Dani Pedrosa’s passion for Japanese culture will blow your mind!

7 minutes

The rider from Castellar del Vallés has said it many times: “I am passionate about Japanese culture”. At Box Repsol, we decided to ask him about this, a subject that doesn’t come up during GP press conferences, but that brings us closer to Dani as a person. Number 26 adores the country of the rising sun and his nickname — ” Baby Samurai” — is no accident.

Dani pedrosa muestra kanji
Dani Pedrosa’s passion for Japanese culture will blow your mind!

Yes, very much, in particular I like the art form of Aikido. This uses circular rather than linear movements, with the defender moving out of the line of attack and then using his opponent’s own momentum to overcome him.

Hi, Dani! It’s well known that your nickname is baby samurai. Do you think your love of Japan chose you, or did you choose it?

Not sure which came first but I have always been fascinated by Samurai and the Japanese culture. I don’t know who picked who but it’s been a perfect match for me for sure.

Do you have anything that reminds you of Japan in your day-to-day life?

Well of course I have the ‘Little Samurai’ as my logo so I see that a lot in my day to day life! Obviously spending all my career with Honda, I have received many trinkets and gifts from Japanese fans and colleagues which I keep and always remind me of Japan. I have strong roots with Japan and the Japanese, they have played a huge part in my life!

We know that the Japanese GP is one of your favourites. What is it like to stay in Japan during a GP?

Honestly it’s a shame that we don’t get to see so much since the race weekend is so busy and we stay at the circuit hotel. So we only see the race track and hotel and then usually we have to leave for the next race.

Have you been on holiday to Japan? Would you like to go back? What did you most like about your visit?

I’ve never had the chance to holiday there but I’ve often thought that when I retire I’d like to go and spend a few months in Japan and travel around. Experience the temples and traditional Japanese ways of life and study some meditation techniques and learn more about it. I do know the people are very friendly and hospitable and it’s a fascinating culture that should be experienced for sure.

What would you like to bring home from Japan? And what Spanish things would you like to take there? Apart from Spanish jamón of course hahaha…

I don’t really take anything to Japan as I like to embrace their culture when I’m there… but I would like to bring home some Samurai swords to hang in my house.

Dani Pedrosa atiende a fans japoneses

Do you like karaoke? How is your singing voice? Have you ever sung karaoke in Japan?

Haha, not really and my singing voice is terrible! It depends where I am and who I’m with! I’m quite shy so this isn’t really something I would get up and do in a group of strangers or in public, but maybe with a few friends in a small environment. I did do it once in Japan in 2013, after the Motegi race a lot of the paddock goes to The Cage in Narita – close to the airport – and we all had a lot of fun partying there with the team and singing we had a good time.

There are some expressions in the Japanese language that are unforgettable and transmit the culture. Could you tell us two phrases that really had an impact on you?

Not really any sayings but there are some traditions that my team have taught me which I really value. One is the Darumu doll which is seen as a talisman of good luck for the Japanese. At first, the figure’s eyes are both blank white. Then you choose your goal or wish and paint in one of the figure’s two eyes. Once the desired goal is achieved, then you can draw in the second eye.

Do you like Japanese food? What are your favourite dishes? Do you like to cook sushi, tempura, and other traditional Japanese dishes?

I really like teppanyaki and sushi, also the noodles are good! I’m not a very good cook so probably better I leave it to the experts!

Do you like martial arts? Is there one that you especially like because of its philosophy?

Yes, very much, in particular I like the art form of Aikido. This uses circular rather than linear movements, with the defender moving out of the line of attack and then using his opponent’s own momentum to overcome him. The defender does not attempt to block his opponent’s blows or in any way to clash with his opponent’s force. With my size, I find this the most interesting as you only defend and use your opponent’s energy against them.

Do you know any Japanese? Can you say three sentences in Japanese one after the other? You can send us a video to prove it ?

I can say some basic greetings, like ‘Hello, I’m Dani Pedrosa, nice to meet you. See you later!”… haha.

Have you tried out any other traditional Japanese arts? Flower arrangement, calligraphy, cooking, painting…?

Not really, but I would like to learn more about the art of Japanese archery – Kyudo. This is a kind of meditation, finding your ‘Zen’, to become more aware of the present without looking back to the past or into the future. Only then can you reach your highest potential and find inner harmony. It is learnt with mind and intellect, but you work towards practicing it without either and to let go of the intellect and to try and stand with the bow fully drawn, not feeling the need to hit the target. This way you can practice in a way which focuses on the proper breathing, proper mindset and proper body movements, not on hitting the target. If done correctly, you can hit the target—potentially with your eyes shut. Potentially, that is. But in order to even get close to that you would have to practice for many, many years, and perhaps never reach it. But with kuydo, as with all other “Ways”, they try to focus on the journey, not the goal.

Dani pedrosa y Suei Nakamoto con fans japoneses

You recently told us in #AskMarcDani2017 that you’d like to learn more about zen and meditation. What do you know about Eastern philosophy?

Zen is the Japanese word for meditation and all I know is that it’s a very powerful, ancient, meditation practice. It demands high self-control and involves techniques and ideals to promote relaxation, build your energy within and develop feelings of compassion and patience.

Ninjas or samurai, who would win in a fight?

It doesn’t matter who wins, what is important is the attitude and I prefer the attitude of the Samurai.

We loved getting to know more about Dani. What about you? Did you know he loves Kyūdō and Aikido? We didn’t either. We will continue to show you everything we don’t know and want to find out about our riders.

Thank you for being part of the Box Repsol community!

Box Repsol.

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