Trains and metro

Here are a few tips for cheap and convenient traveling in Japan:

  • Seishun pass
    This is for school holidays only. Gives you 10 days of traveling for one month. You can use the days whenever you want, so its perfect for making bigger trips in Japan. You can only use it on specific trains though, so the trips will be longer but a lot cheaper then paying the full price.

  • Suika
    This is the essential travelling card. It works very simply, you put money on it and going in and out of metro or train you beep it on the gates and you get charged the exact amount for the distance you made. Can be also used to buy stuff in some shops and even at some drink machines. Very handy, makes your travel a lot easier.

  • Day ticket
    This is for a one day free travel in Tokyo. There are multiple versions, just metro, metro and train, etc. I used the metro one. 600 yen for all day metro traveling is a nice deal and kind of a necessity if your place is a bit more out of the center.

Where is my phone?

Just a quick story about Japan. One day I was running back from kyudo to catch the last 20 min of iaido practice and it was not where I looked first so run to an other place but forgot my phone on the table there. After class I run back when I realized but it was already too late, the buildings were closed. So I went back next day and it was at the same place, untouched, waiting for me. Nobody even looked at it because it wasn’t theirs.

Same reason you can see umbrellas here and there and hats put on tables.

I was always hearing these stories about how people don’t touch things that are not theirs here, but seeing it real life is quite different.

First class with Sekine sensei

It turns out there are 3 students in the class. So we were asked what we want to study. I am not sure I understood all the answer but one student will make his own bow from a semi done bow base. This is a tradition with heki shooters and well… it was like that in the old days. You started from a base bow and formed it so it became yours.

The other one wants to do something with sport and kyudo connection.

I (The Third) want to learn as much Heki as they can teach me. Its promising so far 🙂 We will do probably mokuroku, I got some shooting advices (aiming, stronger left hand and everything one time only). And it will be a looot of practice.

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Looking forward to it!

Tudok még magyarul :)

Sziasztok!

Ígértem magyar bejegyzéseket is és bizony, úton vannak!

Vannak kisebb net problémáim de igyekszem megoldást találni rá.

De addig is, akik most tévednek ide:

Ez a blog a Japán kalandjaimról szól! Március vége óta élek itt, Tokyotól délre, Chiba megyében.  Egy Budo egyetemen tanulok kyudo-t és mellette belekóstolok pár más harcművészetbe is. Ez azt jelenti, hogy a bejegyzések nem lesznek nagyon utazósak mert innen minden messze van. Bár remélem azért néha néha az is bele fog férni. Viszont több minden lesz arról, hogy mi van egy kisvárosban, a vidéki életről és mindenféle budo-ról.

Jártam Japán legnagyobb Anime Con-ján Tokyoban, Kamakurában, Yokohamában és Tokyoban pár helyen eddig. Ezekről készülnek a bejegyzések amikor időm engedi. Legyetek türelemmel 🙂

Addig is itt van ízelítőnek pár kép:

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My first kyudo shiai in Japan (and in general :P )

 

 

Going to a competition together is either a train ride or a bus ride. In this case it is a 4 hour bus drive, which is why we left around 5 in the morning. So as you can guess, this trip starts like any other school trips, with sleeping on the bus. 😛
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Lets start with the fact that I am not a good shooter. (Yet :p) So you can imagine my surprise when the first thing besides welcome the students in the kyudo club told me was that we have a competition on Sunday was quite a bit unexpected and a little shocking. I had a week to get used to the idea and now after this day trip I can tell you more about how a university kyudo competition looks and feels like.

This was a Naka Kanto area competition between universities at the Dokkyo University kyudojo.

It is a very interesting kyudojo. It is with the usual earth azuchi (target area) and open roof but with a green material instead of grass between the shooting area and the azuchi and it’s on the second floor . It is made to be used for competitions with hitboard and a small viewing area too. Speaking of viewing area, since its tiny basically very few people can watch the actual shooting at the same time. The two teams who are competing, the next two sitting behind them and a some others from the side. Most of the teams are somewhere else, resting, talking, shooting makiwara (Shooting form practice to close distance).

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Speaking of teams, it was a team competition. A team consists of 5 kyudoka (archer) and we shoot in renmei taihai style. Four arrows a turn. Two times two arrows in the hand. The dojo style is to do this in the sitting style, so after every arrow you have to go to seiza and wait for your next turn.

