Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Weightlifting in Japan

weightlifitng in japan barbell トレーニング バーベル
A barbell, a rare sight in Japan

   So my supervisors made the silly decision of saying “Write about your hobbies sometime.” While other people have nice cultural hobbies like Photography or tea ceremony, I personally am a big fan of weightlifting. For a little over a year now, it has been a solid part of my life, and I’m hoping to continue here in Japan.

   As you can imagine, telling Japanese people that my hobby is weightlifting is kind of like telling them that I flew down from Mars on an elephant. Weightlifting is about as popular here as Keirin bike racing is back in the States. (P.S. Keirin is awesome, look it up) Japanese are huge into running and biking and other endurance sports, but the idea of a bench press or a squat rack or even weights over 100 lbs are foreign to many Japanese gyms.

   There’s nothing wrong with this, and I have just as much respect for a person who can run a marathon as someone who bench presses 400 pounds. However, due partially to the fact that I am terrible at running, weightlifting just fits with me. It is a sport that is very tangible, in that it is quite clear that you have gotten stronger when you can lift, say, 50 or 100 lbs more than you could before. Similarly, whether you fail or succeed, the results are yours alone, which means that you are in complete control of your own successes and failures.

   Now I’m still new to lifting and relatively weak, but hopefully by sticking to a good plan I’ll be flipping cars before too long. I’ll post some more about my training up later, but if anybody out there reading wants to learn more, just let me know.





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