This N That, that n this

 Today make sit one month since we moved into the Hood. It may seem from my last posts that the only thing that is going on here is Kyudo. LZ says I am lost in Kyudo. It is my pleasure and drive for now, mostly because it is the only thing I can do, and even that is limited, but there are other things happening. If I still had my boat, I would be exploring the islands.  Oh well not my Karma for now.

 
A couple of weeks ago we went to a local fisherman market. That was interesting. It was at the Aoki marina, did I write about this? Do not recall. Anyway the prices were good, the items fish. Some of the fish still alive. There was one bit of grossness and kawaiiso, it that some fish were skinned alive, and gutted. One was even still swimming no skin, no guts. 😦
Another bit of kawaiiso is seeing squid, cut up and eaten alive! Yeah i know the food chain bit and we are still animals this is way most animals eat, still for a vegetarian and person of compassion, seeing that suffering is sad. We found out today there is a cheaper fisherman market near our house, we can walk to so save money on the food and the fare.
 
 
I have a job arranged with a local community center, the largest and most know around I am told. Only thing the classes do not start until spring. Teaching Kung Fu , Qi Gong and Meditation. I will need to set up a Tai Chi class elsewhere, which is the one class I feel will do the best. I need to change to approach to the Kung Fu class to make it more doable for seniors, which is the main draw of these day classes I am told. There will be a couple of trial classes to see what kind of interest is there. 
 
 
We have been getting some information on this area. LZ says it has as much old shrines and temples as Kyoto but much less crowded, advertised and hyped. Once we get more settled we will take a tour of the area. Our things we had in storage are on the way to Japan. So by the time the fall colors arrive I should have my serious camera and can get some cool Autumn shots.
 
 
We went to our friends house the other day for dinner. Wow a great house they had built. Overlooks the water, three floors, mostly wood decor. He even has a small tea room, where he does tea ceremony. It was very cool and the veggie dinner was  Oishii. We arrived at 6:00 and just made the last train home at 11:45. Why is it they stop trains in a modern country at 12:00am , earlier in some places is beyond me. I heard it was because so maybe business men would stay out all night this was the governments way of a light curfew of sorts. It is a moot action if they have a car or can afford a taxi!
 
 
Kung fu practice at the shrine of nice. Except for the mosquitoes. It is also nice not having to step on ants of several type while practicing as I do not  see any there. Also just the bib of the place is good. Once it cools n down more and is too cold for mosquitoes it will be really nice. Right now the natural repellant is not working that well, so I wear long sleeve shirts, gloves, and a cap. It feels stupid in the heat , but it is better than the bites. Although a couple of the little blood suckers have bitten through my socks and I have crushed a few trying it on my gloved hands. It is kind of a challenge to make the killing strike within the movement and flow of Tai Chi movements.   
 
A bit on Kyudo, I found out the person who I spoke with at the Kishiwada Kyudojo last Thursday, who gave me the ok to join and was helping me with my shooting is the Kaisho!! Sugoi! LZ has job interview this week. If she is not working , i will take her to Kyudo practice this Thursday. I got the impression they wanted her to come by to fill in some questions I did not understand. That will be helpful to get the full details on what is what there for them and me. On the other hand if she does get the job that will make life a lot better for us and I can do more Kyudo! As it stands now I will need to cut down to twice a month to stay somewhere near the budget. 
 
 
Spent the day working on the new website for Osaka Bay Shaolin Holistic Heath Assoc. it is almost done. At least the basics are there in Japanese. I kept it fairly simple unlike past sites. I believe the Japanese market will not care about all the background on the different styles of Tai Chi or Kung Fu, just the benefits to them. The Chan (Zen) aspects need more verbiage as it is less of a follow along activity, that needs more explanation. Anyway it is coming along. I will be also doing a site for personal English conversation class/practice. There is link being developed for that with the Martial Art venue as well.
 
There was a monthly blues Jam in Kobe on Sunday. It is put on by some local musicians. I got an invite! Problem is Kobe is quite a ways from our place, therefore expensive on our current budget to go. Beside having to leave fairly early in order to catch the last train home. There is that train thing again, what a pain! As much as I wanted to go, it would be fun, it maybe beneficial to meet more local musicians, logic needed to win, and the sacrifice made not to go for the benefit of the big plan and peace of mind and home. There will be other times to get my beat on.
 
