Conversing with my flatmates can be really interesting, particularly the girl who has never been outside of Japan (Korea does not count, since many people speak Japanese) or, really, ever seemingly thought hard about anything besides boybands. Usually I can take almost anything in stride, but one tiny little comment while watching a show on TV about personal trainers really, really got to me.
'Eeew, look at that girl's muscles....I, like, want my bones to show'.
The brief look on my face, before I managed to recover control, might have scared her. I had to make an excuse and leave the room.
I know for a fact she lacks the will to actually accomplish that ideal, so shouldn't let it worry me.
But what makes me so incredibly angry is that here (as all over the world) the goal seems to be skinny. Not fit. Not healthy. Just skinny. God, lets just make ourselves even more powerless, shall we?
My flatmate asks me all the time why I don't get colds, am full of energy, and can walk around the city for hours. How I can run 10k, have good skin and attract nice Japanese guys (who supposedly all want skinny girlfriends... right).
She is not at all overweight, but shopping with her is difficult, as after two hours she is tired. Her acne bothers her a lot as well, but she still keeps on eating food from the conbini everyday. No exercise either (as it is either 'mendokusai' or there are not enough hot guys at the location).
75% of the food I eat is either home-cooked or unprocessed/raw. I run as often as possible, including long evening runs with the Hash House Harriers, and walk at least 30 minutes everyday. Weight-training and full stretching sessions (a remnant of my competitive fencing days) whenever I can fit them in.
She was shocked to hear that I work out and control my diet not because I hate my body, but because I respect it. Long, strong muscles. Endurance. The glorious feeling of running with the sun and wind on your back. The beauty of a perfectly timed disengage, and the power of a lunge. A plate full of fresh vegetables. These are joyous things!
I know a lot of expat women struggle with feelings of being 'fat' in Japan, and it takes a lot of strength to continue reminding yourself that you are healthy, strong and have a different body structure entirely.
Okay, rant over. On a more useful note, I recently found this little chart, and wanted to share it.