“Not an International Way of Thinking”
Stephen Mayaka was once the primary Kenyan highschool runner in Japan and the primary to move the entire course from highschool to school and on into the company working global. Now a Japanese citizen, married to a former World Championships-level Japanese marathoner and head trainer of Obirin University’s ekiden crew, Mayaka is a mentor to Kenyan athletes each throughout Japan and again in Kenya. JRN interviewed Mayaka simply earlier than New Year, 2010 for an article for Running Times mag. This is a part two of his interview. Click right here for phase one.
Part Two: The Corporate Life, Pros and Cons
At the pro point, on your daily existence within the company groups how is it for Kenyan runners or different international athletes?
I believe each and every corporate has its personal time table. I reinforce some firms, and I don’t reinforce any other firms, the best way they’re the usage of us. There are other understandings. I believe there are firms that desire a Kenyan simply to run within the ekiden championships and a few that want him possibly to perform a little pacemaking for them. Most of them, Kenyans which are right here in this day and age, from time to time it is vitally tough in the event that they don’t perceive. If a Kenyan sees he’s coaching with any person working 29 or one thing like that he thinks he’s losing his time as a result of he’s now not the usage of top velocity. Normally once they’re wanted in races, once they’re going to race for his or her teammates, that’s how they do it. Some different firms assume that they would like Kenyans to coach with the Japanese in order that the Japanese may also be robust. So, there are lots of other instances.
But, I believe that almost all of the company firms wish to win. Their primary purpose is the ekiden. But the previous device was once that you just teach with the Japanese in order that they may well be robust. But they’ve modified as a result of now they suspect that we’re execs and that we’re racing in opposition to the Japanese professionally. So any person can move and are living by myself and transform anyone with their very own cash, and maximum of the corporations assume that the one explanation why they would like that individual is to accomplish, to not run with the Japanese. But I believe that transfer is a mistake, as a result of you’ll best be one robust individual and the others are vulnerable. So if so you aren’t a get advantages for the ekiden as a result of your segment will likely be ok, but when the others don’t support I believe this can be a minus.
So in the event that they wish to be robust they have got to coach with this individual in order that they get used to it. I believe maximum of the Japanese, if we evaluate them to Kenyans, in the event that they see a Kenyan doing 400’s, possibly he’s going with 64, 65, they don’t even hang with that individual at the moment, in order that they only do 68, and possibly move to 70. In that case, they don’t support. They must teach with this individual in order that they get used to a top tempo.
You have been with Hitachi for 8 years. Apart from working, did you may have a table task or a manufacturing unit task with Hitachi as neatly?
In my case, as a result of I talk Japanese, I used to visit the place of business all through the week. Most of the ones ones who’ve studied in Japan, they most often move to the place of business. But you’ll’t deliver any person from Kenya immediately and move to the place of business instantly! (laughs) Because they’re going and sitting there, seeing the Internet. (laughs) I see that those other folks from time to time, they wish to learn how one can move and make their very own industry, within the sense of they’re best ready to run and get cash and take it house. Most of those other folks they don’t know the way to move earn cash with this cash. They’re puzzled with how one can use it. “I’ve never seen this much money!” (laughs) Their manner of incomes is working, however the usage of it’s tough. Most of the athletes I’ve observed, they have got that sort of an issue. So what I believe is once they’re in an organization they must learn how one can be saving, and the way they are able to account for and use their cash someday. What they are able to be told is how one can make investments it, however the usage of this can be a drawback.
Eight years is fairly a very long time to be with one crew. Looking at different runners coming over, how lengthy do other folks most often keep at the present time?
I believe there are those that are going to come back and so they’re going to complete three hundred and sixty five days after which move with out even announcing, “I’m going to come back.” There are some issues coming up now, like, you understand anyone comes for the primary time and he doesn’t have anyone to help him, he feels homesick, he is going to Kenya. He doesn’t come again as a result of of the language, and he says, “I’m not eating this food,” one thing like that. That’s a small factor, what any person is used to consuming, but it surely’s going to worsen if he doesn’t get help and doesn’t keep up a correspondence. In Japan you’ve were given to get any person to reinforce him. He’s in Hokkaido, he’s coaching in Hokkaido and doesn’t have any person to convenience him, he’s very, “Oh no!” But in Japan, the device is that this. You may also be the usage of this and get used to it. But if he doesn’t get lend a hand with it, any person will get heartbroken and is going again, announcing, “Let me go, stop my contract.”
