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Many years ago I saw "Never on Sunday" starring Melina Mercouri, and suddenly while contemplating maybe writing a blog entry on the classical Japanese themes of mountains and seashore (I think it's called Sansui, san meaning mountain, as in Fuji San, Mount Fuji, and sui, the Chinese derived pronunciation of the word for water, of which the native Japanese is mizu, perhaps more familiar to those of us who know just a little of the Japanese language...)
.... suddenly this phrase came to mind as part of a long train of thought which was partly inspired by Francis Takahashi's column on Hitori Geiko, training by oneself. He mentioned taking walks is also keiko, so in my latest blog entry I mentioned a friend who has a back injury and no longer attends a dojo but takes long walks by the shore, and then Carina sent a beautiful photo of a beach in Gran Canaria. I suppose I could say that the ideas and communication roll along, like the waves ... a wonder of nature on the one hand, and a wonder of human nature on the other....
But back to the movie. Melina Mercouri's character was revising the Greek tragedies because she preferred a happy ending. "And They All Went to the Seashore"
Many of us prefer stories with a happy ending! And if our work is demanding, the water, the sun, the sand, the salt air and maybe some trees for shade .... are very restorative, curative ....
Where to go on vacation used to be a popular topic and often symbolized husband and wife having
I guess this is a spinoff from my previous blog entry, athough I haven't re read it very recently. Today I'm thinking again about seeing what's available in the present moment. Here are a few thoughts:
Time: my late brother in law, who did different kinds of trades related work, in this case specifically painting. He said if you have half an hour, paint for half an hour.
This goes so well for household projects. If you can only vacuum a portion of a room, vacuum a portion of a room (especially if you have to move stuff out of the way to do it, like stacks of stuff in an office) (remember to "listen to your body")
So that's what I did this morning. A portion. That's a bit less dust in the room, I'd say. And I will, to "Hubby Dear" when he returns from driving!
I guess the Aikido readers might smile and agree it's better to start something than to wait for the other guy to ask (or complain....) I think they call it Irimi in Daily Life
For the Aikidoka, this could apply to training. Figure out what you can do with the partners you have available, whatever their strengths or weaknesses are. Learn from them, hope they can learn from you. I was just on a thread where the poster asked a question along those lines, or rather the comments developed that way.
And Mary of "Spring Thoughts" fame on the thread, has written a form of reminder to notice the weather. Well, it promises to be really hot today, so I'm glad I did something physical alread
This topic has been on my mind on and off for several weeks, and even occasionally over the years. But more on the latter later, I'll start with this year.
I know I can look it up on AikiWeb on search, but for now I'll just mention the connotation it seems to have for others, and what it means to me personally. For a start, I can even cite the weather: It is raining, so what do we do with that? Do we go outside in rain gear or do stuff inside? (The we I use can mean those of us in places where it is raining right now, or just the general what do you or I or anybody else do when it rains....)
I think I read something recently here on Aiki Web that seemed to say that sunao meant the quality of humility, of being unassuming, maybe, but before I, and maybe you look it up if not too fluent in Japanese ... I'll just mention something one of my first teachers, Yamada Sensei said. I think someone asked him about what he thought was an important quality to have, it may even been the most important quality to have according to the questioner or maybe even Yamada Sensei himself. Maybe you will even get to ask him someday soon. (Maybe I will...)
The strange thing is that particular day years ago I just got a fleeting impression that it meant accepting what comes in life. Often there are choices, and similar choices often come up, so if some of us need to make different ones the next time, sometimes we do..... But I think it's important to look at what comes, and see
This is a "daily life" type blog entry some people might be interested in....
When we do the clean up that in some ways is part of the Shinto belief and maybe also Buddhism, it is a chance to reflect on gratitude. Maybe thinking of this will make it seem less of a "chore".
But, to begin with, an interesting concept is brought out in the Japanese version of "grace before meals." They say "Itadakimasu" which means, "I receive.."
When I first learned this word, it was explained that there is a chain of events and people that resulted in this meal, or this particular food item ... the store, the commercial carrier, the farmer, etc. And I'm sure all the way back to God. I've seen this concept in writings by Christians too....
But how about after the meal, when rinsing the cans for the recycle or if you have recycling for plasic wrappers and food trays (our town just set that up a couple of years ago a few years after a woman who manufactured lawn chairs etc. out of previously unrecycled categories of plastics could no longer keep her company going...)
Anyway, whatever your town does or doesn't recycle, cleanup is a great chance for gratitude over the "Eew, what a drag, cleanup type feeling." It might help get the job done quicker, or then again you might want to take a bit longer, thinking about your feelings of gratitude for whatever you ate, or whatever you enjoyed in the container .... for example, they now take broken plastic flower pots.
Here's an update from our "town" (actually city) in Southwestern Connecticut as "your scribe" has promised to report:
"Americares, a nonprofit global health and disaster relief organization, and Major League Baseball veteran Bobby Valentine have recently teamed up to help get supplies quickly and efficiently to Japan."
(from The Stamford Times, a free, local, weekly paper delivered usually on Fridays...)
Bobby V, as the Stamford native is called around here, lived in Japan for five years while managing the Chiba Lotte Mariners (sorry if I got the spelling wrong...)
Somehow I knew he was going to help! And he did.
Here's how it worked out: Americares is a Stamford based charity which had medicine, medical supplies and medical equipment and needed a way to get the supplies to Japan. Valentine has a friend who works for a hospital in Japan ....
In addition to Valentine's help Americares has already received $250 million in donations from private philanthropies in the US and expects to get more ... The organization president, Curt Welling "said that within days of the earthquake and tsunami disasters, AmeriCares had a team of relief workers in Japan assessing the immediate health needs of the survivors. Last week, the first shipment, carrying more than $525,000 worth of medical supplies was delivered to Tohoku University Hospital in Sendai..."
