Enduring the Spartan Race in Japan

I’m extremely proud with how this video came out. While it took me roughly six months to put together my Shenmue Vlog, this one was completed in a fraction of the time.

The hardest part was figuring out what direction I wanted to take the video when editing. What story do I want to tell?

I had hours worth of footage spanning four different Spartan events. The introduction was always planned, but the body of its presentation was still undecided. Until now, videos have always retained mellow background music, but I knew something more intense was required for the Spartan Race.

I’ve always been a big fan of the Japanese series, Dragon Ball. If you don’t know, Dragon Ball is a Japanese cartoon about an orphaned alien boy who grows up to become the protector of Earth. Dragon Ball is essentially the story of a Japanese Superman; however, the alien race that the protagonist descends from are a Spartan-like culture.

It’s by no means a perfect show (*cough* Mr. Popo *cough*), but I find it amazing that I completed my first Spartan Race in Japan. The land of Dragon Ball and its hyper masculine martial arts violence. The athletic gear I wore to the race was a direct homage to the show and its warrior race.

My first Spartan Race was conducted the day before an inbound typhoon.

I loved it. It really added to the theatrics of the event. Which is crazy because I used to be extremely apathetic to the idea of running an obstacle course race. Why would anyone pay to do this?

I wanted to prove to myself that, I STILL GOT IT.
That I still got grit.

I’ve been doing my best to combat the physical challenges of fatherhood. Being tired at the end of the day and not feeling like putting in the work to better myself. I seek to avoid complacency. I had a friend in Italy that brought obstacle course racing to my attention. I scoffed at the idea considering there was a time in my life when I used to be paid to do that sort of stuff. But after conversing in my head, and watching a few videos online, I decided to give it a try while here in Japan.

I was hooked after my first Spartan Race. Why would someone pay money to engage in this? Because its fun. These events are a opportunity to test my physical limitations in a public venue. Testing my strength, endurance, and cardio.

Of course, Japan’s Spartan Races come with its own NIHON flavor.

An interesting moment emerged while volunteering, at a race in Chiba, when I was asked about the chant conducted before a each race. You can hear it at the start of the video. Spartans what is your profession? AROO AROO AROO. It turned out that the other volunteers, who of course were Japanese, haven’t seen Zack Snyder’s 300. Moreso, they had no clue what the hell a Spartan was.

These are the little moments I enjoy about living overseas. In the most simplistic form, I had to explain that Spartans were a militant warrior society from Greece. Known famously for the battle of Thermopylae that was adapted into a hyper masculine fantasy film. I showed them a scene from the movie using my smartphone.

By far, the most amazing race was this year’s East Asia Regional Series in Aizu-Wakumatsu.

I attend the race for free using the voucher I received from volunteering at a race in Chiba. Which goes into one the big highlights about these events, traveling. Aizu-Wakumatsu is a small town surrounded by mountains. Only one train line goes there. Aside from their local matsuri, I would imagine this area has mostly quiet. The town has this awesome castle that was the highlight of the race. We ran through the castle grounds in a path partitioned off for us.Fun fact: We were instructed NOT to race topless.

But, no one cared at the end of the day.
Women ran in sports bras and men ran topless, no one freaked out.

I hope to continue this trend of attending Spartan Races annually in Japan. And if I can, I’ll continue to volunteer for these events. When she’s old enough, I’m definitely putting my daughter through the kids division. I can’t wait to the next one.

What about you? Have you ran a Spartan Race before, or a similar obstacle course racing brand?

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