Name: Keiko Yanagisawa
Home: Saitama, Japan
Sponsors: Salomon, Bonfire, Oakley
Extracuricular activities: Shopping, computers, dancing, smiling
Even though I’ve only had the pleasure of riding with Keiko once, I already have respect for her snowboarding ability and joyous charisma. We met last spring during the Salomon photo shoot, and instantly the girl was crackin’ me up. I was expecting a shy, little girl from Japan who covers her mouth when she giggles, but right off the bat, on the first morning, out of bed pops Keiko with a huge smile on her face. She had been out late boogiein’ the night away, but was still the first one up, boots on, and rarin’ to go. Since our team lags so hard, she sat patiently waiting for a few hours. She got on her computer and wrote to friends, called people back home, and kept on smiling. I explained to her that we would be shooting at Mt. Seymour that day, and afterward we could do some shopping and dinner in Vancouver, so maybe she should bring some clothes to change into after riding. Another hour passes and we all start loading into the rigs when out struts Keiko dressed to a tee, mini skirt, high heels, the whole nine yards. We asked where she was going, and she boldly stated, “Shopping. With Michele.” Still smiling. Well, we all got a laugh, she changed back into shred-ready attire and away we went.
We built a quarterpipe, and after everyone hit the jump several times, no one had really stepped up to the plate. It was a fast run-in and the lip kept changing, then along came Keiko, pulling some crazy upside-down thingy with tons of style. I couldn’t believe my eyes! She stepped up and threw down. She was still smiling, and I was smiling, and shaking my head in utter amazement. Keiko is one cool cat. Off piste and on.–Michele Taggart