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Back to school…

Group shot, Wednesday morning class (From Arakawa Sensei' blog)

After taking a few days to get over the jet-lag and orientate ourselves to life in Japan, we headed back to Shiramizu for a much needed Karate check-up… We’ll be heading back their as much as possible but we also want to chill-out a bit with some sightseeing.

Over the past few days we’ve hit Ikebukuro (where we’re staying), Shinjuku, Tsukiji, Ginza, The Imperial Palace and Asakusa – all in Tokyo.

Today Amy and I took a 1200km round trip to Kyoto on the Shinkansen (Bullet train) to visit some places we’ve not been to before. (We visited Kyoto back in Jan 2009 but didn’t have a lot of time).

Namely the Nijo-jo – a massive and very impressive castle built by Ieyasu Tokugawa, the Shogun to remind the puppet emperor who was the real boss in Japan. It’s actually built over the road from the Kyoto Imperial Palace too! The Emperor’ descendants got the last laugh a mere 200 years later when the last Tokugawa Shogun formally resigned to the Emperor Meiji at the Nijo-jo.

We also visited the Fushimi-Inari shrine, the shrine dedicated to the god of rice & sake of all things. The site of approx Ten Thousand Red Torii which line the walkways up the mountain. The Torii are donated by Japanese companies & individuals who wish to be successful. We braved the heavy downpours without umbrella or raincoat (and got drenched in the process) but we made it to the top – anything for a little bit of last minute good fortune for the Wado World Cup!

We head to Nagoya tomorrow morning, and we’ve got the weigh in on the afternoon, we’ll be chill-axing before the big event.

A busy week planned for next week, I’ll try and keep you updated.

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