And there are the ones, possibly there are some firms that rent Kenyans, and so they know the way to be with foreigners, and so they know to start with they have got to get used to the way of living, so they have got anyone close to. The 2nd yr, they don’t have any issues. But the primary two years it’s tough for any person to know the surroundings really well, and that’s the place firms from time to time say, “If you stay you will get used to it. Don’t worry about it. Or maybe you can try this, or maybe you can eat rice and beans until you get used to it.” If we don’t have that convenience, any person is going again. But maximum of them, they’re going again as a result of of the language, and a few of them are dangerous behaviors. They don’t do what they’re being advised. “Now we are going to start our training by 6:30,” however any person comes round nine o’clock. Why? “Because it’s cold.” But that is an excessive amount of, so dangerous habits and the language have made some of the folks return house.
Last fall I learn an article that during Nagoya there have been two Kenyans who have been arrested and deported. Simon Maina was once one of them. Do you understand the rest about that state of affairs?
I do know really well about it. Most of the instances, I’ve been eager about it. I say that as a result of as soon as they’re stuck they are saying to the police, “You call Mayaka about this situation, we want to talk with him,” after which they name me and I attempt to perceive the case. I believe that that’s a mistake. You can’t blame Japanese other folks if you’re staying of their nation. You need to stick to Japanese laws. If your visa expires you understand the process that it’s a must to renew it, and if you’re kicked out of your corporate it’s a must to communicate with them very courteously. But some of them, they make it a possibility that they move and paintings right here and paintings there on a sports activities visa, which is prohibited to do different industry if you end up stationed right here for sports activities. That’s why I advised you that some of those that have come immediately, they have got false impression, they don’t stick to the laws of the rustic and the device. They haven’t any plan to understand concerning the Japanese device and how one can get round. When anyone has stayed for 5 years he thinks now he is aware of the whole lot higher than the others. But he’s unsuitable. (laughs resignedly) So, I do know that case, I adopted it, and I say that it was once most certainly simply that their visas expired.
And there are the ones ones who’re misusing, complicated other folks through announcing like, “I want to buy something, give me your money and then I’ll buy for you a new car,” after which he is going and isn’t doing that factor, some type of dishonest. Some are dishonest, and a few are doing it for pals, like announcing, “I’m just going to go see my friends,” or announcing they’re sending cash to their folks. Those instances are there. Sometimes I’ve been fixing that case, and from time to time the Kenyan Federation regulations are breaked. They need to be advised that Japan has its personal regulations. You aren’t going to stick in Japan like that, performing like if you end up nonetheless Kenya. So, they will have to be skilled first earlier than being launched from Kenya. I say that if we’re bringing an athlete I’ve to inform him, “If you are going to Japan, this is the rules. It is very strict. One simple mistake, you are back to Kenya.” And anyone says, “I’ll do that, yes,” and there are those that say, “No, no, this one is difficult.” That is ok. You get anyone who’s . But it isn’t quite simple for the athletes.
Most of the Japanese, they know that the ones athletes are very fair. Most athletes are fair, and but there are some dangerous. But some of the Japanese say, “If these people just keep to themselves it is very simple.” It is not just for a nasty individual, however for all Kenyans now it turns into that Kenyans aren’t simple, so it scars the identify for me and Kenya additionally, even the ones ones who’re fair round me right here. You really feel it, like when other folks accuse and say, “You are the one!” however you’re now not the only. These are best tales. It’s now not all of the Americans who’re cheats, now not all of them are cheats, but it surely occurs that possibly this individual isn’t blank.
Somehow regularly Kenyans have an issue, like some other one is Mutai, who spent two years staying in Kanagawa. I attempted this example, and it was once very tough. Driving a automobile whilst he was once under the influence of alcohol, and hitting some other folks round. Such a nonsense factor. But I don’t empathize with it as a result of I’ve observed what has came about to Maina. Yeah, I had a possibility to speak with them, and the ones are the folks I attempt to lend a hand, those that are simply from Kenya and those that first got here to Japan. I stated to Maina when he got here first to Japan, I’m the one that first helped him to be told Japanese, how to deal with the corporate. I used to visit Nagoya, and each and every week I’d inform him, “Now you have to make sure that you make friends in Japan.” He was once given lend a hand, but if he began performing some humorous issues, that’s when he misplaced many pals. He would make this sort of nonsense factor.
