Suguru Osako had a training camp at Yunomaru kogen in Nagano prefecture. During that camp, one day he went Shinano-machi, located in north area in that prefecture. It is a beautiful natural town such as Lake Nojiri and Kurohime Kogen.
At that day, Suguru Osako visited Hiroyuki Miyazawa, who is the same age as him. He is the representation from Japan in cross country ski in the 2022 Beijing Olympic. Miyazawa has been training at Shinano-machi since 2018 and he trains of junior after retiring on March 2022.
Find the Regional Problem, Find the Way to Solve
The reason why Suguru Osako came to Shinano-machi is that he and Miyazawa tried to proceed the project of Regional Revitalization for Shinano-machi.
They met and had short greeting then they visited Shigeru Kobayashi who is managing farm of corn. The object of visiting him is because they would like to hear the problem of corn agriculture directly and to see field. The corn Kobayashi produced have high sugar content and popular at luxury market and roadside station. However, the yield varies from day to day, and it is not always possible to harvest a lot on Saturdays and Sundays when there are many tourists. Sometimes it is sold very fast and other time it needs to be disposed because of short freshness.
Osako and Miyazawa are looking for ways to solve the food disposal issues corn farmers facing in Shinano Town by selling corn that has to be disposed, as processed food.
Revitalize Region by the Strength of Athletes
Both Osako and Miyazawa have the experience of fighting in the world as athletes. Both said that we can see Japan objectively by going outside from Japan. By looking at Japan from outside, Osako says that he realized that the scenery, food, manufacturing, culture, local resources, and other things that are taken for granted in Japan are extremely valuable.
Also, he heard that some regional problem by communicating with the person there through Sugar Elite Kids project.
Through these 2 experience, Osako came up with new form of regional revitalization by the assets of athletes such as influence power of athlete, strong mindset developed by facing sports, and messages or experience shared with through playing sports together.
“By creating opportunities of experiencing and telling attractive of region as an athlete, children will have recognition of attractive for the area where they live in then be proud of and love there. It may be possible to help solving the problem which lose energy in the rural areas because the young people moving away from the land where they were born and raised. “
“Athleteness” can be various
When Miyazawa retired and thought about next career, he said “I got inspired of Osako’s advice which there can be a lot of things to use athlete experiences for region.”
Osako is an entrepreneur at the same time he is an athlete. He is actively involved in multiple businesses in parallel with the competition such as Training athletes called Sugar Elite, Media called SKETCH BOOK, and Supporting race called The Fst. He feels pressure which running a business cannot be a reason not to focus on competition, however, he said that the business also has fun different from the competition.. The advice said by Suguru Osako to Miyazawa regarding his career was based on his experience of challenging business in parallel with competition.
Osako, try unprecedented challenges like training overseas as a long-distance runner, can be a roll-model of not only runner but also an athlete. He said “In the future, I think it would be good if other athletes could engage in regional revitalization activities like ours, and similar initiatives could be born more and more from various regions.” It would be great if everyone could create a new market, not the idea of competing for pies. ” Today, which is said to be an era of individuality, if there are 10 people, there may be 10 different athlete statues. It can be cool to be an athlete having a passionate debate about corn sometimes.