by Tom Anderson
Anderson’s Anecdotes: A Strange Foreigner’s Adventures in Japan
Whether people like it or not, it is extremely important to eat sensibly and have regular exercise. Some people enjoy team sports such as basketball, American (or Canadian) football, and soccer. Others like racket sports such as tennis, squash, and badminton. In my case, I’m not really into team or racket sports. I take long walks with our dog every day but I’ve found that I need something more. During the summer vacation I found a kind of exercise I really enjoy-studio aerobics. Aerobics fits well with my basic rule for exercise-if it isn’t challenging and fun, I won’t keep at it long term.
Some males who read this might think of aerobics as being somehow “unmanly”. This really isn’t true. In fact, I’ve read about how American/Canadian football players and ice hockey players have taken dance classes to improve their agility and stamina.
Perhaps you’re thinking “I like aerobics but I can’t afford to join a fitness club to do it”. You might not be aware of the fact that many wards have a ward fitness centre. I live in Minami ward in Yokohama and am about five minutes by bicycle away from the Minami Sports Centre. Many different sports and classes can be found there at very reasonable prices (thanks to taxpayers including foreigners) . For example, three hours using the machine gym at MSC costs only three hundred yen and a one hour aerobics class is five hundred yen. Other activities include tai chi, yoga, volleyball, basketball, soccer, stretching exercises, and badminton.
Something I really enjoy about aerobics is its similarity to dance. I’ve always enjoyed dancing but my wife doesn’t , so, other than spending money to take dance lessons, bonodori and aerobics are my only chance. It’s really fun to move in time to music with a strong rhythm.
I have found that a sense of camaraderie develops in my aerobics classes. I’ve sort of become a class mascot and the Japanese men and women get a kick out of the foreigner who is struggling like they are. My race and nationality really don’t matter.
I hope that you will find a centre where you’re living and that you’ll enjoy working out.