A Letter from Japan

Kevin JohnstonKonnichiwa Dee and Jerry Sensei,

Its never too late to make a first impression. I know, the saying usually goes “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” In the case of my first week in japan, first impressions have come everyday.

My first first impression was in the drive from Narita International Airport in Tokyo to my sister’s home in Yokosuka.Kevin in Japan Japan is very beautiful. Steep green bamboo and tree covered hills pop out unsuspectingly like cats claws, then are cut or tunneled through for roads, tramlines, and buildings. When riding the trains you see up close the beauty of urban life, as homes, shops, parks, and temples pass by. Every thing is at once clean and dirty, organized and disorganized. You could spend a month in a half square mile and not learn all the nooks, crannys and small spaces there.

Kevin in JapanSpeaking of the size of things: Here in Japan everything we have that is big, is small and vice versa. Cars are small, but carrots are big. A earthworm on the ground can be a foot long, but a watermelon in the market is the size of a softball. Those worms need to be so big because flying around the base are the biggest crows I’ve ever seen.

So far I’ve had a day trip to Tokyo with more planned (including a visit to hombu dojo).Kevin in Japan Seen the Daibutsu (Great Buddha)of Kamakura at Kotoku-in temple and Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu temple and ate some great food. We plan on coming back to these places but for now I’ve gotten the whirlwind tour. Not to mention the worst case of jet lag in my life.

Seeing as how I’m up at 4:00 in the morning, I’ve been taking morning runs along the the navy bases breakers and enjoying the others amenities. Driving range, full gym (with pool, tennis, and racket ball courts), a bowling ally, movie theater and commissary are all available. Okay, I haven’t used all those things…yet.

Kevin in JapanStaying with us has been two teenage girls who have been stranded here for the week. They are looking for space to fly back to the States. It’s a hell of a way to travel. Every day they look to catch a C-5 to anywhere in the USA where they can then fly home to Tennessee. Jorden’s an 18 year old who starts college in two weeks at Tennessee Tech studying music education. She is not too happy being stuck here but is putting up a good front and keeping a smile on her face. Her sister Josie is 12 and is going in to the seventh grade. Josie is having a great time and probably doesn’t care if she ever goes home. They should be able to fly out pretty soon. Maybe. They are good kids and laugh at all my jokes, so I immediately liked them.Kevin in Japan

I begin training Monday. Here on base a number of martial arts classes are offered, including three different branches ofAikido: Doumukai, Yoshin kan, and Aikikai. No surprise as to which I chose. I’ll be studying under Takao Hattori Sensei, 7th Dan Aikikai. I’m thinking about supplanting my training with Judo or Aiki Sambo, but we’ll see how it goes. Aikido first.

I’ll be here in Japan for close to nine weeks. Judging by the first week, there will be many more first impressions to come.

Mata ne! (See Ya!)
Kevin Johnston

2 thoughts on “A Letter from Japan

  1. Fascinating interview with Hattori Sensei. He talks about his martial background, and not just Aikido.

    He trained under Nishio Sensei for 27 years and holds multiple dan rankings in various sword arts.

    You’re going to learn a lot, Kevin.

Comments are closed.