lifestyle

The most annoying people you’ll meet at a Japanese fitness gym

42 Comments
By Mike, RocketNews24

Before we even get into this, there’s something I have to say in the interest of full disclosure: I’m a bit of a gym rat and I have more than a little bit of a bone to pick with Japanese gym etiquette, so apologies if I sound a little harsh or gripe-y, and/or you feel the strong wind of me chucking dumbbells in frustration throughout this article.

Having experienced the joy and wonder of numerous American gyms – often 24 hours, never too crowded, always sprawling and well-equipped, cheap and usually never exceeding more than two elderly men gleefully prancing naked through the locker room at any one time – you can imagine the soul crushing disappointment I felt upon coming to Japan and realizing that even the best gyms routinely exceed US$150 a month to use, rarely stock all the equipment you’ll need, and are generally populated exclusively by old dudes who spend 10 minutes chatting up their buddies while sitting on the only bench in the place, and the rest of their “workout” enthusiastically blow-drying their testicles in the locker room.

The only small consolation I have is that, apparently, one of the gym-frequenting writers at Japanese sister site is similarly miffed by the myriad annoyances of Japanese gyms… and he’s even been kind enough to sit down and badly sketch out all the craziest folks who’re likely to ruin your workout:

The Blowdryer Misappropriator

As I mentioned before, using the blowdryers in the locker rooms for purposes not generally intended is a favorite pastime of the primarily geriatric Japanese gym-goer. This will typically include using the device to dry their wispy tuft of chest hair, the aforementioned drying of genitals, and, in the worst case scenario, drying of the butt crack – which often entails a full 90-degree bend at the waist while, naturally, pointing the posterior towards the nearest doorway.

The Grunter

Our Japanese writer describes the generally harmless though nonetheless thoroughly annoying “Grunter” – that guy on the weight bench who’s really giving it his all; eyes bulging, veins popping, and air rapidly escaping from his lungs in such a manner as to produce a loudly reverberating NNNNNGGGHHHHHRRRAAAAAAW.

This is the one time I am going to vehemently disagree with our Japanese writer; if lifting a weight isn’t sometimes physically difficult and/or uncomfortable enough to make you want to yell, you are not lifting enough weight. The gym is a place of loud music, clanging barbells, noxious odors and a bunch of sweaty people gettin’ swoll. If you want peace and quiet, the library is just down the road.

The Predator

As the name suggests, The Predator is that creepy guy who obviously only comes to the gym to try to pick up women. Their typical M.O. is to scan the room for the first attractive girl who appears to be doing an exercise wrong and then swoop in to offer (equally wrong) advice. Women should avoid these men at all costs.

Luckily, they are quite easy to pick out because of two distinctive traits: They’re almost always out of shape, and are always, always, without exception, wearing a garishly colored bandanna.

The Instructor Fan Club Member

These frequent visitors are mostly harmless unless you happen to be an instructor of some kind at the establishment. In Japanese gyms, they typically take the form of middle-aged or older housewives who will hang out at the gym allllllllll day in order to take the same instructor’s classes over and over again. Every. Single. Day.

The Sauna Exhibitionist

A species closely related to the Blowdryer Misappropriator, the Sauna (or Jacuzzi) Exhibitionist can be found lounging around in these areas with legs spread as wide as possible for maximal, eye-searing exposure to anyone with the misfortune to accidentally glance in their direction. More advanced practitioners will lose the towel altogether and just let it all hang out, and may also mark their territory by sitting nude on the locker room benches until their unique scent is infused into the wood itself for all eternity.

That’s where our writer stopped short. Believe me, I could go on with about another dozen or more types of annoying people at Japanese gyms, such as the guy who uses wrist straps on the assisted pullup machine (seriously, WTF?!) or the dude that constantly yells at you to put the weights down quietly and then proceeds to beat the living bejeezus out of the punching bag like he’s the frikkin’ karate kid, but I’m not all that great at drawing and I don’t think my heart can take the additional blood-boiling rage.

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- The coolest figure collection you’ll see today: Space maids -- Check out these luxury restrooms – you’ll want to visit Shibuya Hikarie just to use the ladies’ room -- We go ghost hunting in our apartment – with bone-chilling results

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42 Comments
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Amusing and true. My biggest gripe are staff/management. I paid them plenty of money as a club member for a couple of years, and every time I made a simple request, it was met with "no."

They made it clear that they were the boss, and paying customers must submit and obey and keep their mouths shut.

One of many examples: The sauna sign warned customers "No talking loudly!" while the water aerobics instructor outside the door would scream thru a massive Bose public address system at 150 decibels.

