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29th August Friday

posted Sep 1, 2014, 12:20 AM by Andrew Glover
Another slow start to the day. We decided to have a quite day and head to Hokama Sensei's Dojo and Karate Museum. You have to book ahead to get into the Museum, so I called him and we arranged for 1130hrs. Last year we had a real hard time finding it, well the taxi driver did. So I got it up on Google Maps, however the taxi driver pretty much knew where it was. He got us most of the way there and Google did the rest. Did I say the vodafone $5 a day International roaming was a win. We were a little late getting there but fortunately he was training a guy from Belgium, who it turns out is a rather famous guitarist. He spoke very little English but it was really nice to meet him. 

As Always Hokama Sensei was very welcoming and friendly. After greeting him, he kind of recognised us but we went to the pole were Adam was measured last year and pointed it out. He immediately remembered us and was even more happy to see us. I also reminded him of Sensei Bob and he remembered him too. He is the epitome of a Gentleman and a Martial Artist. We sat down to tea and cakes and a chat. We had a very interesting discussion about the state of Okinawa and how the Americans treat the Island and Japan in general. What I found interesting was the 3 major tourist attractions on the Island, the Aquarium, Shuri Castle and Peace Memorial are all owned by the Japanese and all the money goes to Japan. Okinawa seems to get a rough deal from everyone! It was a very educational and interesting conversation. Hokama Sensei also told us how the Japanses oppressed the Okinawans until about 40 years ago. Okinawa has its own language but if kids spoke it in school they had to wear a sign around their neck saying they were "A bad person and very naughty!" They had to keep wearing the sign until they heard someone else speaking the Okinawan language and gave it to them. Fortunately this has now stopped and the Okinawan language and customs are starting to be revived. It is so amazing sitting and being entertained by a 10th Dan who is so down to earth and humble, he is a real inspiration.  

Hokama Sensei does calligraphy, he was a professional sign writer and he still sells the most beautiful pieces of work. Adam had bought 2 of his pieces from the Dojo Bar and when Adam showed him we has so happy and was so appreciative that Adam had bought his work. He told us he was going to Russia for a Seminar and that he had already been overseas 3 times this year and had another trip after the Russian trip. He is in real big demand around the world. It is amazing that he still keeps going,he is in his 70's now!
Somehow the weather in Russia came up and he said he had packed summer clothes! We told him it was nearly winter in Russia, so I looked up the weather in Russia, today is was 7 - 16 degrees. He said he would have to repack his bags! Good job we mentioned it. 

While we were having tea another couple arrived, they were Swiss and practiced Go-Ju Ryu that comes from South Afirca. Their Hombu is in Cape Town. I have heard of the guy who set it up. We went up to the Museum and this year Hokama Sensei was much more relaxed. Last year he lamented that someone had stolen some of his stuff including his Isshin Ryu badge, which was one of the original ones. Sensei Bob had sent him a replacement and I was very happy to see it on display.  

The museum is a place you can visit over and over again, there is just so much too see. I am even more determined to learn Japanses so I can read all the stuff. However I think that is still many many years away! I wearing a shirt I had bought in the markets and he said that is was his writing on the shirt. He then said he had better shirts for sale and Adam and I both bought one. He was even more excited. The Swiss guys bought his book and Sensei kept saying how he was now a rich man! He was so pleased. We landed up being in there much longer than we expected and finally left at 1330hrs.  

Hokama Sensei called us a taxi and made sure the drive knew where we were going. It HAD to happen eventually, the guy got totally lost and after 41,000 Yen on the meter he pulled over at a Super market to ask the way (it had cost us 35,000Yen to get there). Well out came Google Maps and it turned out we where still 20 minutes away. I sat in the front and gave him directions! 

At the hotel we started packing and getting ready for training. Andy came and picked Celina, Angela and I up at 1745pm to take us on another tour. This time to Kyan's house and his monument. I have finally found out why people think that Chinto Kata is for fighting on a bridge, it is because Kyan's house was right by a bridge and he used to practice Chinto on it! Amazing how people get things so mixed up. We got the Uechi Sensei Dojo at 1850hrs for training at 1900hrs. 

Tonight is was my turn with him and we went through Chatanyara no sai, tokumine no kun and Urashi bo. Just like with Sadao there were few things. Fortunately I had remembered most of them, so I did sort of OK. My first run through Chatanyara was terrible, for some reason I was really nervous! Anyway we was happy enough with my performance, which was a big relief. It was a really good session, he is really such a great teacher. After training we sat around and chatted. Ohara Sensei, who is often the official translator for Karate events and he is a high ranking Shorin Ryu practitioner. I learned even more about Okinawa, we had a really great chat. After an hour Uechi Sensei had to go so we all said our good byes.

We went to the Ramen house for dinner, all the others took awhile to join us so we ordered dinner. I finally got to have the crumbed chicken, it was a little oily but still very yummy! I was very tired and decided to head back to the hotel and get a shower and pack up, before I got roped into the drinking with Mistsutada Sensei. Marina got to drink the most of a beer mug of saki! Everyone was egging them on with "Kampai" and making Marian drink. 

Last full day in Okinawa, many mixed emotions.