Radio Taiso at Molly Rocket
By Anna Rettberg
Casey Muratori
Ever since I was a young child, I was deeply passionate about physical fitness  —  and by that I mean I am passionately opposed to it unless someone can conclusively demonstrate to me that it is absolutely necessary. In fact, one of the bright spots of a career in programming is that it’s nearly top-ranked for professions involving minimal physical fitness  —  just above “filing clerk” and slightly below “mattress tester”.
But the unfortunate truth is that hunching over a keyboard  —  or in Anna’s case, a Cintiq  —  leads to some unfortunate consequences for your musculature. I’ve had tendonitis, shoulder impingements, leg problems, and hip problems, all from not actually ever doing anything. Anna’s hundreds of years younger than I am, and she’s already had problems with her shoulder, too.
So in order to keep us semi-functional physically, we have developed a unique two-step process at Molly Rocket that we can only assume will soon be sweeping the digital nation due to its efficacy:
First, we go to Emily Scherb, who is basically an anatomical miracle worker, and we have her figure out what’s actually wrong with us. Second, we take whatever exercises Emily tells us we need to be doing to fix our physical ailments, and we integrate it into the workday using Radio Taiso.
What’s Radio Taiso, you ask?
I’m so glad you asked that question! Allow me to explain.
Radio Taiso is a national fitness initiative that’s been running continuously in Japan since 1951. It comes on the public radio station every day to remind people to do some light exercise. It sounds like this:
I’d known about Radio Taiso since I’d actually seen and heard it in Japan, but I always assumed it was a relatively obscure thing. To my surprise, Anna also knew about Radio Taiso, because it turns out that the The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness actually features a scene with Hayao Miyazaki doing the routine with his staff.
One day, when we were both lamenting various physical ailments, we spontaneously decided we should try doing Radio Taiso at the Molly office. I found the official Radio Taiso recording on the internets, and I made a small program to automatically play it over the office speakers at 11AM and 2PM.
It turned out to be absolutely delightful.
Now, we enjoy Radio Taiso every day, and have been experimenting to find the best songs to play for our workouts. We’ve tried West Side Story, Back to the Future, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Tonari no Totoro, and even some Weird Al Yankovich and William Shatner. But so far, the reigning champion of Radio Taiso songs has remained undisputed, and it is…
… wait for it …
Yes, that’s right  —  it’s none other than Toto’s magical meta-song, self-described by the band as a song about a white boy who has never been to Africa trying to write a song about Africa, which of course makes it a song about a white boy who has never been to Africa trying to write a song about Africa by a white boy who has never been to Africa.
If that doesn’t scream physical fitness to you, I don’t know what would.
And that is exactly what it screams to us every day, twice a day, when we’re not experimenting with other songs.
Which reminds me  —  if you have a song that you think would be good for our Radio Taiso, don’t be shy. You can always email us with your suggestion, and we’ll try it out!
But it’d better be pretty damn good if it’s going to compete with Toto.