So last Tuesday I had a really rough day at kyudo and honestly didn’t want to blog about it because it was humiliating. But after Friday, it all turned around for me, so I feel like I should include it all.
We were shooting all night on Tuesday, and we rotated our order. When I was in front, I kept getting told I was going too fast, to wait for the other members, etc. When I was in the back, I was told that I was too slow and to keep up with them. It was already hectic being critiqued on our stances, walking in, bowing correctly, performing hassetsu correctly, etc. On top of that, I was having trouble and didn’t hit the target once. Not only that, I was getting hit in the arm and eventually I bruised my wrist and bled as well.
I was thoroughly frustrated, and my instructor kept coming over right as I was in kai and would yell in my ear to shoot with force. But when he yelled, I tensed up and panicked, so a few times I hit myself in the ear and throat. Needless to say, it was not a fun night, and I was crying in pain by the end of it. I lost my hearing for a moment from hitting my ear, and it hurt for the next three days.
I went home and ate ice cream to heal my broken spirit. I had never had such a bad night in kyudo and I was scared that I would be afraid of my bow the next time I used it.
Fortunately, I had other things to worry about at work, and I ended up having a good week overall in elementary school. My JTEs and I went to a lesson demonstration done by the other ALT in my city. I did a similar lesson last year. We met up before, talked, watched the lesson, and did a discussion and listened to a lecture afterwards. My JTE who always translates what I say in middle school said she learned a lot and told me she didn’t notice she was doing it and causing the students to stop looking at me when I speak. I told her to try to be careful of translating what I say in class and she promised she would, so I was really happy.
Friday, we had kyudo again, and before the lesson began, we sat down and the instructors told us about a change in plans. Originally, we were told that we wouldn’t be able to wear hakama during our graduation ceremony, but they told us that if we plan on keeping up with kyudo, we would be able to enter the dojo as a member. If we plan on becoming members after we graduate from the class, they will need us to wear kyudogi (弓道着） so they decided to have a salesperson come in and fit us for our hakama next week. I was really excited to hear that we will be able to wear them on our graduation day, and hopefully I can post pictures soon!
After he told us that we needed a hakama and a glove (personalized with measurements to fit our hands), he let us get ready and start shooting. I concentrated on doing what he told me on Tuesday, which was to go into daisan and then pull all the way down. I had a bad habit before that to pull the bow after it got in position, which is incorrect. On Tuesday, it frustrated me because I wasn’t understanding what he meant, but by the end I did actually get better at it. On Friday, I got the hang of it more, and I ended up hitting four times that night, which is my personal record. They are giving us more reign over what we do and how we aim. Before, they would tell us if we were too far left or right, but now that we kind of know how to aim for the target, they have let us try on our own. I was really proud because we get two arrows every time we shoot, and I hit once with my second arrow, and then another time, I hit with both arrows for my first two in a row shot. I hit again with my second arrow close to the end of class. I wanted to hit six times, but I was really proud that I learned how to aim and stop hitting my ear. I also started getting my string to the other side when I shoot, rather than have it hit my left arm.
Our instructor wants us to start memorizing definitions because we might be able to test soon after our class ends this month. It will be so nice to wear an actual kyudo uniform and have my own glove. I will feel a lot cooler and it will feel closer to what I see pictures of and what I see the other dojo members doing when they come in to practice. Even the high schoolers have their own gear, so I am ready to level up, at least in appearance.
Recently I am picking up learning Korean again. I took a class in college and had a lot of Korean friends, and I even visited Seoul and Busan a few years ago when I lived in Kyoto. I figured that Korea and Osaka would be good summer vacation spots, as I have a lot of friends to visit there. So I started watching some Korean dramas. I am currently watching The Heirs with Lee Minho and Park Shin Hye, two of my favorite actors. Next I might watch My Love from the Star, as it’s so popular, people are going crazy over it.
I also bought books to study Korean and Japanese for the JLPT N1 in December, and I got a book on Kyudo. Our instructor wants us to buy a really famous book on Kyudo once we join as members, but it’s pretty old and is all in Japanese and there are hardly any pictures. The book I bought has TONS of pictures and a DVD, so I can learn a little more visually. I am a kinesthetic learner, so I learn by doing, and by seeing next. As much as I love reading, I feel like I will learn more by practicing in the dojo than I will from the book, but I will definitely read it.
I am back at junior high school today and I am already exhausted. I had five classes today and it looks like I will for the rest of the week. I wish they would give me a break. My other ALT friends say they would die if they had my schedule. Most of them only have about two classes a day. I think three is a nice medium, and five makes it so that I can’t prepare for lessons. A teacher came up asking if I had an activity for his class the day after tomorrow, but I’m already behind in my reading for grad school and I have homework due soon, and five classes tomorrow. I wish I had even one less class a day, that way I could figure out an activity to do. But he never has his own plan. He always asks everyone else what to do and it’s starting to get annoying.
I shouldn’t really complain. I know a lot of teachers who have it worse than me, but I brought my N1 books and my grad school reading to school and I didn’t have time to even glance at it today. Ugh. Save me.
Kyudo is tomorrow so I get to rest and watch my drama and Orange is the New Black season 2 after work. Hopefully. I still have to read and cook dinner. Can I collapse now? Where did my weekend go?
Oh yeah! I went to a bboy competition on Sunday and it was really fun to watch. On Saturday, my friend and I just kind of stayed in and watched a movie. I also went to see the One Ok Rock documentary movie Fool! Cool! Rock! and it was really good. I really want to see them in concert eventually.
Okay my hands are going to fall off and I have another class soon. Wish me luck.