I quit, and went to a public gym, which is much better and way, way cheaper. Never again.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I go to the public gyms, and almost all these types are absent. Unfortunately, so are the cute girls. I don't know where they go, but it's not to the public gym. Fortunately I'm going to work out, and not pick up or stare at women, so it's not an issue.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

My pet peeve is the housewife who doesn't really workout, but still insists on taking up space on the equipment while chatting with other other housewives who do the same. There are other places you can go for this ya know.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

i have never been but intend to do a two year study in japan - naturally during this time id like to monitor my health better and joining a gym would be of the utmost importancy, but im wondering if it would even be worth it while im a student..money would be hard to come across and im wondering if it would be a waste of time??

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Every time I think about joining a gym, I go and check one out and realize they are overpriced, under equipped and filled with the people who were mentioned in the article. Forgot one type - the 'I-wanna-stare-at-or-talk-to-a-foreigner-badly' type who are ubiquitous at onsen, saunas, etc.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I dont see much of em naked paraders but what does bother me is people sitting on the weight bench without actually lifting anything and ignore you standing and waiting or a grown man lifting like 5kg (1bar) and looking like its real hard. I actually ask those people if they can move so I can train like a normal person.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Those who go to the gym to watch the TV and read the magazines while WALKING on the treadmill. The staff who stand by oblivious to a person misusing the machines, even if they could be harming themselves. The guy who opts for the bottom weight on the lat pulldown machine, then uses his whole body to yank the bar down. The guy who tries to bench 200kg with two staff spotters, who screeches as he lifts the bar an inch from the clamps, and then struts around like, "I'm the man!". The person who decides to use the locker right next to mine, despite the locker room being practically empty.

I am never going to join a gym here again!

1 ( +6 / -5 )

People who pay to go to those god forsaken places and then moan about it get no sympathy from me

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Dude, you don't need to pay that much. I have a bare bones public gym near my house and it costs me 120 yen, yes 120 yen each time for up to 2 hours. Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press, then leave. If it is crowded I politely ask the person to let me work in and never been a problem.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Yeah my gym is 300 yen for a drop-in.

I am never going to join a gym here again!

Why would you let other people's bad exercising habits hold you back from exercising yourself?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Why would you let other people's bad exercising habits hold you back from exercising yourself?

Where did I say I did? I bought my own equipment....

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Where did I say I did? I bought my own equipment....

Fair enough! Good solution as well.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The person who decides to use the locker right next to mine, despite the locker room being practically empty. yeah i used to get that also, but most of the time its because the staff like to give out the keys in groups, I told them a few times it would be more comfortable is they spread out the members in the locker room when its not busy, all i got was its a too hard face. you get this also when you park your car at the supermarket. Japanese just love to be grouped together for some reason!?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Or, a jog in the park then when you find some monkey bars or whatever do your chinups then do some pushups and sit ups or what ever and if there are some annoying people jog some where else. Problems all solved and free. Also machines are not as good for you as free weight workouts anyway.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

machines are not as good for you as free weight workouts anyway.

Yeah, I don't use the machines at the gym. I do all free-weights.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The low amount of hours open and the expensive price usually keep me away (that and I'm lazy), but there are some gyms that are better. It's usually the cheaper ones that offer better value for money, IMO.

Anyway, if you are brave enough and there is a park nearby, just go jogging?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Without a decent public gym nearby nor adequate space at home for the weights I'd like, the gym is the only place I can do the exercises I want to do. I'm relieved to see that others, even Japanese, are as disgusted as I am with the blowdryer misappropriators. Perhaps it's just my gym, but I'm also amazed at all the guys who insist on turning on the fans in the locker room in the middle of winter. Would love to have all the equipment a decent gym back in the states would have for half the price, but so it goes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Skipping the Gym now, as was said short hours, expensive and annoying staff and customers.

Do lots of walking, bicycle riding, body weight exervisee with wrist (upto 5kg)and ankle(upto 10kg)weights Got a set of 2 dumbbells at Don Quixote, can adjust each from 2.5kg up to 32.kg. Plenty of workout this way.

