Tree climbing as a sports in Tokyo

Tokyo Climbing Up with Tree Climbing Hitting as the Latest Sports Craze arriving in Tokyo

Tokyo Climbing Up with Tree Climbing Hitting as the Latest Sports Craze

Tree climbing as a sports in Tokyo

Tree climbing as a sport arrives in Tokyo

Tree Climbing as a sport arrives in Tokyo

They are everywhere – clambering up, swaying from a branch, or just hanging. Waving at the viewers below. Boys and girls, young or err no so young. Everybody trying their hands, and legs, at tree climbing as this latest craze hits Tokyo.

Gone are the days when one would scan  the neighborhood trees for ripe fruits on the way to school. And launch assault on the way back. Cuts and bruises were part of the game. The odd broken limb was when things didn’t work to plan. That was it, simple pleasures of simple times.

But times changed. Sophistication has changed the approach if not the urge.  Apparently tree climbing  is still fun. Lots of fun. Provided you are part of a registered organization with necessary safety gear and licenses to operate. It’s a recognized sport.

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Water Sports Wind Surfing Near Tokyo


Water Sports Wind Surfing near Tokyo

As I spent another summer lazing around, one realization struck me. That I am now in my forties. No longer awaiting the future. Reached it. Things would perhaps no longer take a surprise new direction.

Grew up dreaming to be a famous sportsman. With the usual paraphernalia of jazzy cars and glammodelz obviously following in. Then came the Internet age. The gap between me and the millions was just a startup away!

Sunset at Shonan Beach

Sunset at Shonan Beach

No more. No more competition. Phelps won a few more medals. Well .. So? Let him keep those, poor fellow. Mark Zuckerberg went ahead, packing his millions. Hmm that one also got away.

Mark II

Never mind. I made up my mind. Away from the daily drudgery of coding / bug fixing. I booked a day off for wind surfing! Yep. Would float on water. Fly on sail. Like a butterfly. Was already floating on cloud nine days before the D day. Critics / critiques called it midlife crisis. Huh!

Being in Japan has this incredible advantage. You can go for mountain climbing, or go for ocean sports, all within an hours distance. My surf boarding destination was Kamakura. Yuigahama beach. An hours JR line travel from Shinjuku, then 2 stations on Denen Toshi line.

Kamakura Shonan A.K.A Hawaii

Kamakura Shonan A.K.A Hawaii

Kamakura Shonan area, the beach side neighborhood, is a close cousin of Hawaii with surfing , water scootering and all such sports enthusiasts crowding the neon lit pubs or skating down the wide palm lined bouleavverds. Fresh sea food restaurants jostle for attention along with Pizzarias and Berger joints.

Yuigahama, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture 248-0014

Called up the surfing school the day before. Weather was expected to be fine. Procedure was simple. Pay Jpy 7560/-, tax inclusive. Change into wetsuit, follow the instructor to the beach across the road.

Fishing boats by the beach

Fishing boats by the beach

So far so good. Ocean waves were washing my feet. Wait, patience, I quietly admonished myself.

Problems started when it was time to rig the stuff. Base joint, sail up, boom, nose, fin – words were grazing past me as I kept trying to make sense of rest of the sound bites. Curse. My Japanese Business language proficiency was no good for marine sports.

Loop:

Class over we stepped into the water. The gentle touch of splashing waves rekindled my spirit. 1-2-3 get up, position yourself in the center, feel the wind, take a step back, pull the sail up from water, gently swerve into position and. Fall down flat belly up in the water. Repeat.

After some zillion tries I finally did it. Wind on my sails, gently floated. Up the bay. Until of course the instructor was desperately waving at me – nami, nami. Out of syllabus word- got to decode from gestures. Too late. The swelling wave, nami in Japanese, pulled me down in no time. Back to beginning of Loop!

