Bebe Taian: Taiiku no Hi: Health + Sports Day

October 8, 2012

Taiiku no Hi: Health + Sports Day

Taiiku no Hi, or Health + Sports Day, was established fairly recently in 1964, when Japan hosted it's first Olympics game! It's a great day for kids to play fun athletic events (or at least, fun for those who like them).

Normally, the Olympics are held in Summer, but because they were being hosted in Japan that year, they wanted to avoid tsuyu- the rainy season. October normally has beautiful, clear days, well past August-September's typhoon season. In fact, this part of the year has traditionally had some of the most mild, clear days, until recently when the weather patterns have changed all over the world. Global warming is not a myth!

But this year, most of Japan is expected to be partly cloudy. Even so, there are lots of activities coming for people of all ages! At schools, team sports and races are the norm. Track racing, the 100-metre dash, tug-o'-war, and other sports are most common. For adults, many public parks set up health days when you can get your blood pressure checked, some types of physical fitness tests done, and other stretching and activity events.

Want to celebrate? Even if you don't have any athletic prowess, try doing basic stretching exercises in your living room or outdoors. A $5 beginners' yoga/pilates DVD can help guide you, and even if you can't do everything on it, just practice what you CAN do! Do you really think ANYONE started yoga being able to bend over backwards? Heck no. Even as flexible as I still am, I can't do that. But I can touch my toes (since I get off-balance easily, I do it when sitting on the floor). I can do shoulder-stretches, and some easy exercise band moves. Don't know how? Free videos on Youtube are an excellent resource.

As for myself, physical fitness days at school (like the ones held in Japan) were my enemy. It isn't that I'm lazy. It's that when I run a single block, I feel like I can't breathe. It's like having a very, very tight rope around my ribs; no matter how I try to breathe, I just can't get air. Running? HA. Yeah. Not unless there are cops and/or rabid dogs chasing me! Not to mention several other injuries that generally make everything sore and achy all the time. Athletics are not my friend. Even so, I know that there are still things I can do: stretching, light weight-lifting with a high number of repetitions (think 1-5lbs), walking in the evenings, and swimming are all things that are low-impact and contribute a lot of benefits to my health. It helps that I now work part-time as a waitress. It's like being paid to go to a gym... to do all the things I described.

Try it yourself today! Take just 15 minutes for a quick stretch and workout. Just 10-15 minutes a day adds up over the week. Do it during the 5-minute commercial breaks while watching TV. If you have an office job, there are videos showing exercises that can be done at your desk, in your chair, even! Ganbatte yo!


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