I arrived early at the Cotati Hub Park, where we have Sunday weapons practice during the dry season, and pulled into a parking space. I was there a little early on purpose, so that I could do some catching up with Tatoian Sensei about his trip to the Phillipines, and as I looked in my mirror I saw his familiar pearl Toyota swing around the corner into the lot.
He didn't look so good, and as it turned out he'd had to have a wisdom tooth pulled while he was out of the country. The operation had apparently caused some nerve damage, and he was in some pain from this and a few other ailments. The picture shows Dennis Sensei on another Sunday morning a few years ago, when he was feeling a little better.
Strangely enough, today nobody else showed up for class, even though Carmen and Candy had been regulars while Sensei was gone. He said