Add in MA training(incl weapons).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Walking is still free. It works for me! Ha!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yeah..got all these types at my gym..how about the narcissistic mirror model types who spend half their time in front of the wall mirrors checking how tightly their latest Under Armour / Nike compression t -shirt fits and shadow boxing.. Lol... Btw, maybe it's just me, but I actually find my gym pretty good value, for about 120 bucks a month including all the fitness classes... If one does just the machine workouts then it's expensive but u usually do one or two classes a day as well, be it some kind of cardio or yoga or whatever.. Back home most of these would be add on extras to the basic membership. Throw in the sauna, jacuzzi and swimming pool and I find it a pretty good deal if you go say 4 or 5 times a week. suits me really well.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The men that wear shorter shorts than my own boxers hahahaha, man those are annoying and repulsive

2 ( +2 / -0 )

One thing I learn about why no cute girls in gyms is that almost all schools have gyms so, why cute girls have to pay for gym?.. the grunter... when I had one in my gym at least I can close my eyes and thing that the guy was figthing an epic anime battle...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

LOL. I thought it was just me who had these issues while I was in Japan. But, be careful what you wish for. While I am paying about 30% monthly here in the states of what I paid there, my ego has also suffered greatly. Even though I am only about 5'7" and 170 lbs, at Gold's Gym in Omote Sando, I did not feel like a whimp, since most Japanese guys are not significantly bigger. But here, I am dwarfed by most guys, and there are many women bigger than me as well.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I bought a bench a free weights and am happy to be able to use them whenever I like and for as long as I want.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm going to have to disagree with Mike on the grunting. A certain degree of grunting is to be expected of course, and no one is silly enough to demand a silent gym. But there are people out there who are deeply invested in everyone around them knowing just how hard they are working out, so they exaggerate their grunts to try and impress everyone else around them. I saw it a lot in American gyms too, which may be why Mike doesn't find it all that irksome.

Honestly, I don't find that much to be annoyed by in Japanese gyms. I've been at some nightmare public pools though. I used to go to one where some old guy who never trimmed his fingernails would walk backwards down the swimming lane, doing some kind of arm stretching exercise that required him to fling his arms out to the sides. Basically, if you were anywhere near him odds were good you were going to get raked, after which he'd glare at you like it was your fault. Thank god my gym has a pool and keeps loonies like him out.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Dudes practicing a baseball pitch and bat swing everywhere. No one cares that you may or may not have played baseball in junior-high. If you do want to practice this, go to a batting center. Even worse is when they do this in the squat racks.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I've gone to a variety of gyms here over the last 30 years and the reason I quit some of them is the total lack of privacy you have as a foreigner while dressing and undressing. I've had locals stand there totally unabashedly staring at my nether regions without a thought to their rude and insulting behavior. And as soon as you enter the work-out area, every eye is on you the entire time like you're a zoo specimen. I often left the gym much more stressed out than when I arrived. I found the solution at my latest gym: just ignore everyone there, not even making eye contact, do your workout and get the hell out of there. They resent you for it but hey, I'm going there for my benefit, not theirs.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I've had locals stand there totally unabashedly staring at my nether regions without a thought to their rude and insulting behavior.

I had that happen yesterday. I asked him よく見れた as I walked into the shower. I didn't see his reaction, but I hope it was sufficiently embarrassed.

I found the solution at my latest gym: just ignore everyone there, not even making eye contact, do your workout and get the hell out of there.

That's what I do. I pretty much never talk to anyone at the gym - headphones in, minding my own business. Occasionally someone tries to initiate conversation with me, at which point I'm polite, but my responses definitely let them know that I'm not particularly interested in conversing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

when i workout there's this one girl who is always commenting on how muscular my thighs are and stares at me intensely while i do squats but i suppose that's partially my fault since i take my pants off to prevent them from ripping

she also asks me what i want for dinner and to help find her cell phone charger sometimes but that's the price you pay when you have a gym at home...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

LOL. I thought it was just me who had these issues while I was in Japan. But, be careful what you wish for. While I am paying about 30% monthly here in the states of what I paid there, my ego has also suffered greatly. Even though I am only about 5'7" and 170 lbs, at Gold's Gym in Omote Sando, I did not feel like a whimp, since most Japanese guys are not significantly bigger. But here, I am dwarfed by most guys, and there are many women bigger than me as well.

Well, you've just explained a lot to me about why so many foreign males love Japan!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I agree. So many J-gyms have people hog the few free weight equipment for nonsensical exercises. Do you really need the bench or squat rack to curl? Also, would it kill a place to have dumbbells heavier than 20kg? Seriously, I have only been to one place that has DBs that go up to 50kg. I want to work out not prance!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Jesus, half the posters here must have trained with Arnold Schwarzenegger or Lou Ferrigno. So what if some people can't lift that much. I'm not exactly the big muscular type, but when I used to go to the gym, I'd give it my all, and I don't spend half the time admiring myself in the mirror (I've seen others do that and IT IS EMBARRASSING). If 10kg is all someone can lift, then that's what he or she should do, otherwise an accident could happen.

elkarlo - you need to get out more. The 4 gyms I've been to all had dumbells well over 20kg.

