Sunday, December 28, 2008

Shiramizu Bonnenkai

Carl here...

Shiramizu Bonnenkai
The end of year party was held at Manya restaurant in Kasukabe. This party was also held in celebration of Mr. Hirai’s recent wedding. Approximately 50 people turned up for this all you can drink meal. After everyone settled in, mingled a bit and sampled some of the delicious food on offer, Ueno-san started off the game of bingo. Everyone at the party was asked to bring a prize worth 1000yen or less, so that no one would leave empty handed.

Ueno, assisted by Mori drew out all the numbers and kindly shouted out the numbers in Japanese and English.

Kikuchi Sensei thought that the purple make-up bag that he won contained something special, so he kept rummaging through all the packaging until he finally realised that the bag was the prize!

This is my bingo card. I was obviously doing very well! I ended up winning a box of gravel. I was told that you have to put them in the bath, rather like a mini spa, but it was still gravel!

After everyone had won a prize we carried on with the general drinking and merriment until the start of the speeches. Apparently the bingo game slightly over ran the schedule so the speeches were to be short and to the point. Even so, the speech was still to be a reflection of the past year and also what you would like to achieve in 2009 (hansei and hofu).

I challenge you...!

Suzuki Sensei’ speech was very good, with lots of energy and thankfully we had Richard Sensei translating it for us. He basically said that he’s 50-odd years old, but he’s still entering the Wadokai Karate Kanto Area Taikai (Kanto Championships - March 2009), and he challenges all the other Shiramizu instructors to follow his lead. I’m not sure about the others, but I know that both Yamazaki Sensei and Yoshihara Sensei have risen admirably to the challenge and will be entering both kata and kumite divisions despite both ladies being kata players!

Me and Yoshihara Sensei

During the party Yoshihara sensei asked me to help her with her kumite since I’ve started coaching** her daughter Kana when we have the time, she’s already improved significantly!

**This translates as me trying to beat up Kana at every opportunity!

My speech went something like this (only in Japanese):

Good evening!
Arakawa Sensei and Ueno-san, thank you very much for changing the venue for the party.

((The party was originally going to be at the same place as Arakawa Sensei’s masters party!))

The food at the last place wasn’t very nice.
Ueno-san, thank you for the English instructions for the party.

((Ueno took the trouble of translating all the information about the party into English for the Shiramizu English speakers!))

This year has been very busy because I handed over control of my dojo in England to a committee, and now I’m worried about it!
It’s great that we came to Japan this year.
We’re very lucky to be training in karate at the Shiramizu dojo, Thank you Arakawa sensei.
I always do my best in karate, but I still have to work on Junzuki, chinto kata and seishan kata. I hope the instructors will keep teaching me.
In 2009:
I’ll continue to do my best in karate.
I’ll do my best in Japanese karate competitions and do my best with my English dojo.
...oh and visit Kyoto!
Thank you and goodnight!*

The speech seemed to go down well, with a few laughs. Only the gaijin got the ‘thank you and goodnight’ skit but I thought it was a nice touch anyway! Obviously Amy and I had worked on our speeches beforehand, we read them rather than spoke them but everyone seemed to like the effort that we’d put in all the same.

After all the speeches were done we all got together for the group photo and then everyone went their own ways in smaller groups.

The party after the main party is apparently called a ‘Niji-Kai’, so Team Gaijin (Richard / Lawrence / Carl / Amy) went to a local karaoke joint for a Gaijin NiJiKai.

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