Day 2

Fukuoka, Japan
Please note that as I move thru my trip I will more likely than not get many Japanese words spelled wrong. Part of this is because I will usually hear them first and do my best to sound them out when writing and well also because I’m a lousy speller.
Woke-up this morning and went outside. Now in the light, I could see that low mountains and lots of small farms surrounded me. The family gardens were pretty and well organized. This area must be a summer vacation dream with its beaches, small bays and low level Mountains. A bit cold right now, but I could just imagine. Note to self; get 2nd invite when the weather is warmer. For those keeping score the Japanese word for mountain is Yama, bringing my Japanese vocabulary to 25 words, 20 of those are food items, but hey.
Had Morning Coffee with Yoshihiro, thank god that is an international word. After he took me for a short drive around the area. We stopped briefly at a sports center where Yoshihiro is a Kendal Instructor. But a Judo class was in session so we moved on. Our next stop was the Marina (Same word English and Japanese) we toured row upon row of small fishing boats, a lot of squid and Mackerel had come in today. Wondering into the Marina Market we bought some very fresh fish and headed home for breakfast.
Breakfast was a feast. We had braised mackerel, poached egg over small bacon slices, miso/potato soup, small salad, fried tofu and yatamaki (Carrot and pork roll) Yuko arrived at the end of breakfast and helped me understand what I had just eaten. We discussed a future trip with her dad to the sake brewery and perhaps a Kendal lesson for me with him. Her Dad was to be my guide/driver and sensei for my trip here. Wow, I thought with my 25 words of Japanese and his 15 of English this could get really interesting. Good thing we were both pretty animated with good senses of humor. Did I mention that Yuko spoke perfect English and did have cell phone communication with her Dad, Nuff said.
Arriving this afternoon to the “Big Studio” I was surprised to see it filled to the brim with 40 or so parents observing and an equally large younger class going thru what looked like a sort of formal Graduation Ballet Class. I was to find out later that they start and end their semesters at The Ocean Ballet School with a formal studio presentation (Good Idea! See where they are when they start and finish) I have to say, I was excited by what I saw. The students were in very good physical shape. Their understanding of the ballet technique was quite good. As well their focus and discipline was excellent. Yuko had managed to accomplish an amazing amount in just 4 years. I was to learn later that these students had a real hunger to learn. So many students in the USA do not have this kind of work effort. I was looking forward to teaching the advanced students in the next hours to come.
So, with a proper formal introduction from Yuko it was now my turn. I had decided to focus on their placement in this first class. Class would of course proceed as normal but with an eye towards where their bodies needed to be in space at any given moment. We finished with the students having handled the equivalent of my Intermediate Advanced Class. We happily bowed to each other and thru Yuko I told them to take a 10-minute break and get ready for Pointe Class. Again to my surprise they were able to handle anything at the Int/Adv level that I had to throw at them. (Former and current students of mine will know exactly what I mean by this).
After the usual end of class applause and a lot of bowing we were done. Interestingly, the parents help clean up the studio after class. Now back to the house and another fabulous meal. Lots of small courses 2 fish, salad, soup and something I would have to ask Yuko about. All washed down with Kirin Beer and green tea. Glad to have finally started teaching and since I didn’t understand the Japanese TV the parents were watching I retired to my futon and a biography of Ben Franklin that I had brought with me. Note to self, start drinking more water and grab fiber whenever it is available, Nuff said.
Good night

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