My head is still in Japan, my body is here. LZ is still in Japan, waiting on news of her green card so she can return. Hopefully it will not throw our life into the crapper with her missing work. Last time I went to Japan I got laid off when I returned, this time we are concerned about her job because of the extended stay…I am not in the best of spirits to do a demo.
However the show must go on we in show biz say…
I headed out to Sensei’s to help pack-up the van for the trip to San Jose. We are doing a Grand-opening demo for the new dojo with in the Japanese Art and Cultural Center in San Jose. I was surprised once I got there to find people really speaking Japanese. I thought ok, Nisae or Sansei, something like that who did not speak the language but wanted to preserve the cultural connection thing here in the States.
We arrived and setup fairly quickly a mist the small crowd of people. Which looked like a lot because the place was much smaller than I thought. However that is good because it is ea$ier to maintain especially as a non-profit place.
One of Sensei’s old students ( find out later) came by to help after we setup. He gave me the 3rd degree about who I was. I just smiled and gave simple answers as is my custom to people I do not know and grill me.
him: Are you Steve Sensei student?
him: How long have you been with him?
me: ” oh , not long”,
him: I have never seen you!?
me: “.Hmm..So ne”
Him: Is that your bow?
him: Where did you get it?
me: Don Shimansky
Then we went to change.The changing room was a bit of a surprise. It had a shower but none of it was complete. I found out later the permits are still not finished. One of those city building government hold ups. They can be a real pain.
After finishing changing I came across another of Sensei’s Student, he and I had practiced together. I was surprise to see him. I asked if he was helping, he laughed and said no way am I ready. I had him work my camera some to feel part of it.
I sat back down and waited. The other Senpai came back, much friendlier this time. Congrats on your pass Shodan he says, blah blah blah. He must have had a talk with Sensei. I was just surprised to see you before, he says. We chatted more, he said, his wife is a San-dan and the daughter or grandaughter of one of the few female Hanshi in Japan. He was a nice guy, as with many he studied some other Arts as I found out. He helped out with some of the other demos as well as the Kyudo.
We sat in Seiza while Sensei gave the opening intro, then shift to a cross leg position after he got rolling. The older student, my Senpai started the opening demo with what the beginning stages of training are for new students starting with gomuyumi and hassetsu, while Sensei spoke. I sat.
After doing the 8 steps and some other no arrow demos, it was time to shoot. Sensei asked me I if do this part. Standing form first, then sitting from. Ok, I got this I said. Senpai said thanks, it had been a while since he shot. No problem, I said.
The standing form and sitting form went smooth. I just went into the zone. Zen’d out as M3 says. Since it was just me I figured no need to rush. Next up Sensei did a standing Makiwara Shari, everyone seemed impressed.
Afterwards it was Q&A , we help some people who wanted to try using the practice Yumi, the tubing thingy. A couple of Ladies in Kimono’s who I took there picture and later found out one was the Sensei for Sumi came over to me for some questions after another guy asked about how is it I do not get hit by the Yumi strong when it is right against my cheek. It look so different from Western Archery. I explained. Then I helped the ladies, then a couple of teens who were trying out doing hikiwaki. It was pretty cool. I hear Sensei had a few signups.
Next was an Aikido Demo, turns out my Senpai also helped with that. The Aikido Sensei who spent some time in Japan training threw him around a bit. I can never watch these days with out thinking, Mantis trap, Mantis takedown…
Following that was Karate. Shotokan, my style. Most of them doing the demo were black belts, There was one green, and one brown, everyone else was a Black belt. Some of them judging from there belts were pretty new. They all for the most part did a good job. I spoke with a couple of the guys afterward. They were pretty nice chaps.
This was day one of two. I hope they do well there at the center. I would not mind going down for a Sat class but my concern these days is money, the drive and the dues to attend. I may need to cut down my free training on Sunday’s to once a month, due to fuel cost unless I get some income happening and even that may mean working on Sunday’s. Anyway we’ll see what the Force has planned.
While in the area, I checked out the large Japanese market that is in the shopping complex. It was almost like being back in Japan, with all the products and bakery. Wow . Of course having my Yumi with me drew attention, one of the workers and I got into a conversation , she was from Japan. We spoke of Kyudo, and Sakura’s. I miss Japan already, I am so pleased I got to see full bloom Sakura’s this time, even if it was at the end of the season.
—Sunday Second Demo
The second day demo was pretty much the same as day one, however I was the only one doing Kyudo other than Sensei. It still went well.
There was no Akido demo this day. There was a kendo demo.
There was one on Sat as well but I missed it having to leave to see what was happening with LZ. I found out this day that the guy running the show there, is not only the Karate Sensei but the Kendo sensei. He is a big guy, but fast and smooth, I was impressed. Not only with his arts but his style talking with the crowd.
Over all it was a good demo and a good place. It has pleasant vibes, if I lived closer and had the time and money I would hang out there more.