|Dog's eye view: see the pigeon?|
I used to make fun of it, I admit: standing in a circle moving your body in a desultory fashion with the radio blaring slightly militaristic piano music and a man with a gruff voice shouting unintelligible commands...until I met and made friends with the participants on my daily morning walks, and Claire being entranced motionless by birds I am at a loose end.
I started out copying the actions from afar, and realized I was stretching places my morning walk didn't cater to. I'd been having trouble with stiff shoulders and aching neck this summer, and I could feel the stretching working those muscles loose and the benefit lasting all day. This is nothing to sniff at, I thought, it's free and we're in the park anyway...and now Claire has got used to being tied to a tree from 06:30to06:40 while Mum does weird gyrations with the group.Claire is not the only dog: Arthur guards the radio up in the slide while we exercise, and Ran (Orchid) sits upright by her Mum. Claire of course is sitting alert checking out the pigeons while she waits.
Radio Calisthenics is broadcast by NHK, but apparetly it was the post-war era brainchild of a US life-insurance company, Metropolitain. It's funny how the Japanese have adopted it so successfully and are all fit, healthy and consequently blessed with longevity.
The Japanese teach it at school, and I remember in the summer holidays when the kids were small I was on a roster to take the radio to our neighboring park and be a role-model for various local children, which was a bit of a disaster as I didn't know what to do.
I still don't know what to do, but I copy everyone around me in the circle and it gives me a warm feeling of companionship. What I like best is the way everyone says "Thank you!" at the end before we all part our separate ways, and Claire and I are back to active pigeon hunting.