Little House In Ise


Mystery Solved — Revisiting Summer in Hell
June 11, 2008, 16:32
Filed under: Aikido, Japan | Tags: , , , , , ,

The first time I visited Aikikai Honbu Dojo was the day after the 45th All Japan Aikido Demonstration. The mat was packed with aikidoka from all over the world and the day was hot and humid. Even given the conditions, Doshu ordered the windows closed during practice. I had been told that he felt that students should “feel the seasons” when training. That may be true, but the real reason for closing the windows was more practical: he was being a good neighbor.

Though the Aikikai Honbu Dojo, in both of its incarnations, has been on the same spot since 1931 (the current dojo was built in 1967), the neighborhood has changed with the times. Most of the surounding buildings are mansions and so there are certainly many dojo neighbors who wake daily to the arrhythmic percussion of falling bodies. From street level, the thumping and thudding can be heard clearly so mansions at the same level as the training spaces must be almost as noisy as the dojo itself. Closing the windows is probably the nicest thing Doshu can do to improve life in the neighborhood but it makes for steamy classes.

Tokyo’s dripping summer heat has yet to start simmering in earnest but, for me, the best feeling of the season is breeze through my dogi on my bike ride home.

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2 Comments so far
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Thanks for sharing the mystery. Add to that the fact that the ventilators are now being turned off at the beginning of the class by someone who enjoys the extra challenge and you can practice the melt-me-nage in earnest. PS – Can you suggest where to get a bike near Shinjuku, as starting Saturday I’ll be needing one as I’ll almost become a neighbour of yours, in Waseda :)) Though I doubt you’ll be seeing me on a bike in my gi…

Comment by Kadi

Hi Kadi!

We bought our bikes at Olympic. Go up from the dojo to Okubo-dori take a left. Follow the street to Meiji-dori and take a right. Olympic is bout four blocks up and on the left side of the street. We got good deals because of back-to-school sales. You may want to check your mailbox for ads — they send out a ton.

BTW, the more folks wearing dogi on bikes the more normal it looks… The closer to the dojo you get the less freaky you tend to look. That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it. 🙂

Comment by Eric Holcomb




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