Aikido days in Tokyo

25 05 2013

It is now about 2 weeks back from an Aikido tour in Japan. The time flies and the post got delayed by different events, among which my laptop hard disk suddenly decided life stinks and took a turn to the dark side.. The situation involved a quite large amount of anger and several attempts to recovery, all failed, leading to the only solution of paying for data recovery, luckily successful.

Anyway, from the 26th to the 30th April I was in Tokyo followed by the 20th Anniversary of Saku dojo in Saku (Nagano-shi), home of Endo sensei. Again a wonderful time over there, not only because the great Aikido (both in Tokyo and Saku), but for the people I met (old friends and new ones), the food, the weather, the time, the places.. after a few days back, I was already missing it (and I started organizing my trip there in June for Yasuno sensei seminar in Kyoto!!).

In Tokyo I focused my practice with Irie sensei, happy that I will also meet him again in Shanghai in June (and then again in Japan). Managing to attend his classes both at Aikikai Hombu dojo and at Aikido Shinagawa  Kouyukai dojo (品川区合気道交友会), I had a chance to work longer on his Aikido way and especially focus on the movements and feelings that make his practice so fascinating and interesting to me. This is probably one of the aspects about being an Aikido “tourist” at Hombu dojo in Tokyo: always interesting meeting as many senseis as possible, but then in 1 hour practice I get almost nothing out of it, except the usual great practice feelings. But since we normal travellers have a chance to visit Hombu maybe once per year and for at most 1 week – 10 days, the chances to meet more than once any teacher (except for doshu and Ueshiba sensei) are extremely limited.

I enjoy every time I attend Irie sensei‘s class, but also being his Aikido closer to Yasuno sensei Aikido, I have strong interest in learning more and at the same time I feel every time I haven’t understood a thing and/or forgotten all since the previous session. Most difficult for me is the tori part, while as uke I think I manage quite well thanks to Endo sensei Aikido. But the wat to strictly perform a technique is quite different from what I am used. Still extremely interesting for the different direction, much more toward uke‘s center, taking him off balance straight from the first contact. Or at least, these are my feelings the lucky times sensei applies the techniques on me.

In the Kouyukai dojo practice we had the chance to use also jo both for technique and for aid to understand better the directions in the technique. This is something impossible probably when practicing only at Hombu dojo. And as appreciated before, especially thanks to my beloved Vanadis instructors in Stockholm, using the jo for understanding directions and body position and rotations in the technique is really useful. At least I can see better what the instructor does naturally, without thinking.. then doing it myself it is completely another matter!!

I wish I had a deeper and better understanding of several aspects of the techniques in order to be able to transmit it to others just with my body, no words needed. This is the kind of feeling I receive when I am lucky enough to partner up with any sensei or soom good practitioners in Japan. When there is a linguistic barrier it is so important to be able to transmit the proper feeling. Recently some of the Chinese people I used to practice a lot together in Hangzhou made me quite happy saying that even if I do not speak Chinese I usually make it quite clear what I am talking about by showing the techniques, finding easy examples/comparisons and then practicing together with the people. I am happy to hear that (people praising me as an instructor might come as a shock to some people!) but at the same time I know I have to work much harder (and much much more often with some instructor I am really missing!).

At Hombu dojo I managed to get one session with Yasuno sensei and it was quite nice to see him throw around a nice group of international senseis like Frank Noel, 7th dan from Tolouse, and several other high graded on the way to Saku dojo. Practice with Irie sensei does help to understand a little more of Yasuno sensei Aikido (and also Irie sensei was among the people thrown around). This was a session where you can change partner, but I met after some time a good Aikido practitioner from Italy, close to both Yasuno sensei and Endo sensei, so we decided to practice the full hour together, and for me it was really good (probably boring for him!).

The pace at Hombu dojo is much higher than at a normal practice or seminar session: people push full energy, especially if it is the only practice they can have that day. No reason to conserve energies.. lucky them they have in average much more than me!!

In June I will spend there more time and I will be again quite selective on the session choices. Mostly because I never had before and certainly I don’t have now the energy for practicing 5 sessions per day, many days in a row!!

help yourself!UNRELATED COMMENT
During the days in Tokyo I realized there are 2 kinds of people I really dislike:
• people that never takes risks about anything, holds silently back in the second lines just waiting that someone makes a mistake and then start making fun of him/her;
• people that always think to know everything even if it is clearly impossible they know about that! still they have to say their piece and they usually do with confidence and attitude as if they knew.
I have also realized that probably I enjoy more traveling alone and make random meetings with people on the way, even if I would not be as effective and organized like other I know.





Sudden weather change

27 04 2011

After a few days of extremely hot weather, blue, cloudless sky and temperature well over 30 degrees, yesterday during the afternoon the weather changed. Some time between 2pm and 5pm (hours I spend in windowless cleanroom) the sky got completely cloudy. A little of wind refreshed the air, but I would have not expected the breeze to be able to assemble so many clouds in the sky.

