Thousands of Miles from Home


In Case You Were Wondering...

School ends every day around 3:45, so I have been going to the Kendo Jo until about 5-5:30. I can easily swing the sword, but I can tell that the footwork will be rather difficult. There are usually about three of us, Asama, the captain, and Ueno. There were some other people but one kid hurt his hand so has not been coming to practice recently. Sometimes Sakaguchi-sensei comes to practice also, and gives excellent lessons, but in the past few days he has been very busy with school meetings so does not always get a chance to come everyday. However, Asama and Ueno can give me good instruction, and I pretty much practice repetative momements every day so I doesn't take a brain surgeon to tell me what to do. From what I can tell there are three types of swords that are used: the bamboo sword for Kendo matches, a light wooden sword for presentations, and a really heavy wooden sword for swinging excercises (you could row a boat with this thing). My arms do hurt a bit, but the blisters are starting to go away leaving respectable caluses.

I also found out that on Mondays and Wednesdays some students from the local Uno junior high will come and practice with us. Their captain looks pretty good, and I have this odd urge to fight him because he is short, quick, and experienced where I am tall (that's about it). This monday all the kids looked at me weird for a little while but then I introducted myself and they were eager to talk. I talked with the two teachers who came with the students in a complete japanese conversation, and understood most of what was being said. And even if I didn't japanese people are very nice and would tell me my japanese was good (which means I sort of have to judge my own progression by seeing if I can understand what is going on in everyday situations).

It's starting to get a little colder, but when the sun sets brilliant rays of light burst through powder blue clouds which don't appear familiar to me. I appreciate my bike ride to an from school everyday, and usually get a chance to talk with kids along the way. I forgot my Judo belt at home today and remembered about two minutes into my ride so turned into the stream of blue-pants moving in the opposite direction to retrieve the lost item.

The Watanabes have a classical guitar which nobody really plays and sits unsued in my room so I have started to play it in the evenings (quietly). The school band, as well as rock bands, practice after school so I can always play an electric guitar if I get the urge. Andee and I went to a little improvised concert in one of the classrooms yesterday where Nakkan (the guitarist and singer, who has a mowhawk) played "My Friends Over You," "What's My Age Again," and a song by a japanese band which I recognized.

I saw on the news today that the Emperor of Japan visited Shodoshima on Monday, so I missed him by a day. I also read that Martha Stewart will be doing her time in a WV jail (our school gets an english language newspaper "The Daily Yomiyuri").


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