FEATURE2019/4/20California Dreamers #1
Photo by Ryota Kemmochi, Rie Sawada, Toyoshige Ikeyama / Text by Shinya Tanaka
I actually have been absent from NAHBS for 3 years in a row.
There are several reasons why I didn’t show up at the show…like it was a place itself, sadly because of my money situation, but mostly it was my motivation.
I’m not saying that I lost my passion to a bicycle culture.
I know myself that I rather love this amazing culture more than ever since my childhood.
Since I launched SimWorks U.S.A. in Portland 3 years ago, a number of cyclists supported our challenge and I deeply feel that they are still standing right next to us to make a movement together.
Once you meet so many good people out there, our dream will never know how to stop.
However, I think myself recently that I don’t need to understand completely about a transportation tool, which is a bicycle I mean, and moreover it is a fact that I can’t catch up with what’s going on in this industry.
Production technology is developing much faster than how human beings grow, and it seems like bicycle would not need pedals and tires in the next decades probably. In addtion, this bike industry gets into a groove, which is considered as an old and bad custom in a different industry, producing usual model changes and spec up advertisement every year, so that it disturbs us to connect deeply with core users which we really care about.
That is to say, they stopped seeing the footsteps of electrical appliance makers in their history, on the contrary, they decided that following their traces is the only growth strategy. A big power, such as money and status took over their hearts and I wonder sometimes that where these IDEONS(imaginary gigantic weapon from ‘Space Runaway Ideon’)are heading toward? (They might have an extreme idea that if you die, everyone goes together)
I actually talk on an internet phone every week with people in title, and they are really tired of the situation we have now like I said above, and we tried to share the idea how we could get out of this uncontrolled current situation for 3 years so far. However, I have been captured right in between our dream and reality, getting pissed off numbers on my desk, and facing toward a gigantic dilemma which rarely happened in our lives.
Whatever it is, I’m really good at putting myself into a negative feeling, so that I assumed the worst case scenario in my life and considered what to do seriously and as a result, my answer was to visit the U.S. again after 3 years.
Also, I wanted to see the evaluation of new SimWorks items having released in a rush since last year and how SimWorks’ concept is accepted and who loves and dislikes our production in this world-wide huge market in person. Moreover, I wanted to assume and prepare myself to impact the worst case. This is how much I’m twisted and love to think negative way.
Anyways, let’s leave my negative thoughts behind now. Our SimWorks basecamp was at Sycip in Santa Rosa after a long time. (I’d like to express my condolences to Sam Sycip, who was a head of Sycip family. He passed away in April 6th. I know him about 8 years. I still remember strongly that he picked me up at the airport, sold Kung Fu tees together at NAHBS Sycip booth, talked to me about his amazing sons and his golden age of being a Kart Racer. I’m really sad that I won’t be able to see him anymore again.)
We prepared for NAHBS at his studio and yard as if we fliped all the toy boxes around. It was such a magnificent scale.
Jeremy, in deed, he needed to assemble the last frame he had.
I assembled our team with 5 members, and 2 members out of 5 started saying that they wanted to go to NAHBS by riding their bikes, (I told them to prepare for the NAHBS before I arrived there) but the rest needed to prepare everything for the booth and manage the first day only with 3 members at the end.
I thought that it wasn’t that bad thing at all, sicne I’m good at being in an unexpected situation and it brought me a big thrill as well.
I think I wrote some articles long before, and it said that the matters inside me changed one after another by participating in NAHBS continuously.
In early stage, I wanted to research and find something new and rare, but I realized that there was something that I couldn’t get if I only went after “THING” while I spent time with people who I met there as my fellows.
I also realized that If I keep following the crowd, it’s going to be hard to create something new and original. This answer was given by the family who I’m really fond of and it has been a long time to have a dinner party with them.
A true purpose of this trip was to tell how much we, SimWorks, grew within these 2 years to my beloved family and we headed to North California, my second home.
Once you smelled the atmosphere there, it reminded me that California is something special.
A blue sky and vast green hills everywhere, after all this environment is the reason why this place makes it so special. Even though a crazy rise in prices happened, people who live here must have a courage to abandon this place. (The flow of the investment went up to Oregon from California, but it was just only the money movement. Rich people stay in California and seems youngsters probably stopped moving up to Oregon in these days. This is my assumption but I feel that people from the East and Central part moved into this land rather than from California recently.)
Have you ever imagined how many bike related makers exist in this vast California?
It is really worth to see and talk in person with new ideas they created everyday. It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small, they are strongly conscious of the improvement, and they create the imaginary oponent side, and they make a fellowship right next day. Even in these hectic changes, most of the people around us think to make this world better place, and those who can’t, or don’t will be judged socially that they don’t belong to our side.
California…Yes, it is extraordinary.
People, environment, ideas, everything is superb.
I have been forgotten this fact for a long time.
Probably, I was just a fickle person.
Or, I blamed somebody that I’ve changed, and tried to convince myself easily that people in California were selfish and forgetful, and too much smoking weed.
My misunderstanding and small speculation blew out when I saw the opening of NAHBS.
Probably, I started thinking that it made no difference at all and wanted to get rid of my too much thinking.
SEVEN, HUNTER, Retrotec, Sycip, BlackCat, Desalvo, Sklar..
My fellow friends were extra extra extra superb.
I guess it was because we were in California.
You need to fudge your work sometimes, you can be tired in your life, it’s because unstable thing are around us, because we use only manpower, I ashamed of myself that why I was so impatient. They don’t betray us, and it will eventually come to us. I deeply think that this is how thing goes.
It also made me realize that we all have places to go back.
I think, somebody will write the rest of how it went, about ROAD TO NAHBS and Handmade bikes of course.
I swore to the god in California that I would have written down what I felt honestly on this journal and decided to manufacture things that wouldn’t embarrass to my amazing fellows by thinking more deeply than ever to do thing carefully.
And one more thing, I would not run away from anything anymore.
NEW NAHBS FEATURE SERIES
California Dreamers #1 ｜Text by Shinya Tanaka
California Dreamers #2｜Text by Rie Sawada
California Dreamers #3｜Text by Nicholas Haig-Arack