1. 49th All Japan Aikikai Embukai
The 49th All Japan Aikikai Embukai took place this year on Saturday the 28th of May at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo. Despite the disaster which occured in March this year, the attendance to this event was relatively good with it being reported that about 8000 people attented the event and a hoard of umbrellas gathered around the enterance before the doors were to open. For support of the relif efforts taking place after the Tsunami of March this year, a collection was made and the victims of the disaster were comemorated. My JPO aikido friends were almost apologetic about the rainy season having started earlier than normal this year. Three delegates from the C.A.B.N (Culturele Aikido Bond Nederland) attendend this event including myself, Ernesto Ladavas sensei and Humphrey Piplenbosch. We had the honour, for the first time, to participate together with the Hombu dojo's members demonstration towards the end of the afternoon. As usual, I got the chance for a second demonstration with the JPO Aikido club. Each year, a similar structure applies to the embukai programme and the event comes to a conclusion with demonstrations by the highest ranked shihans, that of Tada shihan being the last before Doshu's demonstration which I managed to catch on the video recorder of my mobile phone: ....
The demonstration area: 5 tatami are arranged in the hall. Despite the recent disaster in Japan, the embukai had a relatively good attendance (about 8000 people attending).
Three members of the C.A.B.N. took part in the demonstrations this year: Ernesto Ladavas sensei, 6th dan and chairman (in photo together with his fiancé, Laila); Lawrence Warry, 4th dan; and Humphrey Pipelenbosch, 2nd dan.
Number "49" displayed at the entrance of the Nippon budokan. The umbrellas say it all about the weather.
2. Pony Cafe
This is one of the most famous aikido cafes haunted by aikido shihans. Yamashima sensei took me there twice after morning practice. I asked what the exact address was but apparently the street had no name? (or it is just a well kept secret). The most noteable aspect of the cafe is the way in which the coffee is made. The coffee maker looks more like a chemistry set than a coffee maker. The toast and coffee certainly came as a welcome delight after the rigourous waking up early and training.
Brewing the coffee in the Pony Cafe.
3. Visit to Shosenji Temple and Dojo near Osaka
In the small town of Toyonaka just outside of Osaka, lies a beautiful zen temple, the Shosenji temple, a family temple that has been passed from generation to generation of the Shimamoto family. The current head of the temple, is also an aikido shihan (Shimamoto Katsuyuki shihan, 8th dan aikikai) and on the site of the temple there is also a large aikido dojo with trainings occuring throughout the week. During my recent visit to Japan, I had the pleasure to visit the temple and dojo of Shosenji and meet Shimamoto shihan and his students.
Group photo at the Shosenji dojo (together with guest instructor Minegishi sensei, 7th dan aikikai and her aikido group of children from Guam aikikai).
"Cheese!" with the wife of Shimamoto shihan (also known as Mama-san).
The beautiful kamiza of the Shosenji dojo.