Muay Thai

“I’m a very shy person.
I’m so self-conscious. In my head I always think, `Oh I shouldn’t have said that,’ or `what if this person doesn’t like me?’ But now with Muay Thai, I feel like I can accomplish anything. I have focus when I step into the ring. I stop worrying about who I’m going to pretend to be and just channel all my energy on my opponent, who’s about to punch me in the face.

I got into this sport because of stress.

“Like most people who come to Japan, I was impressed with the quality of service. I taught French to foreigners back home in France but decided to stay in Japan on a working holiday visa. When I found a job at a bakery, I didn’t realize I’d be facing the harsh reality of customer service in Japan. The Japanese even have a saying for this: The customer is God. After three years, you’d think I would’ve learned my lesson. Nope. Next, I found a job at Haneda Airport, which was also in service, and where I also dealt with difficult customers.

“Then one day, a friend told me she had started kickboxing at this gym. It sounded like fun, so I tried it and absolutely loved it. Now it helps me manage my stress levels. I also got into scuba diving even though I was terrified in the beginning. If you had told me two years ago that I’d be in a ring, punching someone in the face, or diving 15 meters deep down the ocean, I would’ve thought you were crazy. Today, I’m doing something I never dreamed of doing and I’m pushing my own limits. Not bad for a girl who used to have no confidence at all in herself.”


(Amélie manages Tadaima Japan‘s social media site and gives tour packages to people staying at traditional Japanese inns or ryokans.)

私はとても恥ずかしがり屋なんです。強くそう自覚しています。頭の中でいつも考えていることは、「ああ、あんなこと言わない方が良かったかな」とか、「仮に、この人が私のこと好きじゃないとしたら?」なんてことです。でも今は、ムエタイのおかげで、何かをやり遂げられそうな気持ちです。リングに上がる時は集中します。自分じゃない誰かになろうとする心配なんかしないで、自分の全エネルギーを、 顔面めがけてパンチを繰り出す相手へと集中させるのです。



【翻訳:Yuri Moriyama】

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Finding diversity and inclusion. Breaking down barriers one post at a time. Stories and snapshots of foreigners making their way in Japan.

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