Paul Chetwynd – Quitting his job to become a professional mountain biker and moving to Japan

Paul Chetwynd is a mountain bike and road bike guide in Japan. He started his career as a professional mountain biker in the ’80s. He raced all over North America, and then he moved to Japan to race for Rocky Mountain.

He was born in the UK. His family then moved to Canada. When he was in high school, his family moved from Toronto to Vancouver. At that time, mountain biking was very new, and the north shore was becoming the stage of the first professional riders. It was then that he discovered the sport and felt in love with it. He quit his “secure” job that was paying him a good salary for a dream: becoming a professional mountain biker. Back then, professional mountain biking wasn’t a real thing.

Around 1999 and 2000, he used his name to open his shop, Yatsugatake cycling. He started by teaching Japanese to get better riders. He now guides people from all over the world, from professional mountain bikers to people like me. That’s when I met him.

WHAT WE TALKED ABOUT IN THIS EPISODE 

  • The early stage of mountain biking
  • Skiing and snowboarding in Japan when wasn’t yet discovered.
  • Racing and training
  • Japanese culture and respect
  • Mountain biking in Japan
  • Discrimination
 

LINKS WE DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE


You can listen and subscribe to this show on Apple PodcastDeezerStitcherGoogle PlayGoogle PodcastSpotifySoundcloudYouTube, and Radio Public.

Thanks for listening.

Daniel De Biasi

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Daniel 0:03

Hi everyone, and welcome to episode number five of the Emigrant's Life podcast, where we share stories of people who left their own country to chase a better life. In this episode, I sit down with Paul Chetwynd, a pro mountain bikers and pioneer of the sport. He moved from Vancouver to Japan to race for Rocky Mountain, a local mountain biking brand in Vancouver. In this episode we talk about the North Shore for people not familiar with Vancouver. The North Shore is the north part of the Vancouver where the mountains are, Vancouver is on the ocean so to get to the North Shore or North Vancouver, you have to cross the bridge either from downtown or from the east Vancouver. I will let the map in the shownotes if you want to check it out. I met Paul four years ago when I went mountain biking in Japan. He's one of the leading players for mountain biking guides in the country. You can see many videos on YouTube. He's actually in the video that made me go to Japan. A video from Matt Antar arrived from Kamloops, Canada. Because I love the sport and Paul has lead mountain biking since the very beginning, we're going to talk a lot about biking. Still, you can find excellent insight into the stories of immigrant and how moving to Japan changed his life. So without further ado, please enjoy this episode with Paul Chetwynd.

Hey, Paul, how's it going?

Paul 1:18

Daniel its going well. Well, it's been a long time.

Daniel 1:20

Yeah.

Paul 1:20

Good to see you.

Daniel 1:21

Yeah, it's been what at least four or five years, I think.

Paul 1:26

Yeah. When you sent me the picture, I noticed the wheels are 26 inches on our bikes.

Daniel 1:31

I think he yes you're right. I used to have a 26 at that time. And I think at the time I think you were waiting for new, for new rims, new carbon fiber rims.

Paul 1:41

Oh maybe. I can't remember that.

Daniel 1:43

I remember you were talking about you were excited to get a new rims?

Paul 1:47

Yeah, I might have been that would be a 27 and a half, which like, I thought that bike was a 26. Maybe you were right, one of my 26 inch wheel bikes,

Daniel 1:56

I guess. Definitely. That was my 26. I bought recently a 27 and a half. Big step I didn't want to, but I was kind of, I kind of have to there was no chance to get it obviously. So, but I have to say I didn't even feel the difference.

Paul 2:12

You didn't?

Daniel 2:12

No

Paul 2:13

I think I think they're definitely a little faster or maybe bit easier but but in the end a bike's a bike and it's the feeling you get riding it that's what got me into it anyways doesn't really matter. It was a-

Daniel 2:26

No, exactly. I just honestly I didn't really I didn't really notice the difference in size. I did notice a difference in in the frame, which I'm not a big fan of the framework right now. I really miss the old bike but whatever.

Paul 2:40

It's interesting because the technology is getting better and better as days go, right?

Daniel 2:45

Yeah I think it's just because of my physiology. I got my thing, my legs are too short. And because the shock is in between the frame so the dropper post doesn't go down and stays kind of like a two-eye. So I have to be too much of the back or too much in the front when I go over bumps and that kind of stuff and it gets like got too light on the front I lose control I'm too forward so I could just like get over the handlebars or just kick my nuts. That's the other option, so it's, that's why I'm not a big fan of it.

Paul 3:20

Yeah, where you're living it you'll get lots of bucking and you're not so be careful. Change bikes, there's lots of good ones out there.

Daniel 3:28

Yeah, no, I'm what I'm working on it. Yeah, it's definitely on now, on the list of the things needs to be changed. Get a new bike.

Paul 3:34

Cool.

I really put my eyes on a common so I can get one of those.

Yeah, lots of nice bikes out there.

Daniel 3:42

Yeah, hopefully I can come back and write a video again.

Paul 3:46

Yeah, I look forward to it.

Daniel 3:47

I think Phil, still to this day I think still the best trip I've ever had. That was just awesome.

Paul 3:53

Really? Lots of people enjoy this country. Lots and lots of people. People don't expect it for a cycling destination, but it's actually like you said the cities are packed but once you get out there it's beautiful out here.

Daniel 4:07

No, exactly. It's just it's there are really not many people when once you get to the city.

Paul 4:12

Yeah, yeah, we're self isolating here but it's not that hard. It's just my lifestyle.

Daniel 4:18

And I remember you're living in the woods with not many people around you.

Paul 4:23

More and more now people running from the city right? They came out here and are hiding too so can't blame them.

Daniel 4:30

Yeah, but no, what it actually got me about Japan is the culture it's such a different culture compared to other countries. It just blew my mind.

Paul 4:41

Yeah, it's different. Maybe that's why this Corona of people are, you know, we're not we're hit bad but we're not, we're not - it's not expanding and expanding because people are used to wearing masks. They have this culture, about manners and stuff that I think it's helping them a lot just naturally.

Daniel 4:56

Exactly. And another thing about my trip that was really made the difference - I don't remember I think I told you that the reason why I went to Japan is because I watched this video on YouTube about Matt Hunter.

Paul 5:10

Yeah

Daniel 5:10

He was riding with you in Japan. And I didn't know at the time I remember the first day I was riding with you. I told you the story like I'm here because of this videos of that guy, I asked you that, "Did you see, did you watch video? Like, oh, yeah, I was the guy behind the camera." I thought you were lying. So I went back home I didn't want to fully trust you. For some reason I don't remember why so when I went back home at night, I rewatch the video and I saw you and your kid in the video.

Paul 5:37

Dave and I got a little cameo and they were hiking up the trail. Cool. Yeah, man. He's a good guy. He's actually helping out a little bit more in Japan right now. I'm doing him in a sponsor. They're getting a little bit of giving a little support of some Japanese guys building trails, which is really, really good.

Daniel 5:56

Oh really?

Paul 5:57

Yeah.

Daniel 5:58

Yeah, Matthew's I think one of the main guy that brought me to this sport. I was watching his video on YouTube and just because I was watching his video and I really got into the sport because of him.

