Radface San & friends in ‘The Search for Tengu’

The story behind the vid… Dylan ‘Gaijin’ Warren writes of a mystical mountainboard journey to Japan
Balance-Japan-Fuji
Well the first thing I need to say is if you haven’t been to Japan, go bloody buy a plane ticket!

After an epic trip in 2014, I was fortunate enough to get an invite back to the land of Mt Fuji this year so called up my mate Daniel Packer (#HASHTAG superstar and MBS-AUS rider), booked flights and we were on our way…

We arrived in Narita airport at 9.05am on the 4th of May, where we were greeted by Makken, Yuto, Yuki and Santa Claus, who had driven for 4 hours just to pick us up! Yu-to was so excited he thought it would be fun to ride my 27kg board bag all the way back to the car.

We headed off on our journey to Fujinomiya, through Tokyo and the amazing countryside and finally arrived at Balance skateshop, which is much more than just the 20ft-shipping container in the middle of a car park that it looks like on first impression!

They sell skateboards and Mountainboards and are the home of everything action sport related in Fujinomiya. Every Wednesday and Saturday night, they set up ramps and lights so all the local kids can skate…Anyway we met up with Yuya: possibly the best human being you will ever meet, and headed out to the YMCA of Japan where this great Mountainboard Park has been located since 2002…

DragonDirt-Park

When we arrived I couldn’t believe how much work they had done. They had completely rebuilt the Mountainboard Park with new jumps, roll ins, picnic table, quarter pipes and a gnarly wall. Alongside the developed Mountainboard park they had also ply-ed an entire field and put in a mini skatepark that overlooked Mt Fuji. Amazing!

To top it all off they had set up the big MBS Japan demo ramp, with a natural hill roll-in and flood lights… I new then we were in for a great week. After many beers (and whisky) we finally worked out how to use the camp style steamer and cooked up a feast! The food is a big part of the culture here, and as such is awesome.

We awoke the following day to amazing view of Mt Fuji and as the day progressed hundreds of people started to rock up, and things started to get set up for the 2015 Balance Super Camp and Golden session!

Japan-Skate-MountainboardPark BalloonRing-mountainboardingTargetIt was amazing to see how many people were helping out and getting things done and how excited everyone was for the upcoming events. With energy levels high, Balance put on a best trick skateboard comp.

That was followed by an MBS Japan/Australia freestyle mountainboard demo under the 3 massive floodlights…

  The Japanese riders are so stylish. Busting out every grab boned, spins so smooth. A giant ring appeared covered in balloons. Soon enough everyone was flying down the hill to try and make it through the ring of death!

After another massive night and plenty of Saki it was time for the Mountainboard competition. I’ve never done a tournament style freestyle competition but it was pretty fun! First we did an open Jam session. Whoever the top riders were from the Jam session moved onto the next round.

The following round was then a battle between two riders, with two runs each. Whoever had the best run moved on to ride against the winner of the previous round and so on and so forth till we ended up with a winner. The transitions of the jumps were a bit weird and made it hard to spin or flip off, though it was super sick to be in a competition that didn’t involve hucking ridiculous tricks and was more based on style. The end result was Yuya Nakayam first, Me second, Yuichi O­ji Yamashita third and Daisuke Inaba fourth.

BalanceMountaianboards

The following day we hung out with Yuya and his family and got ready for the following day. We woke up at 2.30am to start our road trip to Kagura Mountain for some snow. Yuya is on the Japanease Burton team (fun fact: he was also in the Japanese Olympic team for halfpipe), and he hooked us up with some old gear and boards and we were off! We arrived at the mountain and man it was beautiful.

Although it was pretty much summer there was still plenty of snow left- probably more snow then peak time on an Aussie season haha! But yeah we had an amazing day snowboarding and even got a little sun burnt. That night we stayed in a traditional Japanese hotel. Packer could barely fit under the doorway. It was crazy. We had dinner and I’m pretty sure I didn’t know what any of the food on my plate was. But it was sick and we even slept on the floor Japanese style.

Tengu-Tourist-Gaiijin

The next day we checked out the Tengu temple (amazing) then headed back towards Fujinomiya. We stopped along the way to check out some riding spots, including a grass skiing place that also does Mountainboarding. The hill was pretty amazing, heaps of 4 down and they even had a lift!  I found a pretty awesome vintage Jason Lee poster on the wall there too haha.

It was the 50th anniversary of the YMCA on the Sunday… Balance were putting on Mountainboard and Skateboard lessons for hundreds of kids.  It was so awesome to see so many kids getting on both Mountainboards and Skateboards and going for it- hopefully it makes some of those kids nag their parents for a board for Christmas!

The afternoon rolled round. After a quick ride on the slope we packed up the learn-to-ride stuff and had an epic final session over at the dirt park… Everyone was throwing down that day. Yuya did the sickest foot plant on the barrel, and I broke a binding!

There were heaps of awesome things that happened on our trip, but if I were to write about everything it would take you a year to read. So when i wasn’t riding, I got a bit of footage, and this vid nicely sums up our mad magical mountainboard week, covering all the stuff you’ve just read about!

 Show-Hey also made a longer vid of the Golden Session/Balance Camp, check it out in full on Youtube here.

I seriously can’t stress enough for you to go to Japan: The people are so caring, generous, helpful and amazing! They look after you so well and take you to fantastic places. Japan may not have the biggest Mountainboard scene in the world but man those at Balance Outdoor they love to Mountainboard and get after it ever chance they get!

Arigato Japan, can’t wait to see you next year! Compai!

MBS-Mountainboards-Japan

Find the home to MBS Japan Balance 2010 Outdoor (main website for team, Dragon Dirt etc) and check out more photos and stuff on their Facebook page (Like!)

Follow Dyl’s adventures on his YouTube Channel and on Facebook. See what’s going on down unda at AusMountainboarders.com

Many thanks guys / Domo Arigato !