Little House In Ise

Too Deep
September 24, 2008, 18:21
Filed under: Aikido, Expat, Japan | Tags: , , , , ,

I have seven stitches across the knuckle of my right big toe — one for each of the samurai virtues (more later). The details are boring so suffice it to say that walking is uncomfortable and the doc has side-lined me until he pulls the stitches out. So I am doing mitori geiko (見取り稽古: Training by taking what is seen) again.

As it turns out, Waka-sensei was also side-lined today and we hung out together. More accurately, we sat near each other and sulked. I did take the opportunity to clear up a mini-mystery. There is a high ranking woman whose Aikido is brilliant and whose ukemi in particular is beautiful. It had always seemed to me that Doshu picked her as his uke for specific techniques (shihonage and kotegaeshi) but not for others. Since he insists on relatively bland ukemi during demonstrations it didn’t make sense that he was picking her for her tremendous acrobatic skills.

So, I asked Wakasensei what was up. He gave me a funny look and responded: “She comes after the teaching staff and does what’s next in order.” In other words, no reason, it just lines up that way. I felt like newbie Japan-hand digging for deeper meaning in something that really had none. This time, the cigar really was just a cigar.

There have been dozens of times that I have heard newbie expats and visitors searching too deeply for meaning in things Japanese. I’m guilty of that myself. In other words, foreigners often look deeply for meaning in customs, designs and what-not and they don’t always have any depth to offer (the custom may just be another excuse to drink to excess and the design may just be pretty). Desperately looking for deeper meaning in everything in this culture is a classic Japan-o-phile experience. As such, I am sure that there are many instances of meaning being attached arbitrarily to things in order to give a veneer of depth or at least wabi sabi (侘 寂: simple aesthetic taste). In my case, the seven stitches in my toe hold some skin together and had nothing to do with samurai virtues until I started writing this …


3 Comments so far
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😀 i still think there is meaning in both those things, her and her ukeedo and your toeedo, cause imagine if it would have been worse and you would have had 8 stiches and would have suffered it all eternity. or only 4 but deep and lethal ones. or… you know, there’s meaning in everything. if you mean to. hope im not being mean though, get well soon. again 🙂

ps – you didn’t say how it happened, very curious…

Comment by Kadi

The “how” is the boring part. I’ve been trying to come up with some entertaining fiction but alien abduction has too many differently-erotic overtones that I don’t want associated with my toe. It has been through enough.

For now, neither clumsiness nor alcohol were factors (this time).

Comment by Eric Holcomb

On the other hand, you could “spin” the “real” reason so that it would be a boon to be “associated”, if not w/your toe, at least w/your powers of “fictionalization”!:) (I think I just coined a word!)

Comment by Ita

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