Paul 6:09

Yeah, he's a good guy.

Daniel 6:10

It's not. It's not a coincidence. I mean, I'm in Canada right now. Just

Paul 6:14

There you go.

Daniel 6:16

Yeah, it was Winslow was on my bucket list for many years. Kamloops is another beautiful - I mean, if you watch the video of all the movies and videos on the internet, probably 90% is are a shot in British Columbia.

Paul 6:29

In BC yeah it's crazy.

Daniel 6:31

Yeah.

Paul 6:32

But I think I missed a lot of those shots, right? Like I came over to Japan and that just boomed after I left BC right? You know, I mean, the riding was great when we're there those already whistler but they weren't a bike park. And we actually raised up and down was a bunch of times. We had to climb it to race to the downhill.

Daniel 6:52

Oh really?

Paul 6:53

It actually was black home back then was certain didn't even have any mountain bike.

Daniel 6:58

Oh yeah

Paul 6:58

Very, very changing world.

Daniel 7:00

Yeah, and definitely the riding style here is just crazy.

Paul 7:05

Yeah, for sure. It's crazy.

Daniel 7:06

The black and the Northshore is double black I think anywhere else.

Paul 7:10

Anywhere else. Anywhere else. I've been, I've been to so many flows on the North Shore with my friends they're like, check out this section I'm like, okay, what do we do though? We just watch. We'll hike around this one. Yeah, we just can't do that right? But the young kids are amazing right? They ride it with style.

Daniel 7:29

Oh, yeah, absolutely. I mean, they did probably grew up with the situation for them is the norm. For me the first time I went there like a plus i think it was winter. I was I'm not used to like a wet conditions because I always usually riding in New Zealand where it was always always dry. So going through wet rocks was just scary for me. And I remember that I think, I think I had like a big day I went like a four or five runs. And the day after I I couldn't move a muscle. I couldn't lift a muscle it was so just brutal on your body that I couldn't move a muscle the next day.

Paul 8:04

That's where we learn to ride right with with cantilever brakes and no suspension on the North Shore. So you learn how to brake, you said it in the wet and the rocks, right? If you if you lock your brakes off, you're going over, you're out of control, right? So you learn that, that fine line of where your traction is and where it's not. I think it helped all those, all those young kids. They're just unreal when they're riding the logs and skinny bridges, right? They just are right on the edge of the braking. right on the edge of the cliff.

Daniel 8:34

Yeah, it's crazy. It's crazy. I don't think - I think I'm too old to start doing those stuff.

Paul 8:39

Oh, yeah, for sure.

Daniel 8:41

I just enjoy other divider kind of rides. But yeah, skinny stuff is not for me.

Paul 8:45

Yeah, well, that's actually changed a lot too over the years right? It's getting less and less of that.

Daniel 8:50

Yeah, I noticed that which is for me is great. As I said, I'm not a big fan.

Paul 8:54

Well, it's for everybody. That's just that's pretty risky.

Daniel 8:57

It is and and I don't know some people like that kind of stuff, that kind of riding. For me I'd rather more like a nice and fast flow with tracks. Just get speed and get jumps, that kind of thing more than technical and skinny.

Paul 9:11

That's all good.

Daniel 9:13

There's every - there's things for everybody out there.

Paul 9:15

Exactly.

Daniel 9:16

So what you were from for Vancouver, right?

Paul 9:19

Actually I was from I was born in England actually then my parents moved us to Canada. We went from from Toronto to Vancouver when I was in high school. And just my parents happened to move to Deep Cove on the North Shore there and just happened to be with mountain biking first came out was like, I was in high school in '79 and '80 there in Vancouver and a couple guys from my high school opened up the deep go bike shop, and right away I was like, okay, that's pretty fun sport let's start doing that. And we're just riding in the bush we didn't even know what we were doing right? And even now some of the trails we were riding are pretty famous drills you know, you look at Wade Simmons and he says yeah, like this trail here is like, okay, we used to ride you know, we'd hang on and slide down right? But but that's where we learn to ride and I'm just lucky that I came out there and found them mountain biking right away right? It was great.

Daniel 10:17

I think I even watched recently some documentary on I think was in on Red Bull TV about the North Shore.

Paul 10:24

Yeah

Daniel 10:24

And there's a bit some videos about the bicycle and the things they were doing at that time was just crazy.

Paul 10:31

Yeah, I'm - I remember Charles and he owns a golf shop. He said, Dad you should see Wade he came down from Kamloops right, Wade Simmons and he was working at the shop as a mechanic. It's just the kiddo right off the roof of my shop. He'll he'll do anything, man. But that's a whole different level those kids took it too right? You know, the original trials and free riding. They weren't racing, they were just riding right?

Daniel 10:56

Yeah. So you said that your friends in high school open and start the cove bike?

Paul 11:00

Yeah. Three guys opened that out right out of high school, used to drive down to California to pick up parts. Rocky Mountain at that time, laughed at them and said about biking was going nowhere. They were just a road bike company.

Daniel 11:15

Oh really? I did not know that.

Paul 11:16

I'm not kidding you. That was actually when the owner of Kona bikes was was the, the manager of the road team at Rocky Mountain down. He was a salesman at Rocky and Rocky said mountain biking wasn't really going anywhere.

Daniel 11:32

I didn't know that.

Paul 11:33

Yeah, it's pretty interesting. That's a way back '79 stuff there. But the guys at the cove they had to drive down to California to get everything.

Daniel 11:41

Why? Because everything was-

Paul 11:42

There was nothing.

Daniel 11:43

Mountain bike started in California right?

Paul 11:45

Yeah. And back then Rocky they started with they started importing Richie, Richie frames and stuff before they started making their own. And then there was a Japanese factory started making the production bikes and then Rocky got got into it.

Daniel 12:03

I didn't realize until I moved to Vancouver how many brands actually are from the North Shore.

Paul 12:09

From the North Shore? Yeah, well, some quite a few now right? But back then none were from the North Shore. Basically the Cove was the only shop on the North Shore. They're the first in Canada actually for mountain biking. Back then there was a Bay Shore in Vancouver. They were big on it. And that was actually where synchros came out of this Bay Shore bikes,. Peter and Pippin started synchros bike parts out of there. So small little world and then like I said, Kona started from Rocky really, you know, Jacob and Dan they came both of them are rocky, actually. I guess the Cove started on the North Shore and then there's North Shore billet was doing stuff, I guess. And now there's a bunch, right?

Daniel 12:52

Yeah, there's Yeah, there's definitely quite a few.

Paul 12:54

And even Kona's based on the North Shore so

Daniel 12:58

Even that that was the first bike I've ever ridden, the Kona and I had no idea it was from from from the North Shore.

Paul 13:06

Right. Yeah basically all those guys at Kona they're there they've been riding for a long time actually. Doug and Dan and Jake - Jake we still race against them, the boss.

Daniel 13:20

And Cove I guess is because they probably started in the deep cove

Paul 13:24

Exactly it was - they're all all of us grew up around the same area and it was three guys at first now it's just Jaz and Doug do doctor doat Kona. He went to Kona years and years ago.

Daniel 13:37

But you're an ambassador in Japan for Cove?

