the world’s most fortified border, breathing semi-toxic pollution and dodging kamikaze pizza-delivery scooters. Sturgis ASIA welcomed riders to the land of Kimchi, beautiful Asian girls and the home to a surprisingly strong motorcycle culture.”

Wouldn’t it be something if Sturgis ASIA surpassed Sturgis U.S. in attendance records?!  Japan is really the big custom motorcycle scene, however, when I was in Seoul, South Korea a few years ago they didn’t want anything to do with Japanese and likely explains why the event is not held in Tokyo.

Water bottle photo created.  Logo courtesy of The City Of Sturgis Rally Department and Sturgis ASIA web site.

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Ever since watching the 1989 Ridley Scott directed movie Black Rain with Michael Douglas, I’ve been intrigued by the Japanese Yakuza. And after watching the recently released hi-def version of The Yakuza, a 1975 movie starring Robert Mitchum who takes on gangsters during Japan’s post-war occupation…I became intrigued how Japan biker gangs seem to imitate the U.S. clubs.

The Japanese word bōsōzoku is typically applied to biker gangs who share interest in modifications (often illegal) for motorcycles, such as removing the mufflers and engaging in dangerous street racing or reckless driving, such as weaving in traffic, running red lights or not wearing motorcycle helmets. There are bōsōzoku clubs throughout Japan, including female bike gangs (レディース, “ladies”), identified more by fashion statements and customized motorcycles. The club members take part in mass rallies and have run ins with the police. Having just returned from Sturgis this sounds very familiar.

Descended from medieval gamblers and outlaws, yakuza have been portrayed as latter-day samurai, bound by traditions of honor and duty and living extravagant lives. The Japanese Police estimate that full-fledged membership in yakuza groups fell to 41,500 last year, down from 43,000 in 2005, a decline they attribute to tighter laws against organized crime. However, the number of yakuza hangers-on, including thugs and members of motorcycle gangs, who are willing to do their dirty work, rose to 43,200.

The author of Yakuza Moon,” a best-selling memoir just out in English, written by the 39-year-old, Shoko Tendo writes about her father who was the leader of the Yamaguchi-gumi gang, the largest yakuza group, and how he led a “classic” life with Italian suits, imported cars and Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Shoko was raised with strict ideas of honor, and was both spoiled and scolded by the tattooed men who frequented her home.

I plan to get/read the book and learn if this is a reflection of or an imitation of the U.S.

The Shoko Tendo photo above is from REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

UPDATE: Read the book and while interesting background on Tendo it doesn’t really explore the Japan motorcycle/gang element as much as you would have thought possible. Mostly about Shoko Tendo overcoming adversity in her life. It was a tough life and she has done well just to be alive! An easy read.

UPDATE: February 10, 2009 – the Mainichi Daily News reports Japan biker gangs (bosozoku) decline.

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