 
Chilling footsteps of Winter treading
Approach in the distance beyond the hills 
Future California dreaming … winter’s day
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Life is change

  There is a picture of the Shrine Dojo, in the spring with a cherry tree in bloom over-hanging the view from the shooting platform. I had looked forward to seeing that. Even to a lesser extent seeing the romantic view of snow floating soundless to the ground between the whizz of flying arrows…a much much lessor extent, I hate being cold!. I was shattered when the bubble broke… I am past that now. As one floats in the charms of a new promising smile from alluring woman, after a broken romance. 

 

 

 

Arrangements were made for me to return to Kishiwada Kyudojo and meet with one of the head Sensei. LZ spoke with him on the phone. I went in today as agreed. The Sensei was not there. I spoke with another person who I showed the note which was for the other Sensei explaining who I am and what I wanted. I figured out this person was in charge in some way. he said ok.  I then called LZ on the cell. She spoke with him. Turns out he is something like the manager or head trainer, something. Again I was told everything is fine I can join in. This person shows me where to change over behind the judges booth. I did not have to go downstairs to the dressing room, this is where most changed. I saw other bags around.
 

 

 
As I was changing another person shows up and also starts to change. He looks familiar but I could not place him. I thought I was just tripping. Then he says, Fuu-san, something something Banpaku. I was surprised and thought I had met him at Nogami Sensei’s Dojo, but that was not it. He said something I did not get explaining, so I let it go and we just exchanged a few other words.
 
While this is going on another man shows up, in a suit with the head guy. He says something brief, bows smiles says sumimasen and takes off. I have no idea who he is. I see him once again in a little while he smiles and says Ganbatte and leaves the Dojo. I am thinking huh?! I briefly think he is the guy Nogami Sensei spoke with. Now another guys comes up to me in a full dress Hakama , the kind those of serious rank wear and says something. I figure out he saying he is the one LZ spoke with by phone. There was a lot of discussion among several of the members , some of it asking me stuff, like were did I register with the Renmei, was I a member of Bapacku  etc etc? Anyway after all was asked and figured out I did not understand most of it. I was directed to shoot. But first there was a lot of shock at the size, length of my Yumi and Ya. 🙂 I explained it was a loaner , mine was being shipped from Cal. Up first the Markiwara, I was checked out for a couple of shots, I was then given some correction on my tenouchi. The new way felt weird but they were pleased and it worked so, onward.
 

 

 
Next I was directed to the Mato. I worked with what I was told on the new Tenouchi and hit first shot. I had felt all eyes upon me while I was making ready. But I did not look, it was confirmed when I heard the clapping when I hit.
I did another two shots, which were not as good, but that’s ok. I was making some adjustments and receiving some instructions to follow. Push more toward the target with my left, straighten my arm more. More arch with the right when pulling. That sort of thing. Helpful stuff to improve my shots. Usually my best shots are the first after four my strength level drops and It takes more effort for me to shoot, my quality drops. I need a little lighter bow. I can still shoot for a while but the quality drops. I figure for a full class or day of shooting I should use a 13.5 or 14kg Yumi. I think my first bow was a 14 when new and dropped to a 12.5 after a couple of years. I can shoot a 15-18kg but not for long periods I am finding. Or I may need to do some upper body training again. Work with some heavy weapons. Like the Quan Do or a iron bar for a staff. I do not know how that will affect my bum shoulder’ which is also part of the problem.
 
Anyway I am looking forward to getting back into full training. We are hopeful that LZ or I or both of us land a job, that will free up some funds so I can attend class more regular and set up my home Makiwara dojo. 
 
 

 

 
 
Also looking forward to the arrival of my gear from the states. I have two Yumis coming. One I may sell and buy a lighter one for extended shooting. It will replace the one left on the boat. The other is a good class and testing bow. Not too heavy , not too light, both are Bamboo. I am considering a fiberglass one for the lightweight. I want to do the RSD Tanuki ceremonial 108 Ya New Year shoot for 2014, representing Japan, also the 100 Ya World Shoot. I really need a light bow for those.
 

 

  
As far as the shrine views. Oh well , it will be even more pleasant being warm while shooting, 
 

 

 
 
 
I can enjoy the seasons view on the walk through the park to the dojo.
 