Paul 13:41

I've been selling their bikes and stuff over here so I guess I'm an ambassador right? Just keep it going, right? Yeah, yeah, I've been selling their stuff over here for years now. Right? They're not really making any bikes anymore it's kind of sad but their clothing and stuff like that do what I can.

Daniel 13:57

Oh, really. They stopped making bikes?

Paul 13:59

Well, they got a few titanium bikes but they're just not keeping up, right? You know, they didn't go into carbon now, now they should start making their aluminum bikes. It's just it's just hard for small guys these days, right?

Daniel 14:11

Yeah, I mean these-

Paul 14:12

Things change, things change. It's like wow.

Daniel 14:15

At the same time though the new company they come out with a what's the gorilla, gorilla frames something like that? They started with the new carbon fiber frames like a low cost carbon fiber frame.

Paul 14:28

Right and that's what he should have done is gotten in the car and he never did right? Kind of missed the boat I think.

Daniel 14:34

Yeah

Paul 14:34

That's that's not I don't know, right?

Daniel 14:36

But there's so much technology behind and you just probably need quite a few bucks behind to actually keep up with the technology.

Paul 14:44

Yeah, and it's just hard to stay in the game right? You know, like imagine imagine like a guy like Jaz supporting Stevie Smith for like three years they co sponsored the kid right but you got to sell a lot of bikes, to pay for a kid to go on the World Cup and stuff and a bike shop doesn't sell a lot of bikes to cover that right? So a couple of questionable marketing things going on there.

Daniel 15:12

And also probably back in the days they didn't release a new bike every single year, they probably a bike will last longer now

Paul 15:18

The older older bikes are handmade its like it's a great bike we don't need to change it, but people just need change anyways. I changed my my cove shock in my downhill bike, I put the adapters for the 27.5 dropouts on the rear end and the bike actually performs better now right. I'd ride that new bikes and stuff and they're lighter, but my bike is a solid good, good downhill bike, right? I could race if I need to do. The platform is what's most important, right? And if the platform is actually ideal, pedal's right.

Daniel 15:52

No, yeah, exactly. But do you still racing, do you still do races?

Paul 15:57

No. I haven't raced for, I do a few triathlons and stuff once in a while but not for a few years. Thinking about it again now because we got some time started getting shade. We're not we're not we're not locked down on here all we can do is ride so four or five hours or I never will sort of feel like I can go climb a hill now. Been a while.

Daniel 16:20

Yeah, I think I'm back at the point where I'm dreaming about getting an e-bike just because I'm so out of shape.

Paul 16:26

Yeah, I'm not ready for an e-bike yet. I've tried a few of them but I'm not ready.

Daniel 16:30

Same I did try the first one last year last summer and going up was absolutely, was amazing. Just you can go as fast as you want and, and be exhausted at the top. It's not that you're not doing any work.

Paul 16:44

Exactly. I actually rode one ordered one in December on Mount Seymour did it in three hours with our one of those specialized legals, which is supposedly really the best right now. According to the guy who took me ride and he said, yeah, these are about as good as you can get. It was fun but but it didn't work for me you know in the end.

Daniel 16:47

On the way up or on the way down?

Paul 17:07

On the way up was fine. We passed a bunch of guys pedaling up and stuff like that but the bike, the bike and the feeling of it, It felt it felt a little sluggish, you know, going downhill it was it wasn't it wasn't the same as on my lightweight, you know, enduro bike or whatever, you know, I didn't feel as much fun and just personally for me I like the feeling of hiking up a mountain and skiing down and or snowboarding down after doing it on my own power right? I have no no need for the electricity yet. And then in the area I live in here in Japan they're putting a bunch of solar panels and you know, cutting down forests and putting solar panels up to make electricity and seems seems to me like it's a bit of a contradiction in terms of environment. When people are doing that saying this is an e-bike it's great for ecology but but reallythe electricity isn't free right comes from somewhere.

Daniel 18:02

Yeah, I know, that's true.

Paul 18:04

So yeah, I'm not ready for it yet.

Daniel 18:07

I can definitely see the fun that instead of doing a couple of laps, you can do five laps. And it's definitely it's just just more fun. But my experience of with e-bike was great going up, I got a I got to the tub was exhausted, but was going like 20 km an hour. So it's just flying up in the-

Paul 18:25

You're like Nino Schurter

Daniel 18:27

Exactly. But yeah. So what brought you to to Japan?

Paul 18:32

What brought me was actually contract with rocky mountain bikes to come and race mountain bikes over here for three months. And they said, Do you want to go over and race in Japan for three months? And I said, Sure, why not give it a try? So, came over here for three months and then the guy was distributing Rockies. Do you want to spend another year here next year? Sure. And, that deal kind of went bad but but uh, I've met enough people here in Japan by then they're like, Hey, we can set you up with this company to sponsor you and we'd like you to stay, what do you think? So I never left.

Daniel 19:12

Okay, and why what actually made you stay just because of thea?

Paul 19:16

Well, the first the first three months like you've been to Japan, it's a big culture shock at first, right? You're just like, holy, everything's different. These people are weird something. What are they doing and what am I doing? And but slowly, you start to see things and you realize it's a it's actually a big country it's a small country, but it's actually a lot going on here when you think of culture and history, right? It's, it's, it's compared to what I was taught in Canada, you know, basically taught 200 years of history. It's thousands of years here, right? And the culture, it's much, much more involved. And so, so slowly, I kind of thought I could spend a little more time here and check it out some more. And once I lost my sponsorship actually gave me a lot more freedom to choose where I wanted to live and get away from from where Rocky Mountain would put me and get out into the mountains a bit more. And then once I got out here in the mountains, I realized that it's actually a pretty fantastic place to ride a bike and train and ski in the winter. There's, you know, back then, Japan was undiscovered, so I basically had 10 years here where we didn't line up on a powder day or anything, right? We just got up in the morning. We didn't have to rush just come out and go skiing in the trees and nobody was in there. It was just for us to play out. For me when I was young, that was huge, bonus, actually right, coming from Winston where the powder was getting skied out quicker and quicker. And we just had it it was game on for years now it's game over, because it has been well discovered, but you know, it's still there if you want to go get it, but it's nothing like we had it in the 90s it was pretty incredible here,

Daniel 21:05

But did you have like chairlift and everything, or you have to wake up?

Paul 21:09

Yeah we'd go to the skier as we go up and I got we have to have two jackets because the patrollers used to tell us it was dangerous to go in the trees like. Actually, it's not really dangerous, and it's more dangerous out with all the hunters on the runs. And they know we're going to take your ticket away and stuff so we have a couple back backpack with an extra shirt or two or coat or two in there and change them up every couple runs so they didn't know who we were. And, you know, we use like the whole Hakuba Valley, there's like six key areas. So you know, you can go through there in a season and only go to the same place a few times, right, if you know where you're going right? So we played pretty good back then.

Daniel 21:50

So so in the area you live there's a - how many ski ski field do you go around there?

Paul 21:56

Well, in the Gallican there's just there's hundreds I don't know how many right

Daniel 22:00

Oh really?

