Yoshinkan not all fun and games

This post originally appeared on my AikiWeb blog…

Yoshinkan isn’t all fun and games… Sometimes it’s a pizza party!

On Saturday night, we went to the apartment of one the dojo members for pizza and kung fu movies.

This is not really what Yoshinkan aikido is about, but sometimes it is fun just to relax. The kenshusei course hasn’t started yet, so there is a little time for these sorts of distractions.

The films were of course in Chinese with Japanese subtitles, so it was a twofer of incomprehension for me. The first film was set in Shanghai during WWII. I was a little uncomfortable watching a movie with Japanese people depicting evil sadistic Japanese soldiers, but they seemed very nonchalant. There were a few homage to Bruce Lee, including a hero who wore a Green Hornet Kato costume (yes, it’s true) and a remake of thatfamous scene from Fist of Fury where Bruce Lee takes out a Japanese dojo, complete with remake of shirtlessness and nunchuks.

By the end of the movie, I was in pain, both literally and figuratively. I needed to move around to stretch out my knees; plus, I was dead tired after 2 hours of sleep the previous night and several beers and focusing on a movie I didn’t understand. So I was so thankful when the credits rolled, but then another movie came on… “Ohhhhh, a double feature” I said to myself. I said it under my breath, and I didn’t think anyone else would know what double feature was anyhow. But everyone turned and looked and nodded, “hai, daburah feechu… daijobu desu ka?”

“Hai, hai, daijobu, great.” Ahhhhh

The second film was in Chinese with Japanese dubbing and had something to do with Shaolin Temple with a Jackie Chan cameo as a cook. This was somewhat interesting since I have actually been to the Shaolin Temple now. Needless to say, the film did not feature the real temple with all the tourists and thousands of students hoping to become kung fu movie stars. There were some good laughs at the expense of the Caucasian actors who had been recruited to portray European soldiers. Personally, I would love to get a job as a gaijin actor in Japan, but I am in the wrong city for it and probably getting too old now anyhow.

Following the movies we caught 5 minutes of an anime cartoon based on a movie called Thermae Romae about an ancient Roman that falls down the drain of a Roman public bath and comes out in a public bath in modern Japan. This looked like it actually might have been pretty funny if I could have understood it.

Anyhow, despite aching knees that needed to be stretched and not being able to follow what was going on, the night was successful at providing some good food, good laughs, and good company.