Celebrate Japan: Sano Magic

Every now and then, something fantastic turns up in the documents and articles that I translate for a living. Last week, it was an article about Sano Sueshiro, 9th generation shipbuilder, who turned his attention to building mahogany bicycles. Yes, mahogany!

See the photos and read about it on the Cool Hunting website.

The article I worked on said that Sano-san handcrafts three bicycles a year and, in case you feel tempted, the price tag is two million yen (about 1,800 euros) and the waiting list is two years. Intriguingly, it also said that one of his bicycles will be shown at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London for a few months from September this year.

In this video clip, he explains that he got the idea when he saw bicycles built from carbon fiber. He figured that if you can use carbon fiber to build both bicycles and boats, then it must also be possible to build a wooden bicycle. Even if you can’t understand what he says, just watch the first minute of this video to get a feel for the man.