Paul 22:00

Hakuba Valley is pretty well the most famous in Nagano I guess but there's Shiga as opposed to on sand. There's Miyoko there's huge and they all get you know between four and five meters of snow a year which is huge huge powder snow so yeah, it's it's actually a lot busier now a lot more foreigners living here than when I first came to

Daniel 22:05

Japan is definitely more it's well known now for especially-

Paul 22:32

Yeah, um, but but when we first came that was like for the Japanese and the patrollers. They're like, no, that's really dangerous in there. You can't go in there we're working on its good in here. And, oh, I could tell you stories about friends being patrollers having problems trying to try to open up the trees with their bosses and stuff. And now they're all advertising. It's open, right? It's a funny game.

Daniel 22:56

Yeah. And were you guys the first one to ride the snowboard at that time back then?

Paul 23:00

I wasn't I wasn't actually - I was a skier, Telemark skier I Telemark all of all my diamond Whistler, and alpine ski and was pretty well telemarking and had some friends snowboarding back then. But I was actually actually pretty well Telemark skiing because I always thought that telemarketing was for training would make me stronger. I dont know if you heard of Telemark ski you know what it is?

Daniel 23:26

Yes I know I never tried right.

Paul 23:27

So it's a it's a it's a workout on your thighs you know and on your ass muscles you're you're moving a lot more so and for touring, it was good. So I just thought that was for me with what I needed to be doing at the time right to get stronger for cycle racing.

And yeah, I lived with a guy called Graham up and Whistler for for a while and he was actually the buyer for black home Whistler and he had and was sponsored by Burton. So in my house, we had the same boots and everything same size feet and he's like Paul, try it. Try it. Try snowboarding. No, I'm not gonna do it. I'm not gonna do it. Then he's like, okay, okay. Then I came to Japan. And another good friend of mine, he, he was a skier, but then he started snowboarding. And that's another story. She's another story. And he's like, yeah, like, you should try snowboarding so that's what I'm doing now and I had no partner anymore because he basically got a girlfriend and she was snowboarder, so he started snowboarding. So I started snowboarding. And so I started all my snowboarding here in Japan and actually do a lot of snowboarding now, still ski but more snowboarding.

Daniel 24:40

Which one do you prefer in between the between the trees?

Paul 24:44

Snowboarding, hands down but I actually haven't used a lot of these new fat skis that have come out right you know, I have to I have to say I haven't given it a fair shot because the skis changed a lot which is because of the snowboarding industry right they they they started shaping snowboards and the skiing industry was just straight plank skis for such a long time they never got on board right and finally they started making skis like snowboards that would float in about or better so looks pretty fun right and I just haven't got the finances I guess to do it. I've got a lot of snowboard so.

Daniel 25:21

Yeah, I know, yeah, exactly. Yeah, personally, I never got into into skiing never actually appealed me that just just the look of it. I love snowboarding. And yeah, it's just.

Paul 25:34

I thought once I found the trees on a snowboard, I never went back. That's probably the easiest thing to say. I used to ski in the trees and Telemark in the skis. But when I go on a snowboard, for one, it was a lot easier you can just fly through the trees make the tight turns. It's really easy, its fun.

Daniel 25:54

Yeah, that's why I ask you because you're not the first one that actually knows how to ski and stuff, snowboard. And I already asked this question to other people then which one do you prefer? Especially I come from the fresh powder and between the trees and most people say it's actually I think old people that pretty much is the snowboard is way much fun,

Paul 26:14

Right. Even back when I'm talking about when I was and we still have a few friends that were pretty hardcore skiers and they started snowboarding too and they're like, I don't know if you'd be up to Western when they have their famous West Coast powder. The heavy, heavy, slushy snow

Daniel 26:30

No, no, yet.

Paul 26:31

Ski skiing is pretty tough in that but on a snowboard, they kind of could float through the snow much better than the skiers back then because we had really skinny Telemark skis are tough. Even that technology's changed a lot.

Daniel 26:44

Well, yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Even like even just the clothing stuff.

Paul 26:50

Yeah.

Daniel 26:50

Before there was there was a big difference between a skier and snowboarder. This ski was more like a tide Ted pants, tight jacket and the snowboard was like a little bit more loose. And now you can't really tell the difference. And so they're getting the two the two worlds are joining.

Paul 27:08

Yeah, I ski in my snowboard gear.

Daniel 27:13

Yeah in New Zealand for the first time I snowboard in New Zealand I was using the, you know like the orange overhaul that you used on the street like orange with like a reflective I use that one just because it was cheaper. I didn't have any I didn't have any clothes there like I was wearing like sweatpants and underneath and this overhaul top was great. Everybody could see me on the mountain.

Paul 27:37

It didn't matter how once you're riding people like he knows what he's doing.

Yeah. And and are you - when when did you start your your business there in Japan?

I started right around 1999 2000 I guess you know, as I was starting to tone down the racing so I started doing mountain bike guiding and and I did a basically using my name in Japan as the mountain bike racer, you know, had a good name and still have a good name all. And I was targeting Japanese only, basically. And they come mountain biking with balls on on the weekends and we go running and I'd help them out a little bit and show them a few hands how to get a little better climbing steep stuff, or riding down steep things and work on their technique. And that's kind of the reason that the Japanese mountain bike assosiciate asked me to stick around was just to try and help them back then was that bring the level of racers up a bit, you know, and get them a little faster. And then in the end, it's more get the technique and stuff and now now the riders here, you know, just like everywhere, the young kids are great, right? You're watching definitely.

Daniel 28:51

Okay. So to that point, before you start, your on your own your own shop and your own business were you just like were you just like a racing professionally there was a?

Paul 29:03

Yeah, I was racing professionally and getting paid by I guess track race for track for four years and Scott for five years I guess and Rocky Mountain got me over here and rode on the on the road seen here in Japan on the road racing on what they call a business league. It's like they're they're pro teams, but they're sponsored. The sponsorship program for the road in Japan and Olympic athletes here is the company sponsors you it's not like you become an individual pro you're you work for a company and they support you while you're trying to be an athlete, which is a and you're supposed to have a job when you finish your career and sports which is actually a pretty good thing. You know, I know a lot of Canadian athletes to train pretty well you know, for the Olympics and they have their dream but they have nothing when they finish their their dream right. So this this business league racing in Japan is actually I think, not a bad idea righy?. People out of university get a job and off they go it's not a bad system. So I got on I got on a business league team that a friend of mine asked me to join after I trained with him for all Japanese guy. He was uh, he did the Barcelona Olympics for Japan was Japan champ a few times. So I got on a really good road team which was really fun for me because I'm not a road rider just a mountain biker and all sudden I could do real high level road races in Asia, which was real fun.

Daniel 30:37

Okay. Do you want to add these or do you want to add anything else about your business about your shop?

Paul 30:44

Oh, yeah, well, the shop I like I said, I started with the shop in around 2000 and was that wasn't really road riding at all it was it was directed mainly at the Japanese mountain bikers just to help them and take them for a ride and you know it's it's funny now that it enduro racing is really fun. Back back then I would basically make my customers ride up a mountain and ride down the trail back to the bottom of the mountain. Sounds like enduro right now, right? You know, it's all popular, but it's never really changed mountain biking, right? It's just this word. enduro, right, that's what we've always been doing on a mountain bike right climbing up a mountain then ride down and, but back then people would complain a little bit about about how much climbing we had to do. Now now people will kind of want to want to climb a little bit which is kind of interesting change in that outlook of people riding bikes these days. I kind of like that, you know, for as a cross country racer, of course, climbing has never been a problem. But the lots of people always are whining about it. Nowadays. It's more like anti shuttle here in Japan. People want to ride up the hill and shuttling is no good and stuff like that. So it's a very, very interesting world, I think.

