TimeScan x Vague Video + Rob Taro Interview


While shooting our Tokyo x Osaka article for Issue 17 in Japan (read it in full here) we were lucky enough to meet up with multi-talented filmer and skater Rob Taro of TimeScan. Much to our surprise we saw Rob was filming most of the day but then out of nowhere he would go skate something ridiculous (like the kinked hubba 50-50 you can see below).

After our visit to Japan we hit up Rob and he wanted to collaborate for a TimeScan x Vague video. The edit features skateboarding in Tokyo, Osaka and more cities graced with amazing spots (but probably with high security). Heywood Ward interviewed Rob Taro on life in Japan, this new video, his new Hokkaido part (dropping soon) as well as our experience shooting the Tokyo x Osaka article from issue 17.

Have a read below then watch this humble man’s edit featuring the likes of Hiroki Muraoka, Tsuyoshi Uchida, Kouki Arima, Masaki Hongo, Shintaro Hongo, Yudai Fujigasaki, Laurence Keefe, Yuhei Iwamoto, Rio Morishige, Leo Takayama, Sota Tomikawa, Shinya Masuda, Sera Kanno, Takao Cooper and Tom Delion. Filmed in Tokyo, Yokohama, Yokosuka, and Osaka.


In conjunction with this release we uploaded our Tokyo x Osaka Article from Issue 17 which you can read here.

Rob Taro ~ Photo: Junpei Ishikawa

Interview by: Heywood Ward

Photography by: Reece Leung + Junpei Ishikawa

Videography: Rob Taro

Rob Taro – backside 50-50 ~ Photo by: Reece Leung

Taken from our Issue 17  Tokyo x Osaka article

Hey Rob so you’re out there in Japan about to celebrate 5 years, congratulations, where were you living before and what inspired the move? 

Thank you! I grew up in a small town in New Jersey and lived there up until I came to Japan as a transfer student back in December 2015. But what initially inspired me to come to Japan was when I began to discover the Japanese skate scene through skate videos like “FESN”, Gou Miyagi’s parts, “Tightbooth”, “VHS Mag” and “Osaka Daggers” and so on. The skaters and the spots they skate and how they capture skateboarding was something I’ve never seen anywhere else and since I have the privilege of being half-Japanese I took my chance to go to Japan.

Photo by: Reece Leung

How has life been for you out there over the past 5 years? Any memories you wanna give a specific shout out?

It’s been a rollercoaster. When I got here 5 years ago, it was my first time being away from my family and friends and I didn’t really know anyone out here. Before I joined the university in Tokyo I stayed with my grandma for the first week in Osaka. I had never skated in Japan ever before so I googled a skate park nearby. I did not speak good Japanese at the time but I tried talking to some locals there. As I was talking to them, one guy pointed at someone on a bike and said “Pro skater”. As soon as I looked over, I immediately knew who it was by the Japanese patterned fabric grip tape. The guy I was talking to walked me over and introduced me to Gou Miyagi. I just couldn’t believe it, first day of skating in Japan and I run into Gou, what a coincidence.

Rob Taro – Frontside Lipslide ~ Photo: Junpei Ishikawa

Where have you lived in Japan and what made you settle on the city you currently live in, Tokyo? Did skating play an important factor in this? 

When I first moved to Tokyo, I was a transfer student and my dorm was in Takadanobaba, but I dropped out and moved to the countryside of Ibaraki. There I stayed at Kenji Tanaka’s home from where he runs his distribution “UNDERDOG”. Back then, it was a crazy skate house with skate tours going on every week and people stopping by from all over. While I was living at Kenji’s house, one of the board companies he distributes came to tour Japan and I somehow got the opportunity to film and edit their tour video. After a while of living in the countryside, I moved to my grandma’s in Osaka and worked part-time. I was planning on maybe moving back to the States and going back to school when the “Consolidated x Bassturd” video I had filmed and edited during my stay at Kenji’s, hit Thrasher. After that, the guys from VHS Mag located out of Tokyo hit me up and offered me to work with them. That’s what brought me back to Tokyo where I now teach at a Skateboarding high school and do freelance work.

Shintaro Hongo, Hiroki Muraoka + Yonnie Cruz getting stuck in some chicken ~ Photos by: Reece Leung

How do the skate scenes differ across the country? Any regional differences or specialities when it comes to trick selection or spots on offer? I imagine Hokkaido being a little more rugged given the long, cold winters. 

Tokyo is kinda like New York City. There are so many skateboarders and before Covid-19 hit there were events going on every week. Although there is a huge skate boom in Tokyo and skating is overly adored by the fashion industry, it is hated by most of the city because of the noise and apparently, with how dangerous it is even on the streets and at parks. On the other hand, there are incredible skate scenes outside of big cities where there are massive concrete skate parks and people in those towns actually back skating. There are also incredible spots that are such an adventure to go to and these are the things I love to capture the most.

