By Nancy Bouchard Let’s get it out in the open. Japan is the powder snow…
While in Tokyo, I had the opportunity to visit a bunch of different outdoor gear stores—both those owned by individual brands as well as one of the biggest outdoor stores, L-Breath, right near Shinjuku train station. I have always been fascinated by the different styles and products on offer for the Japanese market. There is definitely a closer relationship between urban and outdoor here and much like the Europeans, the Japanese are not afraid of color. Or outrageous mix and match patterns. And fanny packs. So many fanny packs.
Tucked away in a tiny back alley of the Shibuya district of Tokyo, not far from the Meiji shrine, Bonsai Cycle Works is the creation of cyclist and bike builder Hideo Yoshida. Once a student of fashion who then spent years working for a large bike shop in Tokyo, Yoshida finally branched out on his own in 2011. A popular spot for the local lycra set, Bonsai Cycle Works has also gained popularity the world over through Yoshida’s blog and Instagram account.
Japanese company Rin Project designs a line of casual bike gear for those that not only love to ride but want to look good both on and off the bike. The brand was started in 2000 by Hiroshi Yamada, then president of Chat Noir and once a fashion industry exec in France. After a car accident in 1995, Yamada decided to ditch the car and live a bike-centric life, designing apparel, gear, and accessories that made his new lifestyle possible.