Return to “Zen” Kyudo

  When I first started Kyudo, I joined a school that had no ranks. It was like Kung Fu, you knew it or you did not. You where a student or a teacher, many times if you were smart and wanted to grow you switched from one to another, teacher/student. Because you still had your own teacher, besides the student in front of you which was also your teacher in a different way. “One teaches , two learn”.

 
My desire was not for rank it was about being a better Kung Fu teacher. That may sound weird but there are qualities within Kyudo which carry over to Kung Fu. Kyudo is another form, another face of Kung Fu. As it is another face of Chan/Zen, as is Kung Fu. Different side of the same coin. The Yin and Yang Of Zen/Chan. Movement and stillness. Kyudo is this combination of both stillness and movement at the same time. Well so is Zazen, Tai Chi and the rest but I think you get my meaning. If not, then you need to practice more and spend less time reading about this stuff. 
 
 
So with that in mind I figured I could learn, enhance my “Fu” teaching skill and meditation practice with understanding the form and formlessness of Kyudo. When it was decided for us to move to Japan, I found the form of Kyudo I was learning was not acceptable in main stream Japan for me to go somewhere and practice train, grow. I needed to learn main stream Kyudo the Renmei system and I needed to be a certain rank in order to freely practice. So began my Renmai quest. If you have been following this blog and the predecessor you know that story already.
 
Now during this time in the states I still shoot with people of other styles that only were interested in the “Zen” aspects of Japanese archery. I recall one friend saying to me on our last shooting together, ” shoot for enlightenment”. Now there is some raised eyebrows about being enlightened via Kyudo. I do not shoot to be enlightened, though I do not question that it can not be done. There are those who become enlightened carrying water, a knock on the head, blowing a flute or a word. So it is possible. I also believe there are degrees or mini enlightenments, which come sitting, moving, singing, watching a cloud, sailing etc. I shoot to practice oneness, being in the zone. Like sitting, because I can and it helps my Holistic wholeness.
 
However with recent events I have become aware that I had lost that purpose. I was drawn to the darkside of the force. Seduced by the Rank demon. My drive was more about passing to the next Rank, making up the failed test, moving onto the next, than simply being better, smoother, more in tune, more Sanmi-Ittai. 
 
With our waning finances I needed to stop and reassess my motive, my push, my obsession to rush to the next test. The event with the Shrine Kyudojo forced me to look at that. It was not about training to raising my skill, it was about my ego, at failing the San-san test, the darkside of myself pulling me, pushing me to test again, Use the little money we had, which we needed for important things for the high of the drug pride. Getting my ego a fix. Most likely I would have failed, and wasted that sacrificed money. Because I would have been trying too hard for the prize.
 
 
 This is the danger of the lost of the Zen mind when shooting, the draw, the seduction of the target, perhaps what is meant by the target is self when shooting, Going beyond that desire to hit. It is at the least a form of it and I can see the value of no rank yet at the same time the value of the test, the challenge. Kyudo is like sitting Zen, not just from the focus of achievement of Sanmi-ittai , but also over coming the demons of ego when shooting, like over coming the demons of legs cramps, itches, the monkey mind when doing sitting Meditation. As well as facing self, the true self, the good and the bad and dealing with them both in their varied forms.
 
Finances, circumstances and logic have forced me to slow down my quest, to re think, reassess my practice and return to the Zen way. To shoot because I can and the joy of shooting, the pleasure of the zone. Testing will be postponed, until I do not have to force myself and strain to make it happen, financially and spiritually. Besides overcoming the attachment to passing. When I shot at the world cup in Tokyo I placed in the finals because when I shot it did not matter. When it mattered to me in the finals my aim was not true.
 

When an archer is shooting for nothing he has all his skill.
If he shoots for a brass buckle he is already nervous.
If he shoots for a prize of gold
he goes blind
or sees two targets
– he is out of his mind!

