Yasu and the graffiti boy (part 1)

Many years ago (I was still a teenager) I met a guy randomly. I used to past hours without rush in a Skate shop near Arco de Triunfo. This shop doesn’t exist anymore, but by that time it was like a second home for me. I didn’t skate or rollerblade at all but I was into Hip-Hop and the spot had the street spirit i was looking for and it was close to my house. I was friends with the seller and we spent hours talking about bunch of different things, with no coffee between us, just a counter and a costumer every now and then.  It was winter time, close to Xmas, and I was just killing time in the shop, watching videos, interested in what those people were able to do with a board or a blade in their feet, amazed, but paying more attention to the song playing in the background.  I was 18 or 19 years old, i didn’t knew shit about life but I had a big hunger for experiencies. My dream back then was to live in NY and to be a renown producer so I was learning english while making my first step into music production. Back then, the farthest I had ever been  was Galicia, not much as to say.  So I was really eager to meet outsiders, to know their particularities and to try my skills in the language of Shakespeare. I used to talk to strangers in the street when I saw they were lost or something. Usually I never had strong feedback or when further into conversation. I kind of feel now like if back then I was like those kids I met traveling around the world, mainly in pour countries, that come rushing after you just to speak and to show  they know your language and that they want to give a good impression, help you out, just for the sake of it (the seeds of future), out of an impressive admiration for the foreigner ( and all the riches than comes with him). Anyway, I was Like this and I ejoyed that. I kind of rejected whatever had to do with “catalinity” and was ready to embrace any other culture that seemed better than mine.

It must have happened late in the evening, I remember well we shutted the door down (I say we ‘cause I spended so much time in there I was still around by closing time so I helped out in the chores, feeling like I was contribuating by doing that so to earn the right to come back the next day) not long after the encounter had place, but it’s hard to tell exactly what time was. It was dark night, dough. Anyway, I was watching a video with my former neighbour back then. Jordi, the vendour, was busy with a costumer and a japanese guy came in. He was wearing a yellow rain coat and had a solid white tuft in the front of his typical japanese black hair. He told Jordi he was interested in Garffiti and ask him about directions and spots to go take some pictures. Jordi english skills were quite good so he told him to go talk with me. As I said, back then I was really deep into Hip Hop culture and I was a “Writer” myself, my tag being Homer 6.  Willing as I was to practice my english and with the open mindedness typical of that age I got really into the conversation whit him. He explained to me that he was traveling around the world capturing different art demostrations and forms, from classic to contemporary, doing a kind of Masters degree or something like that for the University he was at. I was completly amazed knowing that there was someone like him, traveling all over the world (he started in Asia and moved by land thru all Europe) just to sample art in all forms to understand it and link it. I couldn’t tell then and I’m not shure now but I guessed he was in his late twenties. I was really exited by the meeting, amazed by his lifestyle, by the adventures he might had went thru, like this one when one of his cameras being stolen in Germany by an Arab that set him running after him just right in front of it’s place where the police wasn’t able to do anything at all after wards. Anyway, I was all ears and felt I could learn something and I wanted to help him out. I should say now that back then, in the late 90’s, the Hip hop scene in Spain was really into helping each other out, into building a big community, like if we all were a big familly, and it was the regular just to help foreigners to explore out  our walls. Barcelona scene was growing seriously by that time and we wanted the world to know about it.  So as I was saying, I started telling him all the spots I knew but directed him to the one I thought it was the easiest and the one with more walls and that included the Wall Of Fame of that time: Poble Nou, were I used to paint most of the time ‘cause was the closest to my house. I gave him directions but because the distances between spots and the gipsy threat in the area I decided to show him around myself. This way I was able to improve my English skills a little, to promote my art and myself, and to make a new friend. He was completly thankfull, mercifull, as only a Japanese can be. I gave him my phone number just in case and we scheluded a date for my next day off, that happened to be Christmas Day. Before he left the shop I asked him to write my name in Japanese so he did, and that turned out to be, as later on years went by and encounters happened, one really important thing in my life. Back home my family was softly shocked when I told then about everything, my mum didn’t wanted me to miss Christmas lunch but I promised I’ll be back on time. My mum, cool as she is, even told me to ask him to come over to eat with us that day. I told her I would ask him about it.

(to be continued…)

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