Hi All, sorry once again for not blogging that often, but as it is that time of year for running about like a mad thing I haven’t had time. Add to that the fact that Sue and I had a trip to Japan in November and you can see how difficult things got….

However, yes we went to Japan. I started my karate training under the Japanese 45 years ago, and I always said that one day I would get to Japan. We finally made it. My nephew Jonathan is married to a lovely Japanese lady called Emi and her recommendation for seeing Japan was either in the Spring (Cherry Blossom time) or November (their Autumn). Unfortunately the hotels in Cherry Blossom time charge four times what they do the rest of the year – so we went in November…and WOW, those Autumn colours!

We had a fabulous trip under the care of a wonderful guide called Mika. She introduced us to: Tokyo, Takayama, Kanazawa, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Mount Fuji and back to Tokyo. I used to grade under a Sensei Kanazawa so the link was interesting. I also got served by a lady in Tokyo whose name was Funakoshi – another interesting link.

While we were in Kyoto we went to the Daisen-in Zen Garden where I was introduced to Sensei Ozeki. I explained to this 85 year-old Zen Master through our guide, who acted as interpreter, that Sue and I were Sensei in Karate. We had quite a long chat about this which our guide translated and which quite amazed her as she said he hardly ever has long conversations with people. At the end of the chat he stood up and shook my hand which was a great honour for me as it was also explained that he NEVER shakes hands with anyone!

I played drums with Geisha and Sue and I discovered a bamboo forest, took part in the Tea Ceremony, saw Mount Fuji without any clouds (!!), saw the horrors of Hiroshima, listened to and walked on a Nightingale Floor in the Shogun’s palace, watched Sumo on TV, drank Sake, rode the Bullet Trains, saw some fabulous temples and met all kinds of friendly people.

Would I go back? Yes, at the drop of a hat!

Hope you enjoy the pics.

Sensei Bill.