Thursday, June 04, 2009

Jodo Gasshuku in Gunma

Every year, Furukawa Sensei and a lot of the dojo members go on a Gasshuku to a prefecture on the outskirts of Kanto - Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Yamanashi, Nagano - and this year, it was Gunma. We got on a train in the morning, and by 2 o'clock we were ready for action up in the misty mountains above the town of Akagi.
There were over 25 participants from Tokyo, Chiba, and Kanagawa, as well as the aforementioned "outlying" prefectures. It was a really good sized gym, so we were able to spread out and not worry about space. I was extremely lucky to be "bumped up" into the 5-dan and above group, which meant I got to practice with mostly 7-dans, heh heh!

We practiced all Saturday afternoon, then went back to our hotel, had an incredibly welcome soak in the hot spring, and then reconvened for a lovely Japanese feast, with lots of freely-flowing beer and sake.

They were the lucky ones...

Despite going to bed early, the next morning, I was pretty wrecked. I forced myself to eat a big breakfast, and then we practiced all morning.

We went back for another therapeutic dip in the onsen - I think all of us were pretty sore - then had a barbecue feast (again with all-you-can-drink) in the afternoon. After the previous night, I don't think anybody was able to really take advantage of the alcohol, though.
We had to head back to Tokyo mid-afternoon, but (those of us who managed to stay awake) were once again treated to wonderful views of the mountains, lakes, rivers, and gorges all around us.
On the train ride home, I had a nap and then took the time to write down the many tips I received from all of my practice partners. It was an extremely fruitful seminar! Let's hope I can keep all those good pointers in my head long enough to incorporate them into my everyday practice. Otherwise, they have a tendency to get lost forever...