Morning Sports

Next to my apartment complex there is one of Kyoto City’s departments concerned with garbage collection. Sometimes there are garbage trucks coming and going, but the main part is a mid-sized office building. The people there start working quite early, sometimes I can hear the machines gear up as early as 7:30 in the morning, which can be a bit annoying now that I sleep with open windows…

On top of that, everyday in the morning – except for weekends – at 8:15 am, there is music playing at that company. It took me quite a while to figure out what is going on, and wouldn’t you believe it… they are doing gymnastics! The whole rank and file meet outside – rain or shine – to do something for their health.

I guess, that’s what it is meant to be at least. The exercises are very basic, a bit of stretching, a bit of bending and touching the ground with your fingers,… However, the men exhibit an enthusiasm during the workout that verges on outright refusal. The music does nothing to inspire greatness either: instead of something upbeat to increase the pulse rate, the never-changing piece is reminiscent of a lullaby. Probably the men there (I have yet to see a women exercising) are grateful that it does not take too much of their time: Today I clocked the whole thing, it took less than 3:30 min… What this is supposed to achieve, I cannot fathom. Obviously not an improved health, then group bonding, maybe?

men next door exercising

Coincidentally, I have also started an exercise regime. Given that I live here on the fifth floor without elevator, I would like to be able to get home with my shopping bags without collapsing at my doorstep every time. I have found an easy and at the same time very good exercise program online as part of The Hacker’s Diet. The book – available online for free in various formats; it is copyrighted though! – was written by a computer programmer (John Walker, inventor of AutoCAD) and focuses on permanent weight loss. However, he has one chapter on exercising as well, and while he says this alone is not enough to lose weight, it is always good to improve your stamina.

If you check out the link, you will find that there are only five types of exercises to be done, and the better shape you’re in, the more of them you will have to do. I have started with the introductory ladder about a month ago, and I have just moved on to rung 8. The whole exercising will take you less than 15 minutes no matter how high you are on the ladder (because you’ll get better with time), and it does indeed improve your wellbeing – by now I have all but stopped wheezing when I get home… I have done this exercise regime already before I moved to Japan, but for various reasons… okay, out of sheer laziness, I stopped doing it. However, I am ready again to get in better shape, and to get back up rung 30 where I was once, and this time maybe beyond…

Take this from somebody who never liked sports much: give it a try – it’s worth it!

2 thoughts on “Morning Sports

  1. Maybe the gymnastics these male workers are doing is the famous “radio taisou” they always do on undokai’s?

    • Possibly, but… would it be less than 5 minutes and all the time to the same silly music? I have noticed that they don’t always seem to start at the same time, sometimes it’s a bit later. Of course, it could be just a recording that they play whenever the person in charge remembers to do so?