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.