In joy there is sadness – stuff

In joy there is sadness, I am sure I have said this before. A Zen master told this to me, told to him by his Zen master. There visual graphic of this is the Yin/Yang symbol. With in darkness there is light, within light there is some darkness, or negative within positive.

We received our shipment of stuff the other day. It had been almost a year since it was packed up an sent to storage. Almost 11 months to narrow it down. It was a big job to move things in a pack it all into our small new home. It was like an early Christmas getting of stuff. Little treasures, things forgotten, things looked forward to seeing again, memories. 
It a way it was kind of overwhelming having that much stuff after being without for so long. An example is the amount of clothes I have. When I was working as a designer I needed to dress more, when I worked as a manager I also needed to dress more. When teaching almost everyday I needed a regular change. Then after being a sailor, a clerk in a recycled boating supply outlet, and an asst Harbormaster, and a sailing instructor I needed to dress up rarely. Now after being a sailor on the sea and living on a boat for over a year and a half. I needed less clothes and got used to it. Now, not working, and very little need to dress up , almost none and doing without for so long it seems silly to have so much. I was given three dress suits, I have three dress overcoats, dress shirts, etc, etc. the sweaters will come in handy, as well the warmer clothes, but I should do a re-evaluation on my current dress needs.
On other items, I have a load of music CD’s and VcR tapes with nothing to play them on. It is nice to find that my stereo works here, so having music on demand it great, as Japanese broadcast radio sucks. However I wish I had kept my VCR player to watch some of my old collection from time to time…maybe. I do have DVD’s I can watch on the laptop and play my CD’s there as well, besides having a large collection on my iPod which plays via the stereo so I can rock the house when I want. That may freak out the hood though 🙂
I am hopeful my Bass amp works here as well. Although, I am bandless. Which is one of those dark spots, one of those sadness points. The band, music activities I had hope for have more or less fizz out, at least without a car. The two places I can go to at least get in some Jam time are about two hours by train, at a cost of around 20.00. At lot of cash on a low fixed income for two. Then there is the even if I can land a gig, the trains stop at 12:00 am , how will i get home, much less with my equipment. I can make my rig portable, but there is still the train issue.
Also nice to get all my Kung Fu equipment. Now I can round out my practice and get my weapons skills back on par. The weapons give practice time a little more flavor, spice. So now with that stuff and my music equipment, books, CD’s, ceramic, prizes, the ManCave is up and running.
Anyway, it was nice to get our stuff, now if completes the move and we feel like we are finally all here. Having things of memories around gives one a homie feeling. At the same time after unpacking it is more noticeable this things that were lost on the boat. That brings back its own sadness besides the ZenCat lost in itself.
So the move is done and now to adapt the changes those planned and perhaps more importantly those that were unplanned…reality.

Organic powered urban transport

The Environmental neutral socially correct human organic powered recycled urban transport vehicle, which I call the ZenBike was purchased today and immediately became a fully functional prime player in the Zen clan urban mobility platform by relocating the Team Zen leader from Kyudo practice to home base in an 1.5 hour, 9 mile premier transport endeavor. It was a successful mission. This means now with some effort and dedication I can attend Kyudo practice twice a week for half the price of before paying training fare. I get in more practice and get in some cardo-work and leg work. It is a win win situation until it rains or some other foul weather event.


On the subject of Kyudo, I received more instruction on my Tenouchi, first from Watase-sensei, then more clarification from another. I think I figured out what is what now. I was told on a couple of occasions to straighten my arm at Daisan then keep that into Kai with the elbow out not down. Watase-Sensei said, elbow should be down in Daisan so the shoulder doesn’t rise, like what you are doing, then in Kai push with the thumb, “tiger’s mouth” rotate the elbow out and straighten the arm more. The Ya should rest on the base thumb bone. Also I should maintain the Jumonji more (better). So I went back to the Makiwara to practice instead of at the mato. Another Senior helped me. I think I understand now, he also had me turn my wrist more to bring the thumb under the Ya and push. Of course understanding and doing are two different things, so I need to put in some practice on that. I have a large Gomeyumi I can work with that may help some until I can get back to the Dojo later this week or early next. I have to miss class training on Thurs, because our shipment is do in from the States, yay! Finally! 
Good timing on that, warm clothes, another blanket, my instruments, books, music, and Kyudo gear. It will finally feel like we are settled in our new home. If feels more that way now anyway, since we have it more outfitted, but the addition of our “stuff” will top it off. Still I will miss the things lost on the ZenCat and have to remember to keep a non-attachment mind.
Otherwise beside the lack of a job, other than an offer to go to Tahiti for a week in Feb, things are well. Even as another Typhoon approaches Japan. It has been almost one after another this season. If we had continued the crossing this would have been the time we needed to be heading to Japan or spend the winter in Micronesia. As sad as the lost is, this may have been the best path.

