Japan – Summer, 2019 – I’ve had the pleasure of capturing some great highlights of Soichiro over the past few years from winning best trick at 2018’s Winterclash, taking first at the Boschi Pope Skate Off that same year, 2nd at 2019’s Blading Cup, and then taking a last minute trip to Japan where we stayed mostly in Tokyo to film street and wrapping up in his hometown of Okayama.
While in the U.S. we don’t normally view the cicada as anything more than a bug however in Japan they are very symbolic. Aside from hearing them sing in anime and and even throughout this video, they represent the beginning of summer, play a significant role in several children’s lives, and most importantly, they represent personal transformation.
As Soichiro states, Japan is an island which requires a plane to go anywhere outside of the country – “and because we only speak Japanese there’s a huge hurdle for us to go anywhere” – yet through his dedicated years invested into skating he was able to overcome that social hurdle and go beyond not only for himself but for the next generation of young skaters.
From his most recent winning, (one of the biggest – if not the biggest – pay days in blading history) at the Chimera A-Side Final, to a plethora of memorable street skating sections in videos and online, to running his own “Yamada Green” skate park in Okayama guiding some of the already most talented kids— one can easily say that he has truly discovered his passion in life or found his “ikigai” as he continuously evolves and transforms as a skater and mentor.
Thank you to everyone who helped make this episode possible.
Ikigai (pronounced ee-key-guy) is a wonderful Japanese concept that essentially means “a reason for being.” It’s made from two Japanese words: iki, meaning “life” and kai, meaning “effect, result, worth or benefit.” Combined: “a reason for living.”
Examples of ikigai are often related to aspects of social identity — including work and family life — but it’s often explained as something more than that. It’s the idea of seeking a purpose in everything you do in life. Hobbies, friendships, community and travel all add to your ikigai.
-Elaine Mead, Darling Magazine, Jan. 2018