After almost 2 weeks in Japan, and more exactly 3 weeks away from Longgang, I am back in the South of China.. already for a couple of weeks now! I know, I have been a lazy blogger lately.. hope to imporve again once back in Europe!
Again it has been an Aikido driven trip, that had started in Shanghai for 3 nice sessions with Irie sensei, start of the hombu dojo annual event in China (Shanghai/Beijing.. indeed a tiny part of China). Then, instead of following sensei to Beijing has done earlier, I said bye bye to both China and sensei and I flew to Japan, Kyoto at first, where I joined the Aikido Kyoto 10th Anniversary International Seminar with Yasuno sensei as top instructor.
A fantastic weekend seminar: nowadays a few instructors show such a passion, energy and are equally captivating as Yasuno sensei. Unfortunately sensei talked much during the seminar, and it was all in Japanese and not translated. But a good friend and close student of sensei translated for me some points that were emphasized during practice. This is indeed an extra motivation in order to improve my Japanese.. even if Yasuno sensei talks so fast that it was a challenge for a few foreigners even with good Japanese skills!
After Kyoto I visited Nara and thanks to Tominaga sensei, teacher of the local club (with several dojos between Nara and Osaka) I had a wonderful time both on the mats and off. Sensei took me around Nara and also a little in Osaka and I meet a few of the locals officials and the three UNESCO protected sites in Nara.
Back in Tokyo I had only one chance to practice with Endo sensei in hombu dojo and then one visit to Funabashi dojo, where the main teachers are also Endo sensei close students. At Funabashi dojo I had a great practice followed by a great dinner! Really nice people that I hope to meet again soon.
In Tokyo, as said, I had the chance again to practice several times with Irie sensei, both at hombu dojo and Shinagawa dojo. The more I can practice with sensei, the more I want to practice with him.. and I know already his only visit to Europe for next year.. I must take contact soon with the organizers!
With these 2 trips close to each other I clearly took my decision to stop being a hombu dojo Aikido tourist trying to practice 5 sessions per day (ok, I could never really do that!) with all instructors. I have taken a direction and I know I will struggle to keep contact with the teachers I really like now. Especially after I will go back to Europe, since Irie sensei and Yasuno sensei do not travel that much. A good thing is that in Italy there will be soon more activity related to Yasuno sensei because of one of his close students leaving Japan after several years. His new project together with the already existing and very active Aikido Club Bolzano will introduce more of Yasuno sensei Aikido vision.
I don’t need to add that if I will ever be again in a position able to invite some teachers to my dojo, Irie sensei is top of the list: my new dream is having him in Norway, just because I know Norwegian Aikido environment and people very closely and I am sure they would all love sensei from the first minute.. as I did!!