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jitensha
03-08-2005, 07:58 PM
hi everyone,

If you would be so kind to consider these two
language/etiquette questions regarding my visit to Japan next month...

First Question:
I'm curious as to how I should describe myself and my aikido
practice to people when I am in Japan. I know "aikidoka" is
pretty much wrong. But what is the proper word for student in this context?

I first thought "gakusei" but doesn't this have a "school boy/girl"
context. What about seito? Do Japanese even consider aikido
something you study? Or do you "practice", "train", or "play"
aikido? Aikido "hobbyist" is too light and Aikido "professional" is much too strong. I am a deshi at my dojo, but that word may be confusing for a non-martial arts crowd.

Second Question:
My goal for this trip is to practice aikido and my japanese, be a tourist, and make some contacts for future trips and possible relocation/long term stay. Would anybody recommend having
meishi made for this trip? I do not have any from my employer and I'm not a businessperson, but I heard they are a useful thing to have in Japan even outside of professional circles. If I was to have cards made, what should they say? My name? My interests? Should it be in kana or english?

Thanks so much for your help.

-Chris

Peter Goldsbury
03-08-2005, 08:37 PM
hi everyone,

If you would be so kind to consider these two
language/etiquette questions regarding my visit to Japan next month...

First Question:
I'm curious as to how I should describe myself and my aikido
practice to people when I am in Japan. I know "aikidoka" is
pretty much wrong. But what is the proper word for student in this context?

I first thought "gakusei" but doesn't this have a "school boy/girl"
context. What about seito? Do Japanese even consider aikido
something you study? Or do you "practice", "train", or "play"
aikido? Aikido "hobbyist" is too light and Aikido "professional" is much too strong. I am a deshi at my dojo, but that word may be confusing for a non-martial arts crowd.

Gakusei are the people I teach in my university, not the people I teach in the dojo. Tha latter are "people who do aikido". Deshi is a relatively common word for someone in a student relationship with a teacher in traditional & martial arts. So there isn't one. The Japanese equivalent of 'I do aikido' would work quite well, though do nort be surprised if the Japanese you meet are also surprised and ask questions.

Second Question:
My goal for this trip is to practice aikido and my japanese, be a tourist, and make some contacts for future trips and possible relocation/long term stay. Would anybody recommend having
meishi made for this trip? I do not have any from my employer and I'm not a businessperson, but I heard they are a useful thing to have in Japan even outside of professional circles. If I was to have cards made, what should they say? My name? My interests? Should it be in kana or english?

Thanks so much for your help.

-Chris

People do have meishi and I have several books of cards received from people over the past 20 years. They are useful when writng nenga-jo at the end of the year.

I have hardly ever come across foreign tourists, as opposed to foreign business people, with meishi, but if you want to make contact with the same people you meet on this occasion, yes, they would be useful. I have mine in Japanese and English because I live here and my name is pretty unpronouncable in Japanese. For you, it would be best to have them in English and should include name, address, contact details.

Best regards,

tiyler_durden
03-09-2005, 01:14 AM
Hey,

Aikido is my hobby yet I do like the benefits from it...

T.D

jitensha
03-09-2005, 11:10 AM
Prof. Goldsbury, thank you very much for the useful information. If you don't mind me asking, where is your dojo located, and do you allow visits from Aikikai affiliated gaikokujin mudansha?

And Tiyler, I apologize. I didn't mean any disrespect whatsoever
to people who refer to themselves as aikido hobbyists. Labeling things with titles and whatnot always seems to be messy business...

JessePasley
03-09-2005, 08:16 PM
Why is 'aikidoka' considered wrong? Is this within the aikido community itself or does it cut across into casual conversation, too? I've heard other Japanese people use the 'aikidoka'. I know I can't these things too seriously, though, my first Japanese teacher said that foreigners should never, ever use kansai-ben (?!).

jitensha
03-09-2005, 08:35 PM
Hi Jesse,

I think aikidoka is a specific term implying that aikido is
one's profession, or career...i.e. you get paid to do it.

Although I try to practice as if aikido is my profession,
I have to do something else to pay the bills so this term
does not apply to me.

This thread (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1434) has a good discussion about the term aikidoka and its use.

-chris

JessePasley
03-09-2005, 10:44 PM
Looked at the thread. Thanks. Learn something new everyday. I shall enjoy the intellectual trimuph of correcting somebody's Japanese in the future :D

Thalib
03-10-2005, 03:19 AM
Well, Chris I don't know if an Aikidoka strictly means it becomes a career although it is seen as so.

In my view, people who practice Aikido in daily life could be called an Aikidoka. Aikido as in the principle, not as a technical martial art. Maybe I'm being to idealistic about this. Anyway, that's me.

Prof. Goldsbury, I also have a question. Since it stil relates to the thread. What woul the proper Japanese for saying an Aikido school? Again, Aikido-gaku doesn't sound quite right. I was thinking of kenkyukai, I believe this vaguely refers to study group. Or is there a better term?

I know the term dojo actually makes it understood that it is a place to learn the way. But sometimes dojo here is just taken as a place that you train. The dojo will still have a name, but this is more for our society, we want to give it the nuance of learning instead of training.

I hope I'm not too confusing with my request.

rob_liberti
03-10-2005, 01:57 PM
How about juku?

Ibaraki Bryan
03-10-2005, 04:22 PM
Juku's good (IMO) but there's a connotation that it's a sort of after school program.

Juku would refer to the school as a living entity, like, the teachers and students would make up the juku and the actual physical space of the dojo would be something else. I think it would break down like this:

Let's say you're gonna name your dojo afer Tako (octopus)
If your dojo is the flagship of an group of dojos (or might be in the future) the association would be Takokai.
The school would be the Takojuku.
The dojo would be the Takokan.

I think. :)

Peter Goldsbury
03-10-2005, 05:19 PM
Well, 'juku' has a long history. Students were sent there in late Tokugawa and early Meiji to learn 'kangaku' (Chinese classics). And when M Ueshiba opened his dojo in Ayabe I think he called it 'Ueshiba Juku' for a time. I believe the term is used for a number of schools here, such as the Kumano Juku of the late M Hikitsuchi. I think M Suganuma in Kyushu also uses the name for his organization.

In Tokyo M Ueshiba called the dojo the Kobukan. When it was registered with the government it was called the Kobukai in the legal documents, but it was usually known as the Kobukan. The same is true of the Yoshinkan. My own dojo is called exactly this: a dojo. But it is part of shibu (branch organization) and also a renmei (federation of dojos). I have never come across the tern gakko used for a dojo.

Christopher,

The dojo where I teach is located in a small country town about 35 km to the east of Hiroshima. The town, called Saijo, is part of Higashi-Hiroshima City. Visitors are welcome.

Best regards,

Charles Hill
03-10-2005, 07:41 PM
The Aikikai Honbu dojo uses the word Aikido Gakko to refer to a specific course that meets twice a week.

Charles