What a weekend!

What a weekend!

Friday, Atsuta shrine, home to one of the Imperial relics, the sword supposedly passed down from the first Emperor. The shop there was selling shinzens and many many of us bought one for our dojos. I also got some hama-ya, the arrow talismans that I learned about on my first trip here. I got to explain them (and the little bit I know about Shinto) to other Seido members - Kyoshi Akira overheard and said I should be getting paid as tour guide.

Then a shopping trip to the Osu neighborhood. There was a big temple there, the Osu Kannon temple - Shingon, very fancy and ornate, not really to my taste but nice to stop by. Chanted a few rounds of the ten line Kannon Sutra to say hello. Had a good shopping expedition, including a nice scroll painting of Daruma - getting that and the shinzen home will be tricky, think I'll ship them.

The best, though, was a guy I saw in a "bazaar" in the shotengai. A pile of old stereos, a wall about fifteen feet long hung thick with cables and wires and tools, and in the middle of it, an old Japanese gentleman, balding, in tacky sports coat, hunched over a circuit board with soldering iron or files, restoring old electronics gear. a denki Buddha of sorts.

Went out with some of the crew from South Africa that evening, some Indian food and a walk on, the streets, falling in love with beautiful Japanese girls.

Saturday, kata competition. There was a great opening with a local matsuri dance team. I judged in the morning, then competed in the "master's" division in the afternoon. A fantastic dinner party, then when I got back to the hotel I ended up going out with the British contingent to the pub for a beer.

Saturday, kumite. Did my match - didn't win but I gave my opponent a match, which is the goal. Long closing with taiko drumming by a local kids team, demonstrations by the kids group and some of the black belts, speeches by Kaicho and by Kyoshi Akira and Jun Shihan Toshi. A nice closing party, another beer at the pub. Got back to the hotel and packed my bags.

Today, after I checked out, a bus tour out to Magome and Tsumago, a stretch of the of Tokaido Road. A nice hike - even if it was a chilly rainy day. Gave us the path pretty much to ourselves, which was worth it. Beautiful view!

Such a trip. Walking with new friends from South Africa and Israel and the UK; seeing old friends; teaching a little bit of what I've leaned about Japan; even playing translator a few times, for very simple things.

Now on the bus back to Nagoya; my shoes are wet, I'm sore and tired and very happy. I'll pick up my bags at the hotel and then off to Osaka this evening.

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