Staying in Tokyo for a long term? Look for a local sport community 2019.08.19
It has been a year since I started playing badminton every week on Fridays. This was not possible without Hugo and Flora, my neighbors at Oakhouse: Tachikawa Garden Town. They moved to Garden Town exactly a year ago and I knew people who used to live in their apartment and I met Hugo and Flora right after they moved in. Back then, I was already looking for someone I can play badminton with and this is how we started the weekly club.
Last week was the last badminton match for Hugo and Flora. They stayed for a year in Japan and it’s time for them to go back to France. My colleague Hiroki and his wife Ayako joined us and we did the last match before Hugo and Flora leave the country. Even though we started this badminton club as a group of 5, our community grew quite a lot. There are now 20 people in our Line group. I was not into sports or anything before we started this weekly exercise but now I feel weird if there’s a week I don’t play badminton at all. This is how much I’m changed and I’m guessing other people in the community are feeling the same.
We literally live next to a public gym
Tachikawa Garden Town is such an ideal place for exercise. Shibasaki public gym is literally right behind the building and it only costs 200 yen for workout or playing various types of sport such as badminton, pingpong, basket ball and mini tennis. There are some sports clubs that you can sign up as well.
This gym is open for public and it’s not as crowded as other gyms in other cities. Out of all sports available there, I was interested in playing badminton the most. Even though I had almost zero experience in playing badminton, I thought it would be fun to play. The badminton courts in Shibasaki gym is pretty easy to book if you live in Tachikawa Garden Town. First, there are certain days available for badminton courts. Every Fridays, 2nd, 4th Saturdays, and 3rd Sunday. Then choose the hours you want to play. There are four slots available during the day; Morning (9am to 9:00 to 12:30) , Afternoon I (12:30 to 16:00), Afternoon II (16:00 to 19:30), and Night (19:00 to 23:00). The gym accepts reservation from 8:50 A.M. in the morning and you can only book the court on the same day you play. You do need to go to the gym to make a reservation. I recommend going there as early as 8:50 A.M. Sometimes some people show up early and even queue up to book. Living in Tachikawa Garden Town is a big advantage to secure the court because it only takes 3 mins by walk to get to the gym.
The gym is pretty big and there are 5 courts available in total. It’s not a problem even if you don’t have your own rackets and shuttles. You can rent one at the gym for 50 yen per racket.
No healthier way to spend time in Tokyo
Even though there are about 20 people in our group, not everyone comes every week. I would say the regulars are about 5 people. We welcome new players as long as you’re willing to make a trip to Tachikawa on Friday nights. I’m willing to play on Saturdays as well if there are enough people who wants to play.
Our community is pretty diverse too. This is probably because many of our friends are through Oakhouse community.
Living in a city like Tokyo makes it harder to find a chance to exercise regularly. Most people sign up for a gym but it costs a lot and you lose motivation after two months. The team sport like badminton makes more sense because it’s easier to continue. It’s so much fun that you probably feel it’s addictive. It’s probably the same reason why online games are so much more addictive than offline games. It’s hard to get bored when you play against real people.
A Thai restaurant we often go after badminton
There’s a reason we play badminton on Friday nights. Going out for food and drinks at night is something locals love. There are great food out there but it’s more fun to go out with friends. Fridays nights are the best time for this and this is what we usually do.
If you’re staying in Tokyo for a long term, it makes sense to look for a local sport community. Most Japanese people are familiar with the idea to play sport regularly because most people used to belong to a sport club back in schools. It’s sad that most working people do not have time for sports nowadays.
In Japan, getting better in sports (martial arts) is as valued as getting good grades in schools. To be honest, I did not really like sports back in school because I was not so good but now I agree with this idea and understand the value.
Let me know if you’re looking for people to play badminton with. Beginners are welcome too. Contact me here: email@example.com if you have any questions and I’ll make sure to reply you.
Hi I'm Shima. I currently live in one of the biggest Oakhouse Apartments called Tachikawa Garden Town with my wife and daughter.
On this series of blog posts, I’d like to introduce useful tips when you actually start living in Tokyo and hopefully in Oakhouse.
Let me know if you are interested to know more about life in Tachikawa. Message me here [ firstname.lastname@example.org ] for any questions.