New Triathlon Code – Kick, Run and Cycle

I picked up a copy of small free magazine at a blood centre last month. Exploring the neighbouring city of Muko is featured in the magazine and it attracted me.


The article mentioned readers that a) the featured areas have steep hills, and b) electric bikes can be hired at a local railway station, the gateway to the area for comfortable cycling.


Then I used the Google Map to measure the distance to the gateway station and found only 10 kilometres away from the blood centre (later I found 12 kilometres from my apartment), so I have decided to ride my road bike all the way.


It would be an around 30-kilometres bike excursion as the suggested exploring course is around 10 kilometres.


My plan did not suit with the weather or my schedule until Saturday.


Being on a big bike ride didn’t stop me practising footy at all. My passions of footy always remain.


I started the big day with riding a bike for four kilometres to Umekoji Park for the footy practice. It was as usual.


Last week, I struggled with kicking long and high. Like Tim Membrey, I lost rhythm kicking.


Running on field and kicking like midfielders and defenders do. Running and bouncing. Then goal kicking. These are the cycles at the first 10 to 15 minutes of my own drills.


Doing such practices, I realised I was doing like triathlon because I was doing different physical activities – running, kicking and cycling. Bouncing and handballing should be included in a package. Then new name should be given?


When I find my goal-kicking is not good, I remind myself calm down and get rhythm like trains making noises (hissing sounds of wheels moving on tracks). Rhythms between kicking footy and train movement are different. But it’s just a metaphor.


At the last half of the drill, I found I was running hard and asked myself “Is the run too hard as I am riding a bike 30 kilometres today to save energy?” My answer was play on!


Meanwhile having seen dad and son practising baseball (throwing balls), once again I realised I was lucky playing footy where throwing is illegal – my ball throwing skills are so bad.


After the usual one-hour footy session, it’s time to cycle. The gateway railway station (Rakusaiguchi on Hankyu Railway) was 6.6 kilometres away, Google Map indicated.


Just after starting the bike ride, a group of young people overtook me. They were in a university’s triathlon team. I wonder if I was enough fit to do triathlon or not. It doesn’t matter.


Riding on a busy state highway, I arrived at Rakusaiguchi Station around 9.40 am. It was earlier than I had expected. Needing refreshment, I had iced coffee at a nearby convenience store.


Crossing the city council border, a steep hill was awaiting me. It started a few minutes after my refreshment and the incline was getting tougher as I was getting close to bamboo forests.


I had to use the second low gear that I had never used on my bike and to stand up to paddle on the tough incline. At the summit, my lung was working hard to get a lot of oxygen. Sparking water is poured into my throat for a relief.


Bamboo forests are seen and famous at Kyoto’s western suburb of Arashiyama, but the forests in Muko are much quieter and are accessible with a bike.



Quiet Bamboo Forests in Muko

Kohun, a big cemetery of old emperors is located in the middle of the bamboo forest. As Muko was the part of old capital of Japan called Nagaoka-kyo, there are some other Kohun.



Kohun – Old Emperor’s Cemetery

Riding down the hill, I was heading to the Cultural Museum in the town centre. Being in an unfamiliar town and having only a summarised map in the magazine, it was hard to find the right streets to take. I only wanted to use the magazine’s map, but I sometimes had to follow up with Google Map.


Unfortunately the half of the museum was closed due to changing exhibitions. The other half demonstrates the history of Nagaoka-kyo and details of Governors’ roles and Government buildings. The city had been a capital for ten years in the ninth century in between Nara and Kyoto.


The next destination was the Nakakoji’s old family house. Once again the summarised map confuses me to get there and I missed the building at first.


Now the house was established as a cafe. Its decorations are traditional ones and atmosphere is like living in the Taisho Period (1912-1926).



Traditional Family Home Renovated as Cafe

Having had ice cream and read the Women’s Footy Almanac 2018, I started figuring out how to get to the next destination, a lady talked to me and I told her that I was exploring the city with my bike. Then she suggested me to visit a shrine called Nagaoka Tenmangu.


