Nakaoka Shintaro Statue At Shikoku
Friend of Sakamoto Ryoma, Nakaoka Shintaro was raised up in the Southern part of Shikoku, where this statue stands

Another successful martial art journey to Japan

This time the journey for Japanese Martial Arts occurred from November 24th 2012 to January 26th 2013. The trainings included arts such as Karate, Ryukyu Kobujutsu, Atarashii Naginata, Jikishinkageryu Naginatajutsu, Jodo and Kendo. In comparison to the earlier similar visits, this time there were not as many visits to the castles of temples. Instead I visited several graves of past teachers, to whom I wanted to pay respect.

Pictures for November, Decemberand January are available in Flickr. At the moment I entered the bus going to the airport in Finland, in order to departure to Japan, I realised that I forgot my digital camera on the bookshelf at home. This meant that I had to buy a new camera in Japan. After a short research and evaluation, I went to Osaka to buy Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT4, which could be considered childproof due to its water- and shockproof features.

In the early December I was still working on my Masters Thesis, which I managed to deliver in the last moment before my student status at the Metropolia University of Applied Sciencesended. The thesis available under the Creative Commons license.

In the first day of the year, people usually go to the temples to pray for good year. I visited the Nagata Jinja again, to say hello to the Chikara Ishi, rock of strength. It was carried there by an ancestor of Yoshinao Nanbu, doshu-soke, the founder of Nanbudo.

The first training of the year was Kendo at Kobe Kitaku Kendo Club, which came as a surprise, since my last Kendo training was in 2007 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Anyhow it is something that I should focus a bit more as it is the other half of Ishujiai (Naginata versus Kendo match).

During those two months it became clear that an official branch for Jikishinkageryu Naginatajutsu should be started in Finland. As soon as I realised, it became reality and with the permission from the 18th Soke, Masami Sonobe, there now exists Shutokukai Finland Shibu. It is the second branch outside Japan, first branch being in Hawaii.

My daughter took her first steps, all four of them, while in Japan. I was unfortunately in Kanto while she was walking in Kansai. After that I have been happy to her steps getting faster and more determined. On the day we departed from Japan, she had her first birthday.

I do not hurry to go back, as there is again so much things that I should be studying, so many different aspects to consider in my technique, and above all, so much more Japanese language to acquire.