Japan 2014 post 8

October ninth
This morning I got up, showered, had breakfast, and took Ayana to the her walking group. Catherine had a PTA (Parent Teacher Association) meeting at Ayana’s school for a few hours this morning, so I went with her. They were getting things ready for the schools culture festival. I wasn’t able to stay for long, since I had to bike home and meet Hoshino San for tai chi. We biked together to the community centre, which is about five minutes away. Hoshino San brought some special clothes for me to wear, and iced tea for break time. The clothes were loose fitting, made if a thin, shimmery fabric. They reminded me of pants that a lot of traceurs and free runners wear. They’re also the same type that the performance team wore in wushu. And Catherine tells me that they are the standard for construction workers to wear. Hoshino San also leant me a loose black t-shirt, and similar shoes to the ones I had worn when I went to school two years ago. The group was mostly women, only three men including myself, and there were perhaps a dozen people. Hoshino San introduced me to the group, and we began. We stretch for about half an hour before anything else, and some of the stretches were ones that I hadn’t done since my wushu days. We also warmed up by doing some kicks across the room. The same kicks we would warm up with in wushu! I was pleased that I could still do them fairly well, sometimes kicking to my head height.
The actual tai chi starting with fairly simple, slow movements. Even those were hard for me though, since I was always trying to follow the others. Then the Sensei turned on some very beautiful music, and we started the first sequence. (I’m not sure what they’re actually called) Anyways, that was very hard! Everyone else was in almost perfect synchronization, so I sort of felt like I was interrupting the flow. Even so it was fun. Once we had finished that sequence we went over a few key movements again. We had a tea and cookies break once that was done, and the Sensei told me to just relax myself. So I did. I still wasn’t doing it perfectly, but I wasn’t so tense, and it was more enjoyable. Not that it wasn’t enjoyable before, it just felt better now. We started to do the forms more quickly, and then it was super hard! For the last forty five minutes of class, we worked with fans. Hoshino San leant me his. It took a while for me to get used to opening and closing it with one hand, but once I did it was really fun! We did fan sequences too, including a really fast one, and sometimes people would loose grip on their fans and they would go flying! But they would just laugh and pick it up. It happened to me too! My fan was always a bit behind the others, and it sounded like one big fan opening, then mine a beat behind. After each sequence we took bits and pieces out to practice in more depth. Sometimes we all practiced the same part, sometimes we all did different stuff. That time was a lot more informal.
I really enjoyed the lesson, and I think everyone was happy I was there. Ip they asked me if I was coming back next week too. I would like to, it’s very enjoyable, though challenging, and the group is great. There’s really good energy, and everyone seems very kind and friendly.
Once I got home, I gave Catherine a call, as per her instructions, and she said to come meet her at McDonalds. I hopped on my bike, and we had lunch there. Catherine had their Halloween special; an odd looking cheese burger with a black bun and black sauce inside. She told me that the bun and sauce her coloured with edible squid ink. I tried a bit of the sauce, and it was pretty good. I just had my usual quarter pounder with cheese, but I wished I had tried what Cat had.
The rest of the day went by pretty quickly. I worked out, wrote, and stayed at home with a sleeping Atsushi while Catherine got Ayana from school. All four of us went to Rogers together for some grocery shopping too.
We had mostly leftovers for supper. The eggplant dish from yesterday, the chickpea dish, ribs, and a fresh salad. Midway through the meal, Eriko brought over some homemade popcorn chicken too, and it was amazing! Catherine fried up some bacon with a vegetable that I’ve never heard of before, but I was too full to have more than a taster.
I had a good conversation with Yatchan after he got home from work. We talked about his job, my life on the farm, educations, how more jobs in Japan are being given to foreign workers than Japanese people, how manufacturing is moving overseas, and travel plans.
I’m so happy to be living with such a kind family.
Christopher image

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