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No country for old bikers.

In Japan, being a biker known as a bosozoku is largely a young person’s game. Gang members typically range from 15 to 20 and then eventually grow out of it, moving on to other things.

That’s not true for everyone, however. On 17 January, the Kanagawa Prefectural Police arrested 43-year-old Akira Kakinuma for reckless driving. The incident occurred on 24 July last year along a stretch of highway between Chigasaki City and Fujisawa City in Kanagawa where Kakinuma was riding with a group of about 20 people on 15 bikes.

These people were known as a kyushakai which literally means “old-car club” but differs from an actual club of classic vehicle enthusiasts in that the last kanji character for “kai” is rendered in the old-fashioned and more complex kyujitai form preferred by biker gangs.

▼ Today’s Japanese lesson

This type of kyushakai is a group of former teen bikers who have moved on from the more delinquent aspects of riding and have gotten regular jobs, but still get the itch to climb on an obnoxiously loud motorcycle from time to time. In this incident, Kakinuma was riding with a kyushakai known as the Yokohama Rengo who arranged the ride on social media.

Kakinuma, however, is not a member of a kyushakai because he never quit being a biker in the first place. Riding since he was a teenager, he had gotten a reputation as a “master” of riding over the past 30 years, particularly in the area of dako or “meandering” on the road. This is where the rider causes the bike to make exaggerated swerves from left to right without losing control.

▼ A video of Kakinuma meandering which led to his arrest

In fact, in 2016 Kakinuma …continue reading