Sunday, November 06, 2005

Nagano Gassuku

We had a jodo gassuku in Nagano this past weekend. I met the other members of the Nikkei jodo club at Tokyo station, and we all got on the 8:40 am Shinkansen. At 8:45, the beers and dried-squid snacks were distributed. Yee-haw! After my liquid breakfast, I was feeling well settled.

We were met by the Nagano contingent outside the station and shuttled off to the practice location, a small town up in the mountains called Nozawa Onsen. We practiced all afternoon and then went back to the small inn we were staying at. Everybody hopped into the spa before dinner. The hot springs there are a bit sulfurous and very, very hot! I couldn't stay in for long and came out looking like a boiled lobster. We changed into our yukata and had a delicious feast while listening to everybody introduce themselves. I drank more than my share and so, by the time the party finished around 11pm, I was ready for bed. A lot of other people, true budoka to the last, stayed up drinking until 4:30 am...

The next morning I was feeling a bit stiff but otherwise okay. Meanwhile, the 65-year-olds who had been drinking while I slept were as spry as ever. Sigh. We practiced all morning in the ice-cold gym and then did a bit of sightseeing. All too soon, it was time to go back to Nagano city. We caught the Shinkansen with about 30 seconds to spare following a mad dash to the platform. We spent the ride back to Tokyo practicing aikido on each other to the delight (?) of the other passengers.


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