Saturday, November 29, 2008

Kendo Post ^ ^

Today one of the kendo sensei gave me a 2009 calendar. He gave me one last week too, from a bogu shop, but I was disappointed to find no pictures in it. This one though is amazing. It has absolutely beautiful kendo photographs. I am so happy! It also had the 剣道 calligraphy on the front page, so I cut that out and put it on my wall. I think before I go back to Canada I will definitely get a scroll that says 剣道, but anyways, that's later.

Today during practice the wait during motodachi geiko was particularly long, so I thought a lot about the difference between kendo in UofT and here. At UofT during jigeiko very often we practice with other students, but here I actually barely get to do that (even though I would like to, I want to practice with the junior high school students that we do drills with). Here there are so many sensei, that I almost always practice with different sensei. So I guess comparing Nanbu dojo kendo and UofT dojo kendo (minus the sensei kendo) is probably not fair, but anyways, I wanted to share what I think. It feels that Nanbu kendo is a lot more relxed. The sensei are very intense when they actually hit, but all the other time it feels that they are very relaxed and very confident. Last week, and today too actually, most of the comments I got were also about being more relaxed. Hogi-sensei always told me this too, I am sure those of you who talked to him know what I mean. Anyways, that's one of the things that are different about kendo itself. Of course, the club is run quite differently too, but that's because it's not a university dojo. Even though it's in a junior high school, it's a community dojo, and none of the sensei are Nanbu Junior High School teachers. The students are mostly from Nanbu though.
Today I talked to a girl who is from the same dojo as one of my English students. So students from other dojos come as well. That particular school has practices 6 days a week, for half a day during weekends (otherwise it's one hour or two, I can't remember). Crazy, no?

I guess this is another reason I want to get an ALT job, with a hope that at least one school will have a kendo dojo. If they do, I will likely be able to practice more often than just once a week, and I think I would like that. Right now I am glad I have work during the other kendo practice, because I'd feel guilty to skip practices otherwise, and I know I'd skip, because my days are already so long and I get so tired. An ALT schedule involves less wasting time on travel and breaks in the schedule, so I should be able to make more practices. *keeps fingers crossed for JET*.

Anyways, here's what I like about Nanbu practices. First, I am so happy I was allowed, and actually even invited to join the junior high school practices. Of course, it means my kendo sucks since I need to do basics, but then I am so grateful for this opportunity. The sensei that runs the junior high school practice is extra kind and always explains one more time what we are supposed to do if he sees I didn't understand. He also seems like a really nice person too, so I really enjoy practicing with the junior high school students. I don't talk to them as much as I'd like to, they aren't very talkative, and I guess I am only outgouing if the other people are outgoing. But I do talk to them once in a while, I try to make friends, so hopefully eventually I will. As for the adult practice, I also don't get a chance to meet too many people, but the ones I do meet are very kind, and especially the kendo moms, they are extra nice to me. The sensei too are very nice to me. Ah, anyways, back to the actual practice. During the adult practice it's jigeiko, and people who want can practice kata as well. So far about half of the sensei, depending on the day, would get me to do drills during at least part of the practice with them, and it's really good, because their comments are helping a lot. I wish I could tape my kendo, I wonder if it changed at all... I can't really tell myself yet in terms of the basics, especially since I still get a lot of comments about fixing my basics. It's really good though, I am getting so so many comments, I think more than during the UofT practice, because the number of students is about the same, but there are so many more sensei, so they have more opportunity to comment. So I am hoping I am improving.

I am so happy I found this dojo. I really hope next year I don't have to move too far, I'd really like to stay at this dojo. It's so close too, about 20 minutes on the bike. I remember Kaori told me once how she'd bike to the tournaments, with her bogu, and how my brother didn't believe me that she'd carry her bogu on her back, not strapped to the bike. Well, that's what I do now, so I get a little warm-up and cool-down on the way to and from the dojo. There is this pedestrian bridge thing too (it has a bike path), so it really is a small work-out. It's actually not all that bad, I'd rather bike with my bogu for 20 minutes than walk.

Here's roughly what the bridge looks like (it's some random picture from the internet, I am usually not around the bridge during the day to take a picture):

There is going to be a special practice on January 1st, at 10 AM. I really wish I could make it, but I will be in Osaka, celebrating New Year's day with my brother, so I have to miss it. I really really really wish I could go though... Maybe next year ^ ^.

If I go to Toronto for the JET interview in the end of February, I really wish I could go to practice at UofT. Of course, I don't know yet if I will be going to TO to start with, and I also don't know what day, and given I'll only be coming for two days or so, it's probably impossible (plus, I think my parents might want to kill me if I do that), but if by some super luck my interview falls on Thursday or Friday, maybe I'll try to go to the Thursday practice. Well, we'll see.

Anyways, I should go finish some stuff and then head to sleep, I have to wake up early.

Haha, sorry, those of you who expected more about kendo. I guess it's hard for me to explain the stuff about the actual kendo, so I will leave it at that for now.

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