His skill has not changed. But the prize
divides him. He cares.
He thinks more of winning than of shooting
and the need to win
drains him of power…Chuang Tzu

 

It has always been my philosophy when I have to force something it is not the “Zen” way, I need to back off. When I forced onward on the ocean it cost us the boat, maybe later it would have been our lives. I was forcing toward the test in Nov. the incident at Kashita was the Universe’s way of saying, Dude slow down! Go back to basics…

So I am backing off from pushing to test in Nov. I will make the connection I need at Kishiwada Kyudojo, with Yamashita Sensei and focus on just my improvement.  Also building my makiwara Dojo at home. When I can hit without thought, without desire, without care, I will be ready for the next level. For now I need to return to Zen Kyudo and targeting my self…and finances

Kyudojo 4 of 4…endings

  There are two Kyudojos in my near area. One is the only indoor Dojo in Osaka it is called Kishiwada. The other, Kashita, is part of a shrine. I had been trying to connect with Kishiwada for a about two weeks now. 

 
As the Kishiwada is part of a large Budo /gym facility we can only speak with the front desk. They do not have set time when the Renmei people are there. I guess they come and go at well. Seem like there is no set time as far as we have been able to tell more research is needed I guess. Nogami Sensei has given someone of some rank the heads up that I am going so at least that is set. It is a matter now of contacting this person Yamashita Sensei. Away on Friday I decided to take a trip over to Kishiwada on my own. Just to check things out and know the location. It was a good move the place is not that hard to find, but it did take a bit of walking after a fairly long train ride.

 
The place is huge. It is inside, I guess the city gym, which has in it a Budo center as well. Like Senshinkan but not as traditional looking. I went in looked around a bit to get my bearings. Then went to the reception desk .  
Doing things like this are always an adventure with my poor Japanese, I guess I am kind of ballsy. The man who helped me was very nice. He took me through the steps on buying a time ticket signing in and showed me to the changing rooms. He came in several time to check on me. Once I was done he took me up to the second floor where the Kyudojo is located. It was empty but for one woman.
 
 
 She was only there for a short time after I arrived. We spoke some in English and Japanese. She was nice. Then I was on my own for the next hour or so. I went through a few shots. 
 
 
 
I practiced what Nogami Sensei told me last time and tried to make good use of my two hours, with the Markiwara and the 28 meter shooting. 
 
 
Towards the end one man showed up and worked on the Markiwara. He did not dress in a Gi, but from just watching him on the Makiwara he knew well what he was doing.
 
Once in the dressing room again a couple of guys wanted to chat with me some. They were not Kyudoka, but found it interesting that I was and being a foreigner and all. Pretty common, everywhere I go there is that, and most are friendly. It was a good afternoon. I made my way back to the train station after looking around the grounds a bit. Now I feel more comfortable in what I thought would be an occasional winter practice grounds.
 
 
 
End of the Honeymoon
 
 
On Sunday I returned to Kashita. The plan was to officially join the club and get some practice in. I was a bit surprised to find it busy, since the last time I was there, there were only a couple of people. I was met by the young man who I spoke with before. I was invited in and he showed me where to put my gear. I asked about a changing room and was told right here. Which was right in the Dojo , in the open, next to the door, next to some shelves. Hmmm ok. It is a small place, I thought, even with the girl it was not a big deal I did not have to get naked, and have changed like that before. Yeah, I am kind of modest, anyway… Since she was a regular she must be used to it, so ok, “when in Rome”…or Japan
 
I started to change, off with the jewely, layed out the gi top and obi, etc. I changed in the Gi top and was putting on the Obi when I was approached by someone of rank. I do not recall if it was the Sensei who I spoke with in the beginning or not. Anyway he was telling me something important. I did not understand any of it, but I could tell it was serious. I said I did not understand and he explained more. I still did not understand his words, but I was understanding this was not good, from the couple of thngs I did get. So I repeated, what I could understand. “I could not practice today”. I did not get the details and was not sure if it was somethng special happening there, because there was someone with a camera and a printer also alot of high rank guys it seemed like. He the Sensei showed me a paper I that I understood explained things. I tried to call LZ but could not get through. At any rate I quickly changed and left, the Sensei, the girl who I met last week and the young guy all bowed saying sorry. I did as well. It did not feel good. I was quite depressed on the ride home.
 
lZ read the note. It said that the Kyudojo is inside of a Shrine but it is private owned. They, the members of the club were open to having me join, however the owner they were told, yesterday or something, said no new members. They, club members said they did not understand why, but they had to follow the owners wishes. I have seen pictures of signs and heard about No-Gaijin policies at places. My first encounter I guess. Growing up in America discrimination is not new to me.
 
