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