Time to exercise: Finding gyms in Japan

time-to-shed

Hey, it’s Mr. Wada on duty. It’s been a while since Christmas and New Year holidays passed. Have you still got holiday weight? For me a little, and aside from that, I haven’t exercised much lately (I spend pretty much all day sitting at work). So, I’ve decided to go to the gym once a week. Yeah, it’s time to shed. I am sharing some reference for finding gyms in Japan.

“Gym? No way, it costs too much!”, that’s what you are thinking right?  Nah, gyms in Japan are not always like that. There’s a way out. Basically there are two types of the gyms in Japan – private and city-owned. Although, there are pros and cons for both. Check the following:

gyms in Japan gym_general

(Photo credit: Health Gauge)

 

1. Private gyms

You’d see many private gyms in any city. If you are a busy bee type, you might prefer it. It’s convenient and probably easy access.

Pros

Some places are open 24 hours, so you can swing by anytime you like. Very convenient indeed, I’d say. They also got facilities like bathrooms, massage rooms, etc. That’s oasis for hard-working soldiers!

gyms in Japan private_gym

(Photo credit: Karl Baron)

Cons

They absolutely cost you a lot more than city-owned gyms. Plus, it normally requires you to be a member first (don’t forget to bring your ID) and a registration fee (3,000-5,000 yen) as well.

Fee goes monthly or pick one of their plans and see what fits your schedule. Fees depend on your plan but average is like from 5,000 yen/month. Good gyms might even cost like 10,000 yen/month.

2. City-owned gyms

It’s true that private gyms mentioned above are beyond budget for people like me who want just a little bit of workout once or twice a week. I’d recommend the city-owned gyms.
gyms in Japan city-owned_gym

(Photo credit: Patricia (aka look lovely))

Pros

The city-owned gym in Okayama costs me about 200 yen for every use (only for walk-ins). Mmmm? Two-hundred yen? Yeah, very cheap right? So, what the hell is the difference? Take a look at the cons.

Cons

As a downside, some gyms don’t have shower rooms (but some do). So if you want to take a shower, make sure the one in your city has a shower room. Or, you might be able to take a shower at the swimming pool’s (most city-owned gyms are located next to a swimming pool). Another one is, facilities tend to be old. I don’t mean like rusted or anything but nothing like brand new, no spa-like facilities a private gym can provide.

By the way, I’ve lived in Saitama (next to Tokyo) before and there was a gym I used to go to. It was a nice city-owned gym called Waku-Waku Dome. It was huge and got nice stuff, reasonable as well. I’d definitely recommend that place, if you live near by.

gyms in Japan wakuwaku_dome

Waku-Waku Dome in Saitama

How to find a city-owned gym?

Check the list of the gyms in Okayama on this page.

Or else, to find a city-owned gym in your city, I suggest you Google like “shiei gym” (city-owned gym) + city name (example, “shiei gym Okayama”). Or, you might find some info on the website of the city you live in (perhaps in English).

Note: You might be able to save up a little by buying discounted multiple-entry tickets (example, for 10 visits). Take your time and pick the best place and plan for you!

gyms in Japan time-to-shed
Oh damn, it’s time for workout. Hope you will find good gyms in Japan.
See you around!
References:

City-owned gym in Okayama (in Japanese only)
Waku-Waku Dome (in Japanese only)

 

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How to make your instant coffee taste better

Better Taste Instant Coffee: Instant coffee powder-closeup

Hi! I’m Mrs. Wada reporting on duty.

Better Taste Instant Coffee: Mrs. Wada's regular instant coffee powder
My regular instant coffee powder.

Do you drink coffee? I hope you do, because as the title suggests, it will be all about coffee. I’ll be talking specifically about black coffee using an instant coffee powder. Last year, I learned something from one of my favorite Japanese TV shows “Tameshite Gatten” — how to make instant coffee taste better. Not by adding any thing like milk, creamer or something similar but by the way of preparing it. So, if you regularly drink coffee at home, I bet you have all the stuff we need to try this method I’m going to share.

But first, let me ask you, how do you usually prepare your coffee?

I think most of us do almost exactly the same way. Put some coffee powder to the cup, pour hot water, mix and viola!, ready to drink. Or add some sugar, milk or creamer to make it easy to drink. What if you can drink it even without adding any thing extra? Here’s the method I learned:

Preparing a good coffee with “Gatten-style”

1. Put your regular amount of coffee powder into your mug and add 1 tablespoon of water.
2. Mix well until no lumps are left.
3. Then, add hot water.

Isn’t it simple? It might take an extra time to melt the powder but to level up your usual black coffee, why not right?

Why mix coffee powder with small amount of water first?

According to the show, coffee powder contains starch just like cornstarch. Remember when using cornstarch to make your sauce thicker when cooking? We usually mix it with water first before pouring it to the soup to avoid lumps, right? It’s the same concept with coffee. Without mixing it first with a small amount of water, there might be some lumps of coffee powder left. And when you drink it, then you’ll taste the bitterness. This also applies to corn soup powder and cocoa powder.

Still not convinced? I wasn’t also at first, so I did the same experiment I saw on the show.

Regular coffee preparation versus the Gatten-style

So, I prepared two the same mugs. I prepared coffee in a usual way while on the other mug, I followed the Gatten-style.

Better taste instant coffee: Put your regular amount of instant coffee to your mug
Instant coffee powder first…
Better taste instant coffee: Mix with small amount of water first
Next, a small amount of water.

Here’s how it looks like after mixing well.
Tip: I figured out it’s a lot easier and faster to mix using a plastic spoon.

Better taste instant coffee: After mixing well
Mix, mix, mix!
Better taste instant coffee: Clear bubbles
Ta dah! Your Gatten-style instant black coffee.

See that clear bubbles? Compared to the regular preparation of instant coffee below, pictured before mixing up.

Better Taste Instant Coffee: Finished shot; regular style
Regular preparation of instant coffee

So how’s the taste then? Indeed, there really is difference. The one by Gatten-style is mild and easy to drink. There is no bitter after-taste unlike the regular one. Ever since I tried this, I’m already alright drinking coffee without adding any sugar, milk or creamer. It’s nice to enjoy coffee without extra calorie.

Try it yourself, compare the two different methods and let me know how it turned out. Enjoy your black instant coffee.

That’s it for now guys.