So much for the all open arms welcome in Japan.
 
Reality says hello
A slap in the face
Honeymoon is over…shattered 
Knocked down 7
Stand 8
 
 

Kyudo 3 of 4

  Once upon a time, not that long ago I wanted to start Renmei Kyudo after, when in Japan I was given unasked for private lessons by Nogami Sensei, a Hanshidan. Something that is spoken of as unheard of in the States. That level of mastery helping even a San-dan much less a non-ranking pond muck from an outside school, and not being at a seminar.
I looked around and found a Dojo near me, I asked to come visit with the idea of joining. I was denied. Reason being I could not attend every Sunday because of my job. This was a reflection on my committent to learning Kyudo. Call again when I can commit I was told, we can talk then.
 
I looked elsewhere. I contacted another school with a high ranking Sensei. I was told by the contact person, I would not really fit, theirs was a real martial art school. This was based on seeing the word “zen” in my email address. Since he was not the head person I went anyway to visit, thinking, this is rude, but maybe just a test. Afterwards I was told, a new student was just enrolled, the Sensei’s teaching quota was full, try another time.
 
I looked elsewhere. I joined another school run by a somewhat rouge Sensei. That year I went to Japan to attend a Seminar.   I passed Shodan and won third place in the Kyudo World cup.  
 
 
Now back in Japan I have visited three different schools. At each one I have been welcomed warmly to join. I will be scheduling a another Dojo visit this week. I expect no different with the welcome. I even have an advance introduction from Nogami Sensei to a high ranking Sensei.
 
The numbers of the US Kyudo membership is low. Not wanting to post like a hater I ‘ll just say without mention of other things… Somethings make you go hmmmmm….Just saying.
 
I will be joining the Kashida Shrine Kyudojo…Yatta!
 
 
They are a small club, the farthest south in Osaka. Something about 20-30 members, many of them old. I was told there about 20 active members. This Dojo is about a 10 min train ride and 10 min walk from me or about 30 min via bike. I was told there are no formal classes at the moment but there are several Renshi and higher ranks attending regularly, I will have no problem with getting guidance. 
 
 
There is a small yearly membership fee to join the Dojo which runs from Oct to Oct. Since I am starting now, I can attend free (other than a small use fee of 3.00 a visit) until Oct. At that time I will need to join in order to test in Nov. I will be able to take the written test in English. I was planning to start practice today , however with the monsoon upon us and needing to use public trans, walk to and from the station, the dojo mostly open. I followed my Feng Shui school’s advise for those of the year of the Tiger today and mostly stayed home.
 
 
I will still be visiting the other Dojo where I have an introduction from Nogami Sensei. It is the only indoor Kyudojo in Osaka. I think it will be good to speak with the head Sensei there, that way I can have another connection and a place to practice that is warm in the winter. I do not have to join the group in order to practice there, just a visiting day fee per hour. So I will be all set soon. A home club, plus a visiting location out of the elements and contacts in high places. Success often comes from, perspective, timing and who you know…Yosh!

 

Kung Fu’n around

  A couple of weeks ago when we moved in to the new digs, I went to visit the local Shrine just around the block. It was an old place, several monuments(?) on the ground. The ground themselves we spacious. Large enough with trees and open space to be a nice place to practice some Fu. I was unsure how it would go over though. I certainly was not just going to go and start working out, it did not seem like a public park setting. I figured on some point to ask permission. No sense pissing off, the locals and the Spirits.

 
A few days ago. LZ and I went over to the local large Mall. She was handed a flyer about some misc classes that were held there at the community center within the mall. She showed me the flyer and she called about me teaching some classes there. There was a Tai chi class already, also Karate, and other misc stuff. I figured will the Tai Chi is just three times a month I can do better than that. I can do a morning class or whatever. She called and an appointment was made for me to have an interview.
 
 
On the way to the interview we walked past the shrine and she said , lets stop and ask now since I am here with you. Ok, said I  we went on the grounds and did not see anyone. We went to the main shrine rang the bell and paid our respects.
 
 
 
A man comes up afterwards and directs us to the little house by the entrance to see the caretaker. We spoke with the couple living there who are in charge. They freely gave me permission to come in and do my thing over on the side, as not to interfere with the shrine. The area is just where I had in mind. The woman says there are a lot of school kids that go by here, maybe some of them will be interested in learning from you if they see you doing it. Mission done. 
 
