Since Ivo’s graduation from the International Budo Univeristy in 2013, WaShinKan has been organizing biennial trips to Japan for their members. Now, 2019, the 3rd session is special, since Jonathan graduated from the that same University prior to the WaShinKan members arrival. Written below here is a recap of our trip, including pictures made by both WaShinKan members and local people, i.e. Shota Yamakoshi, Alex Bennett and George McCall.
As always, the trip begins with buying the famous Dutch “Stroopwafels”, or caramel cookies. WaShinKan always brings those around as a token of our appreciation for having practice with us. Departing from Schiphol Airport, the group landed after a 11-hour-flight in Narita, Japan. There the group was awaited by the traditional foreigners-check and customs. From there on a 2,5-hour-long drive in the I.B.U. bus to the university in Katsuura, followed by the introduction to international office staff and the assigning of rooms.
In the evening the whole group took some small detours, getting the first hand on Japanese money in bills of 10.000 yen in the ever abundant 7-eleven shops’ ATM’s. From there on directly to Chiba Budogu, where we met up with Suzuki-San, now the sole owner, craftsman and promoter of the shop. We gathered our well needed summer Kendogi, shinai and tsuba before returning to the dormitory for a simple dinner and beer.
The next morning Ivo had to leave early for a business meeting in Tokyo, but the rest didn’t let the day go to waste. Starting off with an early morning run and short meditation on the beach of Katsuura, followed by showers and breakfast, the day was well on. During the day, the members stumbled upon the kenshu center, which is owned by the Nippon Budokan. Lucky as can be, the selection practice for the female members of the national team for the world championships was well on its way! Obviously taking pictures and videos here wasn’t allowed, but they got their introduction to Ijima-Sensei by accident! The day after, Ivo’s birthday, the group had their last day of resting, doing sightseeing and walking around in Katsuura. The weather was nice, which made for a great addition to the beautiful temples, shrines and nature all around. They even stumbled upon a shop that sells miniature armors for Koi-Nobori, a day of celebration for young boys. There was even a Star Wars version!