Archive for the ‘Japan’ Category

Forever Keirin Ambassador

Donnerstag, Juni 24th, 2010

My friend Tomity-san who is a professional track cyclist in Japan recently wrote this email to me:

I’m fine and still training everyday, Keirin racing every month. It’s long time no see. I’m sorry for the long time no message.

I am emailing you because I’d like to tell my retirement. I retire Tachikawa Keirin race (24-26th,June) this month and it retires from Keirin rider at the end. It ends about the history of my Keirin rider of 29 years.

It was you and everyone’s assistance that Keirin rider had been continued to me long. I wish to express my gratitude very much for it. Thank you very much.

The race of my remainder is only Tachikawa Keirin race. I am training toward it. I plan to help Fuji cycle show room studio that the friend starts after it retires.

Hereafter, I want to associate with you through the bicycle. Picture with my team mate at Matsudo Keirin race (2,June)

Tomity-san and team mate at Matsudo Keirin race

I wish him all the best for this last race. And that your projects for the future go well.

Riding in the Circle

Samstag, Januar 16th, 2010

Last year a Japanese film crew came to Beijing to film me cycling. They have put together a short movie called „Riding in the Circle“ about my passion for cycling and my life in Beijing. They put the movie trailer on their website – you can go there and watch it.

They have submitted this movie to the Bicycle Film Festival 2010 as well as other movie festivals and I hope it gets selected.

In November when I was in Tokyo and met with the film crew again they had given me contact sheets with some of the pictures they had taken during the making of the film February 2009 in Beijing.

During the Filming of Riding in the Circle Movie

The Making of Riding in the Circle Film about Ines

It was great to see all these pictures that brought back the memory of a really intense but fun  time in 2009. That last dinner we had had some Erguotou (very strong Chinese rice alcohol) to celebrate the end of the filming.


The result was me hugging the bicycle that was painted on the bike lane in front of the restaurant. I have not drunk any Erguotou since then and would like to avoid it also in future.

Ines Brunn Hugging a Beijing Bike Lane Bicycle Logo

Shinjuku Skyscrapers

Donnerstag, November 26th, 2009

My last day in Tokyo. 🙁  I spent the morning online and packing my trick bike as well as my suitcase. Just by looking at everything I had the impression that I might have some luggage overweight. And later at the airport that was proved to be true. I had a very nice lunch with an ex-colleague of mine in Shinjuku. It was very nice to see him and he was very sorry that he had missed all of my performances. Maybe next time as I hope to be back in Tokyo soon.

Shinjuku Skyscrapers

Tokyo BFF Block Party Pics of Ines on Houyhnhnm

Dienstag, November 24th, 2009

The bicycle film festival block party was covered with some snap shots by the magazine Houyhnhnm. They had some nice pictures of me performing my trick bike show there:

Ines Brunn on Houyhnhnm in Tokyo

Ines Brunn doing bike tricks in Japan

Trick Bike Show of Ines Brunn at Tokyo BFF

Ines in BFF T-shirt

BFF Tokyo Dinner for Sponsors

Donnerstag, November 19th, 2009

Today was a great first day in Tokyo! Harumi had organized a fixed gear bike for me to use. So I was able to ride around. I cycled through the city to the location for the dinner without any problems. It was really nice to cycle in Tokyo. The drivers actually wait for you to ride before they turn, nobody cuts you off, (except for one van) they all blink before they change lanes or turn. There are no cars driving on the wrong side of the road nor any electric tricycles driving at high speed in the opposite direction on the bike lane. And the pedestrians stop on the side walk when the light turns red, nobody jumps onto the cycling lane or suddenly runs across the street without looking. Really amazing experience compared to China.

Brendt and Harumi at BFF Dinner

So I went to the dinner buffet for the sponsors, helpers and volunteers of the Tokyo bicycle film festival. Brendt Barbur, the founder of the festival did a speech thanking everybody, especially the BFF Tokyo organizing team. Here a typical pose:

Brendt Barbur giving a Speech

And him in the „Bikes Rock!“ pose:

Brendt Barbur Bikes Rock Pose

Also Tatsuya and Satoshi from the local organizing team said some words to all participants. They are both cycling messengers at Courier Tokyo, the ones that started the bicycle film festival in Tokyo 5 years ago.

Tatsuya and Satoshi BFF Tokyo 2009

It was great to meet some old friends that I had last seen over 2 years ago. Benny Zenga and Brian Vernor are the directors of the beautiful movie „Where are you go“ about the 4 month long Tour d’Afrique bicycle race from Kairo to Kapetown.

Benny Zenga and Brian Vernor in Tokyo

There was a surprise performer doing electrifying tricks that he was claiming were not magic nor tricks. Everybody was amazed.

Watching the Performance

When almost everybody was gone we took some pictures of the remaining guests. More of my pictures are in a webalbum.

The Leftover Crowd

And then I went with some of the bicycle messengers to the courier office to get some of my clothes out of my trick bike bag.

Courier Tokyo Office

Then the courier Papas showed me a better road to cycle to Roppongi from which I cycled home via the Tokyo Tower. The road was slightly longer but more flat than the road I took to get there and this road had a better bike lane.

Tokyo Tower

At Harumi’s home I enjoyed the internet access to facebook and youtube and vimeo. So much fun! I liked the reflection of the apartment in the huge window with the street lamps and street shimering through. Do you see superman standing almost in the center?

