It’s April. Like I say every month, time sire flies. A lot went down last month in March. As I said last month, I was shooting a lot for the feature article in Transworld Japan. I was also shooting for and editing the upcoming DVD. The delivery for the new line of LIBE has started as well.

Also last month we had two parties at our hometown. It was the 27th ROTF and 7th anniversary. Looking back, the purpose of starting this party in March 2003 was to pump up our hometown Nakano. I first heard that there’s going to be a club in Nakano and went over there with Sonshi (one of the staff organizer). We talked and negotiated with the club manager and made the deal and improved the condition. The manager and most of the staff changed but we’re still getting along well. The first resident DJs were DJ Kiyo and Taichi. I have to thank them so much for doing this with low fee. DJs and musicians who supported the party… it goes something like this. Juzu a.k.a Moochy, DJ Ackky, DJ Hifana@home, KillerBong, DJ Oshow, 504, DJ BAKU, DJ Ryota, DJ Duct, Shuren The Fire, Roger Yamaha, DJ Hikaru, DJ Dye, Goma da DIDGERIDOO, JUN-GOLD, GOTH-TRAD, JNY THE WEEL, DJ SODEYAMA, NUMB & SAIDRUM, YOUSUKE NAKANO, CALM, WACHALL, asa & Ichiro, Taika, CHI3CHEE, TAIKOMAN a.k.a Hideyuki Doi, Jakucho, DJ RISE, DJ Wessun… A total of 31 people. They all expressed their art form with creativity. I wanted to have a small but good party here in Nakano and this is only possible because of the people mentioned above. There are so many to be improved and the hard part is continuing… Making flyers, posters, TEEs is the fun part but it can get overwhelming at times. Now I’m the director and Sonshi is helping me out here and there. Thanks Sonshi. People who are reading this, please take your time to visit us at the party.

At the same club we’re also having another party called Midnight Express on every first Thursday of the month from 10pm. This party started off with me, Yousuke Nakano and Yohey Omori simply wanting to DJ. Later Akira Fujimoto joined us with the desire of wanting to skate and built skate section in the club. So we’re having one-night-only dream skate park every month and the party has been going on for almost 5 years now. Everyone is welcomed and it’s kind of like a home party. Just thinking about putting together a mix CD soon. It’s a very slow-paced party. Skaters who like weird sections, music heads… we’re waiting for you. The charge is 1000yen. I’m pretty much filing the party so all you show offs… come and show off. I’m waiting for you.

OK, let’s continue where we left off last month. “What are you doing that (skating) for?” I’ve written most of the first half of my adolescence. I was going through tough times when I was hurt from getting lost skating-wise, and learned a lot from older guys. I had family problems and dad forced me out of home and I gave in and went back home. So here’s the rest of the story.

After I came back home, I had no choice but to take things easy. The older guys were going to far and I knew that my one place where I thought I belonged is going to be gone. Where do I belong? Where do I fit in? Then what do I want to do? I could never answer the question. What am I doing this (skating) for? I had no idea.

As going after girls at clubs became less stimulating and not being able to hang with the older guys, I eventually moved on. I was at clubs but not after girls but watching shows of favorite artists. I got to experience some kind of coincident there. Skater friend that I had known forever had become a DJ and there weren’t many DJs back then. I encountered him at a club in Roppongi where black people hung out at, and he was Djing there. It was Hip-Hop, a new feeling that was so appealing to me. The sound he was playing and fashion were all off the hook and real. He was as real and cool than the so-called fashion leader that you see in magazines. I began and tried to take in the music as much as I could. Hip-Hop back then was still growing and new things popped up. He was spinning the brand new records with style. It was a hungry sound and wasn’t a party sound. Heavy, chilly but hot. It wasn’t something that bitches can dance to. The rap was chilly and heavy but super hot. He taught me the importance of lyrics too. He knew the importance of lyrics since all the non-Japanese who were there at the club had taught him. Hip-Hop is all about message. It’s not just a music to dance to. It makes you dance but sometimes you realize… And he let me know about number one Hip-Hop artist in Japan, DJ Krush.

