So, dear readers….you may have noticed that the blog has been slow for a while. Essentially this is because life has been the opposite of slow. Within the last month there has been a lot of exciting things going on in all aspects of my life…..and frankly as much as I have wanted to share with you, I have barely had a second to sit down and think, let alone put something vaguely coherent together.
I will give you the reader’s digest version for now and then in time try and expand on things.
At the start of October, my 5 year old and I went to the Annual TJKN Gasshuku in Queensland. This was full on (training up to 8 hours a day and basically living and breathing Karate on fumes of sleep), but even better than last year because: (1) there were several people from our dojo there with us, (2) my Karate is in a different place now, such that I could get more out of the advanced training, and (3) I got to catch up with all my friends I made there last year…..
The fun didn’t stop there though, after we parted ways in Brisbane (we had hired a minivan for the dojo – I was the main driver!!), Ms 5 and I flew out to Tokyo, Japan to meet up with my husband and son who went ahead of us. We had an amazing family holiday spending 4 more days in Tokyo, 1 day in Nikko, 5 days in Kyoto, 1 day in Himeji, 1 day in Nara, 2 days in Hiroshima and then 5 days in Okinawa (based in Naha). I had pretty high expectations of Japan; these were completely blown out of the water. Everything about it was such an enriching experience. We all left wanting to return and see more. Japan is a great place to visit with kids (well set up) and we fitted a surprising amount in as a result.
Highlights for me are difficult to choose. The culture and food and people are all beautiful to be immersed in. Tokyo was amazing and not as intimidating (for this small town girl) as I expected. Kyoto was beautiful. Nikko and Nara were peaceful. Hiroshima was a gutsy and resilient metropolis. I loved climbing Mt Misen in Hiroshima Prefecture and the meal at a roadside stall in Miyajima (at the bottom of the mountain) served to us by an older woman who spoke less English than I spoke Japanese and yet managed to accommodate our dietary needs and bestow extra food on us because she thought our kids were cute!! I loved swimming in Fukugawa falls in Okinawa as well as swimming with the locals at some of the Okinawan beaches. I also participated in some Karate events in Naha as it serendipitously turned out to be Karate day when we were there!! This included participating in the Guinness book of world records kata event in Kokusai Dori, Naha with nearly 4000 other Karateka from around the world. I also got to visit (and leave our club’s mark on the walls of) the Dojo Bar and go to the Shureido shop where I purchased a lovely new dogi of Japanese “blue” cotton made in the birthplace of karate…..and I have since started making memories in it…..
The day we got back (on no sleep) I went back to class (in my new Gi of course 🙂 ). I had missed the dojo as much as my own home when I was away….not just because I was missing several classes in the lead up to grading, but I missed my other family!! It was even more special as some of my kohai were grading and I got to be there for them.
Since then, (the last 2 weeks), it has been a blur of training, informal training with my Senpai and Kohai, and higher kyu gradings, finishing yesterday with a panel grading at my home dojo for the lower kyu and those testing and pretesting for shodan (from various network clubs including a high representation from my home dojo). I am very proud to say that everyone passed and as of Monday our dojo will have a shodan and 6 brown belts to add to the other colours as everyone gets their new stripes and belts. It’s been exciting to watch everyone grow and amazing to see the difference in people’s confidence and ability from before I went away to when I got back.
Oh….and in between all that I quietly celebrated my 21st birthday (for the second time), on the day with my family, and with some friends and my immediate family at the Adelaide Vegan festival the day after….after training of course!!
So there you have it……my excuse for being unusually quiet for a while. Hope it’s a reasonable excuse.
Here are a few snaps of what I got up to between 6th and 27th October!