Chapter Thirteen

THE TRIP TO JAPAN

DECEMBER 1989
NOT SO LONG AGO
THE LITTLE RESTAURANT – THE ART OF FRIENDSHIP
 
  • I meet Hachua san and his lovely wife
  • My first real Japanese meal
  • I’m introduced to rice wine – sake
  • Déjà vu!

It was December 1989.  It was my first visit to Japan and Shimizu to train under Inoue O’sensei and his Shihans. A weeklong training programme had been planned for us with the Shihans of the Honbu dojo.

It was also a very fast learning curve in all aspects related to the country and especially training in the dojo.  We stayed in the Surugaya ryokan during that visit and were extremely well cared for by Mama san.

Hachua san and his wife, Hiroko,  who were the owners of a restaurant, had befriended Jardine Sensei years ago in the early 1970s, when he first spent nearly a year training in Inoue O’sensei’s dojo.  Adjoining the restaurant was their little house.  I have only ever been in it once.  The little restaurant has its own unique character.

Our visits to the restaurant were always filled with laughter and a feeling of sincere friendship.  We were always filled with good food, Sapporo beer and good sake. Hachua san’s wife is an excellent cook.

My first time at their restaurant was quite an experience. I had been warned about sake.  How it’s smooth, sweetness lulled you into a false sense of security.  Finally, it was time to take leave of our hosts. We made our way back to the ryokan through the little side streets of Shimizu.

I turned over to look at my watch. Time seemed to have passed quickly, it was about 8.30 p.m. and everything had quietened down in the ryokan.

There was a sudden noise of someone coming up the stairs and Mama san almost fell into our room – on her knees.

Almost breathless, she said Sensei Eddie has phoned and we must all get up and go immediately to Hachua san’s little restaurant!  We found the little restaurant.  We walked into a very happy group of people thoroughly enjoying themselves next to a table covered in food, Sapporo beer and four big brown bottles of sake.  We finally got to bed at about 12 o’clock that night.

Thoughts about the martial arts criss crossed my mind in rapid bursts as I finally fell asleep.

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