For those of you faithful readers who have been following the blog since the beginning, you will remember Paul Atkin. For the recent blog readers, Paul was intern #2 (2006-2007). He’s from Kelowna BC, Canada (a town not too far from my hometown Vancouver!) and he has come back to visit for one month. I took this opportunity to meet up with him and spring an interview. So if you ever wonder what happens to the interns after they leave the internship, well keep reading!
What have you been doing since the internship?
I went back and I have been enhancing my karate dojo (Kelowna Shotokan Karate). My father retired and I’ve taken over the dojo. Since returning, I went from 30 students to 90. I have about 50 kids and I’ve also opened up a second branch location of the dojo.
Aside from the dojo, I competed in the Canadian ShotoCanada Shotokan Nationals. I got gold in kumite and silver in kata.
What brings you back to Japan? The Wado Kai Nationals?
I’ve come back to visit all the friends I’ve made here, plus visit with my girlfriend's family.
What do you miss most about Japan?
The kids that I taught and the sense of purpose that the Japanese people hold. That respect and loyalty are very prominent. I find that if I ever get off track at home, coming back here puts me right back.
What do you miss least?
The weather. The hot, hot heat. That’s it.
What was the most memorable moment/event for you?
I got take part in a Budo martial arts festival. Arakawa Sensei’s dojo was chosen to represent Karate at the Nippon Budokan for the Kagami Biraki Festival in January 2007 when I was here (see post when later interns Carl Intern #4 & Lawrence Intern #3 attended the festival). I went to watch the event, but I got to partake in it. There were sumo wrestlers and people representing Judo. They broke a huge mochi (rice cake) and pieces were passed around to everyone. I stood amidst all these Japanese people representing different styles of martial arts and it was such an honour to be able to be a part of it...being non-Japanese and all.
What advice or words of wisdom do you have for Louise and I?
Just always try your best. Remember that you’re carrying something that someone else had started and you are trying to make it better for the next person. If we keep finding the right people, I don’t see why that's not going to happen. Oh and never quit.
Thank you Paul for those encouraging words and the best of luck at the Shotokan World’s!
Coming soon: An interview with Carl Jorgenson, intern #4!!