Monday, August 27, 2007
Holy Billy Joba - it's the new Japanese diet wave!
So if you're looking at this picture and wondering why I'm posting sex toys on my blog, you're wrong! This, my friends, is the newest "diet" fad in Japan - the Joba. It's not my fault she's having way too much fun riding the thing, but then maybe that's all part of the marketing scheme. By the by, Joba is Japanese for "ride that thang like you're in a Japanese marriage and want to lose some weight while releasing some sexual frustration in the comfort of your own living room for the low, low price of 39,995￥, or just 10 easy payments of 4,995￥!!!" Oh, I mean horseback riding. But wait - there's more! Here's another blast from the past that just recently graced the shores of Japan: TaeBo!!
That's right, none other than Mr. Billy Blanks has been plastered all over TV promoting Billy's Boot Camp. I think he was on enough that some people were confusing him for tarento or something as you'd see people imitating him on tv and even on the streets. The big talk around work was who was going to try it since they were always going on about how they were all fat.
The lengths that stick-like skinny people will go to maintain their lack of figure seemingly has no bounds... or maybe it just appears that way to an apparently overweight American. It's so true too - I've blimped out coming out here! I mean, I've gained a whole what, like 3-5kg since I got here to Japan? Oh, so fat. Out of shape? Yeah, sure I'll agree. Overweight? Well, maybe according to a stick. Or maybe it's that in going from the 2nd fattest country in the world (thanks Australia) to... well ok, anywhere but the US (or apparently Australia or the UK) that I look fat to the natives. I did however just look it up, and according to the international definition of overweight I'm still safe (barely)!! In your face, Japan!
Now while I do appreciate the fact that these ridiculously high standards for body fat index produce overwhelmingly less lard-ass women than I encountered at home and thus more eye candy, it has to be rough on the other side of the fence. As far back as the early years of my Japanese studies some 8 or so years ago, I still remember my old teacher who I'll call Shinobi-sensei always complaining that she was fat, and was constantly dieting. This one time we caught her taking these pills, and when asked she told us they were these pills with shell fragments and seaweed and stuff, which according to the latest tv show she saw was the latest and greatest way to lose weight. I also recall a certain program last year that started quite a frenzy over a natto diet - as everyone and their mom ran to the store to stock up with a year's supply of their very own fermented soy beans to be consumed with every meal, the program then revealed a week later that they made the whole thing up. This whole country has anorexia, I swear. Except for this guy... and this girl... (I'll save them for another post) oh, and don't forget these guys... and a whole bunch of the people I met in Miyagi... ok, so maybe just all the skinny girls are anorexic and trained to hate themselves if they develop enough body fat to resemble a woman.
The peculiar thing to me about this new wave is that it involves exercising, and yet they still call it a diet. This is of course not to make light of the fact that it involves exercise in the first place, which I thought Japanese girls were averse to given their lack of muscle tone... or maybe they just don't like sweat, which it takes some of to get muscle tone. But then that wouldn't explain why they still wear at least 4 layers of clothing, sometimes including a sweater, a skirt AND pants during the summer in the name of fashion... and once again women have boggled my mind! So long story short (too late?), I've met some girls here into sports/activities, but the vast majority have the muscle tone of a garden slug and see absolutely nothing wrong with it.
So yeah, the diet craze in Japan is amazing... and for me, entertaining. It must suck to be a girl here though.