One week. I'm a little sad.
Yesterday, packing and cleaning during the day, then to the dojo. A bit of training, then a very nice farewell party.
Senpai Yuka's mother, it turns out, is a bit of a traditional apparel expert; she actually gives classes on wearing kimono. (Yes, it's complicated enough - at least the women's one - that proper wearing is a subject of serious study.) She produced hakama and proceeded to wrap Rob (the Australian sankyu guy who recently arrived and works for KIS) and I up in them. Should be some good photos.
They gave me a Kansai Seido T-shirt, which I think will be the envy of everyone this summer. The Maryland Seido pins I had hoped to give Senpai Kuwa and his family hadn't arrived yet (but I think I can adapt the plan and still get them there), but I gave the dojo the Daruma figure I had brought over. It was my "I want to go to Japan and stay for a good while" Daruma, so this seemed appropriate. I looked up the kanji, for "Nana korobi ya oki" and made a little inscription on the back in Sharpie. Also freed up some space in my luggage by so doing...
A couple of the little girls made cards for me that are so kawaii I can hardly stand it. Will have to take photos of them and include here when I upload to the blog.
I hope to see them all again this fall.
Today, trucked over to Tennoji with a box of books (part one of two) in search of a yuubinkyoku (post office) with the magic "M bag" so I can get the (significantly cheaper) book rate in shipping my mini-library home.
I figured, get to the station, find a wall map, locate the Tennoji post office, and bam! mission accomplished. But when I found the map, there were several POs shown, and none was the Tennoji one. Hmmm. Then I noticed that there was one in the station. Hmmm, probably not the one I want, but maybe I can get info about where the one I want is.
"Sumimasen. Kore wa, hon desu. Koko, M-bag arimasu ka?" Pardon me. This is books. Here, do you have M-bags? At least I hope that's what I asked. Blank look. "Ano...Hon. Special rate. Kaban, hon..." (That's "hon", pronounced "hone", not "hon" as in the Baltimore "hey, hon, how 'bout dem O's?")
After a couple minutes, she pulled out a binder, poured over it, we had a little dialog in my broken Japanese and her much better (but not fluent) English, and figured out that I needed the Tennoji post office - which was near the Shitennoji (mumble mumble) subway stop. So I lugged my box down to the subway, rode up one stop, found a map, and it was smooth from there. Godspeed, my paper friends! See you back home!
So we start to close it out here. I had thought about trying to get out to Toyko, but the money and time is short, and it makes more sense to hit it in the fall - come a day early for the tournament, fly into Toyko, see a bit there, get a JR one week or 14 day pass, shinkansen to Nagoya, do the tourney and events., shinkansen to Osaka. (The Jr pass just didn't make sense this time, for longer stay without a specific plan to go here now and there then and know what week or two I'd want to freedom of the JR rails.)
Random note: so, last Saturday, I rode back from Nagoya with Senpai Kuwa, Senpai Masaki, and one of the local students. We rode in a minivan (not sure who's), that had TV screens in both the back and in the dash (common here). After a bit of flipping around, they put on some pro wrestling, which is about the same here as back home, so I got a kick out of that.
Then, a commercial - for a musical. _Hairspray_. Yes, my friends, Baltimore's own John Waters is big in Japan. Makes me proud. B'more, represent!!
Went down to Den-Den town after handling the mail today. Wandered around window shopping, ended up not buying anything except a little omiyage for Joe (think I found something useful and appropriate). But electronics browsing there is quite a thing; I might bring extra cash next time to buy up some used gear and resell back home. (SAL shipping might make this practical.)
So I keep hearing "Tomu Kuruze - Rast Samurai!". (Getting that now as I drink a few at Cinquecento.) Guess I need to see the movie when I get home. A few weeks ago, talking to to some Nihonjin guys at The Cellar about karate, some, of them said "I think you are 'blue eyed samurai'". Which is cool, except of course that I had to point out that my eyes are, in fact, almost as brown as any Nihonjin's.) Still, a nice complement.