A few years ago I had the pleasure making the acquaintance of a certain bundle of Japanese sunshine by the name of Kento Takahashi…. and I don’t say bundle of sunshine lightly. What I mean is, the guy is always stoked. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him not smiling. And in the arena of skateboarding, he is a machine…. a really fun machine. He is usually laughing to himself about who knows what whilst he casually annihilates any and every surface he skates.
Jerm: First off, let’s get your basic info out of the way…
Jerm: Nice… and what’s your connection with Hawai’i?
KT: Well first off, I always wanted to learn Englsih and wanted to live in U.S. since I was a kid. When my high school graduation was getting close, I was thinking about going to school somewhere in U.S. At the same time, My older brother was working at some Model’s manager or whatever, and he told me that some model girl will come down to Japan with her boyfriend who skates. One day, my brother took the boyfriend guy to my house in the morning, and the guy was Jarold (Webb)!
Jerm: That’s pretty sick.
KT: Well I couldn’t speak English at the time but I took him a local skatepark where is nearby Tokyo Disney Land, and he was destroying it on skateboard
Jerm: Naturally. Webb’s pretty vicious on the skateboard.
KT: Hahaha yeah, he is. Well I asked him about Hawai’i in my shitty English and it sounded pretty cool there.
Jerm: So after that, you decided to go to Hawai’i and get your English up?
KT: Yeah I decided to go to international school in Hawai’i.
Jerm: That’s funny, because when I first met you your English was already really good compared to most the Japanese people I knew…….. and they had been studying for a long time.
KT: Hahaha, thanks I’m so happy to hear that!
Jerm: What did you think when you first got to Hawai’i?
KT: Oh it’s just super hot, like summer time is 365days, and people are really chill and friendly, but Chinatown and around the areas looked pretty ghetto and I felt culture shock a little bit. I just went and met up with a bunch of local rippers at A’ala park like Conor, Chris, Taurean, Treevision guys and everyone.
…and girls are hot too!
Jerm: Yeah, I remember before you went back to Japan you were telling me that you wanted to stay where all the hot girls are. Hahaha
KT: Oh did I?? haha Well yeah..FOR SURE!
Jerm: I can’t say I blame you. Other than the ladies, what would you say are some of the biggest differences between Honolulu and Tokyo?
KT: Ummm I can say that Vibes are completely different between Honolulu and tokyo. Tokyo is like people and things are always busy, people walk really fast, looking kind of stressing but get real crazy on Friday and weekend.
Jerm: Yeah, on the weekends I’m always tripping over passed out salarymen on the sidewalk.
KT: Yeah those dudes are everwhere!! especially at some stations in the midnight. I guess,
Honolulu is like way more chill, people seem more relaxing and having fun to cruise in town.
Jerm: For sure… but it can get nuts too.
KT: Hell yeah me too!
Jerm: Because you’re a super badass right? Haha…. With all the cultural differences, did you ever find yourself in a situation you totally didn’t understand in Hawai’i ….where you were just thinking, “What the fuck is going on?”
KT: Oh I def should say that the Halloween in Waikiki beach! Like every single person wears different gnarly looking costume and seemed totally different world for me haha! Some dudes were dressing like Cheech and Chong, grabbing a huge fake joint and looked pretty sick.
Jerm: Yeah, it gets pretty wild in Chinatown too.
KT: Hell yeah so gnarly…!!
Jerm: No doubt. How do feel now that you’re back in Japan?
KT: Well, I should say it was like excited but confused actually. I had to go back to Japan after graduated the college because my parents got divorced, I’ve never guessed about that but I had to come back and see what’s the things go, and my mom wanted to make sure what I’m gonna do after graduated so just working and skating a bunch when I got back
Jerm: Damn, that’s pretty rough.
KT: …but riding for Lesque is totally awesome. always good times and going on tours and demos a bunch.
Jerm: You’ve definitely been blowin’ it up lately in the Tokyo skate scene. Recently I’ve had people send me some video links, like “Check it, these dudes are killin’ shit” ….and then the video would be you and you’re homies. It got me hyped for sure.
KT: Oh whaaaaaat which one??
Jerm: The Lesque “Skate With Us” series, and some others too. I’ve been combing through a lot of videos for new spots lately.
KT: Oh yeah yeah! Well first I met up to Itoshin and those Lesque guys at the contest in Shiohama skatepark and I got 1st
Jerm: Naturally! so those guys were feeling your butter style and all around skateboarding dominance?
KT: Haha well, Itoshin and team manager guy was checking out my footages on.. Soundboarding or something back in the day
Jerm: Well then, what do you have planned for the future? Any chances of heading back to HI?
KT: Umm I’ll try skate harder and do my best in Japan now, like get more footages and stuffs, but if I could get a job in HI, I’ll def head back the HI and traveling more and seeing and feeling the different vibes is def my planning for future.
Jerm: Sounds like a perfect plan….. nice and ‘laxed…. like Hawai’i. To wrap this thing up, who would like to give shout outs to?
KT: Every single person in HI! Jun, Todd, Ryan and everyone at In4mation, Chad and Rob from APB, Larry from Skatenazi, Treevisions, Homma-san and Keita-san from Instant, Everyone from Lesque, A’ala park, Arizona green tea, beaches, trees and sunshine from HI, and my family. and R.I.P Kenny!
Jerm: Proper! ….oh, and let’s go skate soon.
KT: Oh def!!! Hit me up daaawg! Let’s have some beer then! ALOHA!
Interviewed by Jeremy Strength
Jeremy Strength is a skater, artist, general bad ass who comes to us from Japan after spending 8 years in Honolulu. Stay tuned for a peek into his art.. coming soon.