Several of Bristol Shorinji Kempo dojo joined others from around the country (and from other countries) for a trip to Japan this October.

Our trip started with a look around Kobe and its beautiful surroundings.

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Not to forget the wonderful hospitality and amazing Japanese cuisine!

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We then had two days of intense training with senior Japanese Senseis. An opportunity not to be missed!

However, there was still some time for a little fun.

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A cultural experience rounded off the official part of the trip.

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Then it was on to the sightseeing! Over the course of around ten days, we covered a lot of ground. There were whirlpools at Naruto, Himeji castle, deer at Nara (oh, and a huge Buddha statue, too), Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, ninjas, and so much more!

So many things happened that it would be impossible to tell you them all. One of the entertainments was the sat nav in the car. The car hire company helpfully “set it to English” for us – which meant that it spoke the instructions in English. However, you still had to be able to read Japanese to program it!

We also had some fun going on little side trips, like the time we decided to come off the motorway and have lunch. Alas, because we were in the middle of nowhere, the restaurant staff didn’t speak English, and since most of our Japanese is limited to “please, thank you, punch, kick, one-two-three-four-five”, getting served was very entertaining!

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And that was all before we moved on to Okinawa, which is a tiny island paradise. There was a lot of interesting culture on Okinawa – the kingdom of the Ryukyu, which was a major world power in its day.

Also caves, the most amazing weather, food galore, and the largest aquarium you’ve ever seen.

Seriously, there were three or four fully grown sharks in there, and they did not look cramped.

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The trip to Japan was a great success all around. I’m already saving up for the next one, whenever that might be!

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