Japan 2014 post 15

October sixteenth
This morning I overslept. Although thankfully only by forty five minutes. I had forgotten to set my alarm last night after watching youtube videos until midnight! So at about quarter after seven, I leapt out of bed and raced downstairs to have my shower. Yatchan had already gone to work, and it was nearly time to take Ayana to the meeting spot. I scarfed down some out meal, then took her. Just as the group was about to leave, Ayana realized that she had forgotten something, and ran home to get it. The rest of the kids waited for her, and when she got back they set off.
I walked home by myself, and then grabbed my Japanese textbook and the sausages Catherine had cooked for me while I was gone. She had to go to a big PTA meeting, so Ayako was coming over again. That was nice, because I could ask her some more questions. I was working with the dictionary form, which is pretty difficult for me. Dictionary form is the root of the word, from which it’s conjugated. So usually you use the conjugation when you’re speaking, but sometimes you don’t. It was confusing. And it’s difficult to take a verb that I know, like tabemasu (eating) for example, and figure out what it turns into. In his case it turns into taberu, but with nomimasu (drinking) it turns into nomu… So it’s not as simple as cutting off the masu ending and replacing it with ru. Anyways, it’s pretty complicated so I was glad Ayako was here to help.
Around eleven, Hoshino san came by, and we biked to tai chi. There was one person that I hadn’t met last time, but other than that it was nice to see familiar faces. We did almost the same thing as last week, which was good because I sort of had a clue what I was doing! We started with twenty five minutes of stretching and warm up, then moved onto practicing movements. We did those for a while, then lines up in a grid, and the Sensei put music on. The sequence was as beautiful as last week, and this time I didn’t feel so out of tune. So I think I enjoyed it more! Once we finished the sequence we sat down for our break. Today Hoshino San brought me a Pocari Sweat. It’s name is a bit weird, but basically it’s just slightly sweetened and flavoured water that replaces electrolytes. So it’s a sports drink. I didn’t have this problem as much with Pocari Sweat, but the other sports drink I’d had a week ago hadn’t done anything to quench my thirst, in fact I think I was more thirsty after sipping it. So I had that to drink, and a woman had brought cookies for us to have. I passed around my bag as well, and said kore wa Kanada Kara. Dozo. Which roughly translates into please have these, they’re from Canada. Everyone thought the fruit to gos where oishii (delicious) and they liked the pins too. It was a bit odd to see a bunch if seniors eating fruit to gos, but they don’t have to be kid snacks I guess!
After the break we worked with fans again. This time the Sensei had brought an extra one for me to borrow. I really like using the fans, I find it pretty fun. And since I was more familiar with the fan sequences, I wasn’t behind so much. But as we started to go faster, I fell behind. I fact, at a certain point it was going too fast for anyone but the Sensei and one other woman! Everyone laughed.
A bit later, we were practicing opening our fans with a backhanded motion, which is pretty tricky. Four peoples fans went flying almost consecutively. I was one of them. When the lesson was over I changed out of the tai chi clothes Hoshino San had let me borrow and thanked him then gave them back to him. Then I started to give him the sleeve that my drink was in to keep it cool, but he said I could keep it. I was very thankful.
I said thank you to the Sensei and returned the fan, then Hoshino San and I biked home and said goodbye. It wasn’t until halfway to McDonalds with Ayako and Atsushi that I realized I had forgotten to give him his gift! I’ll take if over to him later. For lunch I tried McDonalds other Halloween special, the ghost burger. As well as a salad. The ghost burger is really just a chicken burger with mayo (or maybe it’s tartar sauce) on a white bun with lettuce. It was pretty good. The salad wasn’t nearly as good as our salads, but the dressing was sort of cool. It came in a special packet that you pinched, and then it snapped and you could cleanly squeeze the sauce out onto the salad. Then you closed the salad lid and shook it. Another thing that I didn’t know McDonalds had was little sweeteners and flavours that you can buy and out in your drink. I didn’t have it, but Ayako did. After we finished Ayako and I got a desert, and I ordered it. She gave me the money and said that I should try ordering. So I did. I went to the till and pointed at the menu and said kono isukurim to anko pai o kudasai. The waitress understood fine, and gave me the ice cream and anko pie that I had asked for. I paid and went back to our table. Ayako congratulated me, and we tucked it. I had ordered their Halloween ice cream special, because why not? It tasted like it was an orange McFlurry. Ayako gave me a piece of her anko pie, which is a pastry with sweetened red bean paste inside. It was a bit odd, but oddly good as well.
Later in the afternoon I did my exercises, then went out to the park to train. I worked on all sort of vault routines on the tires, flips, cartwheels, and handstands. I did ten cartwheels in a row! The world was spinning long after I stopped that run. A little while later I was joined by Ayana. She wanted to train too, so we worked on vaults together and made up a few routines for her. Just as we were about to leave, Catherine and Atsushi came too, so we stayed a while longer and all four of us trained. We didn’t stay for too long though because it was getting dark. When we got home I worked on my story for a while, and started watch the Art of a Motion event in Santorini Greece. Art of Motion, or AOM, is a freerunning competition that takes place in different places around the world annually. It’s amazing to watch all of the professional freerunners compete, and really just have a good time. I also decorated my pumpkin, which was pretty fun.
Hoshino San came over during the afternoon with a gift for me from the tai chi group. It’s an awesome shirt. It’s bright orange, with the yin yang on the front, and silhouettes of people doing tai chi on the back. Catherine and I tried to give him his gift of chocolate almonds, but he wouldn’t take it! Maybe he didn’t want to be in “debt” to us. In Japan the culture is that if someone gives you something, you give them something. Same thing with doing things for people. Catherine says that it turns into perpetual repaying. That you repay someone, then you repay them, then they repay you, and on and on.
During supper Catherine and I watch some of my parkour videos that I made with various friends, and we had a great conversation on the subject. Catherine was a gymnast when she was younger, so we had a lot of common knowledge. It was really nice.
For supper we had pasta. But the pasta was cooked with salmon, cheese, and noki. It was a bit of a Catherine creation, and it was amazing.
Tomorrow I’m playing tennis with Reiko for four hours, so I’ve got to get a good sleep tonight!


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by ecosophian on October 17, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Hi Christopher … Your experiences with the tai chi group are excellent! Sound like a real gift to be part of that training.
    Hey, what’s the story with the title of this blogpost?


  2. I think so too! It’s really nice to be there. Didn’t you and mom do tai chi at one point?
    And sorry, I’ve fixed it now!


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