Japan's first bobsleigh.
Last year, a group of approximately forty businesses in Tokyo's Ota Ward launched a new project which they hope will bring new vitality to their economy. They are manufacturing a bobsleigh which they hope will prove to be a winner at the next Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia next February. Ambitious? That's Japan.
Proposed by 36 year old Satoshi Kosugi of the Ota City Industrial Promotion Organization, the sleigh is hoped to draw world attention to Ota City's industrial capabilities. Companies in the area signed on, combining their experiences of working with lightweight composite materials and making parts for everything from formula one racing cars to jet fighter planes.
A pair of women drove one of these bobsleighs to victory at the 2012 all-Japan championships held in Nagano Prefecture in December, so things are already looking up for the project.
Previously, Japanese teams have driven bobsleds built in other countries.
At the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, the Japanese women's team of Manami Hino and Konomi Asazu were a hit even though they did not win a medal, as their bobsled was painted with a woman in kimono, cherry blossoms, and Mt. Fuji.
I would like to see similar paint schemes become a tradition for Japanese bobsleigh teams.