The Carrot Blog

Carrot Creative is filled with colorful characters. Cultured Carrots is a series that shares the outside passions that inspire the very best work for our clients. This week, we venture to the west coast to talk with Miki Masuda, our resident Japanese designer who moonlights as a badass poker-playing motorcyclist.

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Carrot: Although you only play casually now, you used to be pretty serious about poker. What was your favorite game and how did you get into it?

Miki Masuda: My favorite game is Texas Hold‘em. I don't know how "serious" I was about poker… I started off playing a poker game on Facebook then slowly moved on to casino poker. I read some poker books and learned tells (players behavior) and odds. Some casino hotels gave me black members cards. I played poker 3 days straight, eating dinner at the poker table in the casino, and slept 10 hours total in 3 days at Las Vegas. I still don’t know if that’s considered serious... I love playing poker but I can't make a living off of it.

C: What was your most memorable moment or game? Did you ever play anyone who was a pro or famous?

M: Not a specific game but anytime you win big, that will be memorable. Having a big stack of chips right in front of you is the best. When you win a big pot, just say "ship it" and they will all likely hate you right away. Poker players are a-holes who try to take all your money. Don't trust them. Poker is not just a card game, it’s deeper than that. You see what kind of a-holes humans can be.

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C: You moved from Japan to the US. What’s the biggest thing you miss and don’t miss about your home?

M: I miss Japanese foods and dollar stores. Their items are actually great quality and very useful! All of them are a dollar! What can you buy in the US with a dollar?! One dog treat is even more than that. What I don't miss about Japan is... I might not be able to go back there if I say it... so I’ll just keep that in my pocket.

C: What did you bring back from Japan on your last trip home?

M: A bunch of snacks and candies but the main item was an octopus ball machine! Octopus balls (takoyaki) are my hometown food. I missed it so much that I decided to bring back the machine. Now I can eat them anytime that I like. Usually when I go back to Japan, I bring two empty suitcases and I pack them up with snacks, candies, new clothes, and some weird stuff.

C: Moving onto other badass things, you used to ride a motorcycle. What bike did you have and how did you ride it in such a crowded and chaotic city like Osaka?

M: I had a Honda Shadow 400 and Suzuki Volty 250. My job required me to work from different places everyday (radio DJ/reporter and master of ceremonies). I rode a bike and wore a leather jacket and boots. When I arrived at a place, I’d change from boots to high heels and get ready to work. My boyfriend at the time didn't mind sitting on my back seat. He was holding my back and I gave him ride. I think I looked like a badass girl!

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C: Now that you live in LA and work out of Carrot’s west coast office, do you think you’ll get another bike? What kind?

M: Oh YAS!!! Triumph Bonneville. I don’t know what color and style I want but I’ll go bigger this time, 1000cc or 1200cc. I like their 1960 - 1980 vintage bikes too. I am not sure but thinking about getting a motorcycle excites me a lot! There is a lady rider group in Los Angeles. They have a 3 day camping trip with over 300 lady bikers at the end of this year. I am thinking of joining to meet some lady riders!

C: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to learn to ride a motorcycle?

M: Even if you are an experienced rider, you have to know that an accident could happen because of car drivers. Motorcycles are not as visible as cars. You have to be very visible and let other people on the road know you are there.

C: Are you secretly an international spy?

M: If I tell you then it wouldn't be secret.