I noticed some other article about two highschool scholars, one of them a lady from Toyokawa High School, who disappeared. I by no means noticed a follow-up on that. Do you understand the cases?
Yeah, I find out about them. I noticed that article, however I attempted to stick to it extra. You know, from time to time they declare, “They are bad to us. They don’t give us food.” They are the usage of some excuses. But it’s a must to inform them to be a large individual and to play through the foundations. Sometimes they’re advised that, those who’re consuming a lot, they’re obese. Now they’re advised that it’s a must to take a go in your take a look at or one thing. They say, “No.” They use such excuses that, “I’m told not to eat because I’m getting fat.” They use some excuses, those that can not do.
And some of them, they are saying that, “We are mistreated.” Okay, when they have got finished one thing unsuitable, they use within the case to start with that, “We have been mistreated.” And that isn’t true. So they are saying like, “We are not getting pocket money.” There are some children who come right here from time to time I don’t perceive as a result of I actually, I handed the similar manner. You are a scholar, you may have been introduced right here to check, you’re given meals, you may have someplace to stick, garments and different issues. You don’t all the time really feel that it’s a must to get cash. You aren’t hired, you’re a scholar. Do your paintings first, learn about laborious and run speedy. After that you’re going to get started your incomes. Because I think they purchased your price tag, they’re providing you with meals, they’re taking you to coaching camps, what else you wish to have? (laughs) Because your existence now, it’s higher, since you don’t have to shop for meals. It’s there. It additionally manner they’re supporting you for garments, your uniform. But then they are saying, “I need money to send home.” No, since you’re now not an worker, and your primary factor is that you just move to college and also you do your best possible on your working and research and also you don’t need to pay the rest in any respect. That’s what you notice some of those instances.
But as a result of some ones can get cash, they only attempt to go away and run away in order that they get out of faculty. But some of them, they’re cheated. In many instances they’re advised, “You come, we can get you a job somewhere.” That’s why they left faculty. But on this case, I believe it was once an absence of conversation, with the academics and with the scholars. That was once the location.
Including highschool, college and company runners, what number of Kenyans are there in Japan now altogether?
There are some who come I don’t even know, however I might say there about 90, scholars, company, yeah. Last time I counted, together with some Ethiopians and Moroccans mixed there have been 96, however I believe now the quantity has long past over 100. It’s rising.
Recently the New Year Ekiden limited international runners to the very quick “International Stage.” Looking at it out of your level of view as an agent and as a certified runner, how do you are feeling about that? What do you assume are the explanations at the back of it? How do you assume it impacts the alternatives for Kenyan runners?
I believe that rule could be very dangerous. It isn’t an world manner of considering. Those who made that rule, they have been interested by themselves. It’s now not just right to mention that that is the segment for best the Africans. Why? These other folks, they’re coaching with Japanese. That rule, it doesn’t make sense. I don’t consider their considering as a result of Japanese aren’t going to America and are advised that it’s a must to run best this. That revel in is so regularly practiced in Japan. The explanation why I will be able to’t even myself perceive is those other folks, they’re competing for a crew within the ekiden, and you need to say that in the event that they put Kenyans in 20 km in opposition to Japanese they make up three mins. So to hide this distance, let’s teach for the Japanese to hide it, then this crew will likely be profitable. But within the present manner this isn’t essential. And it is vitally dangerous, to my sight, as a result of when you move to Olympics, you don’t make a selection other folks you combat in combination. And in Japan there are other firms. These other firms are going in opposition to each and every different. A contest is a contest.
And then to shorten the space, I believe it is vitally dangerous. There are some people who don’t need foreigners, and there are those that need foreigners to run. It’s a false impression as a result of there are those that wish to reinforce some African runners, and there are those that need some African runners in order that their athletes will likely be robust. There many instances of such things as that. Not best there are some firms seeking to get Kenyans for best the ekiden and are considering best to win the ekiden, however to coach some Japanese in order that they are able to be robust. But the best way of shortening the space, it isn’t credible as a result of in case you have your Japanese athletes, you must teach your athletes very laborious, then they’ll be robust. I believe if you’re going to get Kenyans and the crew is vulnerable, you’ve now not were given a possibility to win! You’ll be defeated always! (laughs) I believe it isn’t just right to do this.
