I had the keirin bug long before my first trip to japan in 1986, I think it came from some article I read in my childhood of growing up reading competitive cycling and International Cycle Sport, spending my money made from the paper route or lacing wheels (2 dollars a wheel 2.50 if they had washers) on Mirror Du Cyclisme . It was most likely Bike World which was one of the World Publications based in Mt. View ,CA. , a publication where I also I first found out about artistic cycling (INDOOR CYCLING) which was another quest and another story. Back to keirin.
On my first trip to japan seeing a Keirin race was one of the things I was looking forward to but I was very dissapointed, none of Kate's family would talk about it at all to us, and only one bartender was helpful but that was our last day there.
Things got better the next time around, Victoria went to a sports high school... she did Artistic Gymnastics and Keirin riders were taught at her same school she actually KNEW an S1 racer! When I visited kochi I got to see his shop and meet him and found lots of information about the sport. I still couldnt see a race though as the KOCHI veldorome was closed down to be rebuilt. That visit or maybe the visit after Victoria's sister and brother in-law drove me a couple of hundred Kilometers drove me across the island of Shikoku (where I am now) to Matsuyama to see my first Keirin Race. It was winter the shadows were long the track was directly under the Matsuyama castle at that point, the bleachers contained only a few old men smoking unfiltered cigarettes with a seedy type vibe When I looked for that track in 2008 with Sara on our honeymoon tour I couldnt find it,,turns out it had been torn down relocated and rebuilt, -probably shortly after Kochis stadium was completed- we didn't visit its repalacement becuase it was a bit far off the path of the pilgramage we were on.
The main impression that first race left me with was that the amount of enthusiam I had compared to almost all of the other spectators who were old men.
After the race I noticed that there were posters on a board announcing the races and they had just put the posters one on top of the another -I asked if I could take them down, recieved an affirmative answer ,pulled out my pliers and pulled out an average of 6 staples from each poster going down through 4 years or so ,it was inches thick,
Needless to say this took some time, and attracted some attention, I ended up being showered with more posters that were brand new and they even gave me a helemt that had been crashed in I was stoked.
As we were leaving the site I noticed a shed that had bags of cans and bottles, I stuck my head in and came out with two bars and a stem , my first keirin GOMI and my first parts that had actually been in a race where the out come was wagered upon..this was the start of what would become my use of the term NJS in my ebay titles, maybe someone can use the wayback machine and tell if it was used before I joined ebay in 2004 , somehow I doubt it, but this is why I feel I have the right to use it when I list my Zo Bags.
A little side line here -When Tom Kuhn was still making his yo-yo's in san francisco I developed a relationship with him making yo-yo bags in exchange for his products, I still have a patch from his NO JIVE yoyo team.
come back for part 2 where I find and buy my first njs frame.