As I boarded the All Nippon Airlines jet to Yokohama, Japan, I was excited about just what has gone on with regard to the Mooneyes Hot Rod and Custom Show. Since I went six years ago, the internet has been jam-packed with reports that the motorcycle side of the event had been growing at a feverish pace. Every year while I sat back and caught the World Wide Web wave of photos featuring countless Knucks, Pans, and Shovels, I would drool over my keyboard. Now it was time for me to be the one snapping photos and eating sushi.
When we landed, we were met by Shige, Chico, Makoto, and the rest of Mooneyes clan. It was apparent that we were in for a wild ride. We boarded a bus and during the crowded Tokyo highway drive, we were informed of the show schedule, and most importantly, when the press could enter before the crowds hit the carpet.
The next morning I awoke early, ate some breakfast, and trucked on over to the Pacifico Yokohama Hall, and before I could get through the doors, I saw some of the nicest bikes I have ever laid eyes on. I have never seen as many Knuckleheads and K-models in one place. Very few of the 200-plus bikes were late models and it dawned on me that when we Americans were building choppers comprised of all-new parts, the Japanese were concentrating on buying and building real-deal Harleys. When the doors opened, the place was wall to wall and there were more than 500 bikes in the parking lot that the spectators rode in. Yet again, it was an old iron a-go-go.
After the show while eating at the Moon Café, some of the Americans I was with were reticent about the fact that there was now probably more real H-D Iron in Japan than in the USA. After much debate of the rights and wrongs of the subject, I piped in that they are all getting a good home and treated with respect by meticulous enthusiasts. Does it really matter what side of the Pacific they are on?