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Re: Staying at the Asuza Inn
Permanent Village Fixture
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I don't know where this place is. I sometimes think about branching out somewhere different from Kashiwa Plaza Hotel, but Kashiwa is so reliable and comfortable I just don't know..

I enjoy the Japanes breakfast at Kashiwa, the raw egg in rice with soyasauce rocks.

The mall is cool with the food court, and there's a great Sobahouse there I found last year. Lots of downtown areas and the train is smack in the middle of Hombu, Ayase and Hondoji in Matsuda city where I go each year.

One of these years maybe. I'd like to visit other places like the Ninja parks and the Ninja Dera - http://www.nsknet.or.jp/heartkcb/english/allabout/myouryuji.htm

but I'm waiting until someone wants to take me there. Not sure I feel like getting friggin' lost somewhere in Japan.


Posted on: 2005/8/1 14:46
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Re: Staying at the Asuza Inn
Kutaki Postmaster
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Canuck, please don't you or your friend be offended as this is not meant as a boshiken to the ribs

Just my 2 cents but...

I've always had the feeling that in order to learn this art, which is not some washed down Americanized form of Okinawan karate or something, but a real, undiluted system containing all the kuden and mysteriousness, etc one would expect from the Japanese, you have to really dive into the Japanese mentality and of course the Japanese lifestyle (and yes this includes learning the language) to gain real proficiency a l√° the Japanese shihan. THIS IS AN INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT THING FOR ALMOST ALL GAIJIN! - - including of course myself.

I believe if these things aren't pursued as well, you are not going to "get it" as easily. That is, you may end up finding less pieces of the puzzle than if you did follow those other pursuits as well as going to the dojo. I had this conversation with Nagato sensei and he confirmed to me with a resounding yes that it is very important to understand the Japanese culture as well.

Tell your friend he should forget about Mickey D's, Starbuck's and Saizeria and go out and experience the extremely rich culture that he is ignoring. He should take the opportunity to embrace the Japanese culture and really have a multi faceted experience filled with new and exciting things. There's a whole world out there that has nothing to do with North America. We Americans are often laughed at in other countries for traveling and trying to find comfort in hot dogs and hamburgers while abroad. In this sense Americans are the laughing stock of the traveling world. Sorry but it's true.

In my opinion as someone who has lived abroad and travelled more than most other Americans (I also speak four languages), I have the following suggestions for anyone interested in any Japanese pursuits, or any other foreign pursuits for that matter, that they want to fully understand.

Tell him to try these things as an exercise...

• Not to laugh at the things he doesn't understand and to try to figure out the Japanese mentality. I get tired of seeing Americans travel and make fun of everything that people don't do just as it's done in their home country. They miss the point and the valuable lessons these opportunities offer.

• Meet and talk to (and try to befriend) Japanese people both in and out of the dojo. Be tactful in this and observe the cultural no-no's all the while. Japanese people don't really sit at a bar, for instance, and meet strangers like we do in America. But they do find gaijin interesting and can be coaxed into conversation most of the time. They will think you are "hena gaijin" (strange foreigner) but enjoy you nonetheless.

• Try to spend your limited time there living as Japanese a lifestyle as possible. Eat the food which is one of the richest and most delicious cuisines in the entire world. Not to mention one of the healthiest (it's the starting point for the macrobiotic diet). We are a long way from the '70's when people had the "yuck! What do you mean RAW fish"? attitude. Learn the names of the food you are eating (that's how I started to learn the language and I think it's a great starting point). Besides, I've never heard Soke say the ninja diet includes anything on the McDonald's menu.

• Ride charinko and use it to explore your area well. Embrace the differences (after all that's the exciting part of traveling -- if you want everything to be like home then just stay home).

• Pick up whatever Japanese language you can and don't be ashamed to make mistakes when you speak it. Don't be lazy in your pronunciation though. If you are ernest in this the Japanese will really appreciate it. If you want to speak English to someone, you should first politely ask them, in Japanese, if they speak English. -- Suimasen, Eigoh hanashimasu kah? And be very appologetic that you don't speak their language.

• Don't limit yourself to hanging out with other gaijin if possible. This is important.

Too many people travel, weather if it's to Japan or Jamaica and limit themselves to their hotel and the pool or their riokan and the dojo. If you traveled all that way why not make the most of it?

I've got a couple of little spots I discovered within a stone's throw of the hombu dojo that are 100% Japanese and super cheap to eat or drink at. How about a full on sushi meal that will fill your stomach and taste great for under $5 to $7. Can't beat that. An equivalent meal will cost you four times that in the States. I plan on posting that info here on kutaki as soon as I can get my fiancee to translate their business cards so stay tuned for that.

Please don't anyone take this as a dig. I'm just trying to share experiences I've had and wouldn't trade for anything.

Sorry, I guess this is more like 20 cents. Keep the change.


Posted on: 2005/8/2 4:12
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Ulises Beato
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Re: Staying at the Asuza Inn
Frequent Visitor
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Just wanted to add a couple things.

Staying at Asuza is a blast, it is ultra convenent to Hombu - however there is training all over.

Take Ulysses advice seriously, especially the last few points he made.

Definitely pick up a phrase book and keep it with you, you'll never know where you may end up.

Also, spend some time prior to leaving to learning some of the customs.

One point I disagree w/ Ulysses on, go to Saizeria, check out the pizza selection.

More than anything just try to observe as much as possible (inside & outside) of training - it is a great experience.

