Full-Contact Musical Bowling.

Our second Tuesday was actually sunny for a change, which is refreshing after a few days of typhoon-borne rain. My 100円 umbrella is holding up, but I’d rather not tax it any more than I have to.

All you have to do is push him out of the ring.

First up was a trip to the club building, across campus and down a bit to see sumo, then karate. I was unaware but unsurprised that sumo is taught at the collegiate level, and one can even get scholarships for it. The sumo club (which is also the sumo team) was practicing, and we got a (basically) ringside seat. Honestly, after watching for a while, I could get to like sumo; it’s not like boxing or Olympic-style wrestling where it takes a while to dominate; all you have to do is ground your opponent or move him past the border of the ring. We watched for quite a while, then got to ask the coach (who was dressed in a suit rather than shorts and a t-shirt) some questions. After a picture, we moved down the hall and into the school’s karate dojo.

Despite being just drills, these club members were striking dangerously close.

Both guys and girls were in the class, though separate, and were doing drills; they’d attack and defend across the room one way, then go back with the attacker switched. After a while, they sent out a short girl who performed a very intense kata — if I could find a girl like that, I’d marry her. Next came two guys who did some one-step sparring. The coach, an older man, explained that all the students were at least first-degree black belts, some as high as third, and experience was required; beginners simply wouldn’t be able to keep up. We got a photo there as well, and headed back at high speed to the building where our classes were held, because we were late.

The class to which we were late was Fujita-sensei’s Japanese class, which was entertaining, but I didn’t learn much (because it’s still review), and then came Kanel’s everyday-culture class (in which he ended by singing a couple self-written songs while playing guitar). But we weren’t done!

Even though my fingers were too thick for the little finger-picks, I managed okay on the koto.

Our final trip was to another older building to enjoy some traditional Japanese music, courtesy of their music club. We were shown the usage of the koto (which I really liked, and would learn if given the chance), the shamisen (which I wasn’t quite so adept at), and the Japanese analogues to the flute and recorder (which I would require lots of practice to get even passable at). To finish the demonstration, they played the Lupin III theme for us, which was very cool.

Once we got back, Mike and I got a call from Oomura-sensei via Nou-sensei’s phone. Seems our conversation partners thought we’d be in their class that day (like we had been last week), and wanted to hang out; were Mike and I free? Oomura-sensei drove the guys (Kazuma and Katsunori) to our hotel, and we went off to meet Rosemarry and Ashe and their partners (Yuta and Mina).  We ended up eating at — of all places — a Chinese restaurant, which is markedly different than in the States.

After dinner, Mina went home with her boyfriend, and the rest of us headed for the bowling alley (which is directly upstairs from MOS Burger, ha). We played three games with random teams each time, and while it was fun, I played progressively worse, until I was throwing right-gutter/left-gutter combinations. Due to some random slot-style spins on the display screen after people got strikes and spares, two of our group got to choose a prize at the counter. Mike chose a bowling-pin flashlight and Yuta got an animal-topped pencil (which he gave to Ashe), but as we were preparing to leave, the girl behind the counter got this look in her eye, grabbed two things from the basket, and came around to give one each to Rosemarry (animal-topped pencil) and me (bowling-pin flashlight). People here are amazingly nice.

We got back late. Mike showered and lay down, I hit the computer and did the same. So tired.


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