Shinmeikan (Sunday Dojo) Leaving Dinner

I should write about this while it's still fresh in my head.

Today we had a leaving dinner. Most of the people from the Sunday dojo came.

So. Happy guy is standing in the blue t-shirt on the left. Sensei sensei is at the back with a red shirt. I'm the obvious gajin. I'm sorry for not being photogenic. Not my fault :( Kotomi is behind me. Totoro sensei is the big guy. Hits-too-hard guy is in the white shirt in front of him. Hirai sensei is the guy with the glasses. The others I have hardly met as they don't come often.

Sensei sensei and Totoro sensei (he just got 6th dan).

Happy guy and Musasi (because his last name is Miyamoto. He's not in the first picture for some reason) talk about footwork.

Sensei sensei and me.

Everyone again. Me trying to be short.

Anyway. The food was not so nice, but it didn't matter because everyone got drunk and we all talked about lost of stuff. Kotomi got really confused sometimes because she had to translate everything (she even started talking to me in Japanese once or twice). I had in-depth kendo discussions with Hirai sensei (7th dan koshi). He also teaches at Shimpukan (my other dojo) and teaches little kids 3 times a week AND practices with a hachidan twice a month. He was on the cover of a Japan kendo magazine this year, so I'll try and find it. He said he would really like to come to New Zealand (and he actually meant it, not just drunk talk). We talked about the difference between sport kendo and "correct" kendo, and he made me promise to always practice correct kendo. I said I fully agree with what he says, but then he said to me, and this is important, "that might be so, but I see that when you actually practice kendo you forget this." He is so right.

Sensei sensei got really really drunk and started hugging everyone. He actually cried and said he was worried I would forget him. I had to reassure him like 10 times that I wouldn't. He said I should take what I have learnt in Japan and spread Japanese kendo in New Zealand (actually, I think my NZ senseis already do really good Japanese kendo??). I mentioned that I want to build a dojo one day (wood and land is cheap in NZ) and mentioned that if he ever rips the floor out of his dojo (which he is planning to do) that he should send me some of it. He said it was an awesome idea haha.

Ummm. Everyone made little speeches. I said thank you for letting me hit you. Thank you for teaching me. And please stop crying sensei I'm still here for another month :(

Kotomi and me also came up with a good idea for presents. For Sensei sensei I'll give him one of the photos in a frame, and also a tenagui with Kotomi's calligraphy on it. Just one kanji: teaching (or something like that) because he likes to teach so much. So we'll do this for all my sensei, give them tenagui with a kanji related to their nicknames or personalities. Hirai sensei will have "noble", Yamazaki sensei will have "spirit", Tough sensei will have "strength" and so on. But for Grumpy sensei... well, perhaps we could write "happiness" and hope he wears it?

Anyway. I had a great time today, and I know I will seriously miss everyone here.

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