 
On to the interview. As it turns out. The Tai Chi class is not that popular. Not because of lack of interest but because the is some famous guy teaching fairly close by, for less money. Hmmmm ok. However she was interested in me doing a Kung Fu class and a Qi Gong /Meditation class. The downside that I see is, most of the interest will come from seniors. I do not see many seniors come out for a Kung F class. However she did say there was one before but it did not last. Some came but dropped out. Pretty common. So we will see, maybe I can set it to be of interest to elders, when I see if anyone comes to the sample class. The Qi Gong class should be fairly simple to do, if there is interest. I can do an hour class on that, stretching, breathing, balance, and Chan meditation. My Chan Sifu would be pleased to have some practitioners in Japan. Will have to see what the Tao has on the path.
 
 
The search will continue for a Tai Chi class location. It was suggested that we try some of the local community centers, where a cheaper price could be offered for classes as this place is on the higher cost side. Anyway it is a start. 
 
 
Tomorrow I go to another shrine where there is a Kyudojo to ask about classes, joining, the test in Nov and practicing…yosh!

Water world revisited

   If I knew this was going to be an ongoing thing I would restart the Zensekai 2 water blog. However no telling when I will get back on the sea again. This weekend past was a surprise. I was contacted by Aoki Yachts to attend a instructor meeting. Of course I jumped on the chance. It was a two-day event.

 
It was a stormy weekend with a Typhoon expected. I was not sure what would happen, but it was not cancelled. I arrived Sat afternoon for part one. There was the standard business talk about the state of school and the like, including the Zen 24 boat which I was dealing with in the states. Now there is another newby, the Zen15 a cruising dinghy. This was recently entered in a race and came in 6 out of over 70 boats. 
 

 

 
Next up were introductions from the members. As the Aoki school has several branches not everyone knew everyone else, including me. Introductions were made a round the table. I only spoke a little saying my name and my Japanese was poor so I deferred my intro to Yoh Sensei. By the way this meeting was held all in Japanese, so I did not get all of it. I did find out later that several people there spoke English, one person sat next to me and translated the important parts.
 

 

 
The topic of discussion was Crew Overboard drills, how to rescue someone who fell overboard, the ways of locating them, and how to get them back onboard. I will not go into details since most reader will not care. Anyway several methods were discussed. After lunch the meeting was taken down to the boats for a demo on how to use equipment  to get some poor sod out of the water and back on the boat.
 

 

 
 
 
After a full day of this, we had dinner on the patio deck. Good food, laughs, awards, gifts and smooth jazz. It was a good time.
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
Part 2 on Sunday was modified a bit due to the rain. We met inside for more discussion , then went out on the boats to practice live rescues. I was expecting to use a fake person, some obect and was quite surprised when the guy on our boat jumped overboard. This made it real, getting him back onboard. We tried several methods and positions. I had a turn at the helm. It was a good sail.  Light conditions, easy handling boat. I wondered sadly at times, where my boat is now. I did have a few stray thoughts about one day having another boat. Perhaps a 24 ft Yamaha to explore the islands. It is good to have a dream.
 
 

 

 
 
The wrap up of the day came later. Those who wanted to went for a sail on their choice of the ZenBoats. I am not big on dinghies and I have sailed the Zen24 solo so I passed on going out. I sat on the dock of the bay, not really wasting time, but enjoying the moment.

The Hood

  Day 3 we have most of our ordered things to live. Basic inexpensive, plastic, vinyl covered, dollar store items, but usable and fairly well made. Basics. We wait for the frig now, good quality one and for internet. 

 

 

More rain today, but during a break took a walk through the hood. 
 
 

 

 
 
I walked down to a nearby shrine to see if it was a place I could practice TaiChi. It was a fairly large place with decent grounds, but I did not a sense people went there to hang out like a park, however i will ask next time I am there. Another day I will explore further in another direction. I did find a shorter way to the main road which leads to the train station.
 
 

 

 
Once back after a short break next I did some yard work. Pulling weeds, I put on repellant oils first having learned from the other day. The front looks much better now free of the overgrowness and I have better idea how I want things to be designed as well as how the Kyudo Makiwara will fit.
 

