Hot Pot: Evisen and Pass~Port's Melting Pot Culture Shock Cook Off Article
Having first met in 2015, the Evisen and Pass~Port teams share many similarities—our love for skateboarding, karaoke, outrunning security and drinking well into the early hours of the morning. During our shared adventures, I always shoot the shit with Katsumi and Laurence from Evisen, spending countless hours drinking beers, sipping sake and chomping down yummy fried snacks in local izakayas. We talk about all the parallels (and not so parallels) between Australian and Japanese skateboarding—how the local scenes are supportive of homegrown initiatives, talents and projects. Another topic commonly discussed, and agreed upon, is the direct influences and inspiration both companies have from their surroundings, heritage and people. The organic relationship that has formed over time and the mutual respect between the brands will always be at the forefront of this project. It’s truly been an honor to work so closely with so many like-minded individuals; a big ol’ hot pot. We hope you enjoy. Cheers/乾杯. —Trent Evans
Before you dive in, don't miss the finished blend both camps cooked up from their epic tour
Tokyo is a bust; every skateboarder knows that, so caution levels were high. And we’re not talking one or two skaters with a filmer and photographer on a stealth night mission—we’re talking 16 skateboarders, four media heads, two TMs, plus a bunch of ring-ins day in/day out. Add in 100% humidity and subtract every team rider’s brain cells from the night before and you’ve got a nightmare, right? Lucky for us, power in numbers worked like a charm. We had a big enough crew that someone was up for something every day and night.
It’s true: Adelaide Norris does love to jump into a bush after landing a move. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate, especially after a Tokyo security guard blows a whistle in your face after a roll-on frontside nosegrind. Seccy presh (security pressure) was the key to success on this one and many others around Tokyo
Katsumi Minami and I lost quite a few wads of yen on this trip. Funny how quickly a 17-year-old skateboarder can land a trick when there’s some money on the line. Kotora Mitani, you lucky, young bastard. This 50-50 to kickflip out in Sapporo was, dare I say, one of the craziest maneuvers on the multi-continent tour
Jack O’Grady: Sukuish San
Callum Paul: Slaw Sensei
Adelaide Norris: Norris Plaza Sama
Matlok Bennett-Jones: Never Drinking Again Kun
Yuma Takei: Kawasaki C*nt
Matthieu Lucas-D’Souza: Chu Tan
Alex “Tenny” Tennison: Black Wheel Crew CEO
Mikey Mierzynski: Art Department
Anthony Mapstone: Stone
Sam Sutton: Suttos San
Bernie Foo: The Foo
George Kousoulis (filmer): Zooruzu
Samuel Coady (photographer): Sukodi San
Geoff Campbell (filmer): Wetto Farto
Trent Evans (Pass~Port owner): Thank~You Boss
Kotora Mitani tail drop 50-50s into some cheese art in Sapporo. Not bad, Lil’ C
Kento Yoshioka: Japanese Super C*nt
Kotora Mitani: Little C*nt
Shor West: Hesh C*nt
Maru: Raw C*nt
Seimi Miyahara: Lipslide C*nt
Laurence Keefe: Star C*nt
Katsumi Minami (Evisen owner): Low-Key C*nt
Naoya Morohashi (filmer): Lenz C*nt
Changsu (photographer): Photo C*nt
Yuma Takei, bean plant, bug to bug
“Is Australia in Europe?” —Naoya Morohashi’s entry for DCOTY (Dumbest C*nt Of The Year) 2023
Shor’s stocks are going up!
Tokyo was hot. Like, REALLY fucking hot. I’m from Australia; I know heat, but you can’t escape the Tokyo fire. Each morning both teams would link at Norris Plaza (Adelaide had skated it the night before, so she unintentionally became the founder). The majority of the Pass~Port crew would be looking beyond weathered from the night before: beaming armpits, stained shorts, dirty-looking socks—a hot mess. Then, one by one, usually fashionably late, the Japanese crew would arrive: immaculate outfits, freshly-steamed it seemed, colors matching, buttons shining. How they looked so good in such hot, harsh conditions was quite impressive. Kento Yoshioka was always best dressed and fresh faced. My goodness, he knows how to look good.
