Something big is happening in Japan. Really big. Literally hugely big.
Just look at the size of this track!
Dear Japan: You are fucking insane. Never change. pic.twitter.com/YhuE7oyiFa
— Derby Notes Blog (@windymannet) October 9, 2014
What you see here is a Japanese man cleaning a roller derby banked track that towers above him. Peaking at nearly six feet high, this track is 50% taller than the tracks commonly used by RDCL teams here in the United States, and certainly much larger than any modern banked skating track.1
Located in a small warehouse within the greater Tokyo area, the track was built by Japanese roller derby legend Hiroshi Koizumi. Regular readers of RollerDerbyNotes.com will know Koizumi as the inventor and promoter of Roller Game, the every-jam-is-a-power-jam version of roller derby that has been played in Japan off and on since the early 1990s, and most recently since 2012.
Koizumi’s version of roller derby was initially developed for flat track play, but in 1993 he brought his game to the banked track in a special “World Cup” between Japan and the United States. This kernel of international roller derby history is significant, given what Koizumi appears to be planning in 2015.
Japanese skating magazine Rollerskates Paradise reports that in some form or another, Koizumi will be setting up a match between Japan and the United States next year—presumably on these bitchin’ high banks.
An online translation of a blog post from last month2, complete with photos of the track, the facility, and skaters, explains that “with practice gained from using this rink, Koizumi is planning a U.S.-Japan Roller Games confrontation in the United States in 2015.”
Let’s review what this “confrontation” between these two skating nations looked like the first time they met:
It is not currently known how this special event will take place, or where it will take place. (Or even if it will take place in the U.S.—online translation tools are never 100% accurate.) It’s safe to assume that Japan’s team will consist of the top skaters from Roller Game, some of which whom appeared with or coached for Team Japan at the Men’s Roller Derby World Cup last year.
As for potential skaters for the United States, it’s unknown if a team would consist of the best modern-derby skaters, a team of professional skaters with ties to classic roller derby3, or a mixture of both. Whomever the team is made up of, it had better be prepared to play by Roller Game rules, which demand high speeds, hard hits, hockey padding, and full-face jammer helmets.
RollerDerbyNotes.com will have more information on what Japan intends on doing with its monster banked track and on this special 2015 event as soon as it becomes available.