Spring growth

When we last left our adventurer he was in recovery for some shoulder injury, awaiting results from the Heart Chan meditation sample class, planning on the sample Kung Fu class, recouping from a fun night of partying with the Gaijins in Kobe and viewing Sakuras.
Speaking of which, my post on Sakura received 60 some hits for readers. Almost a record. I am sure it had to do with the name Sakura in the title and it being that time of year, the interest is high. It does tell me that there are at least some 60 people who know of this blog and with the right topic will read.
My biggest read hits was 80 something. That was because I posted a link on a Kyudo board and the post was about Kyudo. I rarely go to that page anymore. People do not stay on topic and it is full of fixed minded “experts”. They read to respond, not to understand, and OMG if you say something about Zen and Kyudo, their panties get all knotted up, even if they only know about Zen from something they heard or read, not from study or practice. Anywho, ( breath) that is another story. I digress…This post is now. ( exhale)l


As it turned out the lone Sakura picture taking worked out just at the right time, the next day or so it rain , it poured. there were still flowers left after the rain but not as full as the time before. So it was a good choice to grab the pleasure of the moment. Time and Sakura wait for no one.
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There are other trees starting to bloom now, I found a couple of smaller ones in bloom on the way home from Kyudo. Another case of enjoying the moment I am sure that also has changed with the rains that followed. It is good I carry a small camera with me. I see a group of trees lining the river bank near home that will be in full bloom soon. Another photo-op awaits.
I went to Kyudo the other day. It was a good session. My arm gave me very little concern. I got as usual some guidance from the Kaicho, but I must be getting better. The corrections are less. Still I need to open more, but it is better than before. He took a close look at my right hand tenouchi and said nothing. So that must be ok. He looked at my left tenouchi and said nothing, so that must be within acceptable parameters. The main things I got from this session, open more at Daisan. I am still a bit closed and push more toward the mato so my left hand does not drop. I only got a couple of hits out of three groups of four, however my shot groupings are better. I think that is an improvement. With more practice and another couple of Physical therapy session I feel I will make good headway. On another note, I found out that Yamashita Sensei and Watashe Sensei are both Kyuoshi Rokudan and the Kaicho is Renshi Godan. None are at Nogame Sensei’s level but still quite good, especially for a lowly Ni-Dan. I will pass to San-dan this year, the goal for next year is to test for Yon-dan in Nagoya! As suggested by Karamatsu-san over at Mu, I will regard these exams, I will not call them test any more, but exams of my progress to my higher goal. Also there is no reason for me to hold myself back with that small vision of Yondan.
I met a woman at the party the other day in Kobe who said, she tested 7 times for Sandan in Kyudo. Finally she passed. At that point she quit. She said she was tired of being the “token” gaijin. She has been here for 30 some years. I found that a bit strange of a statement. I guess if you are always part of the main crowd being a “black sheep” can be unsettling, after a while. She is a German, I said even if you are here for 75 yrs you will still be the Gaijin. Her only response was yes, I know. I have dealt with that in one form or another, being an anomaly everywhere all my life. Therefore I am mostly jaded, and here will use it to whatever advantage I can. You can not change the wind, but you can adjust your sails.
Nice Segway ne?!
I have turned in all my paperwork for my Captain’s lic class and test for next month. Everything is a go. I will be training the week of April 21st. afterwards on that Sat i will catch a flight to Okinawa to sail a boat back to Osaka. I am hopeful for good weather. It will be at least comfortable temps. How the weather will cooperate otherwise, will be up the the Universe. The good thing is this is for the most part Coastal Sailing and about the same distance we covered going from The S.F. Bay to Mexico. We will not have as many stops , however there will be another two crew members. So I will have a lot less pressure than I had with concern about LZ and her lesser strength. Even though she did hang in there when it was tough, it was hard on her. With two men it will, be less of stress on everyone and more sleep time available. I will be the Captain even though I am new to these waters. So i will have to start planning now for watches, galley duty, navigation, etc. Yoh Sensei is counting on me to pull the off. I am guess since i have done some Coastal sailing on the Ocean, even if the crew has experience local and have their licenses already I have the real Ocean experience. I am told by LZ Okinawa is not all “that” but I am still looking forward to it. Along with the three or four land rest stops. I had wanted to make the sail from Okinawa to Osaka on the ZenCat , before we figured out it was better to go direct from Saipan to Osaka. I was told by Yoh Sensei these deliveries will be part of my job there with the Aoki Corp so I will be getting to see varied places around Japan via boat which was what I wanted. Sort of even better it will not be on my dime…er, yen in this case.
