It's been nearly a month since Japan and most is well. I hope that I can go back, but now I should be focusing on more relevant problems such as my space grant. It is so easy to procrastinate in wonderful Laramie. The weather is nice and cool even compared to Japan a month earlier. But it's a tiny bit dry with the foresters for different agencies saying Wyoming and the rest of the west is about a month ahead of schedule for wildfires and extremely dry conditions.
I worked for a day on a construction site. They had me back-filling curb on a track, did that for about nine hours with small infrequent breaks on a very sunny day. I recovered from the soreness for the next week. The wierd thing was that I did some Kendo during that week and while doing Kendo I didn't hurt at all. Hmm... good I guess, although who knows how much longer my recovery took because of Kendo.
Speaking of Kendo I was able to go to a dojo in Takarazuka, Hyogo, Japan. Not the one I was looking for but still a very nice one and closer to the college. Yuko, my host sister, took me to the Takarazuka sports center and to the Kendo-jo inside. I was just going to sit and watch the class when the head sensei, Nakao-sensei, came up to me and handed me a shinai. Through Yuko he asked me to demonstrate some of what I knew. Great! Then everyone stopped in the calss to watch. Even better! So I did some basic targets, in street clothes, and kiri kaeshi. Then one of the other sensei worked with me for about an hour or so.
Afterwards I was invited to drink cold green tea with the sensei, three or four of whom were rokudan and several others godan(6th and 5th respectively), and a student who had just recieved the rank of ikkyu. Nakao-sensei told a few stories about some of the foreigners he had taught and how much they had improved over their stays, both in Kendo and speaking Japanese. One of his foreign students called mochi, pounded rice made into confections, Japanese chewing gum. They gave me a dojo tenagui (sp?) that was purple with the phrase Brotherhood through crossing swords, or something similar, in white kanji. I was invited to join them again on Wednesday to practice for an hour-and-a-half. I went on Wednesday and had a great time. I never found that other dojo, although the map said that I was very close.
I suggested the dojo that I visited to Beth, a girl in the Wyoming Kendo Club who is going to go study for a year at the college we visited for three weeks. She will definitely enjoy it I'm sure.
I will tell more stories later and throw up a few pictures.
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