B1 Intermediate US 28 Folder Collection
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- [Narrator] In most of the world,
horseracing is a fast-paced, head-spinning event.
But here on Japan's northernmost island, Hokkaido,
the races move ...
(quirky music)
A little bit slower.
(quirky music)
Ban'ei is a form of horseracing found only in Hokkaido
in which draft horses pull heavy sleds
down a 200 meter dirt track.
The sleds can range from 900 to 2,000 pounds,
so Ban'ei horses are often twice as big
as their speedy counterparts.
(quirky music)
Kikuchi Kazuki has been a Ban'ei jockey
for the past nine years.
But the history of this race goes back much further.
- [Narrator] The popularity of the races grew,
and starting in the 1950s there were four cities
hosting races across Hokkaido.
However, in recent years interest has waned.
And today the races are only held at this racetrack.
But that didn't stop Kikuchi.
- [Narrator] Pulling one-ton sleds is no easy task.
But these draft horses race only every two weeks.
And in-between, they're well taken care of.
- [Narrator] And for first time spectators,
seeing Ban'ei horses can be a bit of a shock.
- [Narrator] There have been signs that Ban'ei racing
may be regaining popularity.
Either way, Kakuchi is happy to be part of this tradition.
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How-Slow-Can-You-Go Horse Racing in Hokkaido

28 Folder Collection
Shinichiro published on January 20, 2020
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