I have had the wonderful opportunity of volunteering at the NOAH bouldering gym in Kyoto this semester. I took the CIP as a chance to do something I loved and I was surprised by how easy it was to find a gym in Kyoto.
NOAH has become much more than a climbing gym for me and many of the other customers. It is, in the truest sense of the word, a community. Part of this stems from the fact that climbing as an activity is much more group focused in Japan compared to America. That is, regardless of whether you know the person climbing or not, people will cheer you on, give support, and even advice on how to improve. The community this creates a welcoming atmosphere that makes me look forward to going back.
Volunteering at a bouldering gym means dealing with a wide variety of tasks. From cleaning the staircase to filling up chalk balls and stripping tape off the routes. By doing all of this, I am able to interact a lot with the customers and practice my Japanese skills. I’ve also learned that most of the people also have a curiosity about English, so it becomes beneficial to both parties when they speak in English and I reply in Japanese.
With this CIP, I’ve created many great memories and learned a lot. When I come back to Kyoto, I will definitely stop by at NOAH to catch up with my friends.