hope you are well, apologies for not being able to come visit during my recent trip over. I hear Nakao sensei will be visiting you some time shortly, just spent two weeks training with him almost every day, hope you'll have as much fun as I did :-). He's promised to send me the video :-).
I'd just like to comment on this from my own experience. When I lived in Tokyo, alonside my Aikikai Hombu membership I belonged to the Nakano Ku Aikido Renmei run by Koyama Kenji. We went on a renmei gasshuku every year where members from all four dojo's would attend. The instructors were the 4 dojo cho's and Koyama kaicho. Additionally, my own dojo did it's own gasshuku once a year where we went off to a small dojo near Fuji san and just trained with Nojima sensei.
Good to hear from you.
I think the Nakano Renmei and the Kobayashi gasshuku are fairly special. They are examples of groups within the general Aikikai umbrella in Japan that have sought to retain a separate identity. The other groups like the Kanto Aikido Renmei hold koushuukai, which in my opinion are examples of the type of event that prompted George's post.