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Motorcycle Roars to Animate Gate 2 Area

By: Brandon Arakaki

Date Posted: 1999-11-13

Saturday, November 20th will be a day of rumbling reverberations around the Kadena Gate 2 area of Okinawa City. On that day, from 1:00 p.m. to 9 p.m., some 400 motorcycles will be parading up and down the streets, roaring mechanically in response to the twisting arms of Okinawan bikers and some of their pals from mainland Japan.

Okinawa City’s Festival Committee has given its total blessings to what may become, in the future, a major motorbike festival on the island, attracting participants from far and near. Originally, a flower festival was organized annually on Gate 2 Street at the same time. Then in 1997, the Gate 2 Committee made an experiment by adding a motorbike, car and van show onto the festivities, thereby offering spectators a stunning variety of art and artifice.

Al Evers was the one asked to organize the motorbike portion of the festival in its new face. He and other motorcycle fans across the island managed to put together about 150 independent bikers for the first gathering. People expressed a lot of interest in the motorcycle parade, in view of the beauty of style expressed by the leather-clad, cute-looking men and women riding on the backs of Harley Davidsons, Kawasakis, BMWs, Suzukis and other famous motorbike names of the world. So they were called back the next year, 1998, and the number of bikers simply doubled.

This year, the flowers and cars and vans are simply gone! It has now become just a motorcycle party. Though lots of vans and vendors of other things may line the streets of Gate 2 on Saturday, November 20th, they are expected to be more like normal interested viewers, instead of full-fledged participants. The real stars will be parading the streets of the blocks letting their bodies wriggle in harmony with the rumble of their two-wheeled machines.

“That’s what the people want,” Al Evers told Japan Update. “All spectators of what we performed in the last two occasions have asked for more. This year we are giving them more than 400 motorcycles. And for concerns about the noise, the Okinawa City Police will have no problems with that. We are covered. Noise will be a legal thing on that day.”

Al Evers also said that many participants are expected from the mainland for this year’s exclusive motorbike jamboree. Vibes, Japan’s biggest motorcycle magazine, is dispatching reporters to cover the event. According to several sources close to Okinawa’s motorbike movement, Vibes is also considering the possibility of moving one of its next national motorcycle celebrations to Okinawa. That would literally mean an encounter of over 6000 motorbikes from mainland Japan. But that would depend, the same sources say, on the success of the November 20 meeting of the motorbikes.

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