Aikido is probably one of the most famous of the many different forms of Martial Arts coming out of Japan. In the West it is often seen as the softest martial art, focusing on throws and using the opponents energy against him. Modern Competitive Aikido was founded in 1961 by Kenji Tomiki (1900-1979) who in his lifetime achieved 8th grade black belts in both Aikido and Judo. He studied under the legendary Morihei Ueshiba who was teaching Jujutsu and developing Aikido from it. Tomiki was the first of his students to reach the 8th level of the black balt, in 1940. He worked as a teacher at the university of Kenkoku in then Manchuria from 1938 to 1945 and spent three years in a Soviet “labor camp” after the war before returning to Japan in 1948 as part of a large prisoner release effort.
Master Tomiki died in December 1979 and his grave is the town where he was born, Kakunodate, in Akita Predecture. If you are one of the millions worldwide who study Aikido, be sure to look up this tomb the next time you visit Akita!
The last of the Torinoichi visit photographs for this year. It is a great tradition to watch, for both locals and tourists, with the clapping, the rhythmic chanting, the colorful and over the top kumade decorations on sale and of course the food stands selling everything from grilled fish to bottles of beer. If you missed it this year you can set your alarm clocks for the 2015 dates, starting one minute past midnight on November 5th, 17th and 29th. Enjoy!
Having hurried all the way to Asakusa and then down all the way back to Shibuya on the last day of this year’s Torinoichi market, it was time to go up to Shinjuku and visit the most festive of the Torinoichi markets, at Hanazono Shrine. I have blogged about this one many times before, as it is the most accessible of all the markets. This year’s second market day was even busies than last year when we had three, and since it was on a Saturday it was even busier still!