Monday, June 7, 2010

Farewell & Welcome Party!

Richard here,

l-r: Louise, Pete and Erica holding a banner Louise made for Shiramizu.

Last night Shiramizu had its ''Farewell Louise & Erica plus Welcome Pete Party''! Over 40 people turned out to celebrate the current intern's graduation and the new interns entry into the program.

Final group picture at the Healthy House!

In addition to the graduation certificates being given out by Arakawa Sensei and myself, there were speeches in Japanese by Louise & Erica and a speech in English by Sensei! Everyone had prepared beforehand and smartly had their speeches written on paper. There were many gifts passed around, especially photo albums filled with pictures from the year, and of course we also had the annual natto & umeboshi eating contest for the non-Japanese folks!

There were many smiles, much laughter and even some tears. I always try to tell interns at this point that their Japanese life which they worked so hard to open up and live fully for the last 365 days does not shut down now, but will always be here and be a part of them - plus Japan isn't going anywhere, we're always going to be here!

Flipping through the photo albums, I was impressed at how much everyone had done over the year in terms of karate classes, tournaments, seminars & events outside, how the changing seasons really helped portray the significance of the important amount of time that had passed, and yet it seems time simply went by too fast yet again as another year's internship has come to a fine completion.

Good luck to Louise and Erica, not only in these last few days until their respective departures trying to pack everything (!), but also good luck in the next chapter in their lives. Stay in touch!

Finally, good luck to Pete as he takes on the mantle of the Shiramizu Internship and begins his journey in Japan!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Welcome Pete, Intern #8!

Pete registering at Sugito City Hall, pushing up the local population to 47, 618 people, or 23,952 men

Richard here!

On Monday night, the new Shiramizu Karate Intern, Pete Williams from England, arrived at Tokyo's Narita Airport! After 20hours of traveling from London to Dubai to Narita, he was met at the airport by the current interns Erica and Louise.

Although the internship is 6 years old now, Pete really is intern #8 since we've had 2 interns each year over the last 2 years.

On Tuesday morning bright and early, Pete met with Sugito Kindergarten Principal Mrs. Mizuno along with Louise and Arakawa Sensei.

He already has a Wado karate background so other than immersing himself into all things Japanese, Sensei has already planned to register him for the many tournaments that are coming up, as well as preparing him to challenge the Wadokai dan test next spring.

We all wish Pete good luck, and thank him for coming to Japan to keep the internship rolling along!