Careful What You Wish For...
The other problem is that I haven't yet contacted the Canadian Kendo Federation ... must do that ASAP. I'm a born procrastinator, so let's say I'll do that tomorrow.
Tonight, I went into Oita city (train, 20 minutes, 3 bucks) and then took a cab (15 minutes, 12 bucks) to the Civic Gymnasium for practice. Only ... no practice. It didn't ring any bells; there was no sudden "Oh, Damnit!" moment when I remembered them telling me practice was cancelled tonight; I really don't think anybody told me! Argh. It's not necessarily their fault - they might've told me and I either misunderstood or was just so tired that it didn't register. So anyway, I had been told that there was a bus somewhere around there, so I started walking. One thing you need to understand about Japan at night is that it's dark. Even in the city, it's damn dark. Like, pitch black. I found a bus stop sign (after 20 minutes) and I had to read it by the headlights of passing cars. It said that the last bus stopped running at 6 o'clock. Now THERE'S a useful bus, I thought to myself. Anyway, more walking, followed by more walking, and a little bit more walking. I was thinking that maybe I was going in the wrong direction ... finally, a cab came by and I flagged it down. Sure enough, 2 seconds into the cab ride, I spot the ENORMOUS NEON RAINBOW of the big pachinko parlour by the station. So basically, I got into the cab about 2 minutes from the station ... (2 minutes, minimum charge of 6 bucks). Great. At least I was right in time for the train back to Oita. I tried SO hard not to be bitter, too.
What else has been happening to me lately? I found out that Fuzzy-Pine sensei won the All-Japan 7-Dan division a few years back, which is cool. And I'm not sure, but I *think* he's somewhere in that "Iaido" photo book by Kawamura. Anybody care to check? White hair, bushy eyebrows, Yasumatsu Sensei, Oita?
Oh yeah, one other odd thing. A while back, my iai teacher asked me to meet his girlfriend, who is an English teacher. She wanted to have a chat with me in English so (eager to brown my nose) I said sure. Well, that first meeting was pleasant enough, so I agreed to do it again sometime. Sensei phones me Sunday morning:
"Jeff, what are you doing this afternoon?"
"Um...[wondering if this is somehow a trick question]... going to practice? Iaido? With you?"
"Oh ... yes, well you see, I was wondering if you'd like to meet Ms. O- for some conversation. She'd really like to talk to you again..."
"S-sure, umm.....what time?"
"Well, how about a couple hours, starting around 5?"
"Doesn't iaido start at 5?"
"Yes, heh heh. You could take today off, if you like."
"Um... right. I see ... um, well, errrrr.... Are there any other times we could meet?"
"Hm, I don't think so. You see, she's quite busy before and after that time."
"Okay, tell you what. How about I meet her at 6 o'clock for one hour? That way, I can do an hour of iaido, and then meet with her for an hour. How does that sound?"
"Oh, I suppose that might be okay ..."
"That's what we call 'Killing 2 Birds With One Stone' ... or something like that ... "
"A ha ha. I see. A ha ha."
Man, how are you supposed to take it when your teacher is actually trying to talk you OUT of coming to practice?? Ouch. Well, at least he brought me bon-bons from Hokkaido.
Anyway, the results are in for the All-Japan Iaido champs. The Chiba team cleaned up again this year, winning first place in the team division, and individually taking, I think, 7th dan and 5th dan. (Don't quote me on that.) In keeping with my "theory", Hokkaido did very well (they hosted the tournament) and won 2nd place in the team division. I think Kanagawa was 3rd. Oita did alright; 10th place (out of what? 50 prefectures?) in the team division. But, as I expected, Mr. Kosaka did quite well and came away with 3rd place in the 7th dan division. My teacher speculated that, at 7th dan, people are starting to get older, the judges start considering finesse a lot more, and Mr. Kosaka is still too powerful (like, in a bad way). I think our 6th dan delegate made it into the best 16. I guess they will have a more complete description in Kendo Nippon next month.
Well, folks ... hope you're all doing well. Take care and take notes.