Daniel 31:58

Really, so I think that's the old school. I ride - I have a shuttle everyday of the week, just I'm not a big fan of like a riding up doesn't I don't feel like accomplished.

Paul 32:10

It's also, here in Japan, because of the trail access and stuff a lot of places don't want the shuttling going on because it just adds to the wear of the trail, right? Like you say, on an e-bike, you can do five or five runs instead of two or whatever. Right? It's more more on the trail and respecting the mountain.

Daniel 32:30

Yeah

Paul 32:31

So you ride up it and you respect the mountain. And it's a big thing in Japan. It might be tough to hit to here but I kind of think it's the way it's gonna have to be in mountain biking if we want to keep the game going. In Vancouver people can maintain the trails so it's okay but I hear this problems and what's certain you know with the e-bikes the guys doing exactly that ripping it up and the guys maintaining the trails are like we're spending a lot of money on this and we're not getting anything out of it right because these guys on e-bikes come up and shred their trails and they're not putting anything into it, which is a big point anywhere is the maintenance of the trails and how much you're allowed to. In Japan, we're not allowed to maintain the trails.

Daniel 33:12

Yeah, remember that.

Paul 33:13

Really, really have to just, you know, it's who's mountain it's what you are doing. You can't dig, you can't do things right? So it's it's more like save what you've got.

Daniel 33:25

Yeah, yeah. Remember you were saying that last time I was there. I thought of things that may have changed in the meantime but-

Paul 33:32

No, no change. If anything, there's a few signs and a few locals like though, you know, of course, I've shuttled with my customers. I'm sure I shuttled with you right, but a few places are like, well, we don't really want the shuttling going on anymore. The local people don't like it and stuff. So you have to respect that if you want. If you like mountain biking, you have to respect that because I don't want to see the trails disappear. That's, that's for me. It's a horrible thing to have. I don't want my reputation having happened to me. Right. You know, especially for the local people, you don't want to have that on your, on your mind even right.

Daniel 34:06

Yeah, no, exactly. In fact, I remember that you were saying to not share the Strava or the GPS tracker that was reporting on any platform because you said you just don't want other people to know were all the trails are.

Paul 34:20

That's going on. Exactly. Yeah, I've had trouble some people out there doing right they look at pictures and figure out what's going on. And some people advertising they are going to guarantee people so many vertical it's like hey, man, these guys don't want you shuttling. How can you guarantee 5000 vertical feet in a day unless you apply? Right, you know? And things like that. They took that down pretty quick.

Daniel 34:45

Yep. And I think because of that you are a big name in Japan for as a tourist as a mountain bike guide. Right? Because-

Paul 34:53

Yeah, I think I've got a pretty good reputation, right?

Daniel 34:55

At least I mean most of the video you find on YouTube about a professional riders or like of quite famous riders, you usually are in the picture usually are in those videos.

Paul 35:09

I mean a few of them, right? And I'm not in a few to right? And I've had a few a few people you know, like I've actually seen I can't I'm not gonna mention the videos and stuff. But people like in Japan, just getting on the trails and locking the brakes and being idiots in the trails. People don't like that in Japan. And it's just not respecting their mountains. And there's a few few groups that I'm glad I didn't, didn't get involved with that have come through and I haven't actually commented too much on them, but just like, you know, that's not the way it happens. I don't know if you saw what Sam Pilgrim did a few a few months ago, he came to Japan and rode through Tokyo and just rode everywhere with no respect and he took it down and he had his life threatened actually by some Japanese guys, right? I don't know how serious they were but even Sam on Twitter's like wow I didn't know they're that serious about someone's well you just don't ride stairs at shrines and things without getting the okay you know they were gorilla riding you know kind of riding like urban riders to Tokyo and it's actually pretty cool video but they didn't get the okay on any of it and they actually you know it's like blasphemy almost what they did right so.

Daniel 36:24

Yeah you need to respect.

Paul 36:26

Yeah yeah Sam's respect was he actually took it down right away but but he pissed off a lot of people. When he was here before he - I was working with them we actually did film another shrine and stuff but we actually got the the shrines okay they said yeah sure go ahead make your jobs do it right but you have to show them respect of what you're doing before you do that type of thing, right?

Daniel 36:49

Yeah. But at the same time it is a shame because Japan could be like a mountain bike for Japan could be a really good business could be actually have a lot of businesses and tourism. There's so many beautiful places to ride your bike if you're already be allowed to be allowed to actually build trails.

Paul 37:07

Exactly. But but it's, it's their culture takes a long time. I've been here like 20 years right and over 20 years and when our first came people said that takes like 10 years before things catch on just like we were talking about the powder, right? It took it took. It took almost almost 15 years of people like even we were made videos, we got we made videos, we brought the famous snowboarders over we made videos about her, and that kind of expose this place. And it still took another another 10 years or so before the security cause even now they're just opening up their powders zones and stuff, right trying to try to take advantage of the foreign market now. Right?

Daniel 37:50

Yeah.

Paul 37:52

But it took a long time for that and ski industry is a lot more powerful than the mountain bike industry right? So it's gonna take time, like I said, Matt Hunter he was over here just in the fall I wish I could have gone and seen him. But I was actually in Canada then. But uh there's people doing good things and slowly you know, it's it's slowly changing and it will just take a little longer once once a few few people see that there is a business and it does work. I think it'll really start to take off. I hope I'm still alive right you know, I'm getting older and older. I'd like to see the day.

Daniel 38:30

Yeah

Paul 38:30

But it is for sure. And the potential is huge.

Daniel 38:34

Yeah, mountain biking, the last what five to 10 years actually grew quite a bit which is becoming more more popular every year.

Paul 38:41

What you what you don't see what I see is is Asia. Right You know, like like the riders from Hong Kong are there that they've actually got a good scene going there and they're good riders now coming over and from from Taiwan and Singapore and Malaysia are with these guys from from Singapore, Malaysia, in the ball and in January. And they're really, really good riders. And the whole scene in Thailand and Indonesia, it's huge and they have mountains too. And it's amazing how big it's grown to me this whole Asian scene. You know, of course American and North and Canadians and Europeans have been doing it for quite a while but the amount of Asians starting to ride is pretty impressive. There's a lot of us over here right?

Daniel 39:38

And that's a big that's actually a huge market.

Paul 39:41

Yeah, I don't I don't know. I don't know what their economics are. But the my customers that come from they're all are quite wealthy customers. They have money to play with. They have very nice bikes. And, and they're good riders, actually. I mean, Japan as a country is very attractive to Asians. nor anyone because it's so clean. The food is is so good. And so it's not just about the riding for them. It's about everything right? They really enjoy being in Japan, compared to maybe where they live like the Singapore's very, very dense country, Hong Kong as well. Here, we get them out in the mountains. You give them you know, what's a good way to just take them to a supermarket and they buy the food, the sushi at the supermarket, and it's better than the restaurants in their home country. They're saying this is like, amazing. It's this fresh, fresh sushi right at the food. It is. It's amazing, right?