Kung Fu:
The sample class went well the other day. There was suppose to be only one person attending the opening session. As it turned out there was three. Two girls joined in at the last moment. I did not have LZ to translate however I felt it went ok. Everyone was relaxed and they the girls laughed often, it was a low key class. The other person who had originally signed up had taken the trail from me before. However the day it was offered was not good, which is what I figured as well. This was a better time spot. No one has come back to pay the enrollment, I think the girls were just trying something different for a bit of fun. To bad , because three would have been a good size and they could partnered. However the office is expecting the guy to return to sign-up. I said upon their inquiring that I would teach a class of one. For me it is a start and not about the money. It will give me a regular time and place for my practice, have a partner to train with and establish a group here for my Kung Fu system honoring my teachers. With a regular location and even a student of one, it can grow.
We received a call from the cultural center tonight. It seems the Chan meditation class is a go. There is only one signup. However as with in the case of the Kung Fu class it is something. Another stimulus to advance my Japanese. Also another step for Shaolin Heart Chan development here in Japan. Something that both Shifu and I wanted. Again just a small start but a start. Overall not bad for being here less than a full year. I will need to spend some meditation time on how to maximize the class with my small language skills. Perhaps some small hand out for each class. This will help guide the student and prepare info for future students. It will also push me to increase my skills within my own practice. Another small problem with this student is she is hard of hearing so I need to speak louder. Being usually soft spoken to speak louder in another language will be in itself another personal challenge.
This is still fairly unknown territory. It seems the blues scene is fairly big here at least around the Kobe area. However, from what someone who was involved in that scene for several years told me, it is more of a blues as in interpreted by Eric Clapton, Johnny Winters, type of blues basically through a white filter rather than straight up blues. Not that I mind, because old school blues can get tiring after a while, blues all the time. Anywho, most of it seems to be happening in Kobe, about a two hour train ride for me. Yuk. Even that is not too bad but, i need to leave early enough to get a train home. That is an issue. However i am thinking once i have some fairly regular income happening i will make a trip to Kobe once a month to the open Blues Jam, to get in the mix. The up coming benefit this month should also help get my name out there. The little gathering last week resulted in meeting and re-meetiing a bunch of locals so that is good my Facebook contacts grew a little, with some musicians. So yeah once i can afford it better I will come out of the countryside to mix it up and add some funk flavor to the blues Jams. I would like to find some peeps to do a New Age Funky Jazzy blues rock band, that would be cool. At least to play, doubtful if there would be any work, but it would be fun, maybe the off time concert or something gig. That would be ok. Maybe work on some originals to record. Sigh, that is a reach but, reality starts with a dream.
Working with the earth is a good thing. Growing veggies and herbs, even on a small scale really gives one a sense of connection with life and the Universe. My garden is coming alive with spring. There are flowers blooming. I do not age a lot but the few are springing into bloom. They were given to me by the helpful neighbor. 
The veggies I planted are taking root and springing up. I have a few bees that hang around here. That I find comforting, with the issues the bees face, I feel I am helping in some small way. Not doubt not enough to really make a difference but you never know. My Maple trees are spring to life. One has some flowing buds. I am surprised at that I thought they just put out leaves, but this one has some flowers.
Spring in Japan is great all the flowers in the yards are showing their colors. I can understand the sense of the four seasons here after going through the winter, even though mild, and now seeing spring and new life cycle. Schools start here at this time, a friend told me he feels this is really the beginning of the year, not January like in the States. now is where the new cycle begins.

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