 

 
Next, LZ is heading off to the dollar store for some shopping. There is a custom in Japan the new folks go greet the neighbour with a gift. We had met several folks already. One was very helpful , she refused any gift, when she came by to drop off some information for LZ about trash pickup she calls out it is One-chan, we like her.
 
 
 

 

 
Anyway today we go to pay respects to the Obachan on our right. We had briefly met her when she came out to say something to a delivery guy the other day. LZ told her we would stop by to introduce ourselves. LZ was on her way out so said let’s do it now. Ok i say. This person’s house looks like a horder lives there. Piles of stuff around door, in the yard. Part of the yard has an enclosure built on it, it is full of stuff! We go to the gate, and LZ sends me in, she stands back, with the kitanai face. I go WTH, I  can not speak to her. Ok , the woman comes to the door. Looks at me, I speak, bow,  then point to LZ , she remembers now and starts talking and smiling. Ok. She continues to talk and tell us how long she has been there, her husband passed away 55 yrs ago, etc etc. on and on, LZ is slowly inching her way back into the street, as do I . The woman continues to talk and follow us out. Finally LZ slips off, and I think I can also, saying yoroshiku. However the woman follows me, still talking. I go into gate , open it and go in, she follows!! Then looks over the yard and says something about how I had cleaned it up. She picks a potted plant off the wall I had placed there and moves it. I move it to the ground. Still she is talking about some flowers she had, that were growing everywhere! I say sugoi and inch my way to the front door. She continues to talk and follow. I step inside and let her talk for a bit, then say again arigatou, yoroshiku and close the close. Wheew. Relief, but I have a feeling this will not be the end. This is not good!
 
About 20 min later she is back. As is the custom of country folks she just walks in the house. Saying ojamashmasu. I stop her at the entrance. She asks for LZ I say, she is out shopping. She then tells me about the local shopping store one is cleaper than the other and on and on. I say ok. Then she says something about tea. I did not know if she was inviting herself for tea or asking me over for tea. Etherway, not what I wanted to do. I explain I do mot speak much Japanese. She asks where I am from, and tells me she has been to Brazil before. Blah blah. Ok. So I say I am getting ready to take a shower. She corrects my usage of the word, I think, then finally leaves. :-(. This is not good, I am thinking. I lock the door this time.
 
Some 30 min later she is back. Good move locking the door. I see and hear it is her, I do not answer the door. She goes away , but mulls about outside in the street doing this and that to the flowers across the way. I watch from upstairs, thinking oh snap! I will have to be rude at some point! This is not good!
 
Sometime later, Onechan sees me and comes over. She asks if I understand Japanese, I say some, and she then tells me basically the next lady is weird, watch out for her. I say, yeah, I figured that out, thank you.
 
Sou na, welcome to the hood, it is real!
 
 
 
 
 
 
So, the internet people show up. They need to do some, major installation to get us hooked. Run cable or whatever it is to the house from the street. They are doing the hookup outside, the Oba-san comes out and is talking to them, chat chat chat. We have the front door open so they can work. She walks in to the house and talks to LZ. She now has access, she walks into the living room, looks into the bathroom, walk through the kitchen. She is ready to walk upstairs before LZ stops her! LZ says a few polite things about cleaning and being dirty, the Oban-san leaves to go talk to the men outside again. 
 

 

 
LZ comes and tells me about it. I say yup, I will need to be rude at some point. I can/will do the I do not speak Japanese card only so far. There are advantages to be a Gaijin. I have low tolerance to being imposed upon in my home, even by crazy old ladies in da hood. 
 
 

Rain

Rain falls hard and soft

Grass beat down with yin and yang
Morning meditation brings refreshed gratitude
 
 
—-
Day 2, our first day after a full night in Bamboo Manor. Our night was quiet and restful, there are no ghosts. No feeling of weird energy. That would, should have been pickup up the first visit, but after a night one knows for sure. The rain has arrived. It rained most of the night and is continuing now into the morning. If we had internet and a frig it would be perfect. Internet comes on Day three, the frig, we’ll see. 
 
 
There is an in-floor icebox, that we are using to keep a few things cool and we get free ice from the market. It would be nice to have the unit from the boat now, along with the other stuff, but this our karma. We are dealing with it.
 
 
More things arrived today, due to the help of Okasan, table, sofa, toaster, washer, stove. 
One issue has shown with an old house, the doorway are so small. 
 
