Matsudo Explorations with CIR Erin, Winter 2017・18 Edition



Hello! And welcome to the Winter 2017/18 edition of Matsudo Explorations.
This will be my final contribution to this blog. It has been an absolute privilege to live and work in this city over the past few years, and to share my local discoveries as the seasons have passed. But the time to move on to new adventures has arrived, and it is with much warmth and gratitude that I must bid you farewell.
I will soon be returning to my home community in Melbourne, Australia to pursue graduate studies in English-Japanese interpreting and translation. Yes, despite the geographical distance I never seem to travel very far! My replacement is scheduled to begin later in the year, so please look forward to their arrival in the summer months. I am sure that they will enjoy living here as much as I have.
While there are many things that I love about this city, it is the livability that I have appreciated the most. The connectedness, the convenience, the city lifestyle without the commotion, the family-friendly community. ...the peace! The list goes on, and I encourage you too to make the most of it -

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All the very best for 2018 and beyond,

Erin, Coordinator of International Relations
18th January, 2018

Matsudo Keirin

Going to see the Matsudo Keirin had been on my to-do list since I first arrived in this city. For those of you who are not familiar, 'Keirin' is a form of cycle racing in which track cyclists sprint for victory following a speed-controlled start behind a pacer. It is one of Japan's four authorized ‘Public Sports’ where gambling is permitted, so one could say it has a certain reputation. However, I would describe it as being a lot like the velodrome cycling you’d see at the Olympics, just with the ambience of a neighborhood horse track!

The ‘Matsudo Keirin’ velodrome is a designated national-level venue for both the men’s and women’s circuits, and is located just a short walk from JR Kita Matsudo Station. I went along with a group of colleagues after work one evening and, to my delight, we were able to soak it all in from the comfort of a spectator box.


Each race has six to nine cyclists wearing different colored jerseys and helmets. They spend the first few laps following a pace bike and jostling for prime position, before the pace bike pulls away and they are left to sprint for the finish.

While the races themselves were exciting, it was the pre-race routine that had me most intrigued. The cyclists would do several laps on the track before their race, before disappearing back into the waiting area. I presumed this was just their chance to get a feel for the velodrome, but as it turns out it is in equal parts a warm up and a ‘parade’. Like the horses that are led before the spectators pre-race, the Keirin cyclists too have several laps to put their legs on display! And to make known any strategic alliances they may have with other cyclists. I made my observations, put on some bets and…had zero beginners’ luck. Alas, it was a great night out!

I wholeheartedly recommend a visit to the Matsudo Keirin velodrome for anyone seeking an out-of-the-ordinary experience. Visit the velodrome's website here (Japanese). Or click here to learn more about the sport (English/Japanese).











「松戸けいりん」を見に行くことは、松戸に来て以来ずっと、私のやりたいことリストにありました。知らない人のために少し説明すると、「競輪」とは、自転車競走の一種類で、誰が一番初めにゴールするかを競う競技です。スタートから先頭誘導員が選手達の前に走る「先頭固定競走」と呼ばれる競走は、戦略的で激しいものです。競輪はギャンブルが許可されている日本の公営競技の一つとして、確かな評価を得ているとは言えるかもしれません。個人的には ‘地方競馬場の雰囲気で行われている、オリンピック用トラックレースと似ているスポーツ’という説明で、イメージがなんとなく伝わるかと思います!







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