Thursday 14th

Well, although it was supposed to be a lay day, it really wasn't. After sleeping in a little and
getting myself started, a decided to ride around a little and eventually wheel my way down to
the onsen in Nanokodai. I think I left the hombu at 2pm and returned at 9 o'clock. Buying Manga
and some books for the wife, gorging on Sushi, doing some window shopping, losing my
way for an hour or so in the back roads of Noda, and then eventually discovering that the
onsen we would always frequent has been shut for a year or so!? What? Luckily there is another
one nearby that has been operational for the past 6 years. A little smaller but newer and shinier.
Becoming lost, particular on a day when one has no plans, no underlying agenda or schedule and
really nothing to do is something I'm quite partial to. Nup, don't mind it at all. As help, a convenience
store, a phone etc, isn't really that far away in this country, I find myself completely at ease to explore
the neighbouring areas, rice fields and paddocks and in the process find out something new and
unchartered (well for me, anyhow..) The slight disadvantage of this, however, is that the further you go
off the main roads the more likely you are to encounter roads without footpaths, shoulders and anything
resembling a bike-oriented spaces....Oh well.

Tuesday and Wednesday were very successful, enjoyable and enriching days (as the overall experience has
been for me here).
Keiko with Simon has been great. We've been able to push each other, discover some fantastic insights and
ask all the questions we want as it is just he and I. Gyokko ryu Geiryaku has been deeply explored, as has the
Kihon Happo and Koto Ryu Moto Gata. Tomorrow we will being the Shoden. As you know, I have practised
and learnt them with many of you, sometimes at different stages, but as I plan to teach this to my students
after returning I would like to be fresh and ready to initiate this ryu.

Also a pleasure to finally meet and spend some time with our newest arrival to the Hombu, Federico.
Took a while for my Italian to kick in, a storm of brain farts and many pauses, but a very patient and
understanding man indeed. Era veramente un piacere a finalmente conoscerti e cenare insieme.

Today, a little shopping. Guys and girls. Not too sure you're aware of it but there's a shop here called
UniQlo which is similar to our Jay Jays (I suppose) but higher in quality and possibly better in price. Stocked
up on a couple of shorts and a pair of pants. Surprised they stock my size, hey? Yeah, me too!

Allora, a la prossima!


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