However, maybe I should get out more, because of all the swimming pools I've been to, they've all been crowded to the point where I can't do lengths without hitting someone. The only exception is the last 15 minutes before the pool closes.

What I miss (in addition to a cheap gym near my place and also rowing machines) is either a gym or swimming pool that opens early, so commuters can get a workout before heading off to work. For 6 months, I went to a 24hr gym and made good use of it during the mornings. I also wish they would offer discounts to the elderly during the daytime. As someone who has to work, I could only go to my previous gym during the evenings and sometimes it would be packed with the elderly who probably had all day to come to the gym but decide to come when it's the busiest.

Many years ago, I used to be a member of Golds Gym. I got to be 2m away from one of the sumo wrestlers - the elder one of Waka and Taka. We were both doing stretches on the mat. I'd imagine he was probably sick of people either staring at him or talking to him, so I just pretended I didn't notice who he was.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Pukey. I do "get out". There are only two gyms that are in a reasonable distance from me. I have kids, so I can't commute 30mins just to work out. The biggest weights for me now DB wise are 20kgs, and those don't cut it for me. Esp for benching and rowing .

I am not huge, but I decent lifts. I pay my fees, so I just want weights that allow someone to progress. I don't care if someone can't lift that much. It doesn't affect me, and one only should judge, if they have bad technique(I never say anything), as that is actually something that can be damaging. I am not a "Mean Girl", so I never get mad at people for not being strong. That is silly. I do get mad, when old guys use the pull up bar rack for stretching.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Elkarlo - have you told the gym you want bigger weights? They may not realize there is a need.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

chatting up their buddies while sitting on the only bench in the place, and the rest of their “workout” enthusiastically blow-drying their testicles in the locker room....This made me laugh out loud and frown at the same time. Well done...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Stranger, I have. They are like "uh......not sure what to even do". They have no idea how to receive a response. I also want a rowing cable. As the rowing machine here doesn't get that heavy. If I can BOW 155 or so pounds for 3x10. I guess the rowing machine maxes out at 200ish pounds, as I am not bent over. But the place doesn't want to throw money at that kinda stuff. As, here it would be used by like 3-5 people. While most machines get heavy usage. So, it isn't their fault either

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I had to give up the gym in the end. It was just too stressful.

There was the woman who told me off for putting my shoes on the floor (after carrying them in I had to put them down to open a locker door). The next time, a different woman told me off for putting them on the bench while I opened the locker door, which I thought would be ok as I wasn't supposed to put them on the floor....

Then came the woman who literally from nowhere SCREAMED abuse at me. My offense? I didn't line up the toilet slippers nicely enough for her liking when I left the bathroom. One was straight, the other was at a 15 degree angle to the other.

The grunters and predators were a given. The women's bathroom had the added pleasure of the old woman who bends naked at the waist (usually butt pointing towards the door) and performs a series of sumo type stretches in order to...um...how can I put this?....leave gaseous discomfort in her bowel regions?

But the final straw was sitting in the jacuzzi bath with about 5 other women. An old woman came stomping in, right up to me, squatted down legs apart to eye level (naked) and started yelling at me that I didn't have a handkerchief on my head and this was really bad etiquette and foreigners have no clue and I should be ashamed etc etc et bloody cetera. BTW I had short hair then, and none of the other J women in the bath with me had handkerchiefs on their heads....

At that point I decided enough was enough and running in traffic and lifting baked bean cans at home was preferable to this nonsense.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The gyms in China must be worse. Very funny comments. In the locker room lots and lots of people like staring at my boo jangles.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

LOL. I thought it was just me who had these issues while I was in Japan. But, be careful what you wish for. While I am paying about 30% monthly here in the states of what I paid there, my ego has also suffered greatly. Even though I am only about 5'7" and 170 lbs, at Gold's Gym in Omote Sando, I did not feel like a whimp, since most Japanese guys are not significantly bigger. But here, I am dwarfed by most guys, and there are many women bigger than me as well.

Well, you've just explained a lot to me about why so many foreign males love Japan!

Huh?! Thought every girl knows by now the reason is to stare at girls.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

People in a vibe of self-improvement and when they see the gaijin, mistake him/her for a machine that they can work out their eikaiwa on.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

syzyguy, that's it. I'm skipping the rest of the comments as yours has rendered them moot.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Im half japanese but i just migrated from Philippines to Japan. 6months later i walked to a gym (gold's gym) and asked thier policies and membership.ect. Their question was "do you have any tattooes? Which i do i have.. 3of them. "Cause if your tattoo is visible,like arms,neck..you are not allowed to workout in this gym." Im like.. Wtf! Stay calmed and said "no i have none" since i have no plans of showing it off anyway.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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