The weather is still warm today (well above 20 degrees I’d say) but the clouds give a completely different feeling about what to expect!!

Also the air is much fresher, probably it had rained a little during the night: not bad since this year I fear a bit more the summer, since apparently the electricity bill is completely on my shoulders (last year it was partly paid by the company). Let’s see how long I’ll survive without AC, given that every less ounce of sweat will be a few yuan more leaving my bank account.. ;-)

FUNNY THING OF THE DAY - Now with the good season, in the lunch break, most of the people use some time for a nice walk outside, at least around the company compound, to enjoy some air. Define fresh the air is too much: the summer will come with the extreme temperatures, but it is not too bad to walk a little outside. It’s too funny thought that the girls do the walk, but mostly in the shadows!! Everybody knows that for Asian women the white skin color is a dream and a sign of beauty, therefore over here in summer there are more umbrellas than in winter, just to avoid to get tanned! Already now, the girls in the company go out for a walk but trying to stay all the time in covered areas!! Needless to say, I do my best to put some color in my milky white complexion.. :-D
asahiUNRELATED COMMENT
After a few “happy days” of unreal stats, the number of visits to my blog has gone back to normality. Still happy to receive the clicks from my friends around the world: at least now I know the clicks are real.. but I certainly miss a bit the high stats! :-)





Weekends, weekdays

3 07 2010

Not so much difference, here in China, between weekends or weekdays. Life goes on in the same way for most of the people. The sun goes up at a certain time, the temperature stays high, then the sun goes down, and the temperature remains high. So the nature does not really care if it is Wednesday or Saturday. So, for most of Chinese companies saying you have to work on Saturday but you can take Monday free is quite normal (unless your project has close deadlines, and then you have to work every day anyway).

I had not realized before coming here how much weight we Western people give to weekends. If earlier it was because of religious reasons, actually nowadays the distinction between weekdays and weekends is more related to shopping habits.

In China, shops and shopping centers are open 7 days per week, usually from 9am to 10pm (some even later, as I experienced my first time in China, in Wenzhou!). Lots of English teacher I know work actually more on weekends and then they got some weekdays free. Restaurants and bars are always full of life, any day at almost any time. Some restaurants (I remember especially one in Beijing, I should go back!) are open 24 hours per day!!

But for my mind it is still weird thinking that now I am at work, and Monday is actually Sunday (not going to church anyway) and tomorrow, I’ll go shopping, so it is Saturday (Sunday the day after, yeah it works).. but I am pretty sure some of my colleagues will be at work, tomorrow and Monday/Sunday..

So, guys, enjoy your weekend, I’ll start tomorrow mine!

FUNNY THING OF THE DAY - Maybe, for this one, I should say funny thing of the season.. this summer season.. A very strange first Chinese summer! Right now it is raining as I hadn’t seen in ages! Flood kind of rain, suddenly appearing from heavy clouds that were apparently hiding somewhere in the sky! Because this morning it was not sunny, but it was not cloudy, just the common white out humid sky.. And the lightnings!!! Oh yeah, real storm, with thunders and lightning and all!

4 years ago in Stavanger...UNRELATED COMMENT
Officially I have passed the period of 3 months in China.. Not knowing if I could survive in this new reality 3 days, I am quite happy I made it as far.. with all the communication problem I expected, and a few more I did not :-) But I am ready to face the next months and see how far I can get without running away! (2 years contract, tomorrow going to buy a fridge..)





Strange taste in men!

15 06 2010

After a bit more than 2 months in full immersion in Chinese life and environment, not anymore as a tourist, and after meeting a few Chinese girls, I have started thinking that many of them have really strange taste about men, especially foreign men!

I had already seen soon enough that many couples present a girl in the range of 7-9 (in a 10 max rank), while the male (Chinese) partner is in the range 4-6.. and that gave me hopes!!

Then, later on chatting with a few other girls, I have been surprised to know who they thought was hot, cool, interesting, almost-about-to-fall-in-love-for ;-)

I was never in the picture, of course.. I am still an observer.. or better, I was until Friday and an insanely strange train trip to Shanghai!! Something that never happens to me! No, do not expect to read about love story or closing the deal on the train.. that still does not happens to me!! ;-)

Anyway, I had just entered the railway station and I was tying my shoes on the automatic stairs, that a very cute and smiley girl in front of me says Hello and asks me where I am going. I tell her, and she tells me she is from Xiamen, 厦门, and going in some other place, leaving quite soon. Since I had much time for my train I followed her to hers, and I spent a good time chatting, exchanging numbers and QQ contacts. Also she maybe was going to come back to Hefei at some point. A really nice way to start the trip ;-)

