Monday, August 5, 2013

Learning from Toshi @ Aoyama - 21st July 2013

You can bring ur bike anytime, but u got to bag it

I had to travel to Japan for work (2 weeks) and while my work is confidential. I can share this wonderful time I had with Toshi Maeda at his home ground on 21st July 2013 Sun morning.
I had to take a 50min train ride from Yokohama to Tokyo but I felt it would be worth the effort.
3 years later. I am back at the same spot
Most important reason to be there was to learn how they have managed to get the cycling education going in Japan. And also have spend time with Toshi san to learn about his creative community at Aoyama.
learning to ride 
While the kids practised, they also educated the parents the importance of cycling safety
Teaching the kid how to deploy the stand
demonstrating if they don't get it... 

An honor to be standing beside the selfless legends
he is no. 50. And been doing this for over 30 years!

 It was really a humbling experience and talking to the Japanese Cycling Association (JCA) volunteers who have been tirelessly helping for many years. Toshi helped me translate my questions and shared really interesting details. The cycling program was only possible because of the Royal family(for the grounds) and Keirin racing association for sponsoring the bikes and equipment.  This has continued for at least 50 years and when I asked how did people know about this cycling program. He just shrugged and said.. “they have been doing this for a long time. Everyone knows.”
Toshi and his friend showing me around.
 tokyo streets
cycling route in Aoyama

simple instruction with no usual BS 
In a way, I could see the similarities we have done for Lovecyclingsg. Toshi san shared more how things were all linked and with the right attitudes and passion. There could be wonderful synergy with many people. Not for status, not for money. Just a simple dream to make their neighborhood a nice and homely.
Toshi insisted I come here... 
It looks so beautiful
Also shared with me this super hidden from view cafe called OVE. I love it.. the environment and the people. I learnt a new word over there. SenSo.... it hard to describe but Toshi san said..... “it just like Zen. Go where ur heart follow”.
slow down, have a tea
Ove is a mixed place. I can’t point a finger what it is.. . Its not a bicycle shop, nor it is design place. It’s like a place where artists, musicians, craftman can gather. Do a small exhibition, show and tell kind of place.
relaxed environment to chat 
totally vegan but very nice!
after the vegs.. coffee and ice cream
Tanada san fixing Toshi bike

super nice guy and hope can ride with him one day. Jpn or SG also can
if u like to see more... this is the location
I had a really wonderful experience to learn about Toshi‘s neighbor hood. I could tell that Aoyama is very precious and important to him. Thank you Toshi san for your time and generosity. I learnt a great deal and been very inspired.
I will see how I can use this ideas for Singapore!

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