All the international riders are now back home and start their new season (written in 2019). This article explains about their Keirin lives in japan from the perspective of an interpreter, who accompanied them throughout their season.
**Gambling Keirin riders are most likely Japanese. This is because they are officially licensed to be a rider by the government. To get the license, you must know Japanese fluently and you must graduate from Keirin School (now Japan Institute of Keirin) where you learn all the things about Keirin in Japanese. Only the exception is “International riders”. For the soul purpose of promoting Keirin, world top class riders get the invitation from Japanese Keirin, and can compete some of the selected races in short term in each year**
I literally knew nothing about Keirin when I started working with them as an interpreter, so I learned the rules from the scratch. 5 months have passed since then and we have had the races in all parts of japan. This article focuses on the life of Theo BOS, who I spent the most of the races with. Hope this helps you to understand how the international riders spend time in and outside of the velodromes in Japan.
He is truly a cycling-lover.
Yes, he really is. We stayed in the same room during the 4-days-race. During the Keien race, you are not allowed to use any electronic communicating devices such as phone, pc, tablet to make sure there is no cheating. (Remember Japanese Keirin is a GAMBLE) Therefore many riders take DVD player to velodrome to enjoy the movies during the free time. (DVD player is a must to have when you come to Japanese Keirin.) I found that Theo BOS brought not only his DVD player, but also a hard-drive that has all the previous Olympic Games and Tour de France! He watched them again, again and again in the room.
So his knowledge of the riders is like an encyclopedia when it comes to cycling. Theo knows “who did what” for each riders. “Oh this guy didn’t do well in this Olympic, but he bloomed later in his career.” “This year’s Tour de France, there was a huge crash on the 3rd day. It was so rough.” “This brand stop producing bikes and now more and more riders choose to use that brand.”
He speaks like a commentator and now I know a lot more about the cycling world thanks to him!
One day I asked him, ‘Why do you know so much about Tour de France?“. He said “because I was a commentator of the Tour de France this year.” Oh dear, you really are…
He likes to talk with the Japanese riders and the media as well.
He has joined international Keirin (what was called before) since 2003 and this year was his 8th season. Everybody in the Japanese Keirin knows Theo and some of them are good friends of him. In the bike inspection, cafeteria and dormitory, conversations occurs everywhere. It’s not rare to see him speaking to Japanese people without my help. I think it won’t be long that he doesn’t need any interpreter in Japan. Take it easy, Bos!