Anyone living in Japan for an extended period of time may be interested in the various facets of exercising that are available. Even if the food is healthier than American food, it does little if you don’t exercise to burn those extra calories.
Gym memberships in Japan are expensive… to the point where getting a one year membership in my mind isn’t quite worth it. Perhaps if I was living here for longer than a year I would be inclined to, but there are many free alternatives.
I run with a few foreigner friends at a local sports park. Since I can’t be bothered to wake up extremely early before work, I go after work at about 8pm. Of course it is pitch dark but since this is the only time it cannot be helped. The sports park is free and has a pretty decent dirt track which is roughly 1.5km (0.93 miles).
Since I work with a lot of Europeans I always get left in the dust, but slowly I am gaining endurance. Running in the dark is interesting and I can only imagine what a Japanese person running on the track would think if they saw several large gaijin running at them in the dark.
I especially like it since it is by the river. I get to turn on the Rocky music and get pumped up. Anyways besides running I lift free weights in my room. Japan is pretty friendly when it comes to free outdoor places to exercise. There is also a sports gym closer to the station which is 300 yen per day, and has all the standard basketball and tennis courts of a regular gym (along with a nice big pool). I’ve lost about 20 pounds since coming to Japan and hopefully can get to a weight that I can maintain when I get back to the states in August.