Today after work, my friend followed me to karate class. I have always wanted to attend karate classes since I left high school. I was going to start tai kwon do in university but I just couldn't bother... So I went today just to see how they conducted the classes, check out the price and meet the gym leaders there... My friend spoke to the persons in charge and they said I don't have to pay... I can go there any time and even help them out with English... And I am free to participate.... I was like wow!!! I guess being a foreigner in Japan does have its advantages...
One of the gym leaders speak some amount of English and he said he spent 4 years in England.... However that was 10 years ago and living in Niimi, does not help your English at all... So he said many of the words he don't remember. His English was pretty good though....
So in karate, these are the belt levels:
Black 1st-10th degrees
This instructor is a 10th degree black belt... His dad who is an instructor in this gym also... is a 10th degree black belt as well... Me, I am somewhere at the level before the white belt.... Because I have no training whatsoever in karate... this was going to be my first class.... So the guy who could speak English, started me off with some basic punching techniques. I had to do a certain stance like the sumo wrestlers, known as the "Shi ko dachi" stance. Then do some sort of twist punches... I had to do this several times...This guy said he spends a good hour or so every single day, doing this alone... He then taught me some kicks..... some basic forward kicks... These kicks were a little more difficult than the punches....
In the training, there was this one 1st degree black belt girl who is in her final year of high school... along with this 1st year junior high school guy (first form / 7th grade in the Jamaican system) who is also a 1st degree black belt.... The teacher then got this very very heavy punching bag thing, and told me to practise my punches and kicks on it..... I did for a while... and he said I improved greatly within the hour or so.....Of course, every now and again he had to be correcting my stance...
After the Karate lessons, I went to the English conversation class, where one of the ladies who attended told me that she really likes reggae music and asked if I could get some music for her...
In my blog on Day 383, I mentioned that in Japan, if you have a child with a Japanese national, then things didn't quite work out.... Well the Japanese national can run away with your child and there is nothing you can do about it... Because Japan did not sign the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction... But now, Japan is being urged by some of their big dog allies like The United States, Canada, France and the U.K. to sign to this Convention.
The convention states that children who are abducted from their country of residence, or retained in a state that is not their country of normal residence, must be returned promptly to their original country of residence.
More than 80 countries have signed the convention, but Japan is the only nonsignatory state among the Group of Seven nations.
Among abductions involving Japanese whose parents have wrongfully taken or kept their children, Britain has reported 36 cases since 2003, with none of them resolved. There are currently 11 active cases, said David Fitton, deputy head of mission to the British Embassy in Japan. France has had 26 cases, half of which are still active, and the U.S has 73 active cases. The full story is here