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Old 03-08-2005, 08:37 PM   #2
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,249
Re: "Aikido student" in Japanese and more...

Christopher Rogers wrote:
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.

Christopher Rogers wrote:
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.

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,

P A Goldsbury
Kokusai Dojo,
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