The 43rd Zen Koku Jodo Taikai (Country-wide Jodo Tournament) was held on the 4th of May in Otsu, Shiga.
It was presided over by Kaminoda, Tsunemori-sensei of Tokyo and Joko, Ichio-sensei of Mima town, Ehime. We did the taiso (warm up exercises), and they played old jodo songs at lunch. As far as I know, I was the only one from the Americas. Well, besides Solveig Manthey my uchidachi. Christina Krenke was there from Eastern Germany via Tokyo. There was an excellent Finnish 2-dan from Kobe in Hyogo who won a match before being eliminated. The Finnish fellow's name comes back as Mikko Kuoritchiinen. I haven't a clue how that should be spelled.
The children's division was just cool. They use smaller tsue of course.Flyers for Kaminoda-sensei's kusarigama-jutsu (sickle and weighted chain technique) book were given out..
Sasaki, Ken-sensei from Nakamura, Kochi was there for Ehime.
The Kochi fellows all come to Ehime to practice it seems. Some fellow named Sakaue-san from Osaka was just excellent, and eliminated Joko, Tadashi-sensei (Ichio's son).
The 98th Zen Nippon Kendo Embu Taikai (All Japan Kendo Demonstration) was held on the 5th and 6th of May and was just amazing. It seems the Hozoin-ryu sojutsu (spearmanship) always starts things off. Controlling the end must be quite a feat. The Niten Ichi-ryu wooden swords looked longer than the ones used in Guelph. They were dressed quite colourfully and really stood out from the others. The Tendo-ryu nito surprised me as being rather short. The Ono-ha Itto-ryu swordsmen use huge gloves in practice which look quite unwieldy.
I was surprised Kaminoda-sensei and Osato-sensei were approachable even at such an event in Japan, contrary to any rumour. They even shook my hand when I was goaded into go-aisatsu (the all-important greeting). They demonstrated kusarigama-jutsu while the Joko-sensei father and son did Shinto-ryu kenjutsu. Apparently only Joko, Ichizo-sensei and Matsui, Kenji were given the actual Shinto-ryu certificates. Kaminoda-sensei, however, has heard the kuden (oral transmission) as well as digging up Kasumi Shinto-ryu.
I also met Yamaguchi-sensei of Tokyo who was at the first gasshuku I went to in Maryland. He asked if I knew Kurisu, but unfortunately I don't. This would be a big guy (of course) with a British accent named Chris Mansfield who is living in Kannagawa. He's a renshi, 7-dan, and was chatting to the other visible minority in Japan about the European Kendo Federation, and how busy he is.
The shear presence of row after row of naginata practitioners, mostly around the same height and weight and moving in accord, is formidable. The place went quiet when the last two sets demonstrated, and the only man in the bunch was a big tall guy doing Jikishinkage-ryu with the soke.
The place went dead quiet when mura, hiro on tsue and Matsui, Kenji on tachi took the floor. They commanded the place's full attention -- I think perhaps this wasn't announced. That was jodo.
Tanaka-sensei, the naginata teacher from California recognized my face
and said hello. She must have a very good memory. I walked by Namidome,
Shigenori-sensei of Fukuoka who wasn't wearing a nametag, and stuttered
a bit when his gaze hit me. Oh, Yokoyama, Hiromichi-sensei of Kochi University
was there and did jodo but not iai this time for some reason. He's
the scion of