What a day! A great gathering of players for the day, new friends to meet. Mongolians, Canadians and Swiss joined us, and later an American. General tricking in a medium conference room (with stage) before being given a run-through and specifics on tomorrow's 1-3 Dan trick list. Then there were 2 practice comps- 1 for Japanese players, and 1 for foreigners. I was pleased to make it through the first round (thus achieving a practice run of my ambition of being "not last"), and then I got through a second round too! Jeffrey has a big chunk of this on video, so that may see the light of day at some point. In the semi final, I ran into Doko, one of the really strong Mongolian players, and he put a stop to my run good and proper. I faced up to Jeffrey in the 3rd place playoff, and the fine fellow did me in. So 4th. I'm happy with that!
After that comp, there was a freestyle comp (a bit like we do the Best Trick, but slower paced). The Euro players voted on the best Japanese player, and vice versa. Alex wowed them with the bilbo.
Then there was an auction. I'll just say some Europeans left it very happy.
Then it was time for a change of venue, and we headed of to Kids Plaza ( where the comp is being held tomorrow). Colin showed up eventually! There was a little hanging around and playing, then some lugging around of planks of wood (which would shortly become a stage). At that point I was flagging a little, and was about to sit down, when Shimadera-San said Mr Maruishi (head of the JKA) would like to show you guys some special tricks. TO HELL WITH SITTING DOWN!!!!!!
Oh wow, that was a great session, he showed us some cool and original tricks, and what a great gentleman he is. A damn fine 68-yr old player. Once we had all worn each other out (did I mention it's Hot and Sticky here?), it was finally time for a rest and a quick bite to eat. I really needed that energy boost because then it was suddenly "20 minutes until grading time". Uh-oh, better warm up!
Mr Maruishi gave a short speech about the JKA and the visit from foreign players, then a quick summation of some details, and suddenly a bunch of us Atlantic-straddlers were all onstage in a line for a Moshi Kame test. I asked, and was allowed to wear headphones (The mighty Scaramanga Six, "Cursed" album, which is my usual moshi training audio choice).
I was on the end, next to Nicolas. Fairly early, I saw Alex drop, out of the corner of my eye. Awwwww, bro, I feel for you, but I've got to concentrate. I couldn't really see or hear past Nic, but I got the impression that after a while it was just me and him left. Come on, you can do this. Bloody well focus, boy. A photographer came and went. Me and Nic are still going, dropping in and out of phase. Someone said yes. Wait, Nic's stopped? They're saying my name. Again, everyone's looking at me. I'VE DONE IT! And so has Nic! 1000 Moshi Kames each. Woooo! Colin also made 528, I later heard.
Shaking and fraught, I just about get the message that we'll do the rest of the grading tomorrow due to fading light.
And so off to a welcome banquet straight away, my wobbly legs just about take me there, and it takes me at least half an hour to calm down. A pleasant evening, chatting with Hitomi via an amusingly odd translation app. And so back home.
And that was just the practice day! It was great to meet Eric, Brett, Rod, Colin, and so many Japanese players. And especially Mr Maruishi.
See my tweets for some pictures from today?
Can I fall over now please.