2014 Haruna Hill Climb - Sun 18th May

May 22, 2007
3,617
1,454
143
Kawasaki
halffastcycling.com
#1
The 2nd edition Mt Harunasan Hill Climb in Takasaki comes with a new feature: nearly English

<Event Policy>
Through the nationwide cycling event on our challenging course & beautiful landscape of Takasaki(Gunma prefecture), we will provide FUN of sport & splendor of nature to all riders. People from Takasaki, our local volunteer staff will welcome you with OMOTENASHI(Hospitality)!

A very pleasant chap has written on behalf of the event organizing committee to "the officials of the Half-Fast Cycling Club (Japanese speaking please)" asking for cooperation in bringing their event to the world of nearly English...

*Sorry, we only have Japanese speakers.

...to discuss the event and eventual cooperation in the event to entice non-Japanese participants to the event.

*We apologize in advance that our event office doesn't have English speaking staff.
For inquiries in English, please fill in the form below:
(*It could take a several days till we reply)

Although it all sounds very delightful and worthwhile, I strongly suspect that the officials of the Half-Fast Cycling Club (Don and myself) will find ourselves unable to bother. And the OS for our bikes is English-only.

So if anyone would like to take on the challenge of helping to bring this event to a wider nearly-English audience, PM me and I'll put you in touch with the fella.
 
Likes: jim
May 22, 2007
3,617
1,454
143
Kawasaki
halffastcycling.com
#3
Mike just forward them the http://www.glocalfive.net/tirs/ as a suggestion.
What are the odds that the document you have linked is written/translated by the same volunteer guy who contacted me? Kudos kiwisimon for checking!

On a personal level, I wonder *why* the event organisers are so keen to attract non-Japanese cycling talent to their event when there are so many thousands of Japanese hill climb race enthusiasts. The hundred or so resident gaijin who also enjoy racing can generally navigate their way through fee payment using Sports Entry or whatever. Simply having an English web page is already far more 'internationalized' than many HC races; just by publicising that page they will attract those who want to race.

Meanwhile, 6,000 yen to race 16.1 km? On public roads I could go to anytime? That's almost 375 yen/km. A taxi is cheaper! Compare this with the Sado Longride - 9,000 yen for 210 km. (Not a race.)

And for all that, what's the prize? A commemorative jersey? Not thrilled. But then I wouldn't be racing. And even if I were, I wouldn't be winning. So at the top end perhaps winning a jersey is wonderfuel and I cannot hope to understand.
 

theBlob

Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
2,865
1,451
129
...
#5
While I don't do much cycle racing I understand the racing mindset. It is about pushing yourself to be faster and better than you have ever been before. And being in a field of everyone trying to do that as well encourages you to go past boundaries that you didn't think you could pass. You can put a money figure on that or you can treasure that experience irrelevant of cost.

You clearly cannot see the value in racing beyond what financial cost or reward you will get out of it. Kind of sad and consumerist.

Meanwhile, 6,000 yen to race 16.1 km? On public roads I could go to anytime? That's almost 375 yen/km. A taxi is cheaper! Compare this with the Sado Longride - 9,000 yen for 210 km. (Not a race.)

And for all that, what's the prize? A commemorative jersey? Not thrilled. But then I wouldn't be racing. And even if I were, I wouldn't be winning. So at the top end perhaps winning a jersey is wonderfuel and I cannot hope to understand.
 
May 22, 2007
3,617
1,454
143
Kawasaki
halffastcycling.com
#6
While I don't do much cycle racing I understand the racing mindset. It is about pushing yourself to be faster and better than you have ever been before. And being in a field of everyone trying to do that as well encourages you to go past boundaries that you didn't think you could pass. You can put a money figure on that or you can treasure that experience irrelevant of cost.
We agree: I don't understand.
 
