greetings from Chicago
I've only VERY recently started training, in fact, my second session is this evening at the Japanese Culture Center here in Chicago.
I've been studying Japanese language and culture for a year and a half now with a private sensei. In March of this past year I visited Japan for the first time and spent three weeks travelling from Sapporo in Hokkaido down to Mt. Aso in Kyushu. Nearly one end of the country to the other.
Despite all the good times, I didn't really comprehend the effect of the people and culture on my life until I returned to Chicago. I didn't go to Japan looking for anything, but I found that when I returned, something was missing. It was sort of reverse culture shock.
Japan, in a multitude of ways, is full of harmony and harmonious actions. From crossing a street in a crowd, to dining with friends, to waiting in line for the next train to arrive, to even accepting a cup of tea. There's a certain flow to life and interaction with others that just doesn't exist here in the United States.
Aikido seems, at least for me so far, an extension of that missing "thing."
hajimemashite. yoroshiku onegaishimasu.