Superman Reflections

Ko Masuda Cycle Art

Mittwoch, November 18th, 2009

Today I arrived in Tokyo and was picked up by Harumi. We only dropped my luggage off at her place and then went directly to a vernissage. The Japanese artist, cyclist and monk as well as BFF friend Ko Masuda does art around cycling. He beautifully engraves handlebars and stems as well as paints on canvas and bicycles.

Ko Masuda and Engraved Bicycle Parts

His paintings are all about bicycles or cycling. They are very energetic.

Bicycle Art Paintings from Ko Masuda

He is having an exhbition in Aoyama Tokyo. The Tokyo 2009 bicycle film festival (BFF) crew came to the art exhibition opening party. I took only a few pictures which I uploaded to a webalbum here.

Ko Masyda Cycle Art Exhibition Opening

Tokyo Bicycle Film Festival

Dienstag, November 17th, 2009

The international Bicycle Film Festival (BFF) is coming to Tokyo. This festival all around independent creative bike short films and parties will be from Friday November 20th to Monday November 23rd. The BFF is a celebration of bicycles through film, art and music. Presented by Brendt Barbur and friends.

Japan Tokyo Bicycle Film Festival Poster 2009

And I will be going to Japan to perform! I will be doing a very small show (dance around a bike) on the Friday Nov 20th at the BFF opening party in Combine. I will do bike performances at the Block Party on Monday Nov 23rd at Komazawa Koen Park. I hope there is no rain… I am keeping my fingers crossed. I should be performing 2 trick bike shows, one at 1pm and the second at 3:30pm.

And there are 2 full days of different movie screenings on Saturday and Sunday. The full event schedule details can be found here. Hope to see you in Tokyo!

Presents from Tomita Toshihiko

Sonntag, August 30th, 2009

Wow, what a great surprise!!! The delivery service knocked on the door having a package for me. From Japan? It was from my friend the Keirin track bike racer Tomita Toshihiko. Last year he had designed a Senjafuda (千社札, literally “thousand shrine tags”) for me but I was not expecting to receive so many wonderful things regarding fixed gear as well as many Senjafuda stickers.

Presents from Keirin Ambassador Tomita Toshihiko

Such an honor to receive this from the Keirin Ambassador Tomity. Special stamps, special spoke cards, the cute Keirinman Magnets (now I have a complete set 🙂 ). And it also included this beautiful Shimano Dura-Ace NJS stamped cog with engravings: „to Ines Brunn“ and „from Tomity“:

Shimano Dura-Ace NJS Stamped Cog with Engravings

as well as this Keirin bike chain bracelet made from recycled NJS chain also with engravings:

Tomity Keirin Recycled Bike Chain Bracelet with Engravings

THANK YOU SO MUCH TOMITY-SAN! I love the statements: „Bike is peaceful“ „Life is beautiful“ „Bike is heartful“ „Ride safe“

And I like the coincidences in life: We had already planned to go to the nice quiet Japanese cafe/bar/restaurant for a relaxing lunch with free softdrink refills on the 35th floor.

View of Beijing from Japanese Restaurant Wain Wain

Keirin Racer Tomity

Mittwoch, September 24th, 2008

What a nice surprise! Toshihiko Tomita contacts me. He is the visible promoter of Keirin track racing outside Japan known as Tomity. He has been a professional Keirin racer for over 25 years. He now acts like a Keirin ambassador.  The Keirin sport in Japan is popular as it is a legal form of gambling. It is similar to horse racing. You can bet money on any of the 9 cyclists. The Japanese athletes have to go to a special school and then be selected to be able to ride in Keirin races. The average money that is bet on one rider can go up to 84000US$.

So the famous Tomity made me a Senjafuda and uploaded it to flickr. I am so honored!

Ines Brunn Senja Fuda


Senjafuda (千社札, literally „thousand shrine tags“) are stickers or scraps of paper posted on the gates of shrines and Buddhist temples in Japan. The stickers bear the name of the worshipper. Today they are often used somewhat as a business card or to mark something personal.

Hidden Japanese Restaurant/Lounge

Sonntag, Februar 24th, 2008

Today we decided to go again to a nice hidden and hard to find small Japanese Lounge with food. I went there riding my 36 inch unicycle. That always attracts a lot of attention in the streets. One great effect: all cars stop and let you pass.

The lounge is just in an apartment building in the Dawanglu Soho complex on the 35th floor. It has a wide selection of Manga books, so some Japanese men come here to read those Japanese comics. One person red about 60 book while we were there. It has a nice atmosphere, not only at night.

Japanese Lounge in Beijing

As it is on the 35th floor and on the famous Chang An Boulevard there is a superb view of Beijing. We had been there last weekend and I had taken the following pictures. It was such a clear day that from almost the east 3rd ring road we could see all the way west past the west 5th ring road until the West Mountains and Fragent Hills:

View of Beijing Skyline

Here a proof that we really could see really far. In the right of this picture is the TV tower which is on the west 3rd ring road. Please also see the amount of cars on the Chang An Boulevard in the front left side of the picture.

Beijing West Mountains

At night the traffic stream at least looks nice…

Traffic on Changan Boulevard

The lounge has some nice Japanese food which are served on the typical lunch box style plates and with misu soup. Before 6pm they have an all you can drink (for soft drinks and tea or coffee) which is really nice. They also have Sochu sour and free internet 🙂