mosquitoes, earthquakes, hiji shime, visa

This post originally appeared on my AikiWeb blog…

Last night, I woke up at 3:00AM. There were Kyoto mosquitoes buzzing in my ears, and the apartment’s balcony screen door was open. I was so pissed off. I thought roommate Nick had left the screen door open. I thought, I’m going to f—ing open the sliding doors between our rooms and just let the mosquitoes eat him alive!

The mosquitoes in Kyoto aren’t a lot larger than the ones back home in upstate New York, but their bite is nasty. (I have a theory that you get acclimated to the poison of your own indigenous mosquitoes, and that the poison of foreign ‘skeeters provokes a mild allergic reaction, but I haven’t researched this…) Over Golden Week, the dojo had a party on the grounds of the old Imperial Palace, and I still have scabbed-over wounds from the bites that ulcerated.

Anyhow, as I was laying in bed, I thought maybe Nick didn’t do it. Maybe it was me. Whatever the case, I spent a long time last night swatting the side of my head to try to kill the buggers when they close enough to my ears. Fun.

Then today at practice I heard we had an earthquake last night. It was a small one, 3.0 on the Richter Scale–centered in Lake Biwa. It was small enough that it didn’t set off Japan’s earthquake warning system, which sends an alert message to everyone’s smart phones. But I think it is probably what woke me up. Maybe it stirred up those mosquitoes, too.

This is the second earthquake I’ve experienced since I’ve been in Japan. That’s more than or equal to all the previous earthquakes I’ve experienced in my life.

Earthquakes are a part of life in Japan. Apparently, we had one just about an hour ago, although I didn’t notice it, and I was shocked to see this forecast map showing them all over Japan. That’s just a 2-day forecast! generated JPEG

image from changes periodically

To me, getting woken up by an earthquake that you can’t even feel is pretty darn interesting. What was I sensing, and with what part of my body? But Crampton-sensei just sniffed at me today: “obviously not from California,” he said.

In our waza progression, we’ve reached kata mochi hiji shimeichi and ni, so we’re a little over half done with the “Dai Ichi Kihon Waza,” which is the prescribed set of techniques for the first test, for 6th-4th kyu.

I was dreading hiji shime because it looks like it could be both painful and dangerous. However, it’s turned out to be quite fun, for two reasons:

  1. I think I’ve picked up this technique quite well. It feels smooth and effortless, and uke goes down without any trouble. Plus, I received the coveted but rare compliment today from Crampton-sensei: “okay, that looks pretty good.”
  2. The other kenshusei don’t seem to be able to apply this technique to me very effectively, so taking ukemi for it has been pretty painless.

On the other hand, I have plenty of other aches and pains. Pretty much everything hurts, but especially my wrists, lower back, hips, and knees. Plus, I have an injured right elbow that doesn’t seem to be going away.

The knees have gotten better and worse. They felt really good at the beginning of last week, then for some reason, iriminage hajime geiko trashed them, and now they are extremely painful. All swelling seems to have gone away, and they are actually a little less stiff than they used to be. However, the feeling of stiffness has been replaced with a more acute pain. Plus, my Osgood-Schlatter bumps are starting to bother me. Given a choice, I would take stiffness over pain.

Osgood Schlatter image

Visa’s looking up, and I think I got a job, too. More on that in another post…

Well, that’s all for now. Thanks for reading.