Just an example of what's going on in the US locally and nationally... oh and our local church took two col
I was reading around in Aiki Web. then I went outside to enjoy the weather and maybe tidy up some in the yard. There was some old stuff from the basement that we had put outside to make room for the tools from the woodshop we couldn't afford to rent anymore.
Never got around to dealing with it, covered it with leaves. We all know about the two sides of: become obsessive about a project, and then give up and cover it over, out of sight and in the back of the mind somewhere low key, though still there....
So what the heck I started raking the leaves away, there was some stuff that the new recycle laws permit to go in the newer larger bins... gradually I spaced out and a start was made to spring cleaning. Painlessly, without effort.
I came back in and remembered my cat is old and needs to eat more, Rather than planning or scheduling, just listen to the cat.
To get him back in his room where the dish for cat kibble is, I answered him in his own language. I had learned, I realized, to talk "cat."
This applies in the dojo, Aikido is a language, it's various techniques and styles are dialects.... might be one way of looking at open mindedness and learning from others, and not forcing one's own progress. What do you think?
This may sound like a strange title for a blog entry, and the grammar is a bit eccentric, as it refers to one person, me. I had no idea until a few minutes ago that I was going to use it. It is from many years ago, advice my teacher gave me.
I don't want to give the idea that sharing knowledge is a bad idea. On the other hand, I think it is revealing of our teachers as people, to see what kinds of advice they give. At the time I was a bit overenthusiastic, kind of like a St. Bernard or the collie that helped raise me as a kid. (My parents got a puppy and a kitten when I was 5, they had always had one dog and one cat...)
Yamada Sensei one day gave me a bit of advice, probably not asked for, either, "Just try to be the regular people." At the time he had what you could call cute English, and the dojo secretary at the time, the late sixties, was helping edit his first book (the one with the red cover one of my first students still wants to get...) and the secretary said it was too bad she had to make any corrections, because his English was so much clearer as to the meaning than the grammatically corrected version.
Francis Takahashi is very kind in answering comments on his columns, and once asked me which teacher had the most influence, I can't remember the exact words right now. It's a difficult question, but one way to look at it can be, if you spend years in the first dojo you attend regularly (in my case I had three months intro at college then
(I thought of a different title for this entry, but decided to go for the more general. The second title is a Japanese folk song, but that comes later in this entry.)
Can you call a school your alma mater if you were only there a year and a half? Was it okay in the last blog entry that I referred to Watanabe Sensei as Papa Bear even though he thought it was kinda cute years ago in regular three o clock class when he kind of made a face to see if we would slow down and ask for his opinion and correction .....?
If Alma Mater really means Foster Mother in Latin, were we really adopted while we were there? I honestly think so. I returned home to my own parents and my own town, and I had lived in nearby New York many years, but teaching Aikido in a local Y, something that just happened due to their getting a brand new building.... gave me a way to learn about a city, by offering something, you get back a lot, and I did. But that's for other entries, if you like....
The crisis in Northern Japan forced me to ask myself who I am and what can I do .... I remember Francis writing something like do something today, it was just a general wisdom comment weeks ago.....Yesterday in church one of the most enthusiastic and choir singing parishioners suddently in the middle of the announcements mentioned Japan and bluntly that we'd better not wait any longer to DO SOMETHING.
Then I knew I was right in waiting for someone else to speak first and bein
Many years ago I told a brother student of mine, a kohai I think, but we didn't talk about who was junior and who was senior, I probably was. Anyway, there we were at Hombu and there was this teacher, I was in his Sunday class, you just paid a little more extra and you could practice seven days a week. And I really liked his class. Somehow I told "Rocky" about how he encouraged people who were shy, especially the young women, high school or college age.
I noticed a group of them at the back and there was Watanabe Sensei and he gave them a real pep talk to get over their shyness:
"Nani ga asonde iru? Mottainai jikan!" What are you doing? Time is valuable! I don't quite know how to translate asonde iru, it could actually mean "goofing off" in this context, but the American phrase is way too strong. The young women were just shy about their practice, they often tilted their heads to one side after a technique as if to say they weren't sure they understood it right, or had done it correctly. Watanabe Sensei I'm sure was trying to cure them of this kind of hesitancy about their practice.
I hope he doesn't mind me quoting him, I think I got it right. He was very kindly, always, he just kind of made a bit of a bear expression with his eyebrows to get our attention.
One time I was practicing with someone and I noticed him watching us. So we slowed down a bit. Then we glanced at him and he had a bit of that bear scowl, so we slowed down. It got to b
I love the diversity of the blogs on Aiki Web and I haven't even gotten to many of them. Several of you mention music, here and in the forums.
Just a few random thoughts in general (and it is the name of this category)
Several of you have mentioned cleaning, it is interesting to note what happens to me when someone suggests having music on the radio when I clean. My mind goes, like, Oh No! Music gets to me so I can't concentrate on anything else.
My grandmother had the same thing, a piece of music would go thru her head for days. So today mine is Message in a Bottle, I think it's by Sting, I love music by Sting, the Police, Men at Work etc. and I'm not even sure of most of the words, the music just gets to me, it's really great.
But today it refers to my feelings about Aiki Web. No I'm not beached upon some shore, but if I were, there's maybe not a million bottles with messages, but there are so many to read all over the columns, forums and blogs that it's hard to keep up.
But maybe this quirk of my grandmother's applies to Aikido too, the techniques. Even if you haven't really practiced for years they are still there and if someone mentions it you can almost see it again.
What more can I say? These things will always be part of us, thanks for the messages, the techniques are coming back to me too.