1990年前後に米軍施設内で複数回行った”多摩キャンプ TAMA Camp Meeting”を記事にした The Japan Times を示した文言を下記する。
Posted by Norm Joseph - RSMC Member since 1991.
His face, a mustache and a lot of hard miles, crinkles like finely worked copper into a big smile. His black hair, woven with occasional strands of gray, is pulled back into a pony- tail, and a single gold earring gleams dully in the gray light of a cloudy fall afternoon as you pull him another draft from one of five huge kegs of Miller High Life that stand against the tree line next to a 40-galIon pot of simmering chili beans. The crisp mountain air is redolent with the aroma of savory sirloin steaks spread sizzling across a broad grill. "So how many beers you had?" you ask by way of conversation and to ascertain whether he speaks English. "Oh, one, two, three, eleven! ' , he says, beaming, cackling at his own joke and stomping around in his thick motorcycle boots in the mud that has formed around the kegs. Communication is established.
The back of his sleeveless denim jacket flaunts the colors of the "Rising Sons Motor Cycle Club," identifies his home turf as "Yokohama" and, of course, bears the ubiquitous emblem of Harley-Davidson, the machine of choice at this party. He gestures freely with a thick, sinewy arm around the large clearing in the tent-sprinkled forest at Camp Ta- ma, a U.S. military recreational area in Kanagawa Prefecture, where about 150 gleaming Harleys line the periphery, a bonfire burns in the center and the Rolling Stones "Memo from Turner" blasts through massive amplifiers while one of two live rock'n'roll bands un- loads at the far end. "This," he says, gesturing grandly and generously, "is my dream. This has always been my dream! Harley-Davidson is No.1, like riding a wild horse! Like a woman!" Then he wanders off into the milling crowd, looking for adventure. Born to be wild. But also the owner of two motor- cycle shops. And he was right, the scene is dream-like. It is the weekend of the twice-annual Camp Tama run of the Rising Sons M.C., and there is more the atmosphere of a laid-back happening from 1960s California than of straight-laced, economic power- house Japan in the 1990s.
The president of this bunch is a chunky, personable man of 50 named Dave Uland, who hails from Oregon by way of Washington state. One of the men who founded the Sons, in 1987, Dave stands bear-like, a paw on his sparkling Harley, wearing jeans, boots, a Harley cap and a black-leather vest that reveals his ample and hairy girth. Formal dress is not required at this blow-out, and you are somewhat relieved to discover that it is nearly impossible to be either over- or under-dressed.
A guy named Rocky, with shoulder-length hair, a leopard-skin T -shirt and black-leather, fringed chaps, moseys by as if to reinforce this sudden illumination. Dave is talking about the club membership, which he says now stands at somewhere between 170 and 200, with new prospects showing up at each bimonthly meeting and creating a pattern of steady growth. "There's only one criteria for membership," he is saying. "You must own a Harley-Davidson motor- cycle and like to ride." Dave, a senior civilian employee. at a U.S. Military supply depot. rode Harleys in the States and brought the lifestyle along with him. "Ride to live, live to ride," one of the many T-shirt, tattoo and bumper sticker aphorisms common around here say. They might well be applied to him personally. "The main thing is that we love to ride," Dave says smoothly and articulately. "That was what got us together to begin with. It all started, as many things do, one night over a glass of beer with our Japanese friends. We had a common bond - to go out and tour Japan together. Then we began a program of benefit runs. Now we have an orphanage in Kinugasa that we support." Most of the proceeds from this party will go to that, Dave says, looking around at his hulking buddies with a twinkle in his eye. "I say most of the proceeds," he adds, "because we keep enough for the next party coming around! This draws good-natured laughs and guffaws. "Yeah, we have a Christmas party and turkey dinner at the orphanage, take the kids for rides on our bikes and give 'em gifts. .." “There was this one little girl up there," says Mike, a grizzled sailor who plans to retire in the near future somewhere in Asia with his Filipino wife, "who was about 7 or 8, and I couldn't get her off the bike! She just loved it!" The original Rising Sons are from Yokosuka, but now there are chapters also in Sasebo, Iwakuni, Atsugi, Yokohama, Kyoto and Nagoya. A cheer rises from the crowd as another group wheels in Harleys roaring and growling, and vibrating the earth beneath your feet, glistening as they are parked in a neat row and their riders disembark. Someone says it is the Kyoto group, and Dave leaves to officially greet them with bear hugs, beer and warm salutations. It's not a motorcycle. It's a way of life.
Later, after more greetings and refreshment, Dave waxes rather philosophically about the international bond that exists between people who own and ride a certain brand of motorcycle. "A Harley rider ," he says, "is a Harley rider, no matter where you go in the world. .. You go to Germany, Sweden they are the same people. You're kind of welcomed like a family member. It's a strange phenomena."
Mike chimes in: ..Like now, we've got an American president and a Japanese vice president. When Dave speaks at a meeting, for those Japanese who don't speak English, the vice president will translate, and vice versa, so that everyone knows what's going on. If we have a vote on something, everyone knows and everyone votes."
The ratio of club membership is about 75 percent Japanese and 25 percent Americans. The prime criteria -ownership of a Harley -is not that easily met. Predictably, several Harley dealers were in attendance at Camp Tama, both Japanese and American, and while military personnel can get a small price break, it is not significant. The bottom line is that a new or used Harley-Davidson will cost somewhere between Y1 million and Y3 million.
