2013, NewYear’s Eve 108 Ya

There is a Buddhist tradition of ringing a temple bell 108 times at the end of the year for the 108 “sins”. A friend of mine a Buddhist monk and Kyudo Sensei came up with the idea of doing a 108 arrow shoot at the end of the year. The last 3 years we at my small private Dojo joined in the tradition. This year as far as I know there is one Dojo in Canada, one in Thailand, two or more in the states ( three I know of, one extra maybe not be using the 108 name), me in Japan. Kind of cool ne!


Maybe next year there will be more as the word spreads.

I started around noon at the Bamboo Mantis Hidden Makiwara Kyudojo. There was rain in the morning, I thought it was going to put a bummer on the day but, as hoped it only lasted a short while. Around noon I was able to start.

After the rain it was fairly sunny and being dressed in layers it was reasonably comfortable. I started the morning with my usual meditation, and a bit a yoga, since it was too ugly to go outside for Tai Chi. Then setup to shoot.

I had a pretty quiet practice for the first part of the shoot, the first half, 54 arrows. My helpful neighbor, the one who is nice to be around, just stopped by for a short comment about the new bamboo plant I had acquired. I dug it up from the riverside she had told me about. It is a nice addition to the yard space.
After 54 shots I took a short lunch break with some hot tea. It was good to rest my shoulder and drink something warm. It was comfortable outside though still. Two pairs of socks, thermo underwear, several long sleeve shirts with a wool sweater, and a turtle-neck all worked to keeping me in the warm zone. Still I was surprised to find I was after several shots getting even more warm from the non stop shooting effort.
It was a peaceful practice, then the Oba-Chan, the rude, from next door showed up. It was like a cloud covering the warmth of the sun on a chilly day. I was polite and said konnichiwa, and kept shooting hoping she would leave. She then started talking about what I was doing, hitting, etc. she tried to walk into the yard for some reason. I told her no, she still kept coming pushing the gate open and trying to walk in. WTH! Now I stopped her! Frimly! Saying it is dangerous and re-closed the gate in front of her forcing her back. Unbelievable! She is not a bad person but, pushy, a pain in the butt for sure. Once I did that she stood outside the gate saying how the shooting was difficult, hit in the middle and some other things I did not get or care about. I tried to ignore her for the most part and kept shooting. She opened some crackers from her pocket or somewhere and started eating whilst commenting…I continued to ignore her. I took it as another level of practice, a test of my concentration. Tuning out the distractions and focusing on being only into the shot, mindful. After what seems like forever she left. The warmth of the sun returned and peace settled upon the Garden. We in the garden breathed a collective ahhhhhhhhhh of gratitude.
The rest of the practice was peaceful. I did not get a full Yugaeri, but a couple of times I did get a half way. I was able to get more comfortable with a, I believe a proper Tenouchi. The calluses on, my thumb and little finger are on the right spots so I must be doing something right, I guess. Another thing I put effort into was not dropping the left hand and expanding open upon hanari. One thing I noticed after a while was how I needed to make a mental effort to stay balanced and centered on my Tanden and not shift weight focus to my legs, more so the right leg and pushing rather than stay centered and separate, expand from the center. As I grew more tired I would push from the right leg. So even though not shooting the 28 meters, it was still a learning experience.
I also found out my yard gate makes a perfect Ya holder whilst shooting
I also know I can shoot about 20 arrows in 30 min. This is a good gauge to know for practice time.
It was a good sense of a completion to finish the shoot. I did the 108 plus 1. Really though I did a couple of extra over that just for good measure. 
Once finished I posted the results to Facebook to noticed the other participants, the Japan delegation was complete. The Bamboo Mantis Hidden Makiwara Kyudojo is ready to ganbarimasu for 2014!
Next up in February, if I am not in Tahiti , the “Iron Man 100 ya shoot”, maybe they changed the name to the “Blackwell 100 Ya challenge” or something, in order not to sound sexist, since there are females shooting as well.
New Year Eve night:
My first year end in Japan. The New Year change-over is so different than in the states and I guess the over all western world. In the US we can tell when it is time, by all the at minimum firecrackers, pans banging, etc. Here in Japan all that was heard was the sound of a Shrine gong ringing. It was nice.
New Year’s Morning, I made breakfast. Potato pancakes, cream cheese, smoked salmon, tomatoes, garden veggies and herbs. Not. Tradition or anything, just something I wanted to try. It would have been perfect with Mimosa! However tight budgets have limits, and one can still be grateful and enjoy simplicity…or I guess in this case minor extravagance!
Hidden-Mantis copy
Akimashite Omedetou Gozaimasu!! _/|\_

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