Miki Koyama returned to her native Japan just before the UK lockdown began to be closer to her family. The 22-year-old explains how English lessons and marathons have been keeping her busy.
How is life in Japan right now?
I haven’t been back at home for long, as I had been living in the UK until just before the lockdown started there. I didn’t want to be stuck somewhere that I still don’t know too well, so I came back to my home country – it is like a security blanket I guess! I am in Sagamihara, a city 20 miles west of Yokohama. I’m living alone, but I don’t feel lonely because, even though I’m not seeing them in person, it’s easy for me to connect with family and friends who all live nearby. The Japanese government suggested that people stayed at home in early April, and they have just announced that will be extended until the end of May. There is no official ‘lockdown’ here like in other countries, but there is a state of emergency and we are told only to leave home if it is absolutely necessary. The city is eerily quiet. When you do go out, people keep their distance and everyone wears a mask.
How has your daily routine changed?
Racing is my whole life. When I am not travelling and competing in races, I go to the circuits at Fuji and Suzuka to coach other young drivers who are trying to get faster. Right now, I can’t drive a car and I can’t go to a race circuit, so it is such a shame and it makes me nervous because that’s what I love to do. But tough times bring opportunities, so I am dedicating more time to physical training and improving my English language skills.
Have you had to adapt your training?
All the gyms here are closed but I am doing the best that I possibly can in this situation. When you’re stuck at home it sometimes feels like it is difficult to improve your fitness, but I have been doing all kinds of muscle and cardio work which I hope will prevent me getting injuries when I do finally get back in a racing car. A couple of weeks ago, I ran more than 25 miles from my house to Tokyo and cycled back – the distance of two marathons!
How much are you missing racing?
It has now been more than three months since I was in a racing car, so I am struggling to find words to describe how much I’m missing that thrill. But all the drivers are in the same situation and I can’t change anything. I’m really excited about racing against the other girls in the new W Series Esports League and that is helping me stay positive. I’ll keep preparing to make sure that I’m at my best.