And they have got that situation, to mention that foreigners need to be right here for 180 days. Those who’ve studied in Japan they must now not be counted to 180 days. I say that’s now not customary to do simply because those persons are foreigners. That’s how they set it. If you put that sort of rule, you put it to all. I believe that the opposite athletes would say, “Why these ones who are settled in Japan they should be required this?” Because they themselves can move to Kenya and keep lengthy. Why those persons are prohibited to move as a result of of the quantity of days?
Now that Kenyans and Ethiopians and different foreigners are limited to very quick levels, there’s much less get advantages to their crew to spend the cash to get an African runner. That turns out as even though it might scale back the quantity of groups that wish to rent an African runner, however you stated at the present time the numbers are going up.
I believe for males this can be a little bit ok, however for women you are aware of it is three.three km. I see some firms are final the marketplace. They don’t want Kenyans, as a result of three km, you’ll best make a distinction of 10 seconds, which the Japanese can quilt for the three km. So their quantity goes to scale back as a result of something is the kilometer had been shortened, and the wage goes to be happening as a result of what they’re doing to lend a hand, it’s now not sufficient like in the event that they ran 10 km. And their behaviors. Some of them have began to make the Kenyan identify very dangerous. Some Japanese, they’re announcing, “These people, they are not following our rules. They are rude, they are not honest.” There are some instances of that.
I believe the quantity is expanding in colleges, however now not in firms, as a result of there are some Kenyans who aren’t robust however they sign up for an organization. They lose their manner and finally end up going again house, as a result of their possible is horrible. You can not imagine some of the corporations who simply get any individual. Every corporate desires any person who runs 27, or 26. And the highschool scholar working 29. So there’s no wish to be hired, as a result of he’s now not aggressive. So some of them, they’re finishing up going again. These are those, they name on me and ask for lend a hand from me. Some of the golf equipment have closed, and the wage now, the contracts are happening. There’s a time it went up, and now I believe the quantity of Kenyans is happening.
Recently I used to be taking a look at so much of race effects from the 90’s and early 2000’s and it gave the impression that there was once extra of a variety in nationalities amongst international runners. You discussed that there was once extra Moroccans, South Africans, Tanzanians, and there was once even a Canadian.
Jeff Schiebler, my buddy, yeah.
These days it appears to be like find it irresistible’s virtually totally Kenyans and a couple of Ethiopians. What do you take into consideration this modification?
I believe possibly it was once, we had some South Africans, Kalamori, I do know him, we raced in combination, from Burundi, and Morocco. But it become to occur that the corporations most commonly desire the Kenyans very a lot as a result of of the power to talk in English. Communication is really easy. Some Ethiopians are coming however they’re tough as a result of of the Ethiopian language and Japanese, and English is some other. So that’s what makes it tough for some Ethiopians who keep in Japan for some time. And their tradition. It turns into very obscure and to manage right here. But it’s getting higher as a result of they have got their Biruk Bekele, who’s like their agent. He is aware of Japanese, so he speaks with them and is helping them to keep up a correspondence. That man is helping so much, however, you understand, like, South Africans have been tough as a result of of the educational and so they have been a ways from house, and I believe there was once a false impression of the conversation. They sought after to do their very own coaching and didn’t wish to run with Japanese. And Moroccans, I believe it was once tricky. I don’t know if that they had hassle as a result of they have been Muslims or such stipulations. I believe maximum of the corporations stick to the Kenyans as a result of of the conversation, and since there are different Kenyans round in order that they are able to keep up a correspondence with each and every different in order that they can not really feel so homesick. That’s manner higher.
But I don’t imagine that the device has modified very a ways but. Most Kenyans are preventing to be robust. They need it. They are aiming to get some incomes from the races they’re working as a result of they arrive and each and every corporate says they get an advantage. They’re preventing for that. That’s subsequent to the corporations who say that, “Yes, that one is strong, we need that one.” For each and every corporate, as a result of they have got been the usage of Kenyans there earlier than. They know the device. Whereas you installed an Ethiopian, after which they are saying, “The Kenyan was better because he could understand.” Because of the conversation. That’s just like the Canadian, Jeff. He stayed in Japan lengthy. We stayed in combination in Yamanashi for a pair of years. He wasn’t learning Japanese, however he was once talking English and he was once doing his personal coaching program. It was once excellent for him. So in reality conversation is essentially the most explanation why for this pattern right here. Actually, you understand, on the planet you notice Kenyans and Ethiopians coming in and the one that wins is the Kenyan as a result of they’re robust.
© 2010 Brett Larner, all rights reserved