You can see the shooting of one team below:

As with many japanese martial arts there are many schools (ryu) in kyudo too. And to have a common ground between all of them there is the renmei style which is in a way neither, but developed from the others. This way the different schools can participate on events together. Also nowadays most of the people around the world are shooting only in this style. Like in Chiba it seems. I was the only shamen shooter as far as I can tell.

I did better then I expected, found new things to correct in my form and exited the dojo at the wrong place 2 times :p
But 2 out of 8 was a hit and maybe with the help of the sensei I am getting to know some of the problems why I miss a lot. Left shoulder is still weak and breaks out backwards to the side, left hand is still not strong enough and I am working on the new right hand movement I have started to learn recently. All in all, it is a lot better then even a week ago.
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So how did we do at the end?
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From 25 teams we ended on the 12th place. Not enough to qualify for the next round, the prefecture tournament but it was a good start.

Next tournament end of April 🙂

Hayashi supermarket

If you live in Katsuura you will do most of your shopping in Hayashi.

It is the biggest supermarket in the “city” and probably the cheapest for big shopping.
Its not that far from the university either.

Lets see some prices 🙂

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They have cheap and good mochi too!
Enjoy 😉

Last practice before the big day

The competition is tomorrow! I am still not good, but improved some I think. We’ll see 🙂 I will bring my camera and will let you know how it went tomorrow night.

How is the everyday training this week?

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So, lets see how is a training at IBU in the Kyudo club at the moment.

We start at 17:00. And yes, it is 17:00. not 16:58 or 17:03. Exactly 17:00, even if everybody is there and ready before.

Before 17:00 there are a few things. It starts with changing clothes of course. Then setting up the dojo. This includes bringing out the matos and putting them in place. Then prepare your yumi (bow) and your kake (glow). Then two kyudoka runs to the matos, one on each side and the senpais check the place of the matos and directs the other two (by shouting to them) which one to move where and how much. This way the already almost perfect set up becomes unbelievable perfect 🙂

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Then we take our place in the dojo and wait for 17:00 to come. At 5pm we have line up and shinto style rei before the little jinja on the wall.

After this we start with competition practice. Since we will have a shiai (competition) on Sunday we practice in the group with what we will enter. Its a 5 person guys group. I am the third shooter and its renmei style taihai shooting. I am getting the hang of it after a few days. Its far from pretty yet, but I know when to do what and that’s a start.
We go through this 5 times until the hit board fills up. One set is 4 arrows so all together it ends up at 20 arrows.

After every 4 arrows we have yatori (bringing back the arrows). Which I am still not very good at 🙂
It goes follows:
The person/s who goes for the arrows goes out on the side door, puts on outside slippers and ties up the hakama.
He goes next to the shooting area, claps twice and shouts Hairimasu and waits for an answer.
One of the not shooting kyudoka will go to the front of the dojo and if there is nobody shooting at the fifth mato (which is the closest one to the walking area next to the shooting field) shouts back Onegaishimasu.
The yatori person runs out to the azuchi and waits there until everybody is done with shooting, then claps twice, shouts hairimasu and goes in to the azuchi to the first mato, checking all matos on the way. Then runs back the the last one backwards and shouts back the results to the dojo where they confirm it with the score board and one person notes down everything.

Reporting is:
1 hit – いっちゅう
2 hit – はわけ
3 hit – さんちゅう
4 hit – かいちゅう
0 hit – ざんねん

Then the arrows are collected and the yatori person stands next to the azuchi and shouts back dozo, so the next group can start shooting.
Then he runs back to the side door of the dojo, where the cleaning equipment is.
This is a real kyudojo, so we have earth behind the matos. This means after bringing back the arrows we have to clean them. First with a wet towel, one by one and the arrowheads, then with a dry towel. Then check if all the nocks are in place and if you cleaned it well and put them back in their place in the dojo.
And you should do this very fast, which I am unable to do yet 😛 I am slow with this too, like in everything 😀

And then… repeat sequence.

When we are done with the competition practice we have free shooting (kaigi). Yatori when there is around 10 arrows in the azuchi area, so around 2 arrows per person. This is a less formal yatori, no shouting back the results.

And that’s about it. Then the training ends, which means an other rei and cleaning up. Sweeping all the dojo and dusting everything. Bringing back the matos and redoing the earth in the azuchi. Then go over it and the wood above with water. Then scrape off the earth from the matos and put on new paper. Max 4 layers, if it reaches for we have to restart from the frame.

One of the sensei is present for some time in the training, checks everybody and gives advice.