Naoya Morohashi and Geoff Campbell—yin & yang to some degree, but both national treasures in the skateboard cinematography world. The respect and skill was apparent daily, until the sixth or seventh beer was consumed, transforming each of them into the other’s number-one fan. Deep-diving conversations ensued, followed by hugs and possibly tears. It was quite cute, to be honest
“I’m never, ever, ever drinking again.” —Matlok Bennett-Jones
Kento Yoshioka kicks a judo onto the wall while he still had something in his stomach
The commonwealth (NZ, AUS, UK) can drink, but so can the crew from the Rising Sun, so I feel that it was pretty even competition on that front. But the Japanese, they take the cake for most hungover. Kento Yoshioka was lucky enough to find a Pass~Port sample bag at the airport. As Laurence said, “They will never learn, unless they suffer”
It was nice to get a little closer to nature and really take in Japan’s beautiful side while in Sapporo. Callum Paul would go MIA every so often. Before anyone had time to raise an alarm, he’d reappear holding an interesting-looking leaf, flower or weed. He’s quite the curious kind. Perhaps a foray into botany is in his future
Thrasher cover, soooo cooooool! This was every Japanese skateboarder’s words to Jack O’Grady when he’d show up to a skate spot, restaurant, bar—anywhere. Being the humble human that he is, he was always very thankful for the kind words and would reply with a big smile and, “Arigato gozaimasu”
I was lucky enough to sneak in a move a day before my accident. Transfer back tail nosegrab, I guess
Maru is covered head to toe in “raw” tattoos. He loved explaining the various reasons for getting them and the stories behind them. The more the sake and beer flowed, the more tales were revealed. Some heated debates and conversations followed
With three days left of tour, I was obsessing over this glass bank near our hotel in Sapporo. I’m always looking for “the ultimate kicky” on each trip and this bank seemed ideal. To add to the hype, rumor had it Jamie Thomas recently dropped in on the bank and made the national news for “socially unacceptable behavior.” The scene was set: Kotora Mitani had just landed a banger and Laurence Keefe called: “Next spot—Trent’s bank!” Shy of 2 AM and a few cans of Sapporo’s finest, I tried the kickflip. A few attempts in—snap! I dislocated my ankle. Off to emergency room I went. But never fear! Yuma Takei came to the rescue. Out of respect or possibly peer pressure from myself and the entire team, he nollie flipped into the thing! To get the news live from my hotel bed was bittersweet.
“Do you think Trent will be stoked if I nollie flip into the glass bank he dislocated his ankle trying to kickflip into yesterday?” —Yuma Takei, smoking the boss on his first trip
Young heads, head to head. Jack and Kotora snag a two piece each
The closest we got to a kickout on this trip was on our first night—and it wasn’t even skate related. Trent (Pass~Port boss c*nt) arranged a feast for us at his local fancy pub, the Crix: Evisen/Pass~Port-branded menus, surf, turf, salads garnished with flower petals, natural wine, desserts made of beer, etc. On the way out, we gathered outside to discuss where to head next, and the bouncer came and asked everyone to move on. After two warnings with no movement from our group, he resorted to plan B, which was to take the plunger from the dirtiest dunny (toilet) in New South Wales and yell, “I’m going to start walking towards you c*nts with my eyes closed while swinging this plunger, and if you get hit with drops of piss or shit it’s your own fault!” We swiftly moved on. I thought that was a pretty funny way to treat customers who just dropped a few grand in your establishment. In Japan they usually just wait politely in a 90-degree bow until you are out of sight.
