When I decided to go to the ICR conference on Taiwan, I looked for Kyokushin clubs there. I found that there was one on the opposite side of the island from where the conference was going to be held. While looking at the map, I saw that the distance to Okinawa was not deterrent. When I found tickets to about €140, I decided to go Okinawa.
There is an office that helps people to connect to dojos there. When I arrived in Naha, the capital of Okinawa, I had still no dojo agreement. I had asked the office if it was possible to train at Higaonna dojo, but was told that I then needed a recommendation. I was already in Taiwan when I was told about this, so I accepted that it had to wait for my next visit.
After leaving my things on the one star hostel I went to the Dojo bar to see if I could get some help there. Closed until 1900. Then I started to walk, and then walk some more, and back again. First some food. The biggest drawback with Okinawa is that it is impossible to get unprocessed nuts. Everything is roasted and salted. But fortunately they have fruit.
Next stop was a Kyokusin dojo by Yasuhiro Nishito. He was not present, but a European woman was there. She told me that she had been Oyama’s secretary and translator for several years. She also told that they did not feel fully accepted by the “Okinawan traditional karate society”. Nice to have a peek.
Next peek: Budokan! This is an dojo for all kinds of martial art, and is a part of a bigger area with several sport arenas. The main dojo is more than 2100 square meters. In addition there are 3 small ones, just a few hundred square meters each. Don’t know much about how the training is organized here, but this was not used much for karate.
In the the Dojo bar I got some food and some information. The next day the “100 kata for karate” event would be held at the Karate Kaikan. The owner of the bar, James, was the one whom had started this event some years ago. I had a plan for the next day.
On my way to Karate Kaikan I met a dragonfly. That was a bit surprising, in a milion citizen town as Naha. Kaikan is smaller than Budokan, but it is stunning. Located at a high hill with view over the city. The main dojo is “only” about 1300 square meters. It also host a museum and an information office.
The 100 kata event was very international, and surprisingly few Japanese. It was held on the grass outside of the Karate Kaikan. I did not reach 100, but 60. By that time it was dark. Only tsukino kata. Better luck next year.
During the day I got an surprising e-mail. I was accepted by Higaonna dojo. Don’t know how that happened, but happy anyway. First training same evening. So then of to the next dojo.
Higaonna dojo is a small privat thing. Smaller than the Etne dojo. The training was much the same as I’m used to from there.
Next day had a new event at the Karate Kaikan. I did not know what I was going to, but everything seemed interesting for an foreigner. On the stage there were 7 men. I guess the average age must have been round 80. Each of them performed one kata. Their movements was slightly sharper than on my local nursing home. I was told that this was the “Karate day”, an annual event.
In the evening it was a new training in Higaonna dojo. And this time Morio Higaonna him self came, “the most dangerous man in Japan in a real fight.”
After training I headed back to the Hotel. Yes, hotel! My friend Kyoko came to visit me, and she decided where we was going to stay. It was a relief to get a way from the hostel. The two next days I was going to be a tourist, with my private guide. The first trip was to Kudaka Island. It is a small island on the soouth east coast of the main island. Okinawa consists of 160 islands, so it is nice to see the variety.
It was a quiet and peace full trip. Looking for star sand on a beach. Eating ice. Walking and walking. The plan was to stay at the island for one night, but the forthcoming typhoon made us change the plans.
Ended the evening on an restaurant with outdoor serving. Vegetarian, chocolate cake and no mosquitos.