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Spring, When the Harleys Return to British Columbia to Spawn...
May 2, 2012 10:41 AM   Subscribe

Ikuo Yokoyama lost his home and three family members in the Japanese tsunami last year. Among the losses was a Harley-Davidson motorcycle he had bought five years ago and keeping in the back of a cube van... which floated across the Pacific Ocean and was found by Peter Mark, a resident of British Columbia, on an beach on Graham Island (it's the big one up the B.C. coast, near Alaska). Aside from some rust, the motorcycle seems to be in decent condition, and Harley-Davidson plans to restore it and ship it back to Yokoyama.
posted by Etrigan (21 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Don't trust the odometer.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 11:01 AM on May 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Just don't scroll down to the comments section or your illusions about Canadians will be shattered by comments about 'rice rockets' and Japanese atrocities in WWII
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 11:02 AM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


On the news a few minutes ago, they said that HD would ship the bike back to him as is and then he can decide whether it will be restored or what.
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 11:12 AM on May 2, 2012


Racism is funny in Canada. Where I grew up, in northern Ontario, pretty much everyone is of european descent. Which meant that I grew up learning racist stereotypes without even knowing what they really meant, because there was almost never anyone around to APPLY those stereotypes to. There are a lot less lynchings when there are few "foreigners" around, but it's also much easier to develop a stereotype when you never see any real-life evidence to the contrary. And I won't even get started with the prejudices against Natives, which are actually scary and horrible.
posted by Nutri-Matic Drinks Synthesizer at 11:19 AM on May 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


But to redirect to the actual topic at hand, I feel somewhat ambivalent about the "support" of Japan by companies in this way. On one hand, tuning up and sending over the bike is a gesture that may really help someone who's been devastated by the earthquake and tsunami, but it's also going to get a LOT of good PR bang for the buck. Any company who DOESN'T seem to be seizing these sort of opportunities is doing capitalism and public relations wrong.
posted by Nutri-Matic Drinks Synthesizer at 11:24 AM on May 2, 2012


That's pretty cool on many levels, but I have to say describing the bike as being a little rusty is a bit of an understatement. It would be easier and cheaper to get a new one than to rebuild that mess, but I can see the sentiment behind fixing that one, and H-D certainly has the resources to do it right.
posted by TedW at 11:37 AM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


A lot of personal effects will be washing up as debris on Western beaches over the next few years. In many cases, these may represent the only remaining effects from family members who died in the tsunami.

If you find something personal washed up on the beach, the Japanese government asks that you contact the nearest Japanese Embassy. With luck, it can be identified and returned to its family. Like the Harley in this story, or this lucky soccer ball.
posted by ErikaB at 11:40 AM on May 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'm a little confused. I mean it's nice he's getting his bike back. But don't things like this traditionally... sink?
posted by Naberius at 11:42 AM on May 2, 2012


Naberius: "I'm a little confused. I mean it's nice he's getting his bike back. But don't things like this traditionally... sink?"

The article isn't really clear about this, but the bike was found inside a small trailer/container. If you click through the slideshow, there are a few photos of it.
posted by specialagentwebb at 11:46 AM on May 2, 2012


don't things like this traditionally... sink?

They didn't make a big deal of it, but if you read carefully it was locked in a storage container, and it was the storage container that washed up on the beach. There was presumably enough air in the container to make it float.
posted by Mars Saxman at 11:46 AM on May 2, 2012


What exactly is a 'cube van'?
posted by item at 12:16 PM on May 2, 2012


Nevermind. That thing floated across an ocean?
posted by item at 12:17 PM on May 2, 2012


That thing is really smashed up. At sea for a year and all that, but still.. I thought it might be in better shape than that.
posted by Chuckles at 12:32 PM on May 2, 2012


It floated, even though it had no back door, because it was just the cube part of the cube-van (no van), it's constructed of foam covered with thin aluminum, and because the weight of the Harley worked as ballast at the bottom of the open very-large foam cube.

Think of a tall foam cup with a rock in the bottom.
posted by bricksNmortar at 12:36 PM on May 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


That thing is really smashed up. At sea for a year and all that, but still.. I thought it might be in better shape than that.

Man they just don't make debris like they used to!
posted by gomichild at 2:23 PM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Japanese owner of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle that was washed out to sea in the tsunami of March 2011 says its discovery on a remote beach on the West Coast of B.C. last week is a miracle.

Gee thanks, God. Now, about my house, dead family members, and ongoing nuclear disaster...
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:29 PM on May 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Those weren't miracles in the classical sense of the word.
posted by Mitheral at 2:34 PM on May 2, 2012


I'm a little confused. I mean it's nice he's getting his bike back. But don't things like this traditionally... sink?

This made me wonder about typical shipping containers which find themselves in similar circumstances. This article has more than I'd have wondered about.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 3:39 PM on May 2, 2012


What ever happened to salvage rights?
posted by Meatbomb at 4:41 PM on May 2, 2012


What ever happened to salvage rights?

On the BC coast there's a lot of awareness that tsunami debris are on their way, and many people who find the debris are also aware of the scope of human tragedy involved. The guy who found the Harley on the beach really wanted to know if whoever it had originally belonged to was all right. People who find debris they think come from the tsunami are encouraged to report it to the police etc, or get in contact with the Japanese consulate in Van.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:59 PM on May 2, 2012


[Comment removed - If you need to dredge up old conversations you need to do it in MetaTalk]
posted by jessamyn at 9:34 AM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


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