Daniel 40:39

I don't know. Actually, I've been there for 20, 20 days in Japan.

Paul 40:44

Yeah

Daniel 40:44

And I never or the food's always been with somebody else and they'll call there will hold the food for me.

Paul 40:49

Right, right.

Daniel 40:50

And you know what? They never got me to try the sushi. So I never tried sushi in Japan.

Paul 40:56

Right. That's funny.

Daniel 40:58

I didn't even thought about it was just like okay, um with locals, whatever they gave what's local they all never ordered sushi. They never ordered it.

Paul 41:07

Well, sushi sushi sushi is yeah, not not nice. It's not like an everyday food for the that's for sure, right? A couple times a week, a month at the most. And another thing that I see a lot of my customers Asian customers that like here is the fruit in Japan. They just go nuts over the fruit here. I don't know if it's just the quality they know the Japanese like high quality of everything right. And you know, they throw beautiful apples away. They don't throw them away, but they're they're going to get made into juice or something. And they only sell the perfect apples and suddenly like sugar coming out of them, right. It's-

Daniel 41:47

Definitely Japan is I think I've watched a documentary on I think it was an Amazon Prime about what's the guy May - what's the name the guy from the Top Gear.

Paul 42:00

Oh yeah yeah yeah

Daniel 42:03

He was there for like a six months and he did a series about it in Japan from the north of Japan the very top this island top and all the way to the south of Japan. And it's such a different country there's got beautiful like a tropical islands to mountains to everything.

Paul 42:22

Yeah, everything.

Daniel 42:24

I don't know it's such a such an amazing country. Yeah, I think it just because I couldn't get over at least when I was there, I couldn't get over to the culture is such a different kind of culture that I don't think I will be able to live in Japan.

Paul 42:41

Right? Lots of people are like that, you know, people like how could you stand that, you know, how do you how do you do that? It's like, I don't have to deal with it too, right where I live, but but there's parts of it that I do kind of enjoy as well right in their culture. There's definitely some clashes sometimes.

Daniel 42:59

Yeah. I'm not saying it's bad. Just the thing is such a different culture. I couldn't get used to it and I know - but at the same time I really I really hope I can get back to Japan either in summer or winter whatever because it's either a snowboard or mountain biking so.

Paul 43:17

Or both you can come in the winter you can do both here.

Daniel 43:21

Can you actually do good mountain biking in winter?

Paul 43:24

Oh yeah, I mean I mean around around like just say for Tokyo, it never snows there you can go up to you can at least 1000 meter and in the mountains there and there's no snow. Lots of nice running.

Daniel 43:36

Okay, I didn't know that. Do you - what's the biggest upside about being an immigrant?

Paul 43:44

The biggest upside, it's a funny thing that answer but the biggest upside of being an immigrant for me in Japan is learning as a as a white guy is learning discrimination. You know you there is discrimination in this country. But for foreigners, and it's not so bad. And as a white guy, it's actually not as bad for me as what's a good example saying Iranian guy or something like that, you know, there's different levels, but there's definitely some discrimination. So it's actually a kind of a, for me as a human being a little bit of an eye opener, you know, of what it's like to not be the privileged white guy, right, you know, like we are and growing up in North America, we're the privileged white people. We didn't know it, I didn't know it, right. I'm just just grew up. It's not my fault. It's not your fault. It's just what we are. And I come over here and I see and I can feel, feel a little bit sometimes, you know, and it's, it's actually, what's the word - humbling. You know, it's good for you. It makes you think about other people in the world. Right? And it's just good, good, good food for all humans, right. I think every American should get out of their country once in a while and have a look inside. Right?

Daniel 44:58

Exactly. And be on the other side.

Paul 45:00

Yeah, have a look at what they look like. Right? It's a very, very good eye opener. And that's one of the biggest things that happened to me over here actually. And I actually thank the job and he's for it and then you know, they know what everybody knows every country has discrimination and of course they want to protect their country. I totally understand it. But it was very good for me.

Daniel 45:23

Yeah. And what's the what was the main thing that helped you in your journey?

Paul 45:28

Having like I said, the freedom to do what I wanted wouldn't want to when I started to be like, I was totally all myself by myself when my, I didn't talk about it but when my sponsor with Rocky, he went out of business after he'd already told me, he was gonna pay me a good salary for the next season and stuff. So I was actually left pretty high and dry here in Japan, and I was actually I lived in an apartment that had, you know, the squat, squat toilet and had no flushing water, and had just a cold water top and had a couple electrical outlets, but it cost 100 bucks a month, this little apartment. And so I had to live there for like three months while I had nothing. And like I said the Japanese mountain bike association, they really, really, they heard the problem I had and that they really asked me to stick around and stick it out. They introduced me to a few companies, Japanese companies, and they all kind of got together and helped me out a lot. So I appreciate that a lot. And once once I started getting the money together, I had the freedom to to for one, I could leave the area I was living in and get away from that area, which was a tourist area near Tokyo called Hakone. And it's just too too too much tourism for riding a bike right, too many buses, too many cars and it wasn't ideal for me at all. So I could I could actually go somewhere the year before. I'd been racing and seeing some pretty pretty beautiful areas and I'm like I might as well live out there. What am I doing here? I want to get out there and that that freedom gave me that and then you got to produce right? You got to make - you're on your own so you got to produce some results, you got to produce for your sponsor and make them happy to give you the money every year so kind of changed made me get on it in that regard right? My training got a lot better so well. living here in Japan you know the diet was is fantastic here, all sorts of things kind of came my way right? I had a place to settle down. I was very happy where I lived. We had the I don't know if you know what the onsen is the hot springs, you remember we went to the hot springs and they're everywhere in Japan, right?

Daniel 47:42

No, I don't think I was allowed because I have a tattoo.

Paul 47:45

Oh you got a tattoo. Right? Well, that's your loss, but they're getting a few places are allowing a few more tattoos. I actually had a there's an article in singletracks.com that just went up last week that this guy Klaus. He was over last year with his brother and his friend and he has some tattoos but we got them in a few on cents and he was really happy right? But you know these hotsprings having them in my backyard is was was like a go and get get relaxed everyday. It's all like having a massage every night little things that kind of help you as an athlete to get better, right and to just be happy resting and having a great diet. I went back to Canada and had a massage from this this girl who knows me quite well and she's like, what have you been doing Paul? I'm like, You know what? I just living smarter, right? The diet's better for me. And she's like, I can just tell giving you a massage that you're on right now. Right? I'll go yeah, I feel great. And this is this is you know, I thought I was a pretty elite athlete in Canada, you know, but she's like, I can't believe your muscles are way better. And this is after two years of not seeing her.

Daniel 48:57

Oh, wow.

Paul 48:57

Yeah. And you know, that was something you know for me that was a you know, a girl who she was actually world downhill champion this woman. First world woman's downhill champion Cindy Dovan, which is actually a physiotherapist. And she she knew me very well and then, what a compliment it was for me after two years. I can't believe your body that's beautiful. She was just just massaging me, right. And she could tell. So there's all sorts of little things that I think just came together for me in Japan. I definitely got better as a bike rider. Way better, way stronger.

Daniel 49:34

Was that part of because you have to push yourself to stay in the country?

