• Short Summary

    More and more Tokyo residents are taking to eh rooftops -- to play golf, among other things.

  • Description

    More and more Tokyo residents are taking to eh rooftops -- to play golf, among other things.

    As the Japanese capital continues its inexorable expansion, devouring the surrounding countryside, the city's sportsmen find themselves increasingly deprived of space for their favourite pastimes ...hence, the rush to the roofs. And so popular has golf become in Japan -- and so determined the Japanese to play it wherever they have to -- that Tokyo now has been called the world's most polluted golf course.

    Like baseball, golf was introduced to Japan during the American occupation immediately after the Second World War, and has since become, with baseball, one of the country's two most popular sports. But unlike baseball - with its stadiums taking up only a few acres of land -- golf requires far more space for its courses than the teeming Tokyo of today is able to provide. One result has been a proliferation of indoor driving ranges -- some built in three tiers and catering to hundreds of patrons at a time. But even these cannot accommodate al of Tokyo's golfers, and so another, more notable result has been a boom in rooftop ranges.

    Surrounded with wire mesh to protect passersby on the streets below, these short courses are designed more for improving the handling of clubs and accuracy than for power driving, and a "range professional" is a fixture at them, correcting the style of the hundreds of businessmen how spend their whole lunch-hours on the rooftops.

    Another, far more energetic game that the Japanese have found can be confined to a rooftop is handball -- which also has been adapted to the decks of the huge oil tankers so numerous in Japanese shipyards.

    Indoor sports also are becoming increasing available to the urban enthusiast. Horseback riding is one of them, and Japanese ingenuity has produced a unique mechanical horse to meet the demand. Built at a cost of more than GBP 4,000 pounds sterling, the spurious steed can trot, canter and gallop entirely by push-button.

    One big Tokyo store is even offering indoor flying lessons. At an altitude of 100 feet -- but with several safety layers of concrete and steel below -- the pupil and his instructor can put a twin-engine training aircraft through all the stages of a real flying school... but without ever leaving the store.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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