We did not go out or socialize much in the states. There was my regular Kung Fu family gatherings, and some Chan gatherings, and the occasional sailing activity gatherings. However as far as hanging out with people few and far in between.So of course being the new kids on the block we do so less here. We are however little by little making connections with folks here. Some who have been very helpful even though not met yet in person, like Karamatsu-san who if not for him I would not have been able to start Kyudo here when I did. Which is my main pleasure since coming here being boatless, broke and all. Recently there is “Sencho” we met him in Alameda and helped him with some issues he was having with his boat and all since he did not speak English. Recently he returned from his sea adventure and we have been in contact. He needs to return to Tahiti to pickup his boat and wants me to fly there in Feb to help prepare it for the trip back to Japan.

He and his Lady friend came by to pickup us the other night. It is unfortunate they live a fair distance away in another part of Osaka, because if not for that I could be making music with them on a regular bases. Anyway they came by and took us to meet a couple of their friends who live nearby us wh also have boats at a nearby marina. We were to have dinner on the boat. Our first boating meal since arriving. 
We met at the Marina, it was a cool somewhat rainy evening. Yet that did not stop some of the local fisher-persons from lining the dock and enjoying the moment. 
We meet up with Sencho’s friends at a sailboat boat called Tokimo. Nice 34 footer. 
We gathered below and had Yosenabe with drinks. It was a comfortable evening and enjoyable evening even with my limited Japanese. They said it was our welcome to Japan party.

All of us are around the same age and weirdness levels. It was mentioned from Tokimo-san, the owner of the boat also called Tokimo, ( like me called Zen and the ZenCat, Zen) that I could sail his boat, if I was not traumatized from our sea adventure. I said I was not but i need to get my Japanese license first. Still we have an invitation to sail with him. 
We also have the invite with Sencho when he returns from Tahiti. So one day my sailing life will return. In some deep part of my mind I would like to own another boat and explore the inland sea. For now though that seems like some fog in the distance as for now, my dreams are surviving living day to day with only Kyudo as my bright spot.
Another unexpected treat though from the dinner meeting is another of Sencho’s friends who was there plays Sakuhachi. He has been doing so for five years. We plan on playing together the next gathering. It seems like this group of buds has fairly regular meetings it seems like once a month , for dinner, drinks and tales. I have been playing my Sakuhachi for more than 10 years on and off, but not really knowing what I am doing, other than making sounds and improvising songs. It will be good to sit with someone who is trained/skilled. 
A side note; spoke of also on the boat was my getting stop by the police. It would seem that it is not just a case of BWF (Biking While Foreign) but an issue Japan is dealing with, bike thief in general. Yes, shocking even Japanese steal. Far far less than America but , there you go, people are people.
Another version of “friendship” would be under friendly acts. Our neighbor, not the Oba-chan who tried to push her way in just the other day and I checked her ! This is our other neighbor who I call One-chan, she gives us, fish when her son catches them also vegetables. She noticed that I like plats so has been given me several pots of flowering plants, including one called a Jade Plant which the Japanese consider a money bringer. Similar to the Lucky Bamboo in Chinese thought. Too bad neither of which work :-)Another kindness recently was from a shop owner, will two really. Both of which happened whilst biking my way home from Kyudo. First one, I stopped at a local produce stand. We have lots of little farms in the area. I stop at this stand to check out some veggies prices. I did not have much money but i though i would perhaps get some onions or tomatoes. I got a small basket of tomatoes, at a cost of $2.00 (2,000¥) for four. After paying the owner gave me another basket for free!. 
The second came also riding home on another day. I have noticed this shop where there are a lot of water plants out in front and on the side of the building. The two times I had been by the doors were closed. This time i saw them open and stopped. I went in an the owner was there with his wife and kid. I spoke and asked him about the plants and if I could buy a few. He said no, he would give me some for free! Wow ! I bow and thanked him. We went out to the front and he got out several and put them in a bag. I asked if they bloomed and the wife said purple flowers. Excellent my favorite. He also told be they do not like the cold. It did not occur to me to ask what he did when it turned cold here, because Osaka does get cold. I think he meant freezing cold if I was had planned on taking them somewhere else. I may stop in another time and ask about that. I will be putting them in a container which i can move inside if it turns too cold this winter. I will keep an eye out his to see what he does if I do not see his shop open again when I go by. For now I have a spot picked out in the yard for them. It will be in a temporary plastic tube which I will sink into the ground and surround with rocks until I can afford a nice ceramic pot.
Little by little my garden comes together. This is one of the nice things about house living rather than WaterWorld life. My recycled bottle tower garden is also doing well. I am looking forward to warm weather next year to get it really cranked up with herbs and veggies. Even the few I have growing now have been nice to add into the few meals I make. LZ is a great cook, but I do the stuff with the herbs and spices.
On the last note on friends, for now. I am off to a Zen meeting this coming Sat, with my friend the Sailing Zen Master. I have been to his practice temple before and met with the head priest. This will be my first time at one of their sessions that he does the lecture. He has a lecture once a month. It will be interesting to see the Japanese version of Rinzai which is from my Linji family of Chinese Chan. 
To be continued…

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