Sunday, January 30, 2011

Shiramizu Temple Walk and Start of Year Training, 9th January 2011.

Peter Here,

The frost was well and truly biting when people gathered at Sugito Takanodai park for the annual Temple walk (hatsumode) and start of year training (hatsu geiko) on January 9. Leaving the park at 8:30, we were to walk to Satte Jinja (Shinto Shrine), be blessed by a Shinto priest, and then walk to Asukaru Taikakan (training hall) to begin the year by training all together.

As my toe was still in its cast, I couldn’t walk; however I was determined to take part so I was allowed to take the bicycle instead! As well as not being able to walk the distance, I couldn’t wear shoes yet either, so endured the cold with sandals and socks (a fashion no-no, but it can slide this time):

By the time we walked to the temple, my extremities were well and truly frozen!

Having arrived at the temple, there was a quick ceremony, and we then did 100 punches, followed by 100 kicks. It was a lot harder work that it has been in the past, because of the cold but also because of the holiday too! We then received an offering of sake (well the adults did- no drunken kids, they got lollipops), and made a prayer for the new year.

We then walked to Asukaru Taikakan, the Satte training hall that houses many Shiramizu competitions and weekly dojo training, with a quick pause for lunch and a recharge when we arrived. Richard also came along at that point to, so it was great to see him for the start of training too!

I could only take part in a small part of the training because of my toe, although I really wanted to join in more. Despite that, the energy on display in the room was seen and felt by everyone, from the kindergarten kids to the adult spectators. It just goes to show how great Arakawa Sensei and the rest of the Shiramizu teachers are at motivating everyone!

A great start to the year, and plenty to work on for the times ahead!

Cycling back on the way home, I also caught a very nice view- Mount Fuji in the sunset, all the way from Saitama. Happy New Year indeed!

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