The next morning we assembled at the hotel where the group was staying (The New Grande Mimatsu), and piled into our rental van. We then made our way to Otemae Junior and Senior High school.
Since I first moved to Takamatsu, back in 2007, my wife and I have been able to maintain a very important connection with the Otemae schools here in Kagawa. The private junior and senior highs which are in both Takamatsu and Marugame cities are led by the Kurata family, and Mr. and Mrs. Kurata have been supporters of our company from its very beginning in 2008. I can’t really express how grateful I am to the Kurata family for their support and kindness over the years. I have been teaching their students, and as our company grew, our fellow teachers in englishbiz have been teaching there as well.
So, when Amos-Sensei and his group were coming to Takamatsu I asked the Kuratas if a demonstration session might be possible. They thought it would be great, and combined with an iado demo we set the date. I have to admit I was a little nervous as I was responsible for bringing in a new element to the Otemae schools, but meeting the group the day before, and knowing the characters of the Kurata family, I had a good feeling that all I was doing was bringing excellent people together. So that’s what I did, and it turned out GREAT.
The demo was a smash hit and the karate group had students up on stage to teach them some basics in karate. The students had a blast, and when I met them later everyone I talked to said that it was a lot of fun. I think that this was a very important experience for the school, and I hope a special moment for the karate teachers too.
After our time at the Otemae school, we sadly had to drop a planned trip to Konpira (we will do that NEXT TIME), and decided to head out to Zentsuji Temple and settle in the accommodations there.
The Zentsuji temple is beautiful, and one of tremendous significance to Japan. This is the birthplace of Kukai, posthumously known as “Koubou Daishi”. Kukai is the founder of the 88 Buddhist Temple Pilgrimage, the builder of many other temples around the country, including in Kyoto, a civil servant, the engineer of a reservoir water system that saved countless thousands, a poet, a priest, and the originator of Zen Buddhism, where for the first time enlightenment can be found within, rather than from formalized structures often manipulated by those in power.
It was here we were to spend the night, have a time with the temple priest, Andou-san, and have some pretty interesting experiences. I need to mention here that Amos-Sensei speaks quite excellent Japanese and was able to translate and interpret for Andou-san as we moved around the temple. It was really great. In between all if, Amos-Sensei’s group had some private time in the temple to train in karate, and get some rather spectacular photography accomplished as well.
I’m very grateful to meet Richard Amos-Sensei, Yanti Amos-Sensei, Scott Middleton-Sensei, Alan Parrish-Sensei, Carol Parrish-Sensei, Benjamin Bitoun-Sensei, Ernst Brimsoe-Sensei, Trine Brimsoe-Sensei, and Gayle Kenny-Sensei. I hope that they will come again. That would be supremely cool.