words by Keith Matsumura
The last week or so has been pretty hectic and crazy for me here in Japan. After the World Cup was over I ended up going to Sapporo, the capital of the north island, Hokkaido with Yuka from Gloken, Rodney Ansell, and Eric Martin. We taught kendama at a couple of events, one of them with at a school with Zoomadanke. Sapporo was amazing, I was so happy to get to go up north and see Hokkaido. Also, the weather was much nicer up there. It is so hot in Tokyo, which is where we went next.
After the events in Hokkaido for only one night there we took a flight right on back to Tokyo, where we met up with our friend Aki and stayed at her friend’s place. The next day we went to Su Lab in Saitama and had a kendama jam with the kendama club called Kyandamabu, Akimoto-san, Su, and some other friends. We headed out from that area after dinner to go see Harajyuku and Shibuya. We ended up missing the last train before the trains closed for the night at one in the morning, so we had to wait till five in the morning for them to start again and get back to where we were sleeping. Eric almost got ran over by a dump truck skateboarding, I fell asleep standing, and overall we had a memorable time.
The next night we went to Ome city to visit Satoru Akimoto at his house. He has an unbelievable collection of historic kendamas, and I was honored to get to play kendama in his special kendama room. We headed on that night back to Su Lab where we stayed and played kendama for most of the night. After sleeping just a little bit on the hard wood floor we got up and headed to Decade, the 430 shop near Shibuya. We got to hang out with Nobu and the Decade guys, eat at the same burger place twice, and come seconds away from missing our train to Matsumoto.
And now here we are in Matsumoto. It’s Rodney, Tamotsu, and myself in Tamotsu’s car at this very moment. Tamotsu was kind enough to lend us his portable wifi box so that I can be writing this right now! The night we arrived we went and had a chill session at Takeshi Yano’s house with Kengo from Gloken as well. Yesterday we had an amazing day hiking and filming on Utsukuchigahara, a famous mountain area near Matsumoto known for it’s beauty. And it was certainly beautiful. We went to the Onsen and got all cleaned up before going to sleep. Eric left early this morning, and the three of us here now went to the location of the Nagano Winter Olympics to film kendama, but unfortunately it was raining so hard we couldn’t film at all there, so we ate lunch and are heading back to Matsumoto right now.
Peace until next time from a very tired Keith