It’s been a whirlwind couple of days. Any thoughts of “free” time were pretty much eliminated – but in some very good ways…

Haneda is very, very quiet this evening. I left myself an appropriate amount of time – got on the trains (with my bags…) in plenty time to avoid commuter rush. And find myself here with 2-1/2 hours before departing Japan.
I’m having a lot of feelings about that. There is a magical quality to my connection with Japan. I never expected to have this sort of relationship with this place. But that sense – I felt with the first breath of Japanese air I inhaled — I Like This Place…. And it seems to like me too.

More about that, but to catch-up –

Our meeting Himuro Eve and NdT on Monday evening was successful in many ways. I was formally introduced, and after all was said and done, Eve-san invited me to have a private lesson on Wednesday (Day 11).
As I said before, lesson on Sunday with Osada-Sensei wasn’t the best. And I was grateful that my wonderful friend J was able to come up to the Dojo and tie with me Tuesday evening. My wandering around the city that day also helped me to re-center, and put things into better perspective. Our date was – well, it still brings a huge smile to my face. It’s great when one finds a dear friend, who also happens to really, really love to be tied. We brought together everything I know about Kinbaku, along with all the input Sensei had been trying to drill into my thick skull, and had a really good evening.

My regular Sento is closed on Wednesdays. So I took a walk to the other side of Ikebukuro and found another. Nothing like a good scrub, and hot soak to make me feel good. Soaking tub not quite as hot as the regular place. But some adventure in bathing right next to a Yakuza-looking dude (neck to ankle tattoos and all….) added a little spice.

A good bath also helped with any nerves I may have otherwise experienced going into a lesson with Yukimura-Sensei’s first apprentice. Osada and I met a couple hours prior, and went back over my lessons again. My tie-date the evening before was definitely reflected – I applied everything with a lot more ease, and a whole lot more competence than any of the previous session. My Heart was very much in-play. And he noticed the difference…..
But soon it was time for something new. Eve-san was quite warm, but also provided a strong hand in guiding me to better understand the Yukimura Ryu. She demonstrated for me, and I did my best to absorb and repeat. She and Steve approach things a little differently. And I’m blessed yet again to have gotten a chance to work with Eve-san. These different perspectives have given me a much better understanding.
And there was more. At the end of the evening, Eve-san proposed that I should also have a lesson from Ibarako. Eve asked if I was available, made a call to Ibarako, and it was settled.

Thursday morning brought yet another perspective. Ibarako-san seemed very much ready to teach when they arrived. Came in – got settled – and asked me straight-up what I wanted to learn. I had to reply, “Omakase” – I leave that up to you. She thought for a moment, and asked if I knew how to do Yukimura Sensei’s one-rope Gote.

Well….. That’s a seriously loaded question. Can I put rope around someone in a way that visually resembles what Y-Sensei did? Sure. That’s probably the easiest “tie” I know. But the point of her question really was – can I connect effectively with someone I’m tying using that technique…

All I could say was, “I will do my best”.

And apparently, my best wasn’t too bad. One small physical adjustment. That one done – can I do the second rope? “I will do my best”

And on through a number of things – some physical – but most of it (frankly) a major-league-mega-butt-ton of wisdom about the approach of Yukimura. And how to engage with that energy.

All-in-all, this visit brought not one, but four teachers sharing their knowledge about Kinbaku with me.

I also spent a lot of time at the Dojo – not just my own lessons, but participating in a photo-shoot, observing blondiekatie’s lessons, and watching a private session with Osada Sensei.

It was great. All of it. I will mention that blondiekatie is a lot of fun to be around. She brings a light energy – with a healthy dose of intensity. I really enjoyed getting to know her.

I’m going to drop-off for a while. And finish this during my “delightful” 7-hour layover at LAX. I still have a little time before I get injected into the flying tube of travel. It’s a 10 1/2 hour flight from Tokyo to L.A. And I need some more walking around time – and there’s a decent place here for soup…..

{Slight update] – 10 1/2 hour flight somehow turning into 8 1/2 hour flight. Which makes my layover at LAX more than 8 hours. Something about a layover longer than the trans-Pacific flight seems very, very wrong…….