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batemanb's Blog Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 09-28-2005 03:07 AM
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 27
Comments: 2
Views: 110,595

In General We Need 4 Large ones!! Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #9 New 09-30-2005 12:13 AM
My last training session in Japan this trip, Going to Nakano dojo tonight, the hombu of our association (within the Aikikai). Sugiura Sensei, Nojima Sensei and Kaicho will all be there. Sad that it`s the last one, but kind of glad, it`s costing me a fortune in laundry bills at the hotel to get my keiko gi washed, 2000 yen each time (10 quid or $20) same price as one of their “yummy” breakfasts which am now avoiding as the local Starbucks is 75% cheaper and far more appetizing.

Work drags, well, I`ve got to write up these blog updates haven`t I? I`m late, gotta dash back to the hotel, pick up my freshly cleaned, and pressed keiko gi, yep, they do at least press my gi when they launder it (suppose that makes it worth 2000 yen then), and then get over to Nakano................

I get there just in time, Matsumoto Sensei doesn`t remember me, but then why should he? “Oh,......... BRYAN!!”, he remembers, or at least makes it look like he does . Class begins and .............................. everything just turns to the proverbial brown stuff. I thought after 14 years of practice I`d at least be able to offer a passable attempt at doing this stuff, but no, not tonight............

Before long, “Bryan!”, Matsumoto Sensei calls me up, “It`s been a while” he tells the class, “Bryan`s from England”. “Tsuki…….migi!” he says, I step and punch and hit the floor like a ton of bricks.......thank you god, Nikkyo! Matsumoto Sensei then puts me on my knees with another Nikkyo and holds me there whilst he explains to the class how the idea is not to cause pain in the initial stages, but at this point, uke will try to stand, or punch, or step forwards (yes, I had to do all of these multiple times), which is what causes the pain, bloody hell, does it!!!

I last the class with no adverse effects, other than a sore wrist of course. I motion to Sugiura Sensei “drink?”, he shakes his head, not today, I have to return home. I bid my farewell to Nojima Sensei and thank him for everything before going to change. Sugiura Sensei`s waiting for me outside by his push bike, and accompanies me on the way to the station........

“There`s no one at my home tonight” he says, “but there`s 6 beers in the fridge!”. “Bryan, you will come to my house!”. What can I do.......?

I start walking at a brisk pace, trying to keep up with his bike. 3KM later, yep, a 2 mile walk back to his house!! And we`re stopping at a vending machine to buy more beer, “just in case” he says “we need 4 large ones!”. “Very famous chef in Nakano now, very interesting recipes!!” he smiles .

We arrive at his house and he pulls two frozen glasses from the freezer (something tells me he was expecting me to be here ). We crack a bottle of beautiful ice cold Sapporo Black Label beer, the first of more, pour it and ..........the glass sticks to my lip...................................(nah, not really, but it might of done ). He leaves me at the table to drink whilst busying himself in the kitchen. A stew arrives, Konyaku (kind of jelly stuff made from potato flour), pork, chinese leaf cabbage, mushrooms and Tobanjan, or togarashi or shichirin or some other bloody hot, spicy, chillied ingredient. “uh uh uh uh uh uh......” I gasp and wheeze as the first piping hot spiced up morsel lands on my tongue. “Is it OK?” he asks, “fine” I mumble, “just hot!”. “Spicy hot?”, “no” I lie “just hot hot!”, which it also is. More beer goes down................

I love coming to Japan, I fell in love with it when I first came here in 1995, and have been back at least once a year ever since. 15 trips in 10 years, including some extended holidays of 2 or 3 months, and a 2 year transfer with my company (that`s a whole story in itself but it definitely ain`t going down in writing ). The thing that surprised me is that despite supposedly having a gene missing that helps them absorb alcohol, they can drink for England, I mean, we`re the supposed lager louts (or so we`re led to believe by the press ). Coming to Japan can have serious repercussions on the old liver...................

Quarter to midnight, I finally have to leave Sugiura Sensei, he wants to walk me to the station. We get half way when a sandal breaks. “Bryan, I have to go home, my shoe is broken!”. “Next April I will go to Germany on business” he says, “If BA, I will of course visit you in England, if SwissAir......”. “SwissAir!” I exclaim.......”I will try hard.......,no! OK then, I promise that I will come to visit you in England next April!”. We shake hands and part, I look back after 10 paces, he is still standing there waving and bowing............
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