The MUDMASTER GWG-2000 is one of G-SHOCK's toughest watches due to its robustness and mud resistance. In addition to the carbon core guard structure and bezel, the lugs are made of forged carbon, making it lighter and smaller while maintaining its shock-resistance. These features can be felt even in daily life, and it can be said that the watch has evolved in use. However, if we were to actually use it in an extreme environment, how good would it be? For this interview, we spoke with Rowland Kirishima, who participated in and finished the Dakar Rally in 2007, and is now in his 50s and still loves motorcycles, both off-road and on-road.
Rowland Kirishima is a man with a diverse and unusual background. After performing in musicals and modeling as a young boy, he graduated from New York University with a degree in photography. In 1991, he started his career as a photographer based in New York, and now he is pioneering the world of 3DCG and embarking on the next generation of visual production. In addition to his multiple creative activities, he has repeatedly taken on extreme challenges. The best example of this is his participation in the Dakar Rally, but what did he gain from this experience?
"The Dakar Rally is not fun at all. It's the hardest race in general for amateurs and it is two-weeks of living hell. I've been riding motorcycles since I was 16, but I'm still not a professional. I didn't expect the race to be hardcore. From beginning to the end, there was no moment where it was actually enjoyable whatsoever. I'm a photographer, so I wanted to take a lot of photos and I want to show people how hard it is. I either didn't have the time or I wasn't mentally capable of actually stopping to take photographs. I regret that I was not able to do so because I could have sent out more information about the Dakar Rally and those two weeks to the world. I was able to take video once, with a small camera attached to my helmet, but in the time before and after that I was tumbling down a dune every 20 or 30 meters. Anyway, the sand was just too difficult for me."
The experience of being buried in a sand dune on a motorcycle is one that would fill an average person with despair. Mr. Kirishima says that the pressure motivated him to do it anyway.
"At that time, being Japanese, I was covered by the media because not many Japanese riders actually participated. Back then even an amateur like me, there were maybe only two or three participants. The peer pressure was one of the biggest aspects that actually got me going. Yes, this is kind of a funny story, actually I had a G-SHOCK on my handle. I was always wearing that. Just in case my bike's watch broke. It was like a good luck charm that I could use as a backup in case something happened, and it helped me relax. I think that's what it means when a thing becomes an extra tool for you. The G-SHOCK that I carried with me back then was minimal. So if I had this one (GWG-2000) it would have been totally different because there's altimeters, a thermometer, and a digital compass. When you're running in the desert, it's easy to lose track of where you are, and in an environment where you never know what's going to happen, a tool like this gives you peace of mind. Definitely would have been nice to have the latest G-SHOCK back then. I wish I had this one."
While taking on such a tough challenge, he also took a commemorative trip to Europe for two weeks on a motorcycle when he turned 50. The trip, which he describes as "a reward for myself," was a memorable one that included a visit to Scotland and a reunion with friends he hadn't seen for a long time.
"I travel all around the world. There's still situations where you're kind of off-grid but I'm always confident when I have my GWG-2000. Even if my phone doesn't work, I would be able to find out what time it is, locations, and so on. We're all totally digital-dependent now, so you never know." Traveling on a motorcycle is different from the Dakar Rally, and a tool like the GWG-2000 may be just the thing to free him from the digital world and bring him more fulfilling moments.
All content including images is credited to Hodinkee.