At the same time, there was a change in skating too. Skating was all about flat tricks and you had to do all the flip tricks to get respected. It was a shift from high-speed simple tricks to super tech tricks. It was the trend and that was only accepted. Skating was going through an exclusive era. And trend was super important amongst Japanese skaters. If you’re not IN, you were dissed. I tried to fit in and do all the tech tricks but I couldn’t. But in that era, there were people who were going against the trend and a video was released. It was called Thrasher. It was a video released from High Speed Production launched by number one skate magazine Thrasher. As you can see in the naming, they were against the trend. The most important thing in skating was going fast. I was so inspired by their third video and it made me start making skate videos.

I can go on and on about this video… It inspired me so much. The editing was cheap but I loved their firm framework. My first video was pretty much a copy of Thrasher’s third video Sponsor Me. Sponsor less skaters and east coast heads who don’t get much exposure killing it… Vert, miniramp and street skating. So many skating styles like small/big tricks and handrails. Music used in the video was diverse as well. I felt a message from the video, and it was ‘Do whatever you want! Respect various styles!’ After watching this video, I started to think about what it means to be on a skateboard.

Let me tell you a thing about this video. The skater who appeared at the end is Mike Carroll and he made skating how it is today. He pretty much made the trent back then and I never thought his skating was good. I hated on his skating since it was too technical. I couldn’t understand why Carroll was so famous back then. I guess I was trapped by stereotypical views and Carroll had the last part in the video. You know what last part means in skate videos right? I have to say that this part is the best among all his parts. The BGM was good too. I think it was Fu-Schnickens was used and the lyrics fit his skating perfect. I can’t remember exactly about the lyrics now but I did research and looked up the dictionary and was amazed by it. The part was so natural and it destroyed the skate trend he made and moved on to a new era of skating. And it was Thrasher who was doing this and showing a new direction. I learned a lot form this. This way of changing the flow is what FESN has been doing since then. It taught me the idea of making a new way and controlling viewers. It changed my view in many ways. If you haven’t seen it yet, you have to see it!

Other than Thrasher video, so many good videos were released. 411VM was a series and it was a beginning of the end of print magazines. This video magazine contributed to skating far more than you can imagine. Also in SF where High Speed Production resides, an all-jazz skate video A Visual Sound by Stereo was released. It inspired skaters worldwide. It was a counterpunch to all the other boring skate trends. The image, fashion was creative. It was like watching a film. The director Jason Lee became a world famous actor and his taste is incorporated in the video. It was the first video that inspired skaters with only simple skating, music and fashion (that’s not everything but…). There were good videos in the past but skating, music and fashion blended in perfectly. It was a simplest way of expression.

So I was interested in making a skate video. Maybe it was because I was hurt. maybe because it made me think I can do this even though my skating was not good enough. But I wanted people to see my skating and also put together my favorite skaters along with good music. But things don’t go smooth. It’s not easy. For real.

OK, so here we are at last, there was a goal of making a skate video. It was a moment when skating and music slowing coming together. It was still a shady thing but making a skate video was something that I wanted to do. All I was always thinking about my skate video but I didn’t even have a video camera. How am I going to make a video without a camera? You can’t make a video only with the urge.

So this time the problem is not injury, it’s money. I had to somehow get a video camera. I was broke and didn’t have drivers license. No girlfriend, no nothing. I had a dream but couldn’t do anything about it. So how did I make a breakthrough?

That’s it for this month. I’m going to start meeting people and the world will extend. Transworld Japan with my ten-page article will be out on 4/6 and it’s the answer to the question, “What are you doing that (skating) for?” I came up with all the idea in the pages except for Gou Miyagi’s skating. This is the best expression I can do at the moment. It’s perfect and best ever. I make new trend and control people. About my new DVD, please wait a little more. This is going to be a best video too. Again, I make new trend and control people. I’m enjoying the editing process like crazy.

Alright, see you all next month. Wear LIBE and keep skating, keep pushing. Take care.

FESN director, Takahiro Morita