Freestyle in the Land of the Rising Son
FREESTYLE IN THE LAND OF THE RISING SON This was the best contest that I had ever seen in freestyle since the new movement began in 2000! The organization and scheduling were fantastic, and the setting could not have been more perfect – right in the middle of one of the most popular and busy malls in Tokyo – so we had huge crowds of 10,000 throughout the weekend. During every event people surrounded us on three sides on the bottom floor and four sides upstairs and on the escalators behind the judge’s area.
When you got out onto the floor everyone was cheering after the announcement of your name, and when you landed a trick everyone went crazy. It was how it is supposed to be and how I dreamed it could be! There was a real sense of community among the skaters as well as the spectators, who I think all appreciated the show, which opened them up not only to this form, but to skateboarding in general. To emphasize this, there was time built into the schedule to allow anyone who wanted to learn to skate the opportunity to do so. Needless to say, the floor was packed full of people who either wanted to learn new tricks or to get on a board for the very first time. Many of the top pros and amateurs from the competition got out on the floor and taught a lesson or two before the finals. It was a great way to really connect with the community and show appreciation and respect all around.
Speaking of skating, let’s talk for a moment about our hosts and the Japanese skaters. Not only were they amazing skaters with an array of different styles and tricks, they were also all really friendly and kind. Most of them already knew who all of us were, and after the first day of skating all of the foreign skaters had a bunch of new friends and fans. They embraced us like we were family. Speaking on behalf of all the foreign skaters, we will never forget that courtesy and respect.
Many thanks to Murasaki Sports for being the headline sponsor and securing the space, and to the many other sponsors of the event. It will be an event I will always remember, and I can’t wait to come back here. Domo arigato, Nippon!
1. Günter Mokulys
2. Moichi Shigekazu Suzuki
3. Rene “Shigueto” Marubayashi
1. Greyson Asthon
2. Lyrics Guizhou Suzuki
3. Daiki Suzuki
1. Yukiko Murayama
2. Sayaka Iino
3. Yoko Rock Hatsukaiti
Written by A.J. Kohn