Notes from a cluttered mind
The Iaido tournament took place in Nagasaki this year. As I lived in Nagasaki-ken from 2000 - 2002, I really wanted to go and see the tournament. All the Sensei I had met around Kyushu were sure to be there. Plus, the Oita team this year was headed up by 7th-dan Ishii Toyozumi, instead of the man who has become kind of the "regular" Oita delegate, Kosaka Sensei. Ishii Sensei is a wonderful guy who taught me many times, and I was really interested to see how his dynamic, sharp style would do in competition. (He also does Niten Ichi Ryu and Sekiguchi Ryu iai.) Not very well, it turns out! The Oita team did quite poorly, although it may be that they just ran into tough competition early on, as frequently happens in elimination tournaments like this.
Results of the tournament from the ZNKR website:
Winner: Hirose (Nagasaki)
2nd: Imai (Niigata)
3rd: Harada (Kanagawa) and somebody whose name I can't read (>_<) from Chiba.
Winner: Yamazaki (Shizuoka - wonder if he is related to 8th dan Yamazaki Sensei?)
2nd: Takagi (Nagasaki)
3rd: Kamei (Kochi) and Nakagawa (Yamagata)
Winner: Morishima (Kanagawa)
2nd: Tsukimi (Nagasaki)
3rd: Akiba (Chiba) and Shimamura (Tochigi)
This was, I think, the first time that Morishima has won the 7th dan division, but it was only a matter of time, as he has been coming in 2nd or 3rd place for years now. Given that he's only - what? - 39 or something, he has a lot of good years left in him, too. Definitely a man to watch.
With 2 second place finishes and a first, Nagasaki easily won in the team competition. This is not surprising as they were the host prefecture. Perennially strong Kanagawa and Chiba both did well. What was a bit surprising was that Niigata came in 3rd, I believe. They have not been particularly strong in the past but they may have some strong leadership there; I need to find out more, I guess. Good for them, in any case.
Meanwhile, the Jodo tournament had taken place in Kanagawa over a week before. To my knowledge, nobody in my dojo mentioned it to me, which made me feel a bit neglected. (Being a foreigner in Japan is sometimes a lose-lose situation, especially when you've got an attitude problem like me. When people treat you with extra consideration, you get your back up and say, "I'm not a child! Don't treat me like I'm so helpless!" On the other hand, if people don't help you, you do dumb things like missing events that are common knowledge to everybody else, and then go around saying, "Thanks for not telling me, you jerks!")
So basically, I hate that I am disorganized, but I guess I don't hate it enough to become organized. I wish I spoke better Japanese, but I don't seem to want it enough to put in the hours of study required. I wish I was better at iaido and jodo but ... oh, ouch.