ichi, ni, san, shi

A week ago, while enjoying a lovely Skype date with one of my closest friends she asked, “So have you done anything fun lately?” I had to stop and think … the winter months were starting to take a toll. Cold weather, a cold house, and a busier hockey schedule had left Andrew and I with little free time or desire to go out and explore Japan. I personally just want to hibernate until the spring. What had I been doing the past month? And then I remembered a little story that I forgot to share with her, as well as all of you. My first Japanese aerobics class.

The class was being offered by what I assume was a community ed type program for women to promote women’s health (why I assumed that will be discussed later). After registering, I was told a list of supplies I’d need … a drink (check), a yoga mat or towel (check), and “indoor” shoes. Not sure what the difference was between having indoor and outdoor shoes, I cleaned up my running shoes and figured those would have to do.

In order to enter the class we had to take a bone density test. What?! I’ve never done this before a workout. At first I thought maybe it was to see if everyone was capable of handling the intensity of aerobics but after realizing there were tables and chairs set up around a white board, I figured this wasn’t just a regular class. Booklets were passed out and I sat patiently listening and nodding along, paging through my booklet, while the instructor explained a variety of women’s health related issues in Japanese (I have started to think I can understand the language … keyword think, I really have no clue). We were taught how to give a breast exam to check for lumps on a very lifelike mannequin and shown a jar of toxins one’s lungs take in after a year of smoking (a habit that’s very popular in Japan).

Next up, time to work on our fitness. The tables and chairs were cleared and we began. With some of my favorite Motown classics being played on the radio, I tried my best to follow along. I am not one for hand-eye coordination or anything choreographed. With the mix of music and my inability to get the steps right, I really just wanted to break out in dance and call it a day. The only thing that helped me was the constant counting … ichi … ni … san … shi … ichi … ni … san … shi …

We finished the class with a cool-down stretch and breathing routine. When I was explaining this to my friend, we couldn’t help but laugh. I didn’t show her the exact stretches we did but I think my description was enough for her imagination. They were very unique and at times I was scared my body may not be able to get out of the position I was in without some help or injury. With the last breathing exercise we were finished! All in all, it was interesting and got my blood pumping. I’ll just have to work on the stretching …

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