One dealer named Tron, a big, affable gent who looked like he might have run about 130 kg of gristle, volunteered cheerily that the top end of the Harley price range was "unlimited." Tron also says that he sells, about 10 bikes a month, and, during good months, has moved 15 or 16. There is a considerable financial commitment involved in being a Rising 'Son.
There are a number of Harley dealerships in the Kanto area. Generally, however, parts must be ordered from the United States, although most riders claim that is not a disadvantage in the modern world of the fax and air freight overnight delivery. Part of the charm of Harleys, in fact, is the flexibility of being able to interchange parts from different years makes and models, which is generally impossible with other brands of motorcycles.
A Harley dealer from New York named John says, "Let me show you a bike with real character!" and offers a nearly-full bottle of Jack Daniels on the trek across the clearing to a low-slung bike with no chrome, and which is painted entirely black. "Now look at these forks. These are vintage 1948. And this seat is custom." He pushes it with his fingers. ' , And look at the electrical system! ' , John opens a black-leather pouch with a battery and wires stowed in- side. " And best of all a snake skin gas cap!" , The builder and owner, a guy in a camouflage hat from Nagoya, beams and says, "Thank you, thank you!" The pride of ownership. The Rising Sons' logo, which was designed by a Japanese artist and is worn on each member's back, shows a stylized version of the Japanese rising sun with seven spears of flame. Dave points out that these represent the 7th Fleet, which is headquartered in Yokosuka. The theme of brotherhood is ever present. Beneath the Rising Sons logo are the words, "Never Alone," the truth to which each member will testify -with a story of breaking down on a lonely road at some weird hour of the night, and calling a brother rider for aid. Rising Sons seem to delight in the accusation of being either a henna nihonjin or a henna gaijin (strange Japanese or strange foreigner) , with the supreme tribute being the prefix of ichiban (No.1) before either .
"Being a Rising Son," says J.D., a , civilian aircraft mechanic at Atsugi E Naval Air Station and president of the Atsugi chapter, "means you can call at any time of day or night, and t it's OK. You'll be helped because you're a brother."
The club has even released a video, which is sold at the better Harley 4 dealerships throughout Japan. It is I entitled, "Never Alone." The cover photo features a beautiful red and chrome cycle on which is draped a gorgeous, young Japanese Brazilian woman named Luela, wearing brief leather shorts that reveal a green dragon tattooed around her upper thigh. The surprisingly sophisticated video opens with a guitar riff (original music, produced by the aforementioned, leopard-shirted Rocky), that is reminiscent of the old rock group, Steppenwolf. The video includes vignettes of last spring's Tama run, a Yokosuka meeting shot in atmospheric black- and-white, and the quite emotional greeting by the club this summer of some of its members when they re- turned from the Gulf war on board the carrier Midway.
The difference between this group and Stateside "outlaw" bikers who are often on the criminal fringe, Dave says, is that the Rising Sons are basically a bunch of guys who enjoy the freedom of riding, of having a good party and of being together. To once again raise an analogy from the 1960s, the Rising Sons aren't the "Hell's Angels on Wheels" of bad-guy biker flicks. Rather, they seem cut from the earlier, more wholesome cloth of Captain America and Billy searching the byways of the nation in "Easy Rider."
While you probably would not mistake these guys for the sensitive, "soft males" of the 1980s, you might recognize in them elements from Robert Bly's novel of the 1990s, "Iron John," the fable of rediscovered "good" masculinity. And while you could most likely gamble that very few of the Rising Sons have ever read Walt Whitman's poetry, his psychological vision of the open road might seem oddly familiar to them if they had. Most of the Sons are hard-working men who play just as hard in their own -somewhat unusual -manner. Makoto "Mac" Matsushita, a Yokosuka member, is a well- dressed sales representative for a multinational company during the week, and a Harley rider in hi: spare time, a common pattern in the club. Another man, also named Mike, is a naval lieutenant who was looking for a way to explore Japan: and meet interesting people. Voila !
Occasionally, when the Rising Sons ride together in a pack, J.D. admits, they get some strange looks from the local folks, and sometimes people are even afraid of them. "One time last winter," the Arkansas-born rider drawls, "we were ridding in the mountains and boy was it cold! We stopped at this noodle shop and this little old lady wasn't goanna let us in. But when she saw that we .were cold, she said we could come in .or five minutes to warm up. So we started joking with her and cuttin up, and we were in there for at least five hours. She wouldn't let us leave!"
As the afternoon rolls on, J.D. has a club member who is a tattoo artist permanently imprint a golden eagles head on his big meaty arm, and shows it off, gingerly removing bandage. The tattooer then sets work on Seiji, an import company ice president who wears a straw cowboy hat and shades, and who says with a grin, "It don't hurt. Feels like mosquito! Ha, Ha! " and has another drink. " The beer helps," Dave says, ughing. When the work is complete, Seiji proudly shows off the Rising Sons' club emblem, with the motto, "Never Alone," and under that, "For Luela," who is Seiji's wife. On his Colors is sewn a Brazilian flag, as well as Japanese and American ones. Seiji rubs the fresh tattoo. Wish my arm wasn't so skinny!" says. "Ha, ha, ha!"
As the sun sinks and the woods darken, the bonfire flames higher and the numerous children who have come with their parents begin roast marshmallows. More bikers are arriving in small groups from over Japan. Then the band plugs in and booms out an old Buddy Holly rocker, and before long, everybody is dancing, silhouetted by the casting crazy shadows through trees.
Special Thanks to RSMC Member Rover Mac who provided this article for posting to this website.