August 7th, 2023 – Monday: En Route to Narita Airport. As I begin this first entry, I find myself mid-flight on Japan Airlines, en route to Narita Airport. Despite some minor turbulence causing the plane to sway gently, I’m pleasantly surprised by the unwavering performance of the satellite internet connection on board.
Speaking of turbulence, I’ve adopted a quirky habit to lighten the mood during bumpy airline stretches of my journeys. Whenever I encounter a patch of turbulence, I can’t help but throw one hand up in the air and enthusiastically exclaim, “Yeeehawww!” It’s a playful gesture that not only seems to break the tension among my fellow passengers but also brings a smile to my own face.
Stay tuned for more updates as we touch down at Narita Airport and embark on this next adventure, which involves catching an always enjoyable and hyper-fast Shinkansen (bullet train) to Tokyo Station.
- Aug 9th:
- 9 am ~12:00 Review finer details of Sanchin, Gekisai, Saifa and Seiyunchin.
- 2:00 pm ~ 5:00 pm Review of Tensho, Sanseru and Shishochin.
- Aug 10th:
- 9 am ~12:00 Review finer details of Sanchin and Sepai
- 2:00 pm ~ 5:00 pm Review of Tensho and Seisan.
- Aug 11th:
- 9 am ~12:00 Nishiyama Kakeru 西山走 and Ms. Ohno (Ono) Hikaru 大野 ひかる Champions Seminar.
- 2:00 pm ~ 5:00 pm Continue with seminar reviewing Gekisai, Saifa, Seiyunchin, Sepai and Kururunfa.
- Aug 12th:
- 8:45 am ~10:50 Review for athletes and competitors only in the Ōmagari Budōkan of ‘Superinpei,’ with Nishiyama Kakeru 西山走 and Ms. Ohno (Ono) Hikaru 大野 ひかる.
- Aug 13th:
- 10:00 am~ 12:00 Review of Sanchin, Tensho and Superinpei
- 2:00 pm ~ 5:00 pm Kaikan review.
- Aug 14th:
- 10:00 am ~ 12:00 Review of Sanchin, Tensho and Kaishu Kata.
- 2:00 pm ~ 5:00 pm Review of Kaishu Kata.
- Aug 15th
- 10:00 pm ~ 12:00 Training by class (grade)
- 2:00 pm ~ 5:00 pm Seiwakai Dan promotion examination for overseas members
- 6:00 pm International Exchange and Sayonara Party at the “Grand Palace Kawabata”
August 9th, 2023 – Wednesday: Week 1 Begins with Training and Camaraderie marking the commencement of our training journey on this Wednesday morning. We gathered at 9:00 am, eager to dive back into the fundamentals, perfect our hip movements, and relish the warmth of camaraderie as we reconnected with old friends.
Our morning session revolved around meticulous refinement of Gekisai dai ichi and Gekisai dai ni, along with the intricate Kata Saifa. These kata standards were revisited, ensuring precision in timing and, for some, introducing crucial corrections. As we began our training, our ranks numbered 135 members, with more on their way, not to mention local participants who, though unable to join us on weekdays due to work commitments, share our passion. Among them are Takahashi Hanshi, Saito Kazuhisa, Takahashi Shihan, Watanabe Sensei, and several others. We eagerly anticipate the arrival of more old friends in the days to come.
In a testament to the intensity of our training, a few of our dedicated members began to feel unwell during the morning session. Swiftly, they were transported to a nearby clinic for treatment due to heat stroke. Safety remains our top priority, and we wish them a speedy recovery.
Each year, beginning with the Seiwakai Gasshuku and later at the JKF Gōjūai seminar, we encounter new, revised, or modified kata details. While these adjustments can be challenging, particularly for newcomers and less-experienced participants, they serve a crucial purpose in enhancing our collective knowledge. I, too, welcome these annual changes and diligently document them in my Kata Logbook to ensure we continue to evolve in our practice.
At noon, we paused for a well-deserved 2-hour break. During this time, many of us ventured to the nearby post office to withdraw yen from the ATM and then to the local 7-11 for lunch. It’s important to note that 7-11 in Japan bears little resemblance to its American and Canadian counterparts. Here, it serves as a hub where many people enjoy all three meals of the day, and the store maintains impeccable cleanliness both inside and out, adding to the overall convenience of our training experience.
The event continued with dinner and drinks broadening the friendship and bond of attending members while being entertained by an old classmate of Fujiwara Shihan who has become one of the premier Saxaphone players in Japan.
After the dinnerware was cleared from the tables, a few announcements were made which included the distribution of Shihan licenses to:
- Pager Pal Attila – Renshi
- Michael Beardwood – Kyoshi
- Johnpaul Williams Kyoshi
- Roderick Martin – Kyoshi
- Michael Patrick – Kyoshi
- Vassie Naidoo – Hanshi
While some will continue to celebrate into the late hours of the night, I’ve chosen to retire early to bed. I’m well aware that the travel day ahead is always a demanding one, no matter how experienced I am at making the journey from Ōmagari station in Daisen Akita to Ōsaka Nanba 大阪難波.
In past years, when Ōsaka Gōjū-Kai hosted the JKF Gōjū-Kai taikai, the event took place at a venue known as the “Big Whale” arena. However, this year is a departure from the norm, as we’ll be gathering at the Edion Arena Ōsaka Nanba 大阪難波, a venue that I’m not yet familiar with. Nonetheless, I’m eagerly anticipating the chance to reacquaint myself with the vibrant Namba district, where the arena is situated.