"Some of my friends in my generation tell me I must be crazy to go out playing gateball in this heat," Morita, 81, told AFP at a practice session of the croquet-inspired game. "When I'm playing the game, the heat doesn't bother me," she said, her face shaded by a wide-brimmed hat. While gateball requires little physical exertion, players have to spend time in the punishing sun as two opposing teams carefully hit balls through gates. Around 90 percent of gateballers in Tokyo are aged 70 or more, said Toshiaki Koizumi of Tokyo Gateball Union. Several times a week, Morita and other players meet at an outdoor gateball court in Tokyo's Suginami district to train for official tournaments.