May 22, 2007
3,617
1,454
143
Kawasaki
halffastcycling.com
#8
You seem to be proud of some of your KOMs though and I think you secretly enjoy riding in a group, no matter how depressed you appear in those photos. So, if a race was free would you enter it?
That's an interesting observation and question. I like to achieve… er… achievements, and I definitely enjoy riding with friends. But the idea of racing doesn't appeal to me at all.

Blob puts his side really well: pushing yourself to be faster and better than you have ever been before. But I don't view racing like that. I think I'd only find it interesting if I were in with a chance of winning, and that's never likely as I don't want it enough to put in the effort to be faster and stronger than everyone else.
 

theBlob

Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
2,865
1,451
129
...
#9
I don't imagine i will ever "win" anything, but in the race I went I beat literally thousands up the mountain. It was like winning over a thousand times.

Anyway the experience was even a lot more than that, with people cheering, a bunch of taiko outfits playing there drums roadside, one old guy with a PA singing enka halfway up the mountain.
It was a great experience and rewarding on many levels. I will remember that ride for a long time. Certainly longer than the thousands of group rides I have been on. well worth whatever the cost was, I can't remember how much I paid BTW.

Give it a go Mike!

That's an interesting observation and question. I like to achieve… er… achievements, and I definitely enjoy riding with friends. But the idea of racing doesn't appeal to me at all.

Blob puts his side really well: pushing yourself to be faster and better than you have ever been before. But I don't view racing like that. I think I'd only find it interesting if I were in with a chance of winning, and that's never likely as I don't want it enough to put in the effort to be faster and stronger than everyone else.
 

macrophotofly

Maximum Pace
Aug 27, 2012
581
234
73
London, UK
www.macrophotofly.com
#11
I just want to appauld the chap who has reached out to us to try to get the event publicised in English. If the application form is in English then I will there. Yes its bluddy expensive but I only live once and with my current level of Japanese its the only way I'll ever get to enjoy a competitive challenge while here.
 
Likes: jim

jim

Warming-Up
Feb 6, 2014
12
8
3
#13
Hello everyone.. this is Jim, the "chap" who contacted Half Fast Mike in the first place, thus the original posting from Half Fast Mike and follow up replies.

First of all, thank you Half Fast Mike for posting this - and I am delighted to see all the replies and feedback that your posting has generated - this initiative by Takasaki City is their first attempt to include non-Japanese in a large event - something they have not done before, so they are starting from scratch and obviously they are hitting a few speed bumps on the way - therefore all of the above comments to date are very welcome and appreciated.

A little bit of background on the situation to date:

Although I come from a country of world class cyclists (by mentioning Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche I have probably given my age away) I have zero background in cycling myself. I live in Takasaki City and help them out with small events with the local international community. My personal background is in golf and has been since I arrived in Japan in 1988.

The bigger picture behind all of this is that being a serious transportation hub for the Northern Kanto Area (Major Motorways and Shinkansen cross over at Takasaki - one hour from Tokyo on the Shinkansen) and with the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, and the Tomioka Silk Mills (Shinkansen access via Takasaki) about to be declared a World Heritage Site in June this year, Takasaki City are expecting an increase in Tourism. In order to appeal to non-Japanese tourists, they need to overcome the language barrier. Obviously, internationalizing the whole city is not something that is going to happen overnight - so as a first step, they want to see what they can do with the Hill Climb event to attract non-Japanese cyclists. In addition to an English PR web page page (more on that later), an English language registration is required, and on site language assistance throughout the event is also required to ensure that non-Japanese speakers are fully aware of everything that is going on. As such this event is a starting template and first step towards an international friendly Takasaki City.

As for the current "nearly English" webpage pointed out by Half Fast Mike announcing the event - I could not agree more with this "nearly English" description. Although I am Irish, and cannot claim to be the best English speaker in the world, I can do a lot better than that. To clarify, I did not do the English on this page - it was done by a Japanese person - but I have corrected the text and it has been forwarded to the web admin to be updated so you can expect to see a friendlier English page soon. We are already looking at how we can help and make it easy for non-Japanese speakers to register without having to jump through the hoops on the "Runnet" website.