Water scooters surf boarders crowd Shonan

Water scooters surf boarders crowd Shonan

Floating on water wind on my sails

Floating on water wind on my sails

Not too bad for a first time though. Especially given the fact that my IT career has foreclosed any options for exercise etc. it’s coffee not muscles that move me. So lack of balance, or being out of breath pretty quickly was not unexpected. Hell would Zuckerberg do any better? Well, he might, given his expertise in Asian language etc. atleast he could make sense when he was asked to pull the lever or lower the boom!

Whatever. I was happy. end of the day ticked one more achievement. And so was my

instructor – perhaps more for him given my lack of all skills one would have thought necessary!

If interested follow the below URL. Remember to use Chrome browser with autotranslate on though

http://www.kamakura-windsurfing.com/iphone/index.html

Beach walkway

Beach walkway

Statutory disclosure: I have no business association with this organization. My only transaction being payment of close to a day’s wage in exchange for a chance to nearly drown myself and then come back up to write this piece for you.

For more articles of similar sporty adventures look up these

Skiing on Mt.Fuji

Ice Skating in Tokyo


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SPOCHA the Indoor multisports complex at Tokyo

SPOCHA The all you can play place in Tokyo

SPOCHA The all you can play place in Tokyo

Millennials will love it here. Half real sports half video games, it offers enough excitement to spend a few hours. There is target shooting, kick boxing for the single players, air hockey table tennis badminton for the twos, bowling, basketball, volley ball, golf, billiards, frisbee for the larger groups. Games are time-limited usually 10 minutes. After one team finishes the next team waiting outside gets in after resetting the timer. This way you can move from one sports to another taking a taste of a variety without really spending all your energy in one. Floor to ceiling nets separate the courts and the audience. There are even auto- throw machines to improve your skills playing alone be it table tennis or baseball or golf

SPOCHA- One player game Two Player games

SPOCHA- One player game Two Player games

It’s all aimed at keeping folks engaged. Especially on a rainy day this entirely indoor sports complex is a boon. And for a party young at heart what better than book the facility for few hours and enjoy a team building timeout ! It need not be sports as in physical activities only. There are sets of video arcade games to join in the fight against space aliens or, just race against F1 drivers.

For the ones looking for more exotic fare why not try the bull ride! Or the new sensation of a Segway self balancing hover board! All you need is the interest rest all are there. You can rent skating shoes, you can change into freely available sports shoes, you can even get fresh towels and stuff from vending machines installed inside.

In case after all the activities you feel tired, or you just need that session of soulful singing to really let the blues away, there are a series of well appointed Karaoke rooms.

Kids are welcome. Not only welcome but have their own facilities. For the toddlers there is a complete dedicated floor with play areas having ball play, tunnel crossing and what have you. For the little older tykes there is bowling, not to mention arcade games. What more there is even a space with optical projections – one can dance and jump and move the shadows to score a game !

SPOCHA_for children too

SPOCHA_for children too

While the kids enjoy what do their moms do? Worry not that’s also well thought of. How about letting oneself Into a massage chair, with a story book in hand? Next to the toddler play area there are rows of massage chairs, with rack full of books for reading. Sometimes one deserves a break like that isn’t it?

All this for a flat 2000 thousand yen or there about for 90 minutes, with discounts for school students and a little extra for next 90 minutes.

Interested? Look up the following link. It’s part of the franchise called Round1. They have branches all around, with author having visited the Odaiba one. Being in Odaiba a visit to the site can be combined with shopping at the fabulous shopping centers right there.   Need any more convincing?

http://www.round1.co.jp/shop/tenpo/tokyo-divercity.html

A point to note though – not being fluent in Japanese may disqualify you from some of the activities such as riding the Segway, apparently on safety ground, as it happened to us. Otherwise feel free to explore and enjoy to the max! Sports buffet -> Spotcha.

