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Tour de Tohoku 2019 Yowamushi Pedal Gallery


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Tour de Tohoku (TDT) is a scenic cycling event that takes place along the coast of Miyagi prefecture - areas severely damaged by the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami.  The event raises funds to support the Tohoku recovery efforts, and also serves to introduce the Tohoku region to outsiders. 


In 2019,  the TDT collaborated with the creators of "Yowamushi Pedal", a popular sports anime about competitive cyclists.  The artists prepared a beautiful gallery of illustrations for the event, featuring Yuzuru Hanyu among the 16 well-known Pedal characters.  Huge panels of the illustrations were shown around Japan (I saw them in Shinjuku Station, Tokyo) to publicize the event.  They were discussed extensively in the General Yuzu stream in the summer of 2019, but I thought the illustrations deserve a space of their own, and would provide an uplifting message in this time of pandemic.   There are 9 panels altogether, 7 of them illustrate actual locations in Miyagi,  and Yuzu appears in 6 of them.   


Each illustration comes with brief words expressing the mood of the scene, and the website offers additional description.  I  found them moving and very much in the manner and style of Yuzu.  In the following days, I will put up the illustrations with the English translation.   


Here is the link to the gallery:  



And the map of the TDT route: 






Link to post


source: https://tourdetohoku.yahoo.co.jp/2019/info/pedal/








1.  You are not alone. 

A number of “Tour de Tohoku” participants said “I participated on my own but I didn’t feel lonely”. “I became friendly with the local people”. “I made friends in the communities hit by disaster”.  “I want to support Tohoku” – these feelings connected people to people with a strong bond of life – “kizuna”.  We will not forget, no matter how many years may pass. 



Link to post


source: https://tourdetohoku.yahoo.co.jp/2019/info/pedal/


Sendai City - "We will never forget.  No matter how many years may pass..."


2. ここは、津-波で大きな被害を受けた仙台市東部沿岸の藤塚地区。

2.  This is the Fujitsuka area on the eastern coast of Sendai City, which was severely damaged by the tsunami.
Even after 8 years, this "Evacuation Hill" transmits the memories of the disaster.  We swear that what happened here should never, ever, be forgotten, no matter how many years may pass.  We are continuing to run together, always together at every moment.


Link to post



Source:  https://tourdetohoku.yahoo.co.jp/2019/info/pedal/


Minami-Sanriku 南三陸町




3.  We are always running together.  No matter what (through thick and thin).

Your loved one is always nestled close to your heart. 

If you could feel that closeness,  then even during times of difficulty and when you are suffering, you should be able to take the next step (next dip of the oar) with greater strength.  




Link to post



Source: https://tourdetohoku.yahoo.co.jp/2019/info/pedal/


(This is the view from a tour boat in Matsushima - surrounded by the ocean and the multitude of seagulls.  I have taken this boat ride myself, and this illustration captures that delightful and nostalgic moment - the play of light shimmering off the ocean waves and the flapping wings of seagulls).   


4.  待ってたよ、と風が言う。


4.  "The wind whispers: "I was waiting for you..."

Tohoku - where everyone is welcomed so warmly.  When you are surrounded by the breeze and sunshine of this place, you will feel at ease as though you had returned home.

For the segment from Shiogama Port to Oku-Matsushima, you can load your bicycles onto the sight-seeing tour boat and be surrounded 360 degrees of ocean. Then you can feel even more connected to the natural beauty of Tohoku.


Link to post


Source: https://tourdetohoku.yahoo.co.jp/2019/info/pedal/ 


Onagawa City:  "This sweat will turn into our bond (kizuna)."


5. その汗が、絆になる。

5.  This sweat will turn into our bond. 

People who had never met before are becoming friends.
This is true for both Tour de Tohoku as well as Tohoku Reconstruction activities.
Deep, lifelong bonds (kizuna) are created by riding out all the adversities together.


Link to post


Source: https://tourdetohoku.yahoo.co.jp/2019/info/pedal/


6.  Higashi-Matsushima-shi  (Eastern Matsushima City)  "There is something I want to express with my back".

(Yuzu is the second cyclist in the illustration.) 