Return to Nature

I spent two or three days this week watching the TV show the Walking Dead. It was good! We got a free month of a movie internet service, so I got my TV / Movie fix on. After a solid couple of days of that I needed a break….seriously.

I headed out to hunt and gather. What you may ask…Well to start, rocks. I headed to the local beach which is covered with rocks. These are for my Zen garden. The rocks are fairly big river rocks, they work for lining and covers. I will finish up with small pebbles once we can spurge the funds, or put in beach sand. Which I can gather from another location.


While at the beach I took time to smell the roses, as it is said. In this case it is smell the ocean. It was nice to just sit near the water again and reflect. It is also nice to be so close to the water only about 20 min of walking. There was however a moment of sadness, seeing the sailboat tied up in the little fishing harbor, and wondering where the ZenCat is and all that was lost. If setting up a new life here is better or worse without it is still up in the air.


After gathering a few rock for the yard project and starting my walk home. I had time to reflect on another part of the yard project. vegetable and herbs growth. I had seen a youtube video about growing things in old plastic soda bottles. It is called the tower garden. I looked into some containers at the dollar store, as I was not going to go buy soda for the bottles. Also we use filtered water and do not buy bottled water. While walking I came across the idea of hunting and gathering from the trash the hood puts out on trash day. Simple and free. I was not too keen on the idea of raiding the trash but still I could explain. Then as I was walking close by the house I passed by an apt building… BAM there was my source of free no hassle bottles, in the recycle bind. I grabbed an already bagged , bag of six plus one extra and continued on homeward bound. I had my rocks and my bottles. And came across a good future supply of bottles and can do my part for recycling…Cool or what!


So whilst I am doing my return to nature thing in the garden, the neighbor beacons me to follow her to her place. There her son is sorting out fresh catch fish. She selects a few for me. LZ returns home from the market at that time, but refuses to even touch the fish, so it is up to me to clean and de-bone the lil fishes.


An unpleasant job , but someone has got to do it. I call upon my childhood learned skills from the time in the country and get to work cleaning after I finish my gardening. Yup a real nature day in the hood.

Return to Kishiwada

 Home base Kishiwada…
A week later after my introduction visit to Kishiwada, I returned, with LZ in tow. There were things that needed to be asked, explained, that were over my head as far as language skill. I did the intro thing and she first spoke briefly with the Kaisho. The Higher Sensei, Watase-sensei was not there yet. While she waited I changed and was directed to the Makiwara by, the Kaicho, Nakasuji-Sensei
Watase-sensei showed up and spoke in-depth with LZ. He wrote down all the needed information on a form. Meanwhile I shot with the group, received some adjustments and in general merged with the group.
I Chatted some with an English speaker who wife was Go-dan, but he did not do Kyudo. He only came that day to met and talk with me. I was his English practice. It worked for me as he could fill in some things I needed and wanted to know. Like there is no official class, everyone there is just practicing and the upper ranks just give guidance and encouragement. One joins the group and pays the Gym for use of the space At 1.50 per hour, one can come as much as they wish. If someone is there of a higher rank, you may ask for guidance or it maybe just given. If it is just one or two people then there is some respect given for the privacy of just practice. I did receive a suggestion also on when was the best time for me to come, based on the high quality of the Senseis also there at that time. 
One thing I have notice in my visits to these four different Dojos is the higher ranks seldom wear kimonos unless they are very high ranked, and even then it may only be a colored or striped Hakama, or there is some event. Most are understated in appearances. Unlike in the states once one get the rank of Yon-dan out come the good clothes. I thought that was standard, however seems to be an American thing. 
 A woman, who was there from my other visit, passed out cookies she brought to class. There was no tea but it felt more like Banpaku in vibe. I liked it.
Later I find out the only bit of complication with my entry is with the AJKR. I could join the Kashiwada Group no problem. however it would take some time to get me setup and entered into the Local Renmei. This had to do with timing, researching my old affiliation, and general filing, etc etc, part of which was being the first foreigner to join this group at Kashiwada. Not that it was a problem, it was said, it was just new and needed to be sorted out and put into the system or something. With all that was involved I would be unable to take my next test until June. Not a major let down, only a small, which gives me more time to practice and be sure my skills and comfort level where up to the task. Aside from that my Official Kyudo life in Japan was a go now the work begins.