This trip was a little different than my last 2, as they were spent focusing almost exclusively on Kodôgu. This time however I spent more time as a tourist have a look at some of the sights of Tokyo and other area’s I have wanted to visit for some time but never got around too.
This trip, the first week was spent with my karate (JKA) friends and we did all the tourist sights of Tokyo I have not taken in before. Tokyo Tower, Sengaku-ji shrine and the graves of the 47 Ronin, the Sankeien Japanese garden in Yokohama, Kamakura, and for a good laugh, the Ninja Restaurant in Akasaka.
Tokyo City form the Tokyo Tower
Sengaku-ji shrine, Tokyo.
Edo period building, Sankeien Japanese garden, Yokohama
A Kotetsu Katana and Okimasa Naginata at Edo Museum.
Momoyama period Mempo at the edo Museum.
I visited the Castle which takes a good 2 hours to see everything and also the Tokugawa Museum which would be one of the better museums I have visited in Japan, showcasing so many treasures of the Tokugawa family. All aspects of Samurai art are covered and I saw many new items for the first time I had not seem before. A mitokoromono by Gotou Sojou stands out as a highlight, unfortuantely I could not take any photo’s.
Armour of the Hosokawa family
Making new friends at Hakone Sekisho (My friend Shinobu far right and her mother Keiko next to her)
Hakone’s Lake Ashi
Amongst visiting all the sword stores and bars, one of our nicest days was visiting with Andrew Ickeringill, an Aussie mate from Melbourne doing his apprenticship as a Togishi with Takushi Sasaki sensei. We trained our way out (take a packed lunch if visiting LOL) to the wrong station, turned around and went back 2 stops and was then greeted by our smiling aussie mate at the station. We took a quick cab ride to the business of Sasaki sensei and were greeted by all the deshi and Sasaki sensei. Dr Robson put on a small kantei for the boys and Sasaki san showed us some pretty neat swords including an Ichimonji, and a Bizen Norimitsu that was just killer.
We chatted and laughed for a while before visiting the work rooms where we saw where the boys sat and worked all day. One thing we found impressive was that Sasaki sensei has two rooms instead of one large room, one for the dirty heavy foundation polishing and the other for all the light finishing work. This is a neat idea and both Gordon and I were impressed with the whole setup.
Dr Gordon Robson at the Irish Pub in Shibuya
Yours truly with a hoko made by Yoshihara Kuniie to be dedicated to Ise jingu.
Andrew Ickeringill at his workstation.
So, that is a rough outline of my stay in Japan. I had a ball and cannot wait to get back again next year.
Thank you for reading.