After she left, I went to my area for the train to Shanghai. Strange thing there were 2 trains to there at 20 minutes difference. I set in the queue for my train (in the future, more details about Chinese train stations! Don’t be greedy!). After some time a girl with those gorgeous kind of Chinese long and thin legs came up waiting close to me. Our train was a little detailed, so she was a bit annoyed, and making some very funny and girly expressions, puffing animation style (very typical with Asian girl.. manga and anime teaching!). She was very cute. I just needed an excuse to start chatting, and the delay gave me one. So we talked a bit and she was.. from Xiamen as well!! I really have to go there!!! Time to take the train: I was in wagon 4 (standing place!!) and she was in wagon 14 (standing as well). Not wanting to push my luck too much, I just exchanged phone numbers, bid goodbyes and went for my wagon. Time 10 minutes there, she sends me an sms asking if maybe she can come to me, because too crowded where she is.. so we spend all the trip to Shanghai together sitting on the floor (very different train than my first one experienced here: no one spitting on the floors here! But I checked!). And we chat a lot. And (now it comes the kick.. about strange taste!) she told me she thought I was so cool (!!!) and she wanted to find an excuse to talk to me (!!!!!!!!).. These girls are crazy!!! And I love it!!! ;-)

footballUNRELATED COMMENT - Balance of (Chinese) life. After a great weekend, evening and night spent at home, trying to find a way to follow Italy opening match at the world cup on my little eee pc. My plan was going out, but a heavy and stressing day at work blew my mind. Also the usual communication problem, this time at the tiny restaurant where I eat often contribute to make me very nervous: I went there trying to ask for take away (打包, dǎ bāo) but they did not understand at all and then, with other people there they start laughing.. I got so pissed.. and left. At home, given that last Thursday I had to re do a factory setting (again F9) reformatting of the pc (and all the weekend I was in Shanghai), I managed to install Firefox 3, flash 10 and find some streaming page for football. The combination of a speed connection slower than stammering Danish, the limitation of this shitty Xandros pc and my mood already on the verge of going ballistic toward anything not screwed to walls or floors was an extremely dangerous risk for my health. I survived.. the pc more or less.. I don’t think I broke anything valuable, but I hope the walls were thick enough to stop most of the multi linguistic swearing (Italian, English, Norwegian and some really bad Chinese words). I can finally admit that this pc is the worst expense I had so far in my life, even including all the money thrown away for unfaithful girlfriends or paper cloth for home loneliness self pleasure.. especially when I have to put all my faith on this pc to keep my mental equilibrium.. As a second pc it is probably worth as used condoms or “our president” (Italian) promises.. ;-)





Berlin, Berlin, I’m coming!!!

2 10 2009

One week from today I’ll be in Taiwan, or, time wise, flying there… but few hours from now I will boarding a flight to Berlin, one of the most beautiful European capitals, for Aikido seminar with Christian Tissier, 7.dan Aikikai :-D !!!

I am not in top condition, a little injure from last weekend seminar in Oslo is maybe a bit more severe than expected, but they made painkillers for this.. kill the pain when you must do something else..

I hope I will manage to practice properly both days and Sunday just relax the arm.. relax for holidays! At least for being able to carry stuff to and back from my trip, Taiwan+Shanghai!!! :-D

"basic" chinese....UNRELATED COMMENT
I spent almost all yesterday evening looking for this damn book, my first Chinese grammatical reference book.. Got crazy! I do not like losing stuff, especially books.. Finally this morning I found it.. where I thought it was, just at the very bottom at the backpack where it had been since last Sunday!!! Very bottom! :-D Cool.. I thought it was a sign when I lost it.. let’s be positive (difficult for me): it is maybe a sign as well finding it!





Marlene Kuntz

25 09 2009

I have to post this video too, so much related to yesterday videos.. a different version of “Nuotando nell’aria” by Marlene Kuntz, with an amazing female singer, Cristina Donà:

But they had other occasions to share the stage with amazing female singers ;-)

..and a wonderful tribute:

with Philippe Orban!UNRELATED COMMENT
Aikido weekend in Oslo, at Aikikan dojo, for a seminar with one of my favorite instructors, Philippe Orban, 6.dan from Leipzig! Too long since last time: the perfect choice for these last few months before my graduation exam.





Vienna: 27 degrees!!!

17 07 2009

Yo people!!!

Greetings from Vienna! At 23 o’clock there are 27 degrees.. cool!! :-)

Tomorrow morning Aikido and Iaido practice with Margit and tomorrow evening a local festivity in the 1000 inhabitants village where she lives! Perfect way to start an exciting holiday of friends, practice and.. friends!!

Vale - 17th May 2000 - TrondheimUNRELATED COMMENT
Talking about friends, special friends, after many years I found on facebook the girl of this picture.. Out of curiosity about her life, but not only, I asked her to be contact. Given that my close past sucks and my present is quite cloudy and foggy, I want to see what happens now of something related to my far past. But I do not want to take this past into my present! My present and future has other directions.. east.. yeah!! ;-)
19-July-2009: 2 days passed since she accepted my contact, I left a short message and a link to this picture, but got no answer and I had time to think. I sort of contacted her hoping that a long almost forgotten past could help me to forget a close painful past. Wrong! And I realized I do not really care about her anymore. So I closed the link today. Better for sure!








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