 
 
 
The door from the kitchen to the back shed is too small for the little washer to fit. We had to lift it over the fence and slip between the buildings, lift over the propane tanks to get into the rear outside door. 
 
We spoke with a few of the folks in the hood today also.
—-
 
 
Now looking like a home. 
Rain falling still, wetting mailman on scooter
Lunch completes the feeling…gratitude
 
 

Going Up to the Country

  Many of you, the few that are still following this blog,  I noticed the count has dropped. Which is funny, funny like weird , not haha, I thought more would be interested in what was going on in Japan , but I had more overseas followers when in the states. Now seems there are more readers in Japan. Sorry I digress. Where was I ?… oh yeah, many of you will not know the title of this post came from a famous song, one of my favorites from the sixties by Canned Heat. Yes,  if you did not get that already, I am a Hippie, a Love Child. For some reason we have a bad rap now a days, which I do not get because all we ever wanted was for people to get along, help each other. Make love not war. We stopped a war and had great music. What are the last few generations claims? Sorry I am on a rant and digress again
Hmmmm anyway. Que the music here*
 

 
Finally the time arrived, we are moving home, to our new home to be correct. There was suppose to be a typhoon coming or happening, but it did not. There was a bit of rain but not much, we saw some on the train but never got wet.

 
Ok, we started out before noon as we wanted to beat the storm. We walked loaded down with stuff. Not as much as when we had to make our way from the rescue ship to a motel in Long Beach. Also different stuff for the most part, but still stuff. We were able to ship things we had gathered since landing. Still we had, had two pull suitcases, two “boston bags” ( i do not know were LZ got that name from), a yumi, an arrow case, my shakuhachi and an umbrella. The work horse, me, had the most of course. 
 
We walked about 15-20 min to the train station that was the hard part. The ride was easy, even at two hours. We went one extra stop past ours in order to get the key for the house. Afterward was another fair bit of work as we had to go up and down several flight of steps to cross to the other side of the train tracks at the station. Being out in the  country the was no escalator. The last legs was another 20 min walk to the house. We could have taken a taxi but we have to watch our spending. If it was raining we would have bitten the bullet and paid the cab.
 
We finally made it to the house after tracking our way through the hood, down a few back alleys and small streets. Yatta! 
 
There was no time to celebrate, there was still stuff to do and LZ was ready to get busy. I wanted a break and I took one. After the argument and my break I set about helping to clean. Little by little things started coming together. However now it was around 2:00 and I was hungry after having a lite breakfast. I could see the sign of a large shopping area from the second floor window. I also fairly knew the location having checked out the map. We set out for the store.
 
After about 5-10 walk we were there at the what appeared at first to be a market and the dollar store next door was defunked, closed , out of business. We were quite surprise to find once inside it was a mini mall, food , clothing, dollar store, drug stores, and smooth jazz on the sound system, excellent! We were more than please and so nearby. The prices were good! We did our one stop shopping. We could not get much in the way of food because it will be another 1.5 weeks before our frig arrives. LZ has a deal with an internet provider for new customers one could get a new Frig. It is some kind of new fiber optical service they are pushing. The hassle of no frig for a couple of weeks saved us several hundred bucks.
 
One thing I took note of was while in the shopping mall, no one paid me any mind. No one stared, very few even looked at me, not even the kids. This was quite surprising for a little town on the outside of the countryside. Even if they are fairly use to seeing gaijin, doubtful of my hue. Kind of a nice surprise and a good sign.
 
Ok so back home we eat, clean several items that had been order and our shipped boxes show up. We do some unpacking and misc stuff . We had not meet any of the folks in the hood as yet. We will do that later. I did do a bit of weed pulling around the front door. I could not stand the overgrowness. For my efforts I was attacked by thirsty blood sucking mosquitoes. Next time I will know to put on my repellant oils. 
 
As night fell so did the rain. Fairly hard it was nice , but only lasted a short while. One thing I noticed while I was standing in window was I could see into the house across the street and there in one room were several guitars. I have a guitar player on the hood! I hope he is a grown up and not the son of the house.
 
So all in all it as a good day. We finally have a the home we planned on. We are grateful. It would not been done without the help and compassion of our friends and family. Now onward…yosh!