It was a huge festival competitor wise (another bad word but I'm stuck!) but the audience was almost entirely made up of parents, spouses and children of competitors. Not much of a PR opportunity for all the different dojo. So the girls and I walking in in regular clothes and not obviously attached to a competitor garnered quite a bit of interest from the different sensei. And so we did a round of the gym and watched all the different groups. Meg and Amy's impressions:
Kyudo: They should be careful. Those spears could hurt someone.
Sumo: Their underwear is waaaaay up their bottoms! And you can see their bottoms! (I explained it was a traditional fundoshi and that's how you wear it.) But you can see their bottoms!! Amy liked doing the sumo warming up moves and was very interested in how they tie the fundoshi and who ties it for you but not at all keen at trying one on. Meg wasn't having a bar of any of it.
Judo- the judo sensei was calling out to us to join in as he pushed down on boys backs who were trying to do pushups. Then wedged his shin between a kids legs as he tried to do lunges. Funnily enough neither girl thought judo looked like much fun at all....
Taekwondo- Meg liked the shirts. Amy thought it looked like fun until a little boy caught a kick in the groin and went down sobbing. Then they both thought it looked very nasty.
All the stick fighting martial arts- wide eyed wonder and 'they shouldn't point sticks at people. That's dangerous!'
Karate, shorinji kenpo and nippon kempo- there were no kids training so they thought it was just for adults.
Aikido- they were very worried for K. We've been to the dojo to watch him train before but he is quite high ranked in a class of mostly lower ranked people and so tends to be like the assistant teacher helping out. Today we saw him spar (whoa another no-no word) with Uni students and then with his teacher's teacher. I know you're not supposed to praise your family here but I'm not Japanese so here goes- he looked soooo cooollll!! Seriously. He is very graceful and strong and moves like lightening. Seriously hope the girls got that DNA as it is missing big time on my side! In Aikido they don't do real sparring but rather set moves. K was the throwee and his teacher the thrower. So for about 2 minutes at a time K would approach the teacher who would take him by the hand, elbow, shoulder, wherever and, using minimal effort- aikido style- throw him. As K wears a big flowing hakama over his outfit it looks very impressive when he sails through the air as it all billows out. And sail he did. Sail and crash, sail and crash. That was pretty much the entire demonstration. Meg and Amy were worried about him and Amy thought he should just take out the old man who was throwing him as he was surely bigger and stronger. We sat with some of the lower ranked HS kids from K's dojo and one is a real fan of K's and was explaining lots of stuff to the girls and I which put their minds to rest and was interesting to boot.
So after watching all that what did I do? Go home? Nooooo. Nowhere to buy lunch so I got a yoghurt drink and a hot cocoa from the vending machine (lunch and dessert!), said goodbye to K and the girls and I went to the next building (they share a carpark) and met up with some of my adult students. And what did we do? We watched a 100 strong choir and the Matsumoto indoor orchestra (my translation) perform Beethoven's Symphony Number 9. I'm not really a classical music kind of girl. But once a year I go to this big choral/ orchestral event and I love it. One of my students is in the choir but I think I would go anyway. The amazing sound of all those voices together, the glamour of the guest singers in their beautiful clothes (one soprano, alto, tenor and baritone are brought in from Tokyo) seeing an orchestra live, the shine on all the instruments, the crescendoing music, the energy and passion in the conductor... sigh... it's really almost overwhelming all the sensory input. After an hour and a half in a different, more beautiful, ethereal world I drove home, said hi to the girls and K, changed out of my concert gear and into heavy duty cold weather work wear, picked up two neighbours and drove down the road and went and picked turnip greens. About 40 kilos of them. In the dusk, then the gloaming, and finishing up in the dark.
It really was an odd day- from martial arts to Beethoven to turnip greens in a scant 12 hours....