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moon in the water Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 04-26-2010 11:46 PM
niall
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the water does not try
to reflect the moon
and the moon has no desire
to be reflected
but when the clouds clear
there is the moon in the water
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 155
Comments: 1,110
Views: 629,858

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In Humor how to cross a bridge Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #98 New 01-21-2012 10:53 AM
how to cross a bridge
janken by Hidetsugu Tonomura



Give me today, for once, the worst throw of your dice, destiny. Today I transmute everything into gold.
Friedrich Nietzsche

Caesar:
Alea iacta est inquit. - The die has been cast, said Caesar
Suetonius, Vita Divi Iuli

Don't let your right hand know what your left hand is doing.
Matthew 6:3

Let's play rock paper scissors. Mail in your answers, and let's see who won.
Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report



The other day at a formal new year party everyone had to choose small gifts. In Japan if people have to choose about something between themselves they play rock paper scissors. In Japanese it is called jankenpon or jankenpoi or janken. It's used for everything. Who gets to choose the first piece of cake. Or who plays first in a game or a sport. Or who gets to cross a bridge first. Japanese people wonder how people in the west get along without it. Well we have games like odds or evens. Robin Hood and Little John decided who got to cross the bridge first by fighting with quarterstaves. A quarterstaff is a strong stick for fighting similar to a Japanese bo. Apparently boy scouts once learned how to use it! But deciding with janken is less painful.

When I first had to play janken many years ago I did the sign for paper like a karate chop. A tight tegatana or shuto uchi knifehand strike from aikido or karate. My fingers were close together. So people told me I had to relax. That sounded familiar. Everyone who does martial arts has to relax. In janken you have to let the fingers spread slightly so it is more like paper.

Then there are the tactics. You can sometimes win with beginner's luck. But if there is a tie and you have to repeat the game you are in big trouble. At first I used to try to outthink my opponent. But I usually lost. So then I decided to try a random choice. The trouble was to me it was random but obviously it wasn't to my opponents because again I usually lost. Even if it had been random I could only win 50% of the time playing against one opponent. But some Japanese people never seem to lose.

And janken is the same as a martial art. You have to do it with kiai. That means not half-heartedly or weakly. You have to be full of determination and energy. A loud voice is good too. Hmm. There's more to this than tossing a coin.

One way to get good at it apparently is to play your right hand against your left hand. Seriously. And you have to do it often. Until it's ingrained in your body. That's like a martial art too. But don't let your right hand know what your left hand is doing.

Niall


free e-books
http://gutenberg.org/ebooks/7205
Friedrich Nietsche, Also Sprach Zarathustra

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/6386
Suetonius Tranquillus, Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Vol. I

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/964
Howard Pyle, The Adventures of Robin Hood


background articles
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock-paper-scissors
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coin_flipping
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morra_(game)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odds_and_evens
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quarterstaff


cool photo by Hidetsugu Tonomura used under creative commons licence. Who won the janken and got to cross the bridge first...?
photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonomura/with/107582742/.


my home page with a mirror of these blog posts plus posts not related to martial arts:
mooninthewater.net


my columns on aikiweb:
Aiki and Kokyu Ryoku
Resistance
Martial Arts in Manga and Animé
Indigo Blue
Improvised Weapons No.1: The Umbrella
Brothers
Unbalance - Feet of Clay
Half a Tatami
Zen in the Art of Aikido


I have an essay in a charity e-book put together by some writers and photographers to raise money for victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku on 11 March 2011. It costs $9.99.



© niall matthews 2012
Views: 1948 | Comments: 2


RSS Feed 2 Responses to "how to cross a bridge"
#2 01-27-2012 11:47 AM
niall Says:
Thanks Diana. Your comment reminded me of a zen story in Zen and the Ways by Trevor Leggett so that became my next post. Thanks!
#1 01-22-2012 12:44 PM
Diana Frese Says:
Something else I remember from Japan, now that you mention it. Thanks again. Here or there, there are always people enthusiastic about this general way of deciding anything, though I haven't seen it recently. We wonder what the other person is thinking. I did wonder, then once I tried doing the same sign over and over, thinking the other person would think I would change. But they couldn't be sure. But I never played the game much. So your examination of it is very interesting.
 




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