Aside from Seimi Miyahara’s luggage being lost by his airline (he wore the same clothes for the entire trip and pretty much only skated the collab karaoke mic-shaped board) and half of our crew staying in the crookest hotel on the planet for the first few nights (complete with a nightclub downstairs and sticky paper-thin walls), our trip was almost dialed to perfection. A few days away from being bombarded by the bad vibes of Tokyo and I could feel my body loosen up as we settled into the Australian way of life. —Laurence Keefe
The real boss—no rest days for Laurence Keefe. Between cracking the whip on the talent, translating our broken English to team Evisen or waking up the team at a decent time in the morning, Laurence was hungry to skate. Wallride nollie on an untouched piece of glass on Sydney’s busiest road
They don’t call him Lipslide C*nt for no reason. Seimi Miyahara unapologetically spent a total of eight hours over two days trying this lipslide to 50-50 while my camera shutter melted
1. GOOD NEIGHBORS BECOME GOOD FRIENDS
While propping up a drain over a rail in front of someone’s house, the woman who lived there came out to offer us a smoother metal plate to use as a kicker. She also suggested that Scoady come up to the second floor to shoot the photo from her balcony, then gave everyone trying a trick chocolates and a few motivational words. Mikey kickflipped the rail with a little help from our new good friend.
2. PRIME REAL-ESTATE MATES
We were at an over-a-handrail-into-a-bank spot outside some staunch properties valued around 3-5 million USD. We sprawled out on the front lawn, soaking up the sunshine and sinking some cold ones, while watching Japanese Super C*nt trying a boneless. The residents came and hung out with us for a bit, watched us skating, then took all our empties to the recycling bin when we were done.
3. GOLF-CLUB HANDRAIL
We arrived a little early before the staff had gone home and got spotted by an employee on his way out. We asked if he minded if we skated the rail, to which he replied, “I don’t give a fuck, mate.” Good on ya! He was probably pissed off the next day when he turned up for work, though, as we ended up (unsuccessfully) trying to dry the approach with four bags of kitty litter—Katsumi Minami on the broom and Mikey Mierzynski on the bug-spray flamethrower. The kitty litter melted into the asphalt making it really slippery and leaving a massive grey mess. Sorry.
4. KICKFLIP COPS
Little C*nt was trying a hardflip at an iconic Sydney over-rail spot next door to a police station. Not only did they not bother kicking us out, but a cop car rolled up at one point and they shouted, “Do a kickflip!” before speeding off while pissing themselves laughing.
5. TENNY AND THE POOL-WINDOW WALLRIDE
It took an hour of us smashing into this window before someone came out and asked who was skating, to which Tenny replied, “He went that way,” and stomped it next go. This doesn’t qualify as a kick out because they only threatened to call security. They actually seemed genuinely concerned for our safety, worried the window might break and someone would get sliced in half.
Shor West is half English/half Japanese, half skateboarder/ half CEO. I’m not kidding; he’s about to step up to some real big-boy shit in Japan business land. Shibuya meltdown, here we come!
The spot book (my iPhone 12) has 328 items in it, but for some reason Alex “Tenny” Tennison only wanted to skate the one that wasn’t in there—a curved hubba at the entrance to a six-million-dollar house in the richest suburb in Sydney. Not very Thrasher of me, but I politely declined. Front shove
On the way to this spot I asked Kotora Mitani, “What song do you want to get you gassed up?” to which he replied, “TYSHAWWNNNN!“ Cue “B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast)” by the boss Rick Ross—instant success. Front blunt transfer for our reigning SOTY
I’d met Anthony Mapstone on previous trips to Australia, but this was the first time I’d seen him in full effect. Forty-nine years old and he was skating as much as Kotora Mitani, just on much smaller spots. He was talking about how he wanted to rip the famous Sydney sausage spot at some point on the trip, and talked it up so much we had to take him there and let him go to war. The sausage is gnarlier than it looks—a decent four-meter frankfurt slide down a set of stairs around a right-angle bend. We posted up in the middle of the street, ordered pizza and had a proper sausage party watching Stone Senpai riding the gravy train in the rain.
Even the fact that most of us seemed to have COVID at one point on the trip didn’t stand a chance of ruining our time. Mid-winter t-shirt weather, swimming in ocean pools and skating around town with slabs of grifter beers—I don’t think any of us really wanted to go back to Japan, but Hesh C*nt made his dream a reality by canceling his flight and staying out there, living off the grid in a camper van. Ripper!
Best for last? Pass~Port flew Matthieu Lucas-D’Souza up from Melbourne for this trip; he’s the newest blood on the team. It was a great social experiment to throw him in the deep end with not one, but two new teams. He passed with flying colors, long crooked grinds and all
'Til we meet again
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