Anybody who was fortunate enough to go to the 2012 World Champsionsinships had a chance to meet people from all over the world. We hope you had a chance to meet the Tokyo crew. The played well and even after a loss, they smiled big. It was great to see. It seemed fitting to learn a bit about Tokyo bike polo’s scene. Here’s what Genki Takahashi told us.
321: Where do you get to play in Tokyo?
Genki: We play in Komazawa park on Wednesday nights and on weekends, every week. On weekends, we sometimes play in the old pool of Kugenuma Skate Park. We have small tournaments there.
321: How many people show up to throw in on a regular basis?
G: There are about ten people usually. When more people show up, we get 20 or more people.
321: What kind of crowd do you get? (Age range, professions, other hobbies players have, stuff like that)
G: The age group of Tokyo members range from 20 years old to about 45. Although their professions vary, there are messengers, freelancers, office workers and students. I don’t know their other hobbies because we play bike polo all the time. Maybe photography, theater, drinking beer.
321: When did hardcourt bike polo start in Tokyo?
G: Bike polo scene of Tokyo started about three years ago.
G: Most of the starting members were messengers. They first encountered bike polo in 2008 at CMWC Toronto. Then, they experienced bike polo for the first time at ECMC Berlin in 2009 and started playing bike polo in Tokyo after that.
Bike polo population in Japan gradually grew and now it is all over Japan. Now, there are about 300 bike polo players all over Japan.
321: After traveling to Worlds, what differences did you notice in North American, European and Australian playing styles compared to Japan’s style?
G: I felt that play styles betwen Europe, North America, and Australia are different and they were all good. Bike control, speed, accuracy and contact play, I thought they were higher-level than Japan in many points. It was completely different to experience the actual games compared to watching videos, and it was very interesting.
Although it was my first experience, I was able to enjoy myself very much, and I have learned at lot from the experience. It was truly an awesome experience for me. We need to practice much more and develop our own style.
321: There lot of chatter in at Worlds and the London Open about Tokyo hosting Worlds. Nothing serious or concrete, just suggestions. In your opinion, how ready is Tokyo or another Japanese city to host a big tournament?
G: We are also always talking about holding a big tournament someday in Japan, but it is very difficult to secure the space for two or more coats in Tokyo. However, I think that making actions towards realizing the dream is important.
321: Anything else you’d like to mention?
G: Contact us if there is an opportunity for you to come to Tokyo. Let’s play bike polo together and drink beer!