Tuesday, April 12, 2011

First Days

The regular semester at the kokusai budo daigaku doesn’t officially commence until the 18th of April. The two weeks leading up to the beginning of the semester, however, are filled with such exciting activities as…

More orientation!
Ping pong!
[When you put a large group of martial Artists together—the majority of which are men—there are only two topics of conversation: fighting and…

Day one of orientation set the stage and dimmed the lighting for the general proceedings to come. The first hour and a half were dedicated to the explanation of the rules of conduct at the dormitory and the proper separation of garbage. If you have never been to Japan, you might find it interesting to note the extreme complexities of garbage. There are burnables, plastics, cans/glass, organic, small chunks of metal/glass and corpses. Each individual city/prefecture makes further classifications: sometimes combining plastics and burnables, sometimes dividing plastics based on material or shape. Perhaps, due to all this, it is damn near impossible to find a garbage can when you’re walking around and you’ve just finished eating an onigiri (rice ball) and are now looking for someplace to throw the wrapper.

The second hour and a half of orientation was dedicated to the fire drill. After a brief explanation of the extinguisher—pull the pin, hold at arms length, aim for the base of the flame not the outer edges—we were shown the fire doors and alarm. Then, the staff of the dormitory told us to go back to our rooms and wait for the alarm to ring. When the alarm rang, we all filed calmly down the stairs, through the doors and across the courtyard to a nearby hill. Meanwhile, the secretary of the international office shouted, “Hashite Hashite! (Run run!)” We were then scolded for not taking the fire drill seriously and running out of the building.

Days two and three of orientation followed in a like manner. We filled out paperwork and signed our names to documents we couldn’t understand. In the afternoons, we worked out in the weight room and in the evenings we walked around the city. (Note: there is one shop that specializes in budo-pornography.)

Of course, when you put a bunch of board budoka together in a confined space, they will eventually decide to test one another’s strength or fighting prowess. One simple wrestling match progressed quickly through friendly tussle to serious scuffle and ended by two more budoka pulling the combatants apart.
“He tried to break my arm!”
“He wouldn’t stop!”
“I said stop!”
“Then he just kept going!”

For the sake of us all, let training begin… soon.

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