Saturday, January 26, 2008

Kyoto and Providence meet in New York City

Takuya and Ogura (friends I met while visiting Kyoto) pedalled around New York city this week collecting merchandise and connections for Ogura's new bicycle lifestyle shop. Currently, Ogura runs a high end clothing shop popular with international celebrities. He is modest and friendly, shy about speaking English. Takuya–messenger, artist, and bicycle socialite–accompanied him to help translate and introduce him to fixed-gear fetishists and bike culture guru's that he knows from events like Cycle Messenger World Championships and KyotoLoco. Ogura brought his stylish track bike, while Takuya, with some chagrin, borrowed a mountain bike.

Since New York is a lot easier to get to than Kyoto, I threw my bike on the bus and made a daytrip to reunite with my foreign friends. I met them at Trackstar Friday morning.

The cupcakes I'd carried from Providence in my bike basket looked rough when I presented them to Takuya; nonetheless he devoured them. When I traveled to Japan last spring, he hosted me generously, having never met me. He helped me to meet my favorite painter and the national champion of cylcocross. I couldn't understand much Japanese, but I believe he exaggerated my credentials, tailor my introduction as "an artist from America" or a "great bike racer from America" to fit each situation. He was my guardian angel in the form of a dirty old bike messenger with mischievous eyes. The least I could do was meet him in New York with a box of jostled cupcakes.

After hob-nobbing with our friends who run Trackstar we ate sandwiches at a shop the Kyoto due had frequnted three times already this week. I guess it's hard to get an affordable sandwich in Japan. Over roast beef and cheddar cheese, Takuya updated me on Japanese bike scene gossip, and also decided to commission me to design and print some shirts for the new shop (look for pictures here in a few weeks)!

We parted ways; they continued their schmooze tour (pictures of it are on Ogura's blog) while I headed to Chelsea to peruse galleries before returning to the bus. Perhaps if I sell enough t-shirts I can visit them soon.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Friday, January 11, 2008

Sweet January

Four and a half hours spent pedalling up and down country roads, then almost as much time spent preparing an elaborate meal*, all in good company: I couldn't dream up a more satisfying day.

*homemade gnochi in spicy red sauce with littlenecks, broccoli rabe sauteed in lemon and garlic butter, and then red wine poached pears over vanilla ice cream.