by: Naoki Sakai

I thought I’d do an introductory page. My name is Naoki Sakai, and I’m an ex-pat from Colorado. I’m a US citizen, a nisei, with my parents both Japanese. As a high schooler, I ski raced, played some tennis, and did pretty much all sorts of sports, including rock climbing, baseball and enjoyed things to do outdoors, with some additional heavy partying from the plains of Wyoming to Big Sur, to Soho to Sydney and here, in Chigasaki ! 

I graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a degree in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (not sure if it’s called the same, today, as it was, back in the 80’s.) With the idea of ​​going to medical school, something I detoured away from, when I decided I disliked Hospitals and becoming a doctor, after doing laboratory work and getting my EMT, while riding ambulances, and subsequently switched to photography, inspiration and dreams. 

I went to photography school in Santa Barbara, CA, graduated and went to NYC to assist, onto Sydney, Australia, and began doing my own photography work in Tokyo, where I worked as a freelancer for about 20 years, in fashion and advertising, Things change and people often do, as well. Me being who I am, someone who was quite adamant I would not change my passion for images I loved, made it difficult to sustain a photographic career.  During that time, I was raising my two, now adult age kids, from ages 1 and 3, on my own, so being busy and juggling career with child care was, to say the least, an adventure.  Imagine that.  An American getting custody of children and raising them in Japan.  I can’t even read Japanese!!

Somehow, the children made it to adulthood in spite of me raising them :), and gone to university, with the eldest having gone onto work in the real world, starting this year, after graduating from the University of British Columbia, last November, and the younger studying architecture, in Japan. My career took a bit of a hit, for various reasons, and I decided if I can’t do my photography as I believed I should, then I won’t work at it at all. One can call it stubbornness, or understand that there is an artistic aspect to the work that is non-negotiable, and I felt my value as a photographer wasn’t being met, and although pragmatically, it would be better to make money doing commercially oriented photography, I decided to forego photography as a profession.

I feel happier making the decision to not do photography, and living a life in Chigasaki.  I had a standard of photography that for various reasons found it more and more difficult to attain a level of work I could be satisfied with, and I wanted to avoid frustration and stress, when work situations made it impossible to carry out my vision. 


Luckily, I was able to get hired by Y’s Road Chigasaki!! I’ve bought 3 bicycles … a Giant, a DeRosa and a Brompton … and have bicycled up and down the Shonan coast. Starting at the age of 60 isn’t the every day norm, but I’m finding it to be fun and healthier to ride!  I must say, I’ve got a bit too much of poor habits to actually get into great shape, because I enjoy food, drink and song, way too much, but the discovery of road bicycles is a revelation, in its function and beauty, and a lot of fun.   

I live in Chigasaski with my dog, Pooh. I had two dogs, but my Jack Russell, Parry, unfortunately got older than me, and passed away, last year. She was a great dog, and I miss her! My kids visit, often, and I still take a lot of photos, albeit, more nature and Y’s Road stuff, and also have begun video work, including drone footage, which is my latest passion.

I hope these words aren’t too far off the rails. I work at Y’s road on the weekends, so if you want to come in. See the shop … loads and loads of bicycles and road cycling We can do anything from special orders, frame set assembly of the top bicycles in the world (how about the Giro D’Italia winning pink Pinarello ???) to repairs goods … and if you need english help, I’m your guy! Hope to see you soon !!

copyrighted photographs Naoki Sakai(do not copy and use)