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Saturday, March 14, 2009
Diet tours to Japan
By AMY CHAVEZ
Paul Christie runs "Walk Japan," and Ken Mitchell and Greg Cope from Australia run "Trainaway Tours": touring Japan by train. What's next in small, niche-market tours?
How about diet tours to Japan? With the United States having the most obese people in the world, and Australia coming in close behind, there is a huge market for "slimming tours," where you can lose weight while traveling. No gym memberships, no running on treadmills, just eating healthy and doing moderate exercise. If you're carrying some extra baggage, why not travel to Japan, the home of healthy food?
Not only do the Japanese eat smaller portions, when they do, it's light food that isn't fattening. "No fun!" you say? Oh, but weight! In addition to offering some of the healthiest food in the world, Japan is set up perfectly for incorporating exercise into the daily living routine.
Your tour starts by checking in to your hotel, where along with your hotel key, you get a key to a bicycle waiting for you. Not a nice 10-20 speed bicycle or a mountain bike, but a one-speed clunker that you'll have to work hard to get up the hills on.
This will likely be a rental bicycle with squeaky breaks, slightly deflated tires and a body painted with bright yellow paint, the color of caution, to show others that they better get outta your way! This is because the brakes never work very well on rental bicycles.
As you will be riding through crowds of people on sidewalks, you may have to verbally warn people you are coming. A good "Weeeeeeeeeeee!" should do it. Kick out the legs for some fun and to allow yourself more room on the sidewalks.
As you know, Japan is a very mountainous country. This is true even inside the train stations. With all the stairs, many going up several levels, you'd think people would wear climbing shoes and carry a GPS. But no, women even climb the stairways in high heels. This will make women lose weight very quickly when they try to balance all their weight on a spike heel about 1 cm across.
No reinforcements such as concrete pillars allowed. Just think, you'll feel like a walking Eiffel Tower. On its toes.
With the bullet train tracks often being on the top level of the station, and the shopping in the basement, you'll get lots of exercise whether you're just going to your next destination or hitting the shops.
And there will be plenty of sweat. Just a walk along the sidewalk in the summertime in hot and humid Japan and you will soon be sweating profusely, just as if you were on the treadmill at the gym.
Now, after all that exercise, you're ready for the gourmet Japanese meals. Since you have come to this country to lose weight, we have created an exceptional menu with this in mind. You will get to try many gourmet, no-calorie, no-fat, authentic Japanese foods that you can't even get in Japanese restaurants back home, mainly because no one would ever order them.
Every morning for breakfast, we offer you Japan's premier diet food: natto, or fermented soybeans, with rice.
For lunch and dinner, you will have a choice of either meat or fish. For lunch, please choose from, horse meat or shirako fish semen.
"But, I can't eat that!" you say? You want to lose weight, right? Horse meat is low in fat and shirako comes from cod.
"Yes, but . . ."
The other menu item we can offer is chicken cartilage. Believe me, I have never known anyone who has gotten fat on chicken cartilage. And don't worry, there are no chickens out there suffering from meniscus because the cartilage was removed from their knees.
No, I'm sorry, we have no pork rinds, licorice or root beer. This is healthy Japan! As a snack, we can offer you skewered sparrows.
Now for dinner. Please choose either gyutan grilled cow's tongue or namako sea cucumber.
"But I can't eat that!" you say? Well, then don't. You'll really lose weight then.
The secret to the foods we offer is that many have negative calories. Not because, like celery, they have no calories, but because you probably have no intention of eating these foods anyway. The idea is just to look at calories on the plate. Regard them for a time, then quietly push them away.
"But . . ."
How about sazae giant sea snails?
No, I'm sorry, we do not have escargot. If you want, tripe, frog's legs or escargot, then you'll have to wait until you get back to your own country.
"But I'm hungry!" you plead.
Stop whining. No one said it would be easy. If you leave Japan whinnying, however, then I'll know you've attained your goal to lose weight.