Kenshusei Life

Last month I returned to Kyoto to become a kenshusei. What's a kenshusei you ask? Good question. I'm not really sure myself. Kenshu is basically learning on the job. Except Aikido isn't a job - the "do" at the end which is common at the end of names of Japanese arts is 道 meaning "path", implies some greater, character building journey than paid employment. You're basically devoting your life to learning your chosen path. Basically. You still need to eat and pay your bills so I'm going to take a moment to make clear that I am very much open for business on the freelance front. For the next month at least I will humour pretty much any project for the sake of establishing a work routine. 

Okay with the call for work out of the way, let me introduce my fellow kenshusei, as you might be wondering what kind of curious creatures wind up doing this kind of thing. I drew this as a sort of commemoration thing for our first get together, however there's now a copy in the dojo with our names on it because Yoko-sensei was very amused by it. 

Left to Right

Paul: a Colombian man living in Kyoto ten years, recently became a buddhist monk so when he's off at the temple we call him by his monk name Hosen-san. Will be going back to Colombia soon to open a temple and dojo. Yes you read all that correctly.

Nadine: Jamaican short term kenshusei. Used to live in Kyoto, came back for a three month visit. She's a very cool lady all around. 

Jun: another short term, a year or so, Japanese guy living in America over ten years. Back in Japan temporarily due to visa stuff. Suffering bad reverse culture shock, I actually thought he grew up in America at first, he's so Portland, Oregon but he's only been there since nineteen. 

Daisaku: Actually raised in America and the youngest kenshusei, younger than me by a few months. He's been doing Aikido since he was a kid. For him its the only path in life and out of all of us he's the one most actively moving towards going out on his own as a teacher. Built like a little bear.

Sayaka: The littlest kenshusei you might think, but she's deceptively strong. Not that you really need to be strong in Aikido. She's still working nearly full time as at a clinic. She became a kenshusei just before me. In a long distance relationship with a guy who used to go to my dojo in Dublin. 

Hasegawa: Is the closest to being a normal Japanese person, and as such is the only kenshusei absolutely everyone calls by his surname. His first name is Wataru, which is a cool name and one of a long list of reasons he'd make a great manga character. Other reasons include being the most aethetically pleasing person to see take a throw and owning four cats despite being allergic. 

Robin: that's me with my crazy bed hair look that inevitably comes from repeatedly taking break falls and rolls. 

Pierre: French guy who teaches in the French school. Everyone talks to him in English and then is somehow surprised that he's still not speaking any Japanese a year in. He's the sweetest guy. Always noticeable in a dojo group photo because there's sunbeams radiating out from his head. 

So there you have it. Bunch of nutters.