6. 背中で伝えたいことがある。

6.  There is something I want to express with my back: The resurgence of this town in Tohoku from the devastation of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake.

Because we live in an era when disasters continue to strike throughout various regions,  this back of mine could serve to teach many things to people all over Japan.  


Link to post


Source: https://tourdetohoku.yahoo.co.jp/2019/info/pedal/


7.  Kesennuma City 

(This is my absolute favorite of the series of illustrations because it captures both the beauty and sadness of the place.  Yuzu is leading the group of cyclists along the field of blooming flowers, with his face turned back toward the cyclists, with a gentle smile.   The school building in the background is Koyo High School - one of the most severely damaged buildings in the area, which has been turned into a museum to remind everyone about the scars from the tsunami.  Last summer, I saw the giant mural of this illustration in Shinjuku station - and I was overwhelmed by its sheer beauty:  the colors - pink and yellow blooms close up and out of focus, the red, green and yellow jerseys of the cyclists moving forward, and the looming grey and beige school building in the back.  There were many people surrounding this mural in the middle of a very busy underground passageway of Shinjuku Station, and the place felt like an art museum...)



7. 涙はいつか、花咲かす。


7. The tears will one day make the flowers bloom.
In the background you can see the former school building of Keiyo Senkai High School in Miyagi prefecture.  The building has been preserved in its damaged state as "Kesennuma City Great East Japan Earthquake Remains and Traditional Museum".  While the efforts of the people to rebuild the city are giving rise to new plazas and buildings, we don’t want to forget the stark reality of happened behind this beautiful scenery.

 (Fortunately, the school was well-prepared for the earthquake and tsunami, and all the students and staff managed to escape before the tsunami hit the building.  The power of tsunami can be seen in the following photo which shows a car thrown into the classroom - on the third floor of the building!) 


Source: https://visitmiyagi.com/feature/tsunami-museum-at-the-ruins-of-koyo-high-school/


Link to post


Source: https://tourdetohoku.yahoo.co.jp/2019/info/pedal/


8.Ishi-no-maki City - "We don't need any words." 




8.  “Go for it (Ganbare)!” “Rise up!” 
Those words may spill out of you when you see this damaged city.
But when you actually arrive here, you would be lost for words.

Because you will find - spread before you - a beautiful scenery that bestows infinite hope.  


Link to post


Source: https://tourdetohoku.yahoo.co.jp/2019/info/pedal/


9. "Let's move forward, at our own pace". 


9. 進もう。ペースは自由だ。


9. Let's move forward, at our own pace.
It has been eight and a half years since the earthquake. There are areas where the reconstruction is progressing, and other areas that have yet to start. But that is fine.  The towns and cities of Tohoku teach us that it is all right to go at our own pace. 

Link to post


Source: https://tourdetohoku.yahoo.co.jp/2019/info/pedal/



This is Yuzuru Hanyu's handwritten message to Tour de Tohoku organizers.  (See below: English translation follows the Japanese transcription.) 

Yuzu makes references to Onoda-kun and Midosuji-kun - who are among the top characters in Yowamushi Pedal, and they appear with Yuzu in several illustrations.  Through this event, Yuzu has truly entered into the world of anime - as a cyclist - even though in real life he doesn't know how to ride a bike!  lol



Japanese transcription



English translation 
I will be appearing for the first time on the posters of Tour de Tohoku, which we support as Friends of Tour de Tohoku along with everyone in the world of "Yowamushi Pedal".

"Yowamushi Pedal" is my favorite work as it always gives me the strength to step forward and the feeling of great power in chasing a singular goal.


Together with Onoda-kun and Midosuji-kun, I am so happy and delighted to be able to support all the people (cyclists) who are pushing to exceed their limits as well as the people of Tohoku. 

By supporting and feeling the "power" of the cyclists, we become one and turn our energies into "the power of Tohoku".  I am cheering for such a “Tour de Tohoku”!


Wishing for the gathering of great power in Tohoku, Onoda-kun and I, along with everyone who supports us:  all power to Tour de Tohoku!  

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Thank you for the translations!  Recently finished watching the anime and read the manga arcs following the anime season-end - really enjoyable, particularly the character development (dare I say better than YoI.....)

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