Saturday, October 23, 2004


After too many weeks of inactivity, I have managed to get in touch with Furukawa Sensei. I had previously visited the Nippon Budokan a couple of times on Saturday, but both times I had bad luck. The first time, it was a rest day (no practice) and the next week, all the sensei were at the jodo grading at the Tokyo Budokan. I finally phoned Furukawa Sensei directly, and he told me to come to another dojo in Tokyo. It's kind of a lengthy commute, but I found the place eventually, and everyone was extremely welcoming.

I practiced with Furukawa Sensei and then with some of the junior students. He had a number of corrections for me, but I imagine that everyone who attended the seminar in Toronto knows them already. He also had some specific corrections for me, so I'm working on the way I do hikiotoshi and gyakute uchi, for example. (Don't drop that #%& front hand, Jeff!)

After practice, we went to a bar and had a bunch of drinks. Everyone seemed to enjoy practicing their mangled English on me, perhaps as a break from having to listen to my mangled Japanese. I learned that some of the senior students live rather close to me, so it may be possible to get together for practices locally when there is nothing happening in Tokyo.

And now, a sick confession: the second time I visited the Budokan, the Sensei were all at the jodo grading, but some students were there practicing on their own. One of them was an American guy who did his best to ignore my presence. I eventually cornered him and started asking him some questions. He's the typical gaijin-hating-gaijin that is all too common over here, and he was more than a little bit unfriendly. He very snobbily informed me that I'd have to buy a jo and a bokuto, and that I'd have to pay the $350 fee to join the Budokan classes, etc. Therefore, I can't wait until he finds out that Sensei lent me his own jo and bokuto to use, and that he's going to pull strings so that I can be registered as a guest and don't have to pay the entrance fee. Oh, and also that I outrank him. Hee hee hee! Very petty, I know... I know...

Next week, there is a big kobudo demonstration in Meiji Park that I'm looking forward to. Strangely (stupidly?) it's the same day and same time as the All-Japan Kendo Championships. I think it's pretty dumb to schedule the kobudo demo at the same time; surely there are a lot of people who are interested in both events. Anyhow, it should be an interesting day. After the kobudo demo, if there's time, I'm going to hurry over to the budokan and try to catch the last few matches of the championships. If I can figure out how to post photos, I will.

Stay in touch!


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