-james babka

Posted on: 2005/8/3 3:29
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Re: Staying at the Asuza Inn
Kutaki Postmaster
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Quote:

jimmyj wrote:

One point I disagree w/ Ulysses on, go to Saizeria, check out the pizza selection.



Thanks Jimmyj. Sorry, but I didn't recomend the pizza at Saizeria because being from Brooklyn and living a short walk away from Grimaldy's Pizza (only the best pizza restaurant in New York City -- no kidding, and hence probably the entire US) I'm a raging Pizza snob. But I suppose Saizeria is cool to go and grab a slice and free refills of Coke.

But don't go too many times or you'll fail my little excersize.

P.S. Any buyu visiting Brooklyn can call me up for a pizza date there. You won't forget it. Since I'm a regular the staff gets me in without having to get on line which reaches around the corner nightly. - - But don't tell anyone.

EDIT: Gee whiz I see I had another visit from the karma fairy! Move over Jeff, I'm cachin' up!

Posted on: 2005/8/3 6:08
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Ulises Beato
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Re: Staying at the Asuza Inn
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Thanks again for the info. I was palnning on going Japanese when I am there. I am hoping to hook up with as many people as possible and will take the last 2 days to travel and see the sights. We will have a tour guide while we are there, exJapanese exchange student.
Do any of the non-Japanese SHihan do classes at the hombu? I want to train and learn as much as I can. I will be leaving my ego in Canada and am ready to be told that I have been doing everything wrong for the last 10 years. If anyone knows of extra training times please let me know. I will also ask George when I get to Japan.

Thanks for all of the input. It has helped alot.

Brad

Posted on: 2005/8/3 6:45
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Re: Staying at the Asuza Inn
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I just wanted to say that we stayed at Azusa and it was great. Directions are at the Nodashi Sataion, just look on the wall on the platform. The rooms are fine, Plain but then that is all that you need. cost was 4500 yen per night and it included use of a bike if you need it. (You do).
It has a massage chair and a hot tub both a must for when you do 3 classes in one day. This will help your body to recover after the classes.
All the rooms have air conditioning and this was great for drying out your clothes.
Do not bother eating there as there are enough resteraunts in Noda to keep you satisfied and they are cheap.
We took the time to explore the city and were rewarded with 100's of amazing pictures as well as lots of cool meetings with the people who live there.
Regarding not speaking the language. It is not necessary as most people are used to seeing foreigners. But they really appreciated our attempts to speak the language and were extremly forgiving when we totally killed the language. Take a phrase book and put it in your pocket. It is also fun to try and pick up some of the language.
Azusa also has internet access and it is prety cheap 1000 yen per day. you pay per day.
Well I just wanted to update everyone and let you kow that I think that it was a great place to stay.
I am going back in April and will be staying there again.

Brad V
From Canada

Posted on: 2005/9/13 16:48
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Re: Staying at the Asuza Inn
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Great Scott!!!

Azuza is a Hot Spot!

I've died and gone to heaven!

Marty

Posted on: 2005/9/13 18:17
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Re: Staying at the Asuza Inn
Kutaki Postmaster
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I've stayed at Azusa a few times, and it's very hassle free, although the quality of the stay seems to depend a little on which room you end up in. Some of the singles are significantly smaller than others - my last stay was two weeks in a three tatami mat room, which considering there is no wardrobe and the floor space is shared with your rolled up futon and your suitcase, is a little cosy.

Also, I lugged my laptop half way around the world, because the last time they had a sign up saying they had internet access if you had a machine. However, when I got there, I was told it wasn't working. So, if that's the factor that's swinging it for you in the 'where to stay' argument, perhaps a quick phone call or e-mail in advance might not be a bad idea.

Otherwise, I've always gotten on well there - it's cheap, convenient, comfortable and I've never seen any cockroaches.

Posted on: 2005/9/13 18:40
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Alex Meehan,
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Re: Staying at the Asuza Inn
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Azusa Inn was a great place to stay while visiting Japan for training. If you plan to train as much as possible, I would recommend staying there.

It was about an 8 minute walk to hombu, three minutes by bike (on rainy days).

Don't rely on internet access being up while your there, they told it us it was down throughout our stay. (Use the nearby library or internet cafe, if necessary).

Enjoy the fact that there will be a bunch of Bujinkan students there with you; makes for good conversation and passes the few minutes between classes.

Best of all, many "additional" classes were added during our stay - being nearby the hombu permitted us to change plans as necessary to attend them.

If you don't want to share a room then get a private room. You'll still share a rest room and shower/hot tub.

I very much enjoyed staying at Azusa.

Consider it.

Posted on: 2005/10/15 4:02
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Joe Maurantonio, shidoshi
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Ninpo: Wisdom for Life by Hatsumi Sensei
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Re: Staying at the Asuza Inn
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2004/12/19 0:30
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Brad,

While it's not at Honbu, I figured it would be worthwhile you knowing about this class if you've come all the way to Japan. There's a class in Nezu (Chiyoda Line) run by two high level non-Japanese guys(Pete Reynolds & Rob Renner). They've both been training for close to twenty years and Pete has been living in Japan for almost six years.

The focus is on the concepts that Soke is putting out and breaking them down into easily understood exercises and putting things into plain English. They have both Japanese and non-Japanese high level people coming and I'm sure other people on this site can vouch for them.

See you when you get here,

Marcus




Posted on: 2005/10/15 22:09
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