SPOCHA_a choice of various sports

SPOCHA_a choice of various sports


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Ice Skating in Tokyo Winter

Lets go Ice Skating in Tokyo

Its Winter! Lets go ice skating in Tokyo

Its winter! courtesy Freepik.com

Its winter! courtesy Freepik.com

Even if it’s cold outside, and windy, and you are alone at home, you can still enjoy the time. No I am not saying to lazily watch TV. You can actually go enjoy engaging in sports, right in the neighborhood. You don’t even have to be a member of any formal sports club. Don’t need to make any appointment. Don’t need any gears. Yes You can go walk into any of the ice skating rinks around in town. Just go Ice Skating in Tokyo. In Roppongi Midtown, or Akasaka Sakas, in Harajuku or such many places . There are both outdoor and indoor facilities. Some are permanent, open all year round. Some like the one in Akasaka open only during the winter season.

When people in colorful woolens glide across the ice white rink, Christmas music playing in the background, its like the Disney movies. Its hard not to join in, even if skating is not truly ones core skill. You can have trainers train you. And you need not even spend a fortune for it. Well, you may not even spend a penny, to be precise, provided you are at the right place at right time. There are city council run ice skating rinks in Tokyo that offer free training on selected days/time. Very friendly to beginners. Interested? Then read on.

Edogawa Sports Land

One Sunday morning a couple of weeks back, we decided to go for skating. Newbies that we were, we went for a council run facility in Eastern fringe of Tokyo. Known as Edogawa sports land, it is on Toei Shinjuku subway line, easily reachable by short bus trip from Shinozaki or Mizue station. It is inside a new and expansive sports complex building. The rink converts into a swimming pool in summer and offers skating in winter. Buses are frequent. Get down, walk in, buy your ticket from the ticket vending machine, pick up your size shoes from the well stocked facility, go to the locker room, pick up a helmet if you so please at the entrance to the rink, and there you are – all set to skate. Easy as 1-2-3.

We are skating yaay

We are skating yaay

There were people of all ages and skills trying their hand, err feet, in ice skating. Not surprisingly there were some nimble young belle skating with all the moves one sees on TV. Well well, if we had time on our side we also could do it. Its ice right? So just step in, and voila, you start sliding! That’s what we thought. Things were not that easy though, to be honest. Gravity seemed to have a particular liking for us, making us hit the ground time and again. Nevertheless, that’s part of the game. There was that old gentleman skating deftly past us effortlessly. Inspiration. Never give up, we told ourselves. There were indeed some folks with amazing skills, and there were newbies. Like us many people walked in, just to enjoy skating.

Glowing in joy

Glowing in joy

We got time to rest as a bell rang. A big roller moved in, to smoothen the ice. Rest was well deserved indeed, given the number of falls in a span of 30 or 40 minutes. But we were eager to jump right back in as the bell rang again. It’s as long as you want for one entry pass. Refreshment facilities were well thought of. One can have either lunch or snacks from the attached refreshment area. There were hot fried chips, sausages, smoking hot curry rice from the cafeteria. There was even a food vending machine by the side, that served ready hot ramen!  For someone picky however, who feels that in the cold surroundings cold food gels better, that is there too. We actually indulged in Belgian ice creams, during one of the breaks. Served again by vending machines standing by. And then had freshly brewed coffee in the next break! Overall the time was well-spent, thoroughly enjoyed. Whenever felt tad bit too cold, feeling like needing a break from skating, to let the frozen toes heal, headed into the heated rest area. Chilled a bit, mean soaked the heat, and then came back in to blaze a trail….kind of.

Feeling inspired? Want to try out this weekend? Check this link.

Edogawa Sports Land Ice Skating

Or this. Edogawa Sports Facilities – Ice Skating

Do remember to use Chrome browser for automatic translation from Japanese, if you need it.

Ciao. Happy times

For more on Adventurish Sports in and around Tokyo:

Wind Surfing in Shonan beach Kamakura 1 hour local train away from Tokyo 

Skiing on Mt. Fuji !!!


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