Wednesday, June 22, 2005

kickin' it at the kodokan

Hello my dear readers!
These days are passing slowly and fairly uneventfully. I *still* don't have internet at my apartment, which is causing me no end of grief, as without it it feels like an appendage is missing. I vaguely remember days before the internet, (or at least before it was usable in my house back in '94). You know, before things like email, google, and when we had to ride dinosaurs to school. But we have progressed and evolved beyond those times, and it's high time for my apartment to get with the program. Ah well, the installation guy should be here any day now. For now it's a nice excuse to go to my old alma mater, (Jouchi Daigaku), and the occasional internet cafe.

hehe, enough ranting. SO, time to talk about Judo! I think I mentioned in a previous blog that I recently got my brown belt... I used to practice in LA about 4 blocks from my apartment in west LA, in a place called the Sawtelle Judo Dojo. It's a really great place to go because there are always a lot of people and the instructors are tough but fun, and expect great things from their students.
Anyways, my friend Emily Lilly (another brown belt from Sawtelle Dojo) came to practice at THE KODOKAN. The kodokan is the world center for judo, it's a 12 story building in the heart of tokyo where international players go to train. She doesn't speak Japanese, so I played tour guide and took her and her mom around town. I had a great time, and just for the heck of it I went to practice with her that evening.

It was fun!! At first the head instructor took me aside and had me demonstrate I could fall properly, but I didn't know what falls he wanted me to show, so I'm sure I did something weird. He said in japanese 'how long have you been doing Judo?' when I replied 'um, about a year, sir' he shook his head and said 'and you can't even fall properly? tsk tsk. You'd better train with the white belts today'. Embarrassed, I went over to where the new girls were, and I was partnered off to do a few basic throws and falls from a crouching position. It was my partner's sixth time. Hehe, I thought I would be bored, but I actually had a good time, because the instructor corrected little things I had been doing wrong and never realized it. Soon I was merrily throwing and falling away with zest! ^-^ At about that time the head instructor (a ninth dan... that's above black belt level) came over and said 'huh? wait a second, you got good really fast. Alright, did you want to practice with one of the other brown belts?' ..heheh. So, to my relief, I got to practice with Emily after all. Needless to say after her two weeks of intense practice, my butt was thoroughly kicked. I haven't had so much fun in awhile! *^-^* I also practiced with some japanese black belts, but I think they took it easy on me ^-^.

In japan, girls/women have a white stripe in the middle of their black/brown belt. I don't know whether to take it as a vague insult, as in 'women can never truly become brown or black belts', but I'm just going to think of it as tradition, since at higher levels, men and women can practice together, even in Japan.
Oh, remember Emily Lilly's name, I have a feeling she's going to be a famous Judoka in a few years. *^-^*

In other news, yesterday I visited Stef (LMU student) who's studying abroad at Jouchi. *sniff*, reminds me of the good old days... ^^ It's nice to have a friend from the states here in Japan!
Last Friday I went drinking with Takeshi and his coworkers. We went to a beer garden, which is a name for a type of restaurant on the roof of a department store that serves appetizers and.. you guessed it, beer. ^-^ The waitresses were girls in tiny budweiser dresses, much to the delight of Takeshi's male coworkers ^-^ They're very sweet and friendly. I was told 'if you and Takeshi ever have a fight, we'll be on YOUR side! ^-^ hee hee. kampai! (cheers!)
Sorry, no pictures today because the computers in the internet cafe here in Sengawa don't seem to like me. Oh well, next time.

Tune in next week for my special report on Japanese food!
until then, genki de ne!(take care!)


Anonymous David Medinnus said...

I studied briefly with Sig Kufferath at a kodenkan jujitsu center in San Jose (and have the bruises to prove eet!).

7:38 AM  

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