To kiwisimon - thank you for pointing out the link on the Takasaki City website which I am aware of. This newsletter is only distributed to foreigners living in Takasaki who have registered to receive it (ie not many), so I am trying to reach further afield with this posting.

To TCC admin - please do contact me - either on this forum, or privately as I will be happy to your valuable input, opinions and advice on the event.

And to everyone else who has taken the time to read and post on this topic, I say thank you again for taking the interest in reading it and posting your comments.

Thank you, Jim
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,681
494
103
Japan
#14
Jim, thanks for posting. I used to commute to Takasaki back in the 90's Omiya to Takasaki by bike 4 times a week. Bike up and train back. The land of Daruma and bosozoku annoying the cops in front of the ekimae koban. Good stuff.
What are the organisers doing to publicize the event? All the prep in the world will be wasted if there aren't enough international participants in the first place. I would focus my efforts there and then go for the rest after some entries have been received.. Do they have a CIR in the city? Get that person to pick up the ball and have a run with it(rugby maxim). Getting some input on do's and don'ts of running an event from a gaijin perspective would also be a help in avoiding the pitfalls. Good luck and keep posting.
 
Likes: jim
May 22, 2007
3,617
1,454
143
Kawasaki
halffastcycling.com
#15
I've only been to Takasaki once, I think. That was to test-ride some Bike Fridays. (Warning: 1990s J-website with 50% chance of mojibake)

jim - our member GSAstuto's new shop has an interesting mashup of bicycles and golf ;)

Glad to see the discussion is taking off.

Another point I made in my reply to jim was:

Is there a charity or community support aspect to the event? It doesn't seem so. Gaijin often like to use their athletic achievements to help others.
Maybe I'm way off base with this? (I have been known to spout opinions that are subsequently demonstrated to be 100% bollocks.) Overseas I see lots of city marathons and mass-participation open-to-the-public sporting events with a charity theme. HFC's own mini-sportif at Norikura has always been about helping out a charity. Does it happen much in Japan? Does it help in 'selling' an event? I've seen Make-A-Wish Foundation run-around-the-palace events, but they were organised by foreign firms for foreign firms. Discuss...:rolleyes:
 
Likes: jim

jim

Warming-Up
Feb 6, 2014
12
8
3
#16
I just want to appauld the chap who has reached out to us to try to get the event publicised in English. If the application form is in English then I will there. Yes its bluddy expensive but I only live once and with my current level of Japanese its the only way I'll ever get to enjoy a competitive challenge while here.
Thank you macrophotofly.. we are looking for a solution to help non-Japanese sign up in English - once something has been worked out I will let you know.
 

jim

Warming-Up
Feb 6, 2014
12
8
3
#17
Do they have a CIR in the city?
kiwisimon.. sorry but not familiar with CIR.. can you explain please..
and also, the darumas are still in Takasaki :) but they have done a good job in eliminating the bosozokus from in front of the koban :)
 
May 22, 2007
3,617
1,454
143
Kawasaki
halffastcycling.com
#19
kiwisimon.. sorry but not familiar with CIR.. can you explain please..
CIR is a Coordinator of International Relations. Some JET Programme participants don't go out to schools as assistant language teachers but have a role at city hall… doing the sort of thing you're doing for the city, sometimes but by no means always with a schools focus.

http://www.cirhomepage.org
 
Likes: jim

jim

Warming-Up
Feb 6, 2014
12
8
3
#20
CIR is a Coordinator of International Relations.
Thanks..

Do they have a CIR in the city? Get that person to pick up the ball and have a run with it(rugby maxim).
Now that I know what CIR is, I can answer yes.. there is such a person who works in the Takasaki City Office for the TIRS (Takasaki International Relations Society) which also publish the newsletter you pointed out in your earlier post. Basically, the Organizing Committee of the Haruna Hill Climb have contacted me through the TIRS (and CIR) to help them with their endeavor, so that is why I am now on this forum :)