Monday, December 26, 2016

Stateside Zero Sen_零式艦上戦闘機 


The Great Dogfight

During my friends' baby shower which was hosted at her dad's hangar, we heard news that our other friend's dad had completed restoring an original Mitsubishi A6M fighter aircraft also known as "Zero-Sen". The pilot photographed below, Kazuaki Yanagida, helped restore the second original Zero-sen in the world, which was found in the southern region of Japan in Kyushu near Kagoshima. Another interesting story about Kazuaki is that he's flown the famous Hayao Miyazaki, creator of some the most timeless Japanese animated films of the century. If you're not familiar with his work you have to definitely check out my favorite Studio Ghibli film, Porco Rosso (紅の豚) which is story plotted in Milan about war planes, air pirates and good ol' dog fights and like all of Miyazaki's films, ends with a important life lesson. Since watching that film many years ago, I've always had a fondness for World War planes and military aesthetic of the 1930's -50's. The story behind the Zero-sen has always been two-sided, a sense of pride and nationalism and the contrasting side with a deep-seated animosity. But with many decades that have passed, Americans and Japanese people are more united than ever and that animosity slowly disappears and respect for each others' cultures fills in the gap. It's important to keep artifacts of history alive such as this Zero-sen to remind ourselves where we came from and how far we've gone in the progression of humanity.   

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Race of Gentlemen 2016 @ Pismo Beach, CA


How The West Was Won

"They" said it couldn't, wouldn't, and shouldn't happen and when the waves crept up closer and closer up onto the shores knocking down the barriers and fences, they nodded in disbelief and disappointment. Then the rain poured and the staging areas flooded as the racers made their risky entrance into the pits. Some of out racers got stuck and stalled in the sand as they rolled their eyes at our feeble attempts to plow 80-year old vehicles throw the sand. They tested our spirits and our wits but THEY, the adversaries, WILL witness the greatest race on earth on the shores of Pismo Beach.

The Race of Gentlemen started on the east coast in Wildwood, New Jersey a few years ago and has continued to grow exponentially. After the 2015 TROG, when it was pushed back a week due to Hurricane Joaquin, mixed emotions stirred up out-of-towners but that didn't stop creators Bobby Green and Mel Stultz from surprising race fans with some big news for 2016. With all the obstacles with Pismo and tremendous costs to put on a show like this on west coast, Stultz and Green were too determined to give up on this opportunity.

Even with the tide surges, floods, and the rain there were wide-eyed smiles on everyone's faces. The joy of being at the first ever TROG on the west coast would not let our spirits wash away easily. The core existence of these races comes from the race fans and spectators that come and show support even through the tried times. It's what keeps the racers motivated and willing to race under any circumstance and that unity is what creates the racing spirit. That's what captivated me the most and that's what I wanted to capture this event.

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