This video is an old favourite. So old that I’d lost the favouriting system I used to use, and just spent the last 40 minutes trying to find it again. But it was worth it.
What I like most is the poetic sentiment of the subtitles. A recognition that whilst some nuances are necessarily lost in translation (and there’s a whole bunch of unsubtitled VO)… that despite or because of that loss, there’s a feeling you get of some deeper humanity being found, acquired in the process of translation.
It’s so much nicer to read some of those clumsy sentences than it would be to hear them. I’ve emphasised particular moments in the transcript below, but hopefully it’s clear to everyone how textually delicate the whole piece is. If I knew what I was talking about, I might propose the term wabi-sabi.
And that last line is fantastic, obvs.
In 1962 I was born in old town Tokyo.
I was brought up surrounded by the smell of oil and steel
and the sound of machinery.
I think this is why this life suits me well.
I have images but I am not inspired by any particular thing.
I don’t draw either.
I cut steel or bend aluminium listening to how I feel at that moment.
I use my own hands and break my back making the bikes
I believe that speaks to people’s emotions
and makes them want one.
A bike should look good on its own
but it’s incomplete until a person rides it.
It’s something that brings out my instincts
the wildness and vulnerability in me.
It feels nothing like
how violent it looks from the outside.
It’s very serene.
The ground and the sky are so white there is no boundary between them.
I have never flown
but it feels like flying in an airplane using a reciprocating engine.
I can’t tell you how peaceful it is.