Shintaro Hongo – Frontside No Comply Tailslide ~ Photo by: Reece Leung

How was it filming for this new video compared with your previous TimeScan projects?

It’s really amazing because I think a lot of my favorite skaters in Japan not only want to put out footage in Japan, but also want to be on skate media overseas, especially in Europe. The media there is very diverse and the skaters and skate videos have great style. I believe having the opportunity to do a collab video with a skate mag outside of Japan means not only a lot to me but especially to everyone featured in my video.

Yonnie Cruz ~ Photo by: Reece Leung

TimeScan always have dope edits and I’m sure this one will be no different, what’s it like filming with Leo Takayama, Shintaro Hongo and Hiroki Muraoka, to name but a few, on these projects? 

Means a lot to me. It’s always such a fun time filming with such diverse, talented skaters of different ages, styles, and regions. To film someone can provide me with the opportunity to make a trip to their home cities and towns. I’ve even hitchhiked with Leo Takayama to Osaka to get some clips for his last part in the TimeScan video. I’ve been filming a bunch with Shintaro and his younger brother Masaki and they’re both so incredibly skilled and have such great character that it makes filming fun and effortless. Hiroki is not only one of my favorite skaters but also my colleague at the skateboarding high school. He recently opened a skate shop “Beat” in Asakusa. So he’s very busy lately but I’m glad I was able to squeeze in a couple of clips of him for our “Vague x TimeScan” collab video. Yeah, in general, filming is always an exciting time. Also really hyped they made it onto the “Tokyo x Osaka” article (read it here). So many of my friends are on there. Got me really stoked to be able to do a video with you guys.

Rob Taro – Nosebonk ~ Photo: Junpei Ishikawa

Hokkaido is a region of Japan which may not be on a lot of people’s radars, what inspired the trip up there for this latest visual offering? 

I made a couple trips last year to Hokkaido to film Sota Tomikawa for his part in the TimeScan video. Hokkaido is so massive it’s almost like a whole other continent, haha. Some spots like Mikasa can only be skated before 8 AM before security comes in, so we would have to camp nearby. Not only the spots are incredible, but Sota’s got such a rad crew. I just had to make another trip over there. It was a no brainer for me to go visit them again in August to escape North from the terrible summer heat of Tokyo. I stayed at our very good friend, Isme’s skate house in Tomakomai. My main goal was to get some footage of the Hokkaido crew for TimeScan 2, but Isme also happened to have a camera so we thought why not also try to film my own Hokkaido part while we can, haha. Isme put in so much work driving us around spots non-stop, sneaking in to campsites, and even hunting for the craziest river fishing spots. We would make a 6 hour road trip turn into a 12 hour trip cause we got lost trying to hit up one spot, it was so much fun. I’ve never really went fishing before in my life, and to be honest I didn’t give a shit about fishing until we went river fishing with our wetsuits. Never thought it would be such a fucking adventure catching fish, frying, and eating them on the spot.

Rob Taro’s – Hokkaido Part ~ Filmed by: ISME

Click here for the full Hokkaido post

Did you get a chance to spend some time in the onsen with those bathing monkeys at all?

Naa, but we went to this one onsen where we had to march outside from the changing room to the onsen in a straight line as if we are in some kind of bootcamp. Once we got to the onsen we were the monkeys doing cannonballs and handstands in it.

Rob Taro – Wallie, Bank Ride To 50-50 ~ Photo by: Reece Leung

What’re your favourite things about living out there and could you ever see yourself moving back to the States? 

I never imagined that I would meet all these people from all over Japan and call this country my home but that’s what it naturally turned into. I just like to be able to live off of skating whilst still being able to create content for my personal projects at the same time. Right now, I don’t plan on moving back to the States because I don’t see myself getting the same opportunities that I get out here. Although, speaking of the future, it would be a dream to be able to also do what I do right now outside of Japan.


What’re your plans for the future and what’s next for TimeScan

I don’t know, the world’s crazy at the moment. If I could, I would travel and be down to make an overseas trip – even out to you guys. All I know is I just want to keep creating content, whether it’s putting out my own parts or filming and editing videos. Right now, I’m focusing on my next full-length video TimeScan 2 and who knows what’s to come.

Hiroki Muraoka ~ Photo by: Reece Leung

Shintaro Hongo – Frontside Wallride ~ Photo by: Reece Leung

TimeScan x Vague Video

Rob Taro: “TimeScan to me is more than just a personal skate project, but a documentation of the people whom I’ve met, and also a way to meet and connect with more skaters and artists from all over. Although it isn’t possible to travel outside of Japan, it’s a blessing to be able to put out something positive at the end of a shit year.”


In conjunction with this release we uploaded our Tokyo x Osaka Article from Issue 17 which you can read here.

Filmed + Edited by: Rob Taro

Additional Filming by: YEN