UPDATE: The location of this box has moved. Please check out their website CF Chikara for more details.
One aspect I love about traveling is contrasting my daily routines with what I would encounter abroad. Doing a Crossfit workout definitely qualifies as a routine that I can compare abroad. During my recent trip to Japan, I had a chance to visit Chikara Crossfit and experience this routine on the other side of the world.
First off, I was really fortunate Otoya and Tina allowed me to drop in. So Thanks Guys! I didn’t get a chance to meet the owner during my visit because he was visiting the States, but maybe next time we’ll meet up.
Like with anything on the other side of the world, nothing is going to be the same, well may be except for a Big Mac from McDonalds.
Chikara Crossfit was different at least for me because the sessions at Chikara Crossfit meets at 6:15 AM. I’ve never been on a schedule where I work out in the early morning hours, so on these visits, I had to get my ass out of bed and on right subway line.
My visits to their affiliate required running 400 meters. I have to say there’s something about running their 400 meter loop in the streets of Tokyo amongst Japanese business men and women walking to work in their crisp business attire.
You see, my home affiliate is based out of an industrial complex of a suburban town where running 400 meters is simply running 400 meters in the road and turning around amongst a suburban backdrop. At Chikira Crossfit, it’s running down the sidewalk, making a right at the bar on the corner, down the street until you see such and such sign where you then have to make another right and you’ll end up back at the box.
The funny thing is while you’re running, the locals don’t even seem to take notice of your exhausted presence until you accidentally bump into them, which I managed to do with a man walking out of a Family Mart(convenience store) despite the light pedestrian traffic.
Apart from running the streets as part of the WOD at Chakara Crossfit, I found the coaches and members awesome. The class sizes are relatively small(about 6 to 9 athletes) compared to what I’ve experienced with other CF affiliates.
The members consist of locals and expats from different countries working in Tokyo. I have to say this is one of my favorite parts of visiting Crossfit affiliates – a chance to say hello and chat with non-tourists.
The sessions are conducted in English, but Otoya occasionally spoke his local tongue to emphasize some points with the Japanese members. Most members have family and work obligations so that the sessions are run on time to ensure members can meet their early morning obligations.
FINDING YOUR WAY
This box is easy to find. It’s located less than five minutes from the Akasaka-mitsuke stop on the Ginza line. Exit through Akasaka and make a left towards the Subway and McDonalds where you’re going to turn right. You’ll quickly learn the subways are the best way for getting around Tokyo. Driving is nearly impractical as parking is down right expensive. Additionally, the country drives on the left, which may be a bit, challenging if you’re not used to it.
Chikara Crossfit meets only in the morning. They do have some evening classes at a different location so please contact them about that. The reason why Chikara Crossfit meets only in the mornings is because they coexist with a pole-dancing studio.
It makes sense to share space to alleviate the burden of Tokyo’s high rent prices by sharing spaces. The downside of sharing the spaces particularly with a pole-dancing studio is the numerous dancing poles mounted throughout the space.
Despite the dancing poles, we’ve always worked around them without too much difficulty. In some cases, such as the warm-ups, the poles make for a convenient place for anchoring bands to aid in stretching.
Based on the pictures of toned women striking a pose on the dancing poles, I’m tempted to make my way there during the evening hours. Hey man, their brochure and website stated that both men and women are welcome for their free intro class. So perhaps the next post will be about their Chikara CF’s counterparts.
Lastly, “chikira” means power in Japanese, in case you’re wondering.
Check out these promotional brochures: