As is the norm here in Japan, kendo doesn’t stop over the holiday period (what little holiday period we have anyway), still, I shouldn’t complain! Luckily, as kendo is part of my job, if there is a shiai on a normal workday then that shiai becomes a “business trip” for me. Such was the case yesterday (the 26th of December).
With the scheduled abdication of the current Japanese Emperor on April the 30th 2019, a new era will begin. Well, not a really a new world-changing epoch or anything so exciting, but a change in the Japanese calendar name that happens along with the succession of a new head to the imperial family. For people outside of Japan the name change has zero impact and, to tell you the truth, apart from filling in forms (which, admittedly, is a favourite pastime of people in this country!) the impact is almost non-existent in Japan as well.
A couple of years ago I rolled in to the dojo on a Saturday morning only to have one of my sempai give me a stack of old kendo books. After lugging them all back home I sat down and went through them. Some were not so interesting, others were books I’d seen online but never managed to to read. One especially piqued my interested. Although probably the newest book of the pile (from 1986) it was perhaps one of the rarest (because only a finite number of the book were printed and it never went on sale): a copy …
Last Saturday (10th of November), I held an Eikenkai session at my workplace. 17 kenshi got together for some keiko: about 40 mins of kihon, one hour of jigeiko, and about three hours (or four… I can’t remember!) in the second dojo. Seven countries were represented: Scotland, England, America, Australia, Brazil, Italy, and Japan.
Almost exactly a year ago I wrote an article about a wonderful gift I received: a Ukiyo-e print of the first Gekken Kogyo event, held in Asakusa, Tokyo, in April 1873. Here’s a reminder of what it looks like: This was one of three woodblock prints by Utagawa Kunitera the 2nd commissioned to commemorate the event. As mentioned in last years article, the other two prints I had barely seen mention of and knew almost nothing about. That was, until the end of August this year.