JAPAN TRIP 2006
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October 27, 2006

Today we head into Shinagawa and Sengakuji, the burial place of the 47 Ronin.

The shrine and the graves may not sound very exciting to most, but if you know the story (read it on this site), the whole experience is very powerful and has significant meaning to us as martial artists and swordsmen.

From Sengakuji we went into Harajuko to the Meiji shrine and toured it for a while, even though we are really shrined-out. The historical significance of this shrine is very important and had to be seen sometime along our trip.

Off to Shibuya to train Iaido in the Shibuya Dojo with Esaka Sensei.

I guess the anxiousness got the better of us as we arrived even before Esaka Sensei did, 2 hours early to be exact.

The training was fantastic and definitely a high-lite if the trip for me. After the training, we were invited to go eat at a local restaurant with Esaka Sensei and several of the other Iaidoka who had been training that evening.

As the ngiht came to a close we made our way back to Kawaguchi where we are staying to return to the closet we are sleeping in.

OCTOBER 28, 2006

Our destinatiopn today is Fuji City, to see Mount Fuji, and a sword Taikai that we were invited to go to.

What a trip, on the shinkansen, then walk into town that should be tourist friendly and at least have one person who speaks a bit of english, BUT NO, luckly I stopped and asked directions at a local hardware store, and the fellow there knew the sensei of the town and took us to his house.

The Sensei, with open arms and a bit of laughter from the local people, told us that the taikan was the next day, but that we were welcome to come to his dojo for a training session.

The style of Iai is Shinto-Ryu, very different from what we do, but fun none the less and a learning experience. We were then treated to a saturday afternoon ritual that was very interesting. Tamishegiri, tatami cutting with the swords. It seems that all the local iaidoka, get together on Saturdays, cut up a bunch of mats and then go eat food and drink beer.

I met a fellow who is a 7th dan in Muso Jikiden, his name is Ito and he is a local monk in the city of Fuji, but man could he cut the tatami. It was cool too see him walk in off the street, get transferred a sword and cut the mats with ease then go outside for a smoke as though it was no big deal.

We however got back on the train, once again after having lost Amerigo, and went into Tokyo, then Harajuko on our way Back to Nishi-Kawaguchi and to the hostel.

October 29, 2006

The order of the day today is to go into Shinjuku to the Sword Museum, and then see where the adventure takes us.

Photos are not allowed, but I some how (wink wink) managed to get a few. Although not the best pictures they hopefully show a bit of the impressive swords we got to see.

The oldest sword was 700 years old with the rest being around 350 years old.

Other than the museum being small and most of the swords only being blades with no fittings or furniture, I would have to say that the lack of english explanations was a bit disappointing.

We then went by Yaiyogi park where all the goth people hang out on sundays. The goth population in Japan is no different than that of Canada.

October 30, 2006

Today we are off to the the only shrine in Japan dedicated to the sword.

This shrine is of huge significance to us as it is the Hayashizaki Iai Jinja Shrine, dedicated to the founder of our system of Iaido (sword training).

Located in Muryama, we got the train at 9:00am and arrived there at about 2:00 pm. The shrine was too far to walk so we negotiated a taxi to take us there.

With our chauffer in the van we were taken to the shrine, took some pictures and saw some historical prints, swords, and writings, then got back in the van to be taken back to the train station and go back to Tokyo.

All but Colin and Amerigo went into the electronics distric of Ikihabarra, where we made some purchases and ate some food.

October 31, 2006

Well this is going home day.

Mostly in this order too for the morning, (1) shower, (2) Dress (3) Pack (4) Eat (5) reserve rental car via email (6) catch train (7) go to Kodokan (8) go to Tokyo Dome (9) Ride Thunder Dolphin Rollercoaster (10) get back on train go to Narita Airport (11) Depart Narita at 5:45 pm on 31st (12) fly 8 hours 30 minutes (13) arrive Vancouver at 9:45 am on the 31st (14) get rental car at 11:30 am (15) go for all-you-can-eat sushi (16) get home.

The Japan Trip for 2006 is now officially complete.

Lets start planning for the 2008 trip.

The RONIN Travelers at the Kodokan, the world headquarters for Judo.

We took the opportunity to get out on the mats and also take our picture in the dojo under the photo of Professor Jigaro Kano, the founder of Judo.

From here we are off to ride the Thunder Dolphin roller coaster  which is located on the same block as the Kodokan and the Tokyo Dome.

The Thunder Dolphin is rated at an 8 out of 10 for scarieness, and was a very exhilarating ride. Simon wanted to get out not too long after it started and he realized we were climbing almost vertically. Once we started down the only thing going through your mind is blood.

Narita here we come and off to the airport we go, with  a few hours to spare, we are looking great time wise.

Were at the airport now, duty free shopping completed and through the security gates and into the waiting area.

Well it seems we have lost Amerigo again, and Jory is on a different flight than we are.

Our Flight, or rather ride back home.

Some of the sights to see in Harajuku.

Yeah, this is how they really dress all the time.

The route we took to get home