Paul 49:38

I think there's pressure you know, you need results to make money right and and, and another thing is like I hooked up with this guy and his road team, and he was getting us in the the highest level racing in Japan at the time, you know, all the big races and I got to race like the world pro road race champion. I got the race some with the best guys in the world they came over here for some of the season ending they're on holiday. But still we have to race with these guys right and it wasn't easy. Even if they're on holiday I wasn't used to those guys. Yeah just just training with this guy right he's an Olympic Olympic athlete he got he got 16th in the Olympic road race right he's not no slouch and just getting to go and ride with this guy every day and train like he is it just helps and the diet I'm sure the Japanese diet just got me away from pizzas and stuff like that right? And yeah, it was just good for me. Still was good for me here.

Daniel 50:35

But even any even in when you were living in the North Shore you were hanging out with good athletes right?

Paul 50:43

Oh lots lots and lots and lots of good writers. You know what my friend Andrew he was Canadian road race champ in in like '86 or something like that. And he showed us tons as well and we had all these guys to look up to but you gotta remember mountain biking that back then. There was no coach there was no no any structure we're just like out there you know riding. We used to ride so much it was ridiculous right the more we did the more riding we did the stronger you get. That was our our thing like eight hours a day. Let's do it. But that's actually not not Yeah, I remember Andrew coming up to a saying, you know, you do this every day? Yeah, we do this every day. Do you do this before race? Yeah, sometimes twice. Maybe you should take a day off, you know things like that. We had no idea right and so so you have good athletes but yes mountain bikers we didn't know anything right we're just playing out here. I I learned so much once once I started to do it properly. Right. And of course it makes you better right?

Daniel 51:43

Yeah. Yeah.

Paul 51:44

These days it's even even more strict what they're doing, you know, with all that but you know, we didn't know much about intervals. There's no coach. I went to the the World Championships that were the first ones in Colorado and remember, Patrice from Quebec, us and then Georgia, the mountain bike team for Canada. He came up to me after the race in Durango, the Colorado championship, Who the fuck are you? You know, he doesn't even know that, you know, I had like seventh place in the race. He's like, I didn't even know you're dear racing. You're doing great. So my name's not even on the list for the Canadian team. But that was okay. As a guy you can go look like you're okay. But if that was what it was back then right. You know, they didn't - there was nothing going on. It was just starting. But it was a great time to be doing it too. I'll tell you that. We had a lot of fun. So no complaints.

Daniel 52:35

Yeah, I know. Back then mountain bike was definitely a completely different sport from where he is right now. Like a bicycle ago was way more safer.

Paul 52:43

Yeah.

Daniel 52:44

And much easier to pedal, much easier to get up, much easier to get down. So if you see the trails that I do now on the North Shore with a full suspension, they used to do it with a even probably no suspension at all.

Paul 52:56

Yeah, we had nothing. Just stupid.

Daniel 52:59

That's just brutal.

Paul 53:02

We didn't even have helmets at first. I think I spent two years riding the North Shore without a helmet. Yeah, there's what's the trail sever dick? Yeah, that's like the original steep trail on the North Shore. We were riding that we actually probably just started wearing helmets when we put that line in. But that's a pretty that's a pretty famous trail. It's still there. Right Koli, just straight down.

Daniel 53:28

Is it true that some companies do you will lose your warranty on your bike if they knew you they were riding on the North Shore?

Paul 53:35

Oh, I don't know about that. Probably probably after I left there, maybe because there were some stupid stuff. But I never never heard any of that because I was probably not around there then right. I started racing and started to go down the States and stuff like that and do the racing down there because that's where the the racing was back then. Like the big level was the US so I spent a lot of time in Colorado, and California and a couple years I went to as far as Florida. Actually I spent the winter in Florida training down there with those guys actually helped me huge do right that was a friend of mine mountain bikers to come come to Florida and do it the pro way because all the East Coast professional road racers spend the winter in Florida so we were putting in like 800 kilometers a week on the road bikes. You know, it's easy just flat riding on the road bikes but then we start doing intervals and it was another like a learning experience for me. They're running with the road pros.

Daniel 54:32

It just got got better like physically better.

Paul 54:35

Oh, yeah, they you know just makes you better. You know, and living living I actually lived with two there's five of us in a house two couples and I lived in this girl's closet and Jeanie she was she got fourth place in the Atlanta road race. So she was pretty world class. And Karen the other girl she was number one in the states for a long time in road racing and criterium. She was like the superstar in woman cycling around the States. Her boyfriend was a track racer who did good in the Seoul Olympics and Jimmy my friend he was a good mountain biker and he was Jeanie's boyfriend and every day we get together like 50 pros or whatever and go for a ride and they all help you out right now, hey man, you should probably not not ride there and crush me. You shouldn't just do this. You were strong right the mountain bikers was strong but we didn't really know much right? So those people all kind of aim and try this try this do this and they they they those guys that just from training or did we go to races on the weekends in the road racing Okay, Paul, this race do this do this. And they upgraded me from from category four to pro one, two, in like three months I was racing with them and then they're not helping me anymore. Like no, no, you're racing for our money over right but until I got to their level. But and then the funny thing is when I got to their level it was, you know, until then the category three and stuff I could ride at the front and race hard and maybe win. But once I got up to the pro level, you know, you're just you're at the back hanging on and they're like, yeah, just use it for training now. So like to do basically, there's still all those little things help you out, man. Right.

Daniel 56:20

Okay, yeah. Do you have any regrets about leaving your country live in Canada?

Paul 56:25

Well, every time I go back to Canada, I go for a mountain bike ride and like I said, I grew up on Mount Seymour there right that's where I learned to mountain bike and I go for ride there and all over you know, I got the wizard and the whole way up to Whistler. There's a bunch of trails I've never written my friends like there's a killer trail here there's a really good trail here takes a day to climb up there to get back down right you know, and I missed all that. So when I go back to BC, I see how much this mountain biking has grown especially compared to Japan right? It's it hasn't grown at all. Compared to that and I definitely wonder what I'm doing sometimes but then they come back here and I'm I'm okay right but that's that's my biggest regret is like not not getting this seat to be part of that whole growth in mountain biking that that happened in Canada and I missed it here in Japan right?

Daniel 57:22

Oh maybe 5,10 years you will live in that in Japan.

Paul 57:26

Yeah maybe I will. We still got some great trails and stuff here but but it's just the the the amount I've done the BC race twice. You know that long race I've done it twice and every time I'm just I'm blown away how good the trails are and how good the riding has got right. You know, I used to race in BC and we'd go around and do little races everywhere and it's like phenomenal qhat's happened in Canada, right?

Daniel 57:54

Yeah.

Paul 57:55

And Canada's like the perfect storm, mountain biking is the perfect storm for that country with all the mountains and all that free land there. It's um it's it's actually beautiful, beautiful sport for Canada.

Daniel 58:09

It is it is. Absolutely it is. And do you feel lucky to be an emigrant?

Paul 58:16

Yeah, I guess I feel lucky. You know I chose to live here right so you know and I'm happy to be here. I'm happy with my house, the shop with my family. We've got a good family. I've got a beautiful wife. We got two good kids Yeah, I'm happy with the path I chose for sure not not that no, that's not to regret at all my life at all.

