This post is a little overdue, but better late than never.
The day after our Dai Ichi Exam, we went on our first “Field Trip”. It was an event we’d been planning for a long time. Our trip to O’Sensei’s grave in Wakayama Prefecture.
We arrived early at the Dojo to take the Ippan class, then a few of us ran to Kitamura San’s apartment to take a quick shower before jogging back to the Dojo to meet Naomi who kindly brought the rental car. After a quick stopover to pick up a GPS, and a 7-eleven pit-stop for we headed out of town. I guess it took us a couple of hours before arriving at our first destination, O’Sensei’s grave. As seen in the photos attached, we followed Naomi’s instructions to fill the buckets of water, and used the water and brushes to clean off the headstone from top to bottom. Then we bowed in silence and payed our respects to the great Ueshiba Sensei. The grave site was located amidst the grounds of a beautiful temple, a well-manicured garden, and a bunch of other old and nice looking structures for which I can say little about their meaning.
Next stop was the land where Ueshiba Sensei’s house once stood…now a fenced off empty gravel lot, next door to a hardware store with a name something like “Ueshiba Denkiya”. Nice touch.
Next stop was the beach…and the gigantic statue of Ueshiba Sensei just nearby. Andy Sensei and Jotaro dove in for a dip in the ocean while the rest of us hung out on the beach. Highlights included Andy sensei performing Hiyaku Ukemi in the shallow waters, and making sand trails of Shakoho, Taino Henko Ichi and Taino Henko Ni. SEE Photos. A quick and refreshing lunch at a nearby restaurant, and then we were off and running again.
Next stop was the onsen…which was closed…minor setback…so we improvised and went to another one instead. It was pretty awesome actually. Nice pools with jets, oxygen, electricity (For the brave), and a wide range of temperatures, including “Siberian Cold” (For the really brave) – and being the hardcore Yoshinkan boys we are, we all dipped in. Since we didn’t do any Aikido while we were IN the Onsen, we just set up the cushions for Andy Sensei to do some leaping Mae Mawari Ukemis in the quiet Tatami-Floor lounge downstairs.
After a long ride back home, a few of us stopped off at the Izumiya to grab a couple of beers and sip them by the river on Horikawa Dori. It was a long day, and I think we were in fact more exhausted the next day for training than we normally are after a solid day of hitting the mats all day. Having said that, it was a nice trip and I think we’re all glad we had the chance to go.