words: Erik Leon
photos: Flux Bindings
Ian Sams, Eli Wiener, and myself flew to Japan last year for a Flux/Arbor film-shoot-adventure-time-journey-expedition. The ten day trip included two days of travel. This is the second time I have been to Japan with Ian Sams, so I know what to expect: great snowboarding, lots of beer, lots of saki, wild ass food, getting lost in Tokyo, and crazy Japanese women obsessing over Ian Sams’ white complexion, and some more fun snowboarding.
Our first day boarding started at this little resort called Mt. Fujiton. It was right next to the oh-so-famous Mt. Fuji. The park was pretty small, but had a Bear Mountain-like vibe and was overall pretty fun. The local shredders were really stoked; we visited and they came out and ripped with us! The next day we headed to the streets of Niigata to film and shoot photos for Flux/Arbor. Fellow Japanese Flux/Arbor riders Masato Toda and Uma Abe joined us. These guys helped us out, showing us where to find freakin’ sweet street features. These guys are complete characters and always a great time to be around!
Our first spot, we hit a large-lipped jump from building-to-building. The in-run to this feature was high speed and sketchy, which made it a lot more fun and a lot of cool tricks went down, Uma: front 5; Masato: redirect; Ian: switch back 3. It was a good session! We relaxed after and hot tubbed it and drank a lot of beer.
The next day we looked for a lot more features, but due to so much damn snow, we couldn’t find shit, it was a bummer. Everywhere we went it was double overhead, which made finding street stuff really difficult. In the end, we drove an hour or two away to a really cool random ditch/garage/bankedd/rails to slide obstacle. We decided to first go there at night and set up lights and shoot a rail session with the whole crew. The night we went, turned out there were 30-45 mph winds. It wasn’t the most ideal situation to ride a feature, but in the end we came through with a lot of shots and made the most out of what we had.
The day after we went to the same spot, thinking about hitting the feature differently, but the idea never worked out–Ian Sams’ fault. So then came my idea…bungee into the bank, like a hip-style kind of deal. We finally got the jump into the very rugged bank set up and I was the guinea pig. My first drop, or bungee pull I must say, ended up shooting me huge and I popped like no other, therefore landing disaster on the bank and exploding to the flats. Broke my board and was pretty shook up, but I had fun so that’s all that counts. After we figured out the speed, the feature became really fun. Ian Sams got his tricks and so did I. I was pretty stoked that the feature I picked worked out. After stacking footy for the whole day, we went back to Tokyo to stay for one more night.
Four-five hours of driving and we arrived back in Tokyo. We got to our little weird hotel and decided to go out and party. We went to New Lux Tokyo where our guide/TM, Ray hooked us up with getting in VIP. The people there treated us really well and gave us free drinks all night. In the middle of the night, Ray gave us the address to the hotel and left because he had a meeting the next morning, so Ian and I were on our own to find a way home. We left the nightclub as the sun came up and wandered the streets of Tokyo–to be honest I have no idea where–Tokyo for sure though. Turns out Ian lost the address to the hotel, and the film series Getting lost with Ian Sams truly happened.
Wandering the Tokyo streets pretty drunk and lost, Ian was like, “well fuck it, let’s get more beer." I was like, “dude, we can hardly walk,” as business men walked past us to their day jobs at 8 in the morning. At the end of being completely lost with Ian Sams in Tokyo, we found our way to a Hilton, or some rich ass hotel where the people actually spoke English, and somehow we made it back to our hotel, safe as could be and hung over as hell. Japan was a hell of a time, and I can’t wait to go back for more adventure-time-journey-expedition with my good friend Ian.
Watch the Flux in Japan video.