And this concludes an average training this week. It might be different later on, but for now this is about everything.

First Kyudo class

I had the first class today. Loooot of things to learn. The way of the dojo work is a bit different too then home. Lots of reiho.

I got a nice yumi and some arrows. Learned how to bring back arrows and clean them. Still having problems with what and when to shout back.

The beginning and the end is a bit like at the shinto shrine. 2 rei, two claps, 1 rei.

I am the only gaijin, so lets hope my Japanese will be better day by day!

I am catching up with the last days posts and I will post them shortly. I have a lot of nice photos coming too! Keep looking, interesting things are coming!

For example my first shiai on the 10th, I am second mato. Still have to get confident in the form.

Thats it for today, the posts about the last few days will be probably a bit more interesting 😉

First day is Anime con!!!

Or… it was supposed to be Anime Japan 2016, a huge anime convention in Tokyo. We planned to participate with B san. But as it turned out today they were still just building the stands in the halls. So you can see it empty:
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And tomorrow I am going back to check it out again 🙂

Since we already were in Odaiba we went to see the Gundam statue! If you are ever in Odaiba for some reason (its the middle of nowhere) definitely check it out (since it’s kind of the only interesting stuff around 😛 )

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If you are not familiar with the series, Gundam is kind of the birth of Mecha anime’s. So huge robots beating the hell out of each other and a quite a lot of shooting with some space opera. 🙂  I guess it is probably “life” size because the statue is huge!

But to stay in spirit and use the day well we went to Aki(ha)ba(ra) to see a looooot of manga and anime stuff mixed with a variety of electric stores. Its just amazing how many variety there is. Figures, pillows, stickers, posters, figures, games, photos, figures, toys, models, and did I say figures? My friend knew a few places worth to check out so we walked around for quite a while. They even have retro, old school stuff. There are a few specialized places too where you can only buy retro. There are big stores, small stores, stores where people or online stores rent displays for their stuff and more and more stores. Its amazing, really.
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If you are there, check out this small Ramen place.
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They have delicious food and the portions are big too. You are set for lunch for about 1000 yen.

A huge Yodobashi Camera is in Akihabara too. If you need anything that works with electricity (and sometimes even stuff that doesn’t) this is your place. More then five levels of cameras, computers, household stuff and who knows what. I have seen here the Japanese sales technique in action the first time. Its like a market place at home in the country side. Shouting about what they are selling, very loudly and a lot. Selling laptops and iphones shouting and trying to convince the people.

Also learned something new. The plugs. Because why could they be the same… To use anything here you will need a converter (if your charges is ok with the volts here) and for that you have to know what you use where you come from. Which usually I assume nobody knows. Therefore standing in front of a lot of converters clueless is an inevitable experience. And its not fun. 😛 But to make it easier for you: C is the small plug, like phone chargers and E is the bigger one like laptops. Yes, it looks like we have two in EU.

Some things from the first day:

If you like books (and can read in Japanese) BookOff is your place to go to. It is a huge second hand book chain with additional departments for CD/DVD/Games and also some used electronics like consols and phones.

If you want to use internet in Japan you have two main options as a tourist. You can rent a pocket wifi with data or buy an IIJmio sim for your phone. This is a data only sim and makes navigation in Japan a whole lot easier. This is what I went fot at the moment. 2GB for 3 months for somewhere around 4000 yen. It is using Docomo network. Setting up is a bit tricky and it leaves you with a constant error notification but works like a charm.  I am a happy customer 🙂

If you like matcha you have to try Matcha KitKat too! Its one of the versions of Kit Kat in Japan. Some explainable reason KitKat is big in Japan. They even have their own specialty shops.

Trains, trains, trains. The trains are punctual, very clean, comfortable and well cared for. They have a card called Suika with which after charging it you can travel easier and faster. Every station has the Suika ticket doors, even if its in the middle of nowhere. It works also like a Paypass in the EU. You can just charge it and pay with it in some shops too.

Interesting thing with the trains is the doors are closing music. When they will close the doors they play a music and when that stops the doors are closing. It like the game with one less chairs in a circle. Oh, and every station has their own music!

Getting around in Tokyo is very easy with just English. Mostly all the signs have English too. Its a big maze of metro and train lines. You can have day tickets too specifically for Tokyo metro and a few other extended and more expensive options are also available.

The weirdest job in Japan so far is the sign holders jobs. They are getting payed to just stand somewhere with a paper in their hands. And I have seen quite a few of these.