Je vous souhaite d'aimer ce qu'il faut aimer et d'oublier ce qu'il faut oublier.

Je vous souhaite des passions. Je vous souhaite des silences. Je vous souhaite des chants d'oiseaux au réveil et des rires d'enfants.

Je vous souhaite surtout d'être vous.

Jacques Brel (part of "le droit de rêver")


Summer 2005

Thanks to all who: supported me, support me, sempai, kohai, sensei, devil, gods.. I writed in Enlish (even if my English is very poor)so Naoko who I thank specially can also join this first experience that I had in her home country.. Be aware this is my interpretation of my experience (see notebook + my mind)... Part I: Paris-Tokyo Narita-Osaka Itami-Kyoto Before leaving I print: my shedule, all important @mails concerning kendo/reigi/ + I took the green + kanj & kana dictionnary,... and I packed my bag with more gifts for all the sensei, friends and friends I will make than clothes for myself. I took my bogu and a handbag that’s all, so don’t think I’m the the girl who moves her dressing room with her on holiday for example. Paris-Tokyo Narita. After looking ¾ movies, walking & disturbing all the people around you to go to the toilet we arrived in Tokyo. In Tokyo I took another plane to Osaka Itami and there I took a another limousine who was going directly to Kyoto. I The transport is on time and I arrived after 1h in Kyoto. From the station I walked like 30 min till the Gojo street, (N-E => 5 min from Kiyomizu Temple: ) where the first insect that I saw was the wonderfull cucaracha. I was still dreaming about Japan that I forgott to be tired till I took my shower at my distination: I was staying 9 days in the Area of Higashiyama. Most of the time I walked to the centre along the Kamo river and took the small streets just to see the houses, take a look how people are leaving and be lost.. My plan for Kyoto was visiting firstly what is far from the centre and than come closer to the place where I stayed, this to provide to be short in time to visit some place(es). It was 6 in the morning and thanks to the jetlag no chance anymore to can sleep anymore. Still sleepy, I went downstairs and start to prepare the shedule for the day, at that moment 2 German girls came downstairs where I started to talk. They had the same shedule than me and still sleepy I ask them to join the day with them and so I started to go to the N-W of Kyoto (Kinkakuji area). Kyoto is situated in a valley contourned of montains; you can not lost your way in Kyoto, because of the structure of the ways...How more we moved outside the centre how beatifull it become.. I will not tell you about all the temples I saw, but my top 3 in Kyot is: Taizo-in temple (at Myoshinji), Tenryu-ji temple (Sagano district of Kyoto) and the Ginkakuji temple (the silver temple). These 3 Zen temples are for me the 3 temples where the architecture and the garden where reflecting harmony and peace. The Kinkaku (Golden temple) were the opposite of the feeling I had with the previous temples. It’s too bombastic and all that gold everywhere it’s seems to aggresive for my eyes(this is my personal point of view). 1.2 Everything has his place as in a temple, castle, palace, kendo... 50 min in advance; it’s the first time that I took the local train and I couldn’t know how much time it will take. The weather it’s the same than at my father his homeplace, but the humidity makes the difference. After 3 days I practice kendo at Kyoto university. Everything just goes like it had to go . All my fears and doubts flowed on the same way away. Everybody knew his position in the dojo and took his responsabilities in a serious way. Only this atmosphere gives a strong spirit to this dojo and his kendoka, but also me who was having his first practice in Japan. The moment from the beginning of the practice till the cooling down after the practice where one continuity without dead times. • Joge buri • Zanshin kotai men suburi • Zengo sayo men suburi • +/-Kote suburi • Uchiotoshi kote suburi • Haya suburi The suburi +/- 50 were fluent/dynamic to make the wrists souple,strike in the centre in a good way and to be relax in footwork & in balance between the upper & low body. After we maked with a partner some basic kihon, like for example: men uchi (this without men)we started kirikaeshi( small groups of 3). Kirikaeshi was very intensive and all the movements of the students were fluent in one time. You felt that to be hit and more the strike getting trough yourself and keep zanshin after the strike ... After we had: shiai, free gi geiko, kakari geiko (3 kendoka in a line and you start to make kakari geiko on the tree people in one time), 2 men uchikomi, kirikaeshi and finally the cooling down. The most difficult was kakari geiko. I didn’t keep in a good way (55%) with the first motodachi, the second I was (80%), but the last I was aware that I let my concentration flew away and I ended (30%). Why? I could say that it was the fault of the weather, or because I was tired, but I didn’t use it as an excuse. I just focused myself to be more concentrated the next time at the end of such an intensive exercise and to be able to make me improve in a better way. After the practice everybody stays there in the dojo. The kohai brought some water to everybody and all the students relax at the dojo or in the changing room. You can compare their changing room like a studio with only kendo material everywhere (I maked some pictures). The sempai adviced or give comments to the kohai after the practice. Everybody takes care of his bogu and put everything outside so everything could breath the air and dry again for the next practice. All the kendo equipment stay in the changing room, so nobody excepted me had to take his bogu back at home. The line up was in a L: __ left to right (low to high rank), the people line up at the I were graduated. The kote were put in vertical instead of horizontal like we do in the dojo.

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