Did anyone else ever listen to that podcast called "herro from Japan"? It was from the early days of podcasting, and it was a pretty good one. Anyhow, I shamelessly steal the idea for my thread title.
As implied, I'm writing from Kyoto. I'm a mid-30s male from New York State in the USA, and I've come to Kyoto to attempt the Kenshusei Course at the Mugenjuku Dojo, which is the home dojo of Jacques Payet-sensei.
Before coming to Kyoto, my sole experience with aikido was 2-3 classes I took at university in the 1990s. My roommate was a really smart guy named Byron who was a double-major in engineering and music and enjoyed aikido in his spare time. He tried to get me to join up. Our university club was under the auspices of the aikikai organization of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I don't remember the sensei's name, but if memory serves he was an African-American of 6th-dan grade. Ultimately, I didn't have time for aikido in university, but I may have quit anyhow as my first experiences were not so good. I remember being thrown (figuratively) into a class trying to deal with tanto attacks when I had no experience. It was very frustrating and, I thought, not a good way to start teaching.
As my profile shows, I joined AikiWeb forums back in 2004 but didn't start posting until just recently. For a long time, I've wanted to try aikido again but didn't have the opportunity in my home town. There was a 'dojo' there in a strip mall on the edge of town advertising that the sensei was a 6th dan in aikido, kenjutsu and Zen. Maybe you can get a dan ranking in Zen, but if so I don't know how and the chances that a legitimate 6th dan in all three is living in rural upstate New York is pretty slim. The next best opportunity was in Burlington, VT, but it was quite a long trip for me.
Anyhow, now I am in Kyoto. As my body is falling apart (see my forum thread on knee pain), I may not be able to complete the Kenshusei Course, which is modeled on the (in)famous senshusei/riot police course of the hombu dojo in Tokyo. But I'm going to try, and I hope I am successful enough long enough to make an interesting blog...
...see my AikiWeb blog called Kyoto Kenshusei