Happy May Day! What does may day celebrate anyway, hmm... hold on a second. Ah ha, May Day is International Workers' Day that sort of started in the US when workers wanted shorter working days. People always say shorter hours, but hours are hours, unless of course you say that you work for 45 minutes then take a fifteen minute break. Americans are notoriously overworked. Some European countries have a lot less gross hours over a year and hardly any overtime put in, their economies aren't quite as stable but still we could cut back a little even after 150 years after the first strikes to get "shorter hours."
I am really tired of school. This is the best week though. It's Finals. Finals means no homework, other than studying, and shorter hours compared to a job. The rest of the weeks at school are cumbersome with all the homework that has to be done outside of class, hence homework. I really don't like homework, when I have a job there will only be some overtime, no homework. And then I will retire... but that's way far away when I'm 60 or so (~40 years), a blink of an eye or less.
Saturday and Sunday were awesome. The kendo tournament did not go well for me but this my first one and I need to practice more, a lot more. I won one match in the team matches. I got one point and it was good and solid. The good thing about that point was that it was against someone who had a higher rank than me. Unfortunately on Friday night during practice I developed a blister on the bottom of my left foot, right in the center of the ball as big as my thumb. I tried to tape it up for the tournament but by that time it had created a bruise right under the toes so it was very painful and threw off my concentration(excuses, I know, excuses). I was able to concentrate on Sunday for the rank test though just because I put it out of my mind. After sliding around a wooden floor for about three days I popped it and today I was able to get back to training with no pain what-so-ever. I will have to be more careful next time before a tournament or a test. The criteria for testing were simple: 30 hours of practice within a consecutive amount of time, I had 60, know all nine bokuto kata or nihon kata, I know all nine of them plus the waza names for instance number nine is uchiotoshi waza. If you want info go visit the Wyoming Kendo site. And then be able to do basic things such as kiri kaeshi and uchi komi geiko. We tested in groups of four and Iwakabe-sensei (the head sensei for Rocky Mountain Kendo) said that the group that I was in did the bokuto kata the best! That's an excellent comment from Sensei. I hope I made 5th kyu, the second rank, but I will be happy if I made 6th kyu. If I didn't make rank then I will practice much harder, but as people said, the real requirements for making 6th kyu is that you can stand and breath. I can do both and attempt to show my best kendo skills at the same time so I definitely made 6th. My parents were able to come watch the tournament and finally see what I was talking about when I said kendo. Although I have a few complaints about how the tournament worked, I'm preparing for the next.
The Japan trip is coming up very quickly. We leave in a week and a day. I will have access to computers while in Japan so I will try to update as often as possible. I've been hearing only good things about this trip and am eagerly looking forward to it. I am going to make the class a little bit tougher so that it will meet some senior level course requirements but as I said before, I will do research on the correlation of the bushi, warriors, and Zen Buddhism. I might trhow in something about how this compares to others such as merchants and ninjas, I don't quite know yet.
Last, but not least:
"Overlook nothing regardless of its insignificance." Number eight of nine basic attitudes for a warrior from Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi as translated by Stephen F. Kaufman. I like this one particularly because I hardly do overlook anything. I notice when something changes, say for intance knowing that my roommate has been at the house by seeing the melting pattern of the snow on the sidewalk where his car left a shadow while the rest of the snow melted. Although sometimes I will notice something is different but not be able to pinpoint it, only rarely though. If you do not notice the signs then you may be trapped, that's from me as far as I can tell. There are many situations that are life threatening or just embarrassing that can be avoided if you can see and recognize the signs.
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