We Are Valo 2 got released in May 2007, and one of the biggest surprises was Soichiro Kanashima’s introduction section, his first in an international video release. Rarely someone pops up out of nowhere with such style and control while lacing technical tricks on that level.
People’s excitement didn’t stop over the years: Soichiro got his own pro skate, every edit and full length section was eye candy for blading fans all over the world and whenever he appeared at international events he made sure people would remember him, while getting his fair share of that prize money.
Despite his many video and event appearances however, there is not much we know about the man from Japan. There are no interviews to be found, and having a conversation with Soichiro is still difficult to this day, as English is not his mother tongue. As there are many questions unanswered, we wanted to give you a chance to find out more and ask him whatever you want to know!
Quark:How do you compare the Japanese scene to the US and Euro scenes? What are your likes and dislikes about all three?
Likes: Japanese: pay attention to every detail (even the fingertips). In the U.S. there are lots of skilled skaters my age that have been in videos. Europe, in one word: dynamic!
Dislikes: Everyone has their own thoughts and styles, so there is nothing bad to mention here!
coach.mar$h:How good was your English before you came to the states and started touring with Valo?
It sucked. All I knew was only “Yes” and “No”.
Was it a rough transition coming here (to the USA), did you find many cultural differences?
Tons of differences. Here, we take off our shoes when entering a house. Also, traffic lanes (in Japan, people drive on a the left side of the road).
What’s your favorite anime? Tekkonkinkreet: Black & White.
YoMamasDick:Are you stretching? And what kind of exercise if you do?
Nope, I don’t do anything, but eat tons of candies.
chancey:When and how to did you start blading?
I started rollerblading when I was 10. I started inline skating with my friend, doing races on the street.
Shakogun:What frames (brand etc.) do you prefer and why? Ground Control frames. They are stable when grinding, and don’t break when landing from stair gaps, big airs etc.
What wheels do you prefer and why? Eulogy. The BEST!
Your favourite trick?
What do you do to overcome fear before lacing a gruesome trick?
Tell myself that I can drink beer if I lace the trick.
How often do you blade a week?
4 times a week.
What dreams do you live for?
I wanna roll with my kids!
Favourite city in Japan to live in and why?
Okayama city (my home town). Not too busy, and it doesn’t rain too much.
Favourite city blade-related?
San Francisco in the States, Shanghai in China, and Okayama in Japan!
Do you ever get mad at the US dudes for fucking with you because you don’t know English?
Nope. I never get mad because of it. No reason to get mad at them either.
Inspiration:You do switch spins into tricks really easy, that skill comes naturally from you, or you “forced” it to happen?
They might come more naturally now, for I once realized I could be much better at switch spins if I did practice and “force” them to happen.
Is there any tricks you would really like to master, but yet you can’t do?
I can’t think of it, but lots of tricks are not perfect in my style. Need to be brushed up more.
Who are your biggest influences in skating actually? Jon Julio, Chiaki Ito, Alex Broskow, Worapoj Boonnim and Toru Shirai.