"Memories of Japan!"
The following are just a few personal photos that remind me of many of my good friends, my family, colleagues, people ive trained with, interviewed enjoyed the company of and spent good times with on my different visits to Japan over the years. Sadly many of whom are no longer with us but in my heart and mind they will never die because of the time we shared together.
I forget what I was praying for on this occasion, but it was possibly a good outcome from the training session ahead.
The top 2 photos are taken at a corporate retreat a hot spring health spa in the North of Japan.
Enjoying a weekend away with my old friend Steve Connor and colleagues from the Kodansha Press International Publishers.
Bottom left Meeting up after a training session in Kyoto with two good friends from Nara.
Bottom Right Celebrating a Hanabi festival in Osaka with the kids of my Japanese Family
Relaxing at the Kinkaku-Ji the Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto, with Katsunari Takahashi Watashi no otōto
Left: At home with my immediate Japanese Family.
Right: Having a meal with friends after all the Kids are in bed.
So sue me I love Japanese food!
The top 2 photos are taken at an after hours business meeting thats was held at a lovely restaurant in East Shinjiku Tokyo, with the chairman of a National Japanese chain of sports clubs & health saunas.
Bottom Left: Enjoying relaxing and the company of my family and friends.
Bottom Right Interviewing Ikuo Higuchi Sensei for a magazine after an exhausting training session with him, following the release of his first training Manual.
After our business meeting we readjourned and it turns out that the chairman does a mean Frank Sinatra Karaoke impression and the business quickly turned into playtime for Adults, after all we were in Shinjiku. No idea who the drunk is in the blue shirt accompanying him.
Rob Loft and I are just about to go into the Tokyo Dome to watch the historical fight where Iron Mike Tyson got K.O'ed by Buster Douglas.
I was so privlidged to have visited with and stayed with Kanazawa Sensei at his home in Chiba a couple of times.
It was really nice to see the family man behind the karate legend. Ive interviewed him several times and trained with him all around the world but I enjoyed the sessions in the basement of the SKI HQ in Tokyo. They say never meet your heros but he dispelled the myth because his Karate and his personality has influenced me in a positive manner since I was the age of 9 years old RIP.
Pictured here at Ohara Sensei's home in Izumi Japan, he was ruthless and relentless. I felt that I was reasonably ok with the attacks of Men, Tsuki, and Do, but its that sneaky Kote that hurts the worst not the first time but around the tenth time on exactly the same spot, all of ones spirit to hold the shinai diminishes rapidly when you are becoming unable to grip it.
JKA HQ Ebisu Tokyo, I trained there before and after Mr Nakayama's death but oh dear how the atmosphere and things in general changed afterwards, the tension was very much palpable.
Pictured with Choi Yara Kancho the worldwide head of the Matsumora Ryu Style. I am being presented by him with a signed copy of his book about the variations and developments of Bassai Dai from style to style. We are at his personal Dojo, where I have trained with him several times over the years and am always amazed by his strength and technique delivery, his grip and the thickness of his wrists, he is an absolute Master of the style. He also runs a clinic where he offers many of the oriental physical therapies and accupuncture and accupressure to the community. He is a great, humble and kind man who i like and respect very much.
I have saved the best for last O bāchan who is no longer with us and Okāsan (Grandmother and Mother) of my Japanese family they have only ever shown me great kindness and given me good advice and memories. Thanks to two fantastic ladies, Domo Arigato Gozaimasu.
This selection does not cover all of my visits, photos or memories of Japan, they are just the ones that spring to mind at this time, my sincere apologies to all of those people and instructors that I have missed out, no offence intended.