Friday, April 30, 2010

Eating Natto and visiting Ise

Well its our first day in Japan and like any other day it starts by sharing breakfast together. Resident gastronomist Gabby demonstrates how to eat Natto (the Japanese cultural equilent of Vegemite)

After breakfast, we venture forth to the Ise Grand Shrine, via a few trains and to enjoy the village of Naiku. Unfortunately along the way sensei is accosted by a gang of youths and has to do some fast talking.

Arriving at Naiku we enjoy local foods from street stalls, do some sake tasting, see some taiko drumming and visit the shrine.

On the Road at last

Fortunately my sons Matthew and Samuel made sure I was awake in plenty of time to drive down to Coolongatta airport to catch the plane on time, co-pilot Gabby. By luck we ran into Williams Sensei and John Ward with Jim Nicholls dropping by for some last minute advice. With the inevitable Jetstar delay we were soon on our way on what was a mostly empty plane, allowing us to all stretch out a plenty.

Its a ~9hr flight so there was plenty of time to talk about aikido, doze, watch a movie or two, talk some more aikido and catch up on a bit of sleep. Touching down in Osaka international airport (which is in the middle of the bay) we experienced our only significant delay, Gabby's Red suitcase had gone missing! But fortunately we found a blue one that was close enough in size and took that one instead. John Ward, ever the dillantte took the opportunity to practice some waza.

A series of trains, including this one right out of Gotham city soon had us on our way to Matsusaka. Arriving at our hotel with some minor comedy and pantomine to establish we had a booking it was off to the local shop for some midnight snacks and some sake for sensei.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Japan Friendship Seminar - A beginning

In 2006 i first met Hashimoto Sensei at a seminar by one of his teachers Oshima Sensei, since then he has returned to Australia several times to hold seminars in Brisbane and Melbourne making lots of friends. Over tea one night he expressed a desire to strengthen the links between Australia and Japan for Aikido and there was much discussion late into the night about the best way to do this across several organisations. In late 2008 Hashimoto Sensei sent a letter of invitation to join him in a friendship Seminar in rural Matsusaka Japan with a view to inviting a few organisations to participate in what might become a regular event. It was a happy out come that Master Koretoshi Maruyama and Michael Williams Sensei from Aikido Yuishinkai agreed to teach together with Minoru Oshima Sensei from the Kodokai Aikido and planning began in earnest.

With a few visits each way to fine tune the details and many many emails the friendship seminar was realised though the support of Aikido Yuishinkai Australia and many students who wanted to come to train to practice aikido it turned into a reality.

The seminar will be held in Matsusaka, Japan from May 2-4 and is followed by an optional cultural tour. The seminar website lists all of the seminar and cultural tour details for intending participants and some images. So far we have many aikido students from Australia and overseas gathering for the seminar together with a strong contingent from all over Japan.

With the seminar now just under a week ago this blog site has been setup for participants to post experiences, links for photos etc. too

As Hashimoto Sensei would say 'Let's have fun'

best wishes,