Spend a week in crazy Tokyo and I am not so sure you'll understand what goes on in the minds of our urban Japanese fellows. Considering the fact that this country stands behind many of our two wheeled fantasies, this might come as a bit of a shock.
From our western-world perspective, it's easy to imagine that Japan's motorcycling scene will be a showcase of rolling-on-two cutting edge technology. Well, people here might use the most advanced mobile services, have microchip controlled toilet seat heaters (a real treat, really!) and hop on ultra high-speed trains on a daily basis, but their rides are a different story altogether. Need a quick identity-kit for the average rider in Tokyo? Deep into nostalgic/retro stuff; a low-tech lover; doesn't really ever gas it; and maybe worst of all, often has a very dubious taste.
The strange hints start arriving as soon as I hop on the bus that takes me from the Narita Airport to downtown. I was half expecting to see hordes of two-wheelers in every stop light, but by the looks of it but the picture is far removed from Italy's mad city GP starting grids.
The second truth hits after a few days of strolling through town: An exaggerated majority of Naked Retros, while at the other end of the scale, customized scooters, ranging in freakiness from mild to wild, abound. The "in" thing to have in one of the world's style capitals is a 250-400cc scooter that's loaded with stuff from Japan's equivalent to Custom Chrome's catalog. Ornate chromed stick-on accents, tubular handlebars on billet risers, underslung neon lights that create funky effects during night rides. As if this wasn't bad enough, many of these crazy creations border on the really tasteless.
More: Motorcycling in Tokyo