A Dojo Tale

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERAYesterday was the last day of classes at the dojo for this year. To celebrate, Sensei planned special classes. There was a 90 minute boxing class, which I didn’t do, followed by a 90 minute Fighting Exercise class, which I did. I was right up front because even in a room full of little Japanese people, I’m still smaller than almost everyone else. Being right up front means I have to try not to make any mistakes, but of course I did. Ninety minutes of punching and kicking is a long time.

Head spinning, I dashed home to take a shower and then we all met up at Jyuppo (Ten Steps).

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERAThere were over thirty of us and we managed to consume mass quantities of food and alcohol. Everyone got rather silly and had a lot of fun.

Dojo parties are interesting. The only thing we all have in common is that we’re strong. We all have different professions and come from different backgrounds, especially me. There have been other foreigners over the years, but this year I was the only one. I am perfectly comfortable with that, and I think most of the others are, too. But I do get the occasional dopey comment, like “Gee, you’re really good with chopsticks.” I just smile, but am tempted to say, “Yes, I’m glad I finally learned. I used to lap my food straight out of the dish like a dog. It was really embarrassing.”

There were some good conversations, though. I met a woman whose family name is Eda. I had heard that the name is fairly common but had never met one. I suggested that we get married so I could be Eda Eda. She didn’t realize right away that I was joking.

A Gift from the Universe: I think I worked out a deal with Shimizu-san, the best masseur I’ve ever come across, whereby I will teach his kids English and he will give me free massages. I don’t much enjoy teaching kids, mostly because I’m not very good at it, but still, think I got the sweeter end of that deal.

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