Daniel 58:38

Sweet. Yeah, I know. I remember you got a nice place there and nice, nice shop with a beautiful view. I think at the time the thing was fairly new the shop?

Paul 58:47

Yeah, it's certainly I think we're in our fifth year at the shop now. It was pretty brand new when you showed up I think.

Daniel 58:55

Yeah, I think was 2000- yeah, itwas like four years ago.

Paul 58:58

Yeah, yes. We just started at then. Instead of running the show out of our house, we decided to go there, doing a lot better now.

Daniel 59:10

Yeah, I know. Yeah, it was actually definitely a good good location, a good shop. If you could go back in time to when you left you left Canada to go to Japan, what would you say to your younger self?

Paul 59:22

What would I say? Ah, go harder.

Daniel 59:29

Why were you afraid or you were not?

Paul 59:33

Maybe Maybe a little a little tentative. Right? On what you're doing right always wondering if you're doing the right thing, right? But once you once you jump in, you gotta jump in full on, right? You know, like, I quit my job. I told my parents, I'm gonna go be a bike racer so like, you're crazy. You know, that's what are you doing? Right? You know, my first pro contract was for 500 bucks a month, right? You're like you're making three grand a month at your job. You're going for five. I'm like, I'm going for five right so you know you're risking a lot right?

Daniel 1:00:04

Yeah.

Paul 1:00:05

So mountain biking when when I started was was not really an option right there's not many of them out there right so I wish I'd done a few things a little different but not a lot. You know one thing I wish I had done is save every bike I ever had. I lost a few just just some fees and stuff but I really wish I had all my bikes but because we weren't getting paid any money you have to sell that stuff to keep the game going you know it's just like you have to get rid of it but there's a few bikes in there that I wish I hadn't got rid of. One of the being a Richie. I made Richie I wish I had never sold

Daniel 1:00:43

Why?

Paul 1:00:44

It was just just a beautiful beautiful classic bike and Tom, Tom actually he came to Canada and he I think I bought it through I think it was um I bought it through the bike group which is in Kona now. They were they were importing Ritchie's by them. And it was a really nice bike and everybody said, Paul, this is the bike for you and because it's beefy, I was kind of breaking stuff. And it had the forks from a tandem on it. But Tom recognize when he came and saw you got that bike. And a year or two the guy go yeah, I'm the guy and and having him come up to me and say, that's the bike he built specially for me. You're the guy and and that's that's the bike I wish I'd kept right. You know, it was a classic handmade Tom Ritchie filet, braising everything was gorgeous two joint paint job and

I had to I had to sell it.

Daniel 1:01:44

Did you try to track it down? Or,

Paul 1:01:47

You know, I actually sent it sent it back. I remember Jake about Kona. They painted it because I'd scratched it up. So over two years, they painted and they got sold a guy over on Victoria and Victoria, I remember that much, but I don't know anymore. Hopefully he's got it.

Daniel 1:02:05

Yeah, it would be hard to track it down in Victoria. Maybe Japan will be a little bit easier.

Paul 1:02:10

I had a rocky mountain Thunderbolt that was handmade too that got stolen and lost into the to the ocean I heard eventually I heard about it.

Daniel 1:02:18

Here in Japan, in Japan or?

Paul 1:02:20

In Canada.

Daniel 1:02:21

Okay. Yeah, Canada so bad about bikes.

Paul 1:02:25

They took the parts and threw the frames in the ocean.

Daniel 1:02:29

Bikes get stolen like so often here in Canada. I got my bike stolen like I was was not on my mountain bike. It was my road bike but got stolen. Within two months, two and a half months.

Paul 1:02:39

Yeah, another nice thing about Japan is when I moved out here I actually live with a Japanese guy down he was racing World Cups and stuff and in our garage we had at one point 13 bicycles, parked in an open garage with no garage door anything. Zero locks two years and they never went. We had Mavick wheels hanging hanging above the cars. Just wheel sets hanging there. Nothing got touched. Yeah, amazing country is changing a bit but it's still, I'll leave my bike up front of a 711 and go on and get a get a drink and be out of there and it'll still be sitting there right? People aren't driving around looking for your stuff, right? Respect.

Daniel 1:03:27

Exactly. Yeah, I remember in New Zealand was very similar was probably not that good as Japan is. But still we dont have a lock on the front door

Paul 1:03:36

Yeah, like I've never locked this house. Never.

Daniel 1:03:40

That's one thing I'm amazed about New Zealand.

Paul 1:03:43

Yeah, yeah, it's great. You trust your neighbors.

Daniel 1:03:46

Yeah, exactly. And last one where people can find you?

Paul 1:03:52

Ah, so we were talking about my shop it's Yatsugatake cycling. Yatsugatake is the name of the mountain behind us. That's really easy to find us on Facebook or Twitter or on the Internet it's no problem. Yatsugatake cycling. My name is Paul Chetwynd, if you punch me in the search, you'll find me too. pretty quick. I'm looking forward to hearing for anybody.

Daniel 1:04:18

Sweet. I will definitely put all the links and everything in the show notes.

Paul 1:04:21

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.

Daniel 1:04:24

What?

Paul 1:04:24

I said, do me Right.

Daniel 1:04:26

Okay.

Paul 1:04:27

Kind of a polite way of doing it. But that's basically the the translation. Japanese use it a lot. "Yoroshiku onegaishimasu", is like treat me right. That's all it is. Another very nice way to show your respect, right?

Daniel 1:04:40

I didn't know that.

Paul 1:04:41

Yeah. And sure you got even even when you walk into a convenience store or anything, they're there. They're, you know, treat, they're saying to you welcome to our store, treat us right when you come in, right. It's all about respect.

Daniel 1:04:54

That's that's a good thing. That's a good thing, though. I mean, that's the thing about the culture right now. But the language for me like from coming from Italy to Italy learning English from from Italian country, even like asking people, how are you. The kind of things that asked you to care about the other person while in Italy we don't have that we don't have that. If somebody asks you how are you and what do you want? Why do you want to know?

Paul 1:05:21

Yeah

Daniel 1:05:23

HAving the culture like a treat me right in Japan I think is beautiful.

Paul 1:05:27

Yeah, it's just just just little things, right?

Daniel 1:05:31

Yeah. Thank you. Thank you so much. Arigato!

Paul 1:05:34

Great talking to you Daniel. And hopefully you'll come visit us soon. If not, I'll see you Vancouver.

Daniel 1:05:40

Hope so. Either way, either way. Hopefully we can ride together again.

Paul 1:05:44

Okay

Daniel 1:05:45

Thank you very much.

Paul 1:05:47

Bye bye.

Daniel 1:05:50

Hey, I hope enjoyed this episode with Paul. I love the part where we spoke about discrimination. I had a similar experience not because of the color of my skin, but because my English didn't allow me to communicate properly. I had the feeling that they thought I wasn't smart enough in some way I felt like I was less than them. If you had a similar experience with discrimination, send me an email at daniel@emigrantslife.com, I'd like to hear from you. Also, you will find all the links and how to get in touch with Paul in the shownotes. Thank you so much for tuning in. You can subscribe to the show wherever you listen to new podcast. I'll talk to you in the next one. Ciao!

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