So after the taikai on the 23rd I flew off to Tokyo for a week. It’s such a weird place, coming from Hokkaido. There’s this artificial sensory Blitzkrieg that contrasts sharply with the withdrawn, rather unhappy vibe of so many of the people there, at least during work hours. Of course, the two are probably related. Some degree of withdrawal is a necessary defence mechanism against the sensory assault of media and advertisers all trying to convince these weary people that their product is the key to a happy, genki life.
In any case, having survived the 20 hour work days, I got back, slept, and had my first kyudo practice in 10 days. Amazing how out of tune I became after just that short time. Most important points now are to put more emphasis on the right, and not letting hanare happen too quickly. What I find is that there’s a moment a few seconds into kai when it can happen, neither intentionally nor, I think, entirely unintentionally, if that makes sense. There’s something subtle going on. But if I deliberately wait until that moment is overcome, then I can let kai “develop” fully, and the release is better. There is also something with the fingers/thumb of the right hand. So much to work on, or re-discover.
The taikai on Sunday will be the last of the regular season.
Oh, while in Tokyo I visited two kyudo shops, Koyama Kyuguten in Kanda and Asahi Archery in Otsuka. Koyama is a frequent stop for me, but it was my first visit to Asahi. That’s the shop that was owned by Onuma Hideharu-sensei, and which Dan and Jackie DeProspero lived above while they were in Tokyo. As with Koyama, it’s jam-packed, but here divided evenly between equipment for Western archery and for kyudo. Nice people, plus they had 6-sun nobi bows. I took a look at two: one carbon (錬心), one bamboo, and was tempted, but not quite ready to buy.
One of the clerks mentioned that many foreign visitors try to visit their shop but get lost and give up. I suspect part of the reason is that the map on their web site lacks detail and is oriented upside-down to the way you would use it when actually leaving the station.
The trick is that the road you need to walk up, after taking the south exit out of JR Otsuka station (that is, facing downward on the map), has a tram line running on it (the thick black line running diagonal across the map), so what you see when you come out of the station are tracks going up the hill to the right, and two narrow lanes on either side of the tracks. Go up there (follow the tracks). Then just turn left at the first big road (there’s a traffic signal) and walk a bit. You’ll see the shop on the left. A junior high school a block further away is a good landmark if you’re using a detailed map.