METROPOLIS | CLASSIFIEDS | PERSONALS | JOBS
LIFE IN JAPAN
Gregg Alan

Gregg AlanOccupation:
Used motorcycle car dealer
Time in Japan:
10 years






Motorbikes have been in my family for as long as I can remember, so I think of my job as a hobby first and a means of making money second. I love what I do, that is the most important thing as far as I am concerned. I would much rather be poor and enjoying myself than rich and unhappy.

When I first came to Tokyo, I got a job working in the biggest motorbike company in the area. I stayed there for five years-- five years without a vacation. I eventually decided it was time to get out and live a little, so I embarked on a three-month holiday right here in Tokyo. At that time, I honestly didn' know what I was going to do for money, but after a friend gave me a scooter which I repaired and re-sold for Y20,000, I realized that it was possible for me to do something that I enjoyed and make a bit of cash, too. I knew there was a demand for cheap bikes in Tokyo, so I started going around collecting discarded scooters from bike dealers that I knew and repairing them in front of my house. Things snowballed from there, really. I had no intention of starting a business, it just happened. Still, a couple of visits from a police force curious as to why the neighborhood was suddenly littered with motorbikes, convinced me that I had better get legitimate real quick.

When I first started out, 99% of my customers were foreigners, but now they only account for two to three percent of my business. This is partly due to the sluggish economy-- Japanese people are now looking around for better deals on things like cars and bikes-- and partly to the decrease in the number of foreigners living here. Also, now that I run a "proper business", everything has to be done by the book and I have to think about my overhead. I can no longer have the favors-for-friends attitude and I guess that has put a few people off.

A typical day starts at around 7:30am and I am usually at the shop by 11:00am. I often work until very late, but I don't really think of it as working. Over the years I have built up some very good relationships with my customers, and a large part of my day is spent talking with them and generally taking it easy. I go to bike auctions twice a week (Tuesdays and Wednesdays) and car auctions every Friday. I don't keep any stock in my shop, so if a customer wants me to get them a car or motorcycle, I take them along to an auction and they can pick out one that they like. Doing things this way means that I can offer a highly personalized service at a reasonable price.

I always try to make my customers as happy as possible. If someone comes into the shop and says, "I want such-and-such a bike," I will talk to them and try to find out if that is what they really need. If it isn't, I will advise them against the purchase and offer a more practical alternative. I would never sell anything that I wouldn't buy myself, and I always treat people with the respect they deserve. These days, most of my business comes from word-of-mouth recommendations, so I guess I must be doing something right.

Do you know an interesting person in Tokyo? E-mail us at editor@tokyoclassified.com

LIFE IN JAPAN:
199: Diane Morris
Media & Advertising
198: Ross Mihara
NHK Sumo Announcer
196: Corky Alexander
Tokyo Weekender
195: Edward Obaidey
Acupuncturist
194: Merry Angel
Managing Director
193: Alison Pockett
Managing Partner
192: Zack Konno
Car Export Representive
191: Pamela S. Caudill
Assistant U.S. Customs
190: Caroline Power
Being a Broad
189: Geoffrey Tudor
P.R. Section Chief JAL
188: Ryuko Ishikawa M.D.
Family Psychiatrist
187: Georges Hassam
Arabic Dance Instructor
186: Larry London
DJ at InterFM
185: Richard James
Photographer & Writer
184: Alan Kidd
Rock Musician & Editor
183: Adam Hitchens
Mobile Hairdresser/Masseur
182: Lylian de la Vega
Volunteer
181: Annie Chang
Computer Training
180: Mike Jacobs
Writer/Photojournalist
179: Jimmy Angel
Rock'n'Roll Singer
178: Dante
Performer
177: Elizabeth Spencer
Tokyo Classified Intern
175: Paul E. Ainlay
Proprietor of D.B. Cooper's
174: Steve Bindon
Artist
173: Nanae Nagata & Naji Rahman
Proprietors of Heart Cocktail
172: Tom Holiday
Singer/Guitarist
171: Gordon Hutchingson
Copywriter
170: Barry Cardinal
Renshi Aikido Instructor
169: Tammy
Hostess
168: Steve Feldman
Computer Dealer
167: Eve Suter
Flower Designer
166: Paul Goldsmith
Computer/H.R. Consultant
165: Avry Gottesman
Auto Dealer
164: Russell Pollard
Financial Advisor
163: Sa'dia
Belly Dancer
162: Marcel L'Esperance
Choral Director
161: Gregg Alan
Used Motorcycle/Car Dealer
160: Dr. Greg Sapplers OMD
Oriental Medical Doctor
159: Ute Ikuta
Cat Lover
158: Pam Adkins
Shaw College
157: Cloudy Bong Water
Comedian/Performer/Teacher
156: Melissa
Internet Company Director
155: Paul Gibson
Proprietor, The Fiddler Pub
154: Ann Spiers
Psychotherapist
153: Evans M. Asare
Chef
152: Sandy Weiss
Acting Teacher
150: Kike
Dancer

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