Luis J. Rodríguez samples the lowrider life of Tokyo

luis-j-rodriguez.jpgLuis J. Rodríguez, the author and recently announced candidate for governor of California, has a piece in a new collection, "Lowriting: Shots, Rides & Stories from the Chicano Soul," in which he writes about an exchange with lowrider aficionados in Japan. This sample is from

I came to Tokyo in November of 2006 to interview and follow Shin Miyata, then 44, an independent record producer who has brought East L.A. and other Xicano music to Japan through Barrio Gold Records/Music Camp, Inc. I also arrived during Miyata’s promotional tour for Quetzal and Martha, accompanied by Gomez. Besides Sound Base in Chiba, we ended at the Tower Records/Shibuya and the Bird Cafe in Shimokitazawa, Setagaya-ku where the house rocked with Son Jarocho, political songs and Xicano oldies. I was honored to read my poetry accompanied by jaranas and even Tex’s harmonica.

I was surprised at the crowds that came to listen to us — including my poems. They genuinely appreciated our presence. In fact, it felt cool to be Xicano, Mexika/Azteca, to be from the urban barrios of Los Angeles.

In Japan, I met with lowrider car aficionados, cholo-attired radio Djs, and young Hip Hop/Xicano clothing store owners. Xicano culture has a foothold here, not large, but significant. Lowrider Japan Magazine at the time had around 70,000 readers.

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