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Joining a gym in Tokyo

I’ve been trying to write this post for a few days now, and keep having to rewrite it because I keep changing my mind about how I feel.

A big part of my life, since I was probably in my mid teens, has been going to the local gym. It's something I've really always just taken for granted. I admit it's been an on again-off again relationship, but anyone who knows me well, I'm sure would tell you that when they think of me participating in sport or a hobby/interest, they would think of the gym at least to a small extent.

While we have been living in our serviced apartment as we wait to move into more permanent accommodation, I've been using the little gym you see below. It's actually pretty well equipped, although perhaps the free weights could go a little heavier (Not trying to brag).

Getting to my point, we are all aware of the Japanese sensitivity to tattoos, but frankly I just don't get it. I certainly believe that if you go into someones house (or country in this case) you accept that this is their way and bend to their customs and traditions. I am a guest here at their discretion. However, walk down the street in Tokyo, go to the beach here, go to a bar, and you will see tattoos, piercings, and people dressed up in all kinds of weird and freaky getups. In fact, town can become a veritable freakshow, far more eye popping than my tattoos are.

I was turned away from Golds Gym, an American franchise, because my tattoo was too big and is visible even with a t shirt on. Go online and you will see Gyms that are European and Western franchises advertising tattoos ok if covered, and less than 15cm. It just seems hypocritical to me. I really think they are keeping the rule in place purely for the sake of it. If a group or individual walked into any gym who represented the very element they were targeting to exclude, there is no way in a million years they could stop them. So why stop Joe average from working out?

My little personal gym.

The Tattoo that got me rejected from Golds Gym



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