She told me it would take 10 minutes to get there and I checked the distance. It was about three kilometres away, so I changed my original plan to see the shrine.


Once again I had to stop a couple places to check the direction, but no worries to get to the shrine via a small lake. Meanwhile I crossed another city council border entering into the third council zone.


Having crossed the bridge to the main shrine building, I found a small food stand selling local sweets.


Thinking what to eat and then I joined two ladies who had been talking. I told them I was riding a bike coming from Kyoto, and one of them asked my age. She was surprised to hear I was 45 as I looked around 30 in her thoughts. I reckon she might think a 45-year-old man wouldn’t ride a bike for such a long distance?


I am happy to hear what she had to say and for what I have done. I didn’t feel tired at the shrine, so felt young.


The shrine specialises helping academic wishes, so I prayed for improving my writing and footy skills.



Nagaoka Tenmangu (Shinto Shrine)

Taking other roads to go back to West Muko, I was heading to a park where Parliament was situated while Nagaoka-kyo was the capital.


The park was tiny as the children’s play grounds. I was surprised with the compact size of the chamber, but it was nearly 1,200 years ago when population was much fewer.


Unfortunately I didn’t see anything reminding of the Parliament. Only information boards explained what have been situated long time ago.


It was around 1 pm, time for lunch. I rode a bike downhill to a cafe featured in the magazine.


I had big appetites due all the exercise. Good meal and dessert options made it hard to decide what to have. Finally I ordered an omelet filling with fried rice and mushrooms for a meal, and rice cake flour originated Japanese puddings with macha (Japanese green tea) sauce for a dessert.



Lunch of Omelette Filled with Fried Rice

While waiting my meal and during the dessert time, I was reading great stories of the Women’s Footy Almanac 2018. It was a good entertainment.



Coffee with the Women’s Footy Almanac 2018

Researching the routes to get to an optometrist back in Kyoto, I found taking the State Highway 171 was the shortest route, but was worried of heavy traffic. Asking a chef, he advised me the same. But I found alternative road alongside the Shinkansen Tracks. He also thought riding alongside the Katsura River would be nice, so I rode on two alternative roads.


Unfortunately venues I visited was not as historical as I had expected, but it was a good day excursion as an off week camp. Also it was good to ride a bike alongside railway tracks where I only had passed by train rides. I enjoyed the different triathlon code as my new experience.


Yoshi is a Sainter die-hard who just happens to live in Kyoto. For more of his work, CLICK HERE:



About Yoshihiro Imagawa

Love, passion and pride are seen on the footy that is the biggest part of my life. 1. St Kilda Club member: I am a passionate and crazy Sainter. Just hope we will win the second flag soon, especially after Dogs and Tigers having ended long premiership draughts. 2. The Osaka Dingoes Player and Public Relations Officer: Player number 44 that I chose to honour Stephen Milne with my wish being like a small forward like him. Lenny Hayes' hardworking attitudes are adopted on my trainings and practices. Nick Riewoldt's great plays are in my player audiobook too. 3. Writing: Here on the Almanac and also on the World Footy News. My skills utilise on great footy websites.


  1. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    A shrine for improving your writing and footy skills. Brilliant Yoshi. Wishing you the best in all your endeavours !

  2. Great to hear of your adventure Yoshi. Sounds like you did a lot of exercise, you must be very fit. I bet you slept well that night. Also, it’s nice to see the pictures of your beautiful Japan. Keep up the good work xxx

  3. John Butler says

    Yoshi, I’m tired just reading this.

    No worries about your fitness for the rest of the footy season.


  4. Hi and thanks for your comments.

    I need to act more to achieve my goals, I reckon Phil. Thanks for your wishes.

    I am surprised with no sore muscles afterwards Katie. Thanks for your warm words xxx

    Sorry for having written a long story JB. I am not worried with fitness at all.


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