Friday, August 31, 2007

Tipness Oddballs

I exercise. I have to. Something must be done to keep all those beer calories from making a home around my belly-button.

A few times a week I work out at Tipness in Tanashi. Tipness is a chain of gyms that has a substantial presence in Tokyo.

The place is nice and clean, so I don't really have many complaints. Furthermore, they just redid the place with all-new machines back in May. Every single treadmill, climber, and exercise bike has its own TV monitor (which are all touch-screen, by the way). Finding something entertaining to watch is occasionally a challenge, but they have CNN so I can get my daily dose of half-assed news coverage.

The key to happiness at Tipness (for me anyway) is going when the gym is least populated. I'm not going to share my secrets at this point, but it's safe to say that I'm not as cliquey as some of the senior members of the gym, so I don't feel that it's necessary to be there at the exact same time as all of my friends. I like to work out by myself and then get the hell out of there in less than an hour.

There are some interesting folks at my Tipness branch. Yakuza types, wannabe yakuza types, corporate warriors, housewives, office ladies, college kids, 90-year-olds -- you name it! And then there's me. I'm not sure which of those groups I fit into.

While everyone at the gym is civil to each other (for the most part) and mindful of the fact that we are sharing the facilities, there are a few individuals who forget where they are and start behaving like they are at home.

Case in point: after my workout today I was in the locker room getting ready to take a shower. An older gentleman sharing the same corridor of lockers let one rip. I'm not talking about an SBD; this granddaddy let off a three second, two octave air biscuit. To make matters worse, he had just gotten out of the shower, so he wasn't wearing anything that might help filter the fumes.

I began searching my locker for a gas mask.

He didn't react. It's probably the smart way to go after you've just dropped a bomb like that. However, as a safety precaution he should have gone to the toilet because about a minute later he did the same thing again.

Or maybe he just didn't care. With five people glaring at him he just ignored us and proceeded to towel himself off. I waited until he tawdled off to the scale (I wonder how much of a difference in weight there was pre- and post-explosion) before I made my move for the showers. He was sort of blocking the way, and I didn't want to risk getting dusted.

That was one of the most creative displays of disregard for one's surroundings that I've seen in a while, but it's probably not the worst transgression (and certainly not the last). For safety, I won't be using that column of lockers anymore.

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