Japan: generous, spirited, humble



Issue 23 is at the printers. Which is where I sit and type this, surrounded by thrilling titles to browse such as Offshore Support Journal and Transport Review. It’s going to be a long night. But not as long a night as it will be for many hundreds of thousands of Japanese, made homeless by the recent earthquake and tsunami that washed away their lives.

At the start of the Milan San Remo last weekend you may have seen Japanese champion Takashi Miyazawa in the early break. Before the race, the riders signed a Japanese flag and Miyazawa led a very heart warming tribute to his compatriots, his tears as he draped a flag over his handlebars were hard to ignore – potent stuff indeed. The minute the flag dropped he did everything he could to make that break, as a tribute to his country and those who have suffered as a result of the earthquake. Chapeau Takashi.

Around a year and a half ago we travelled to Japan and came back with a host of stories about an amazing adventure. We were warmly welcomed wherever we went, be it at the Keirin, Shimano or Nagasawa, and finally by the man who is central to the last installment that will feature in issue 23, an interview with pioneering Japanese pro rider Mashiko Mifune. Massa is a wonderful man with a positive and uplifting outlook on the sport of cycling and a determination you rarely see in pro riders today, but much like Takashi Miyazawa showed last Saturday.

Rouleur magazine has become far richer by the stories we collected during a month there, and for me the experience was inspirational. It was a wonderful trip and I loved Japan, not just for their love of cycling and food, but mainly for the people, their generous spirit, respect for one another and a humble resilience, the things that will surely see them through this arduous time.

Ian Cleverly, Rouleur’s deputy ed, recently started a routine of popping to the off-license on a Friday night and stocking up on New Zealand wines. His way of supporting the rebuilding of their economy after the quake hit a few month’s back, he might manage to help out pretty well single handed too – he likes a drop, does Ian. But it’s a simple and quite practical idea. So, if you have a spare few quid, have a look at the auction. If the flag is getting a bit out of your budget, you could think about a jersey. Or just buying some Japanese parts instead (there are many other brands, not just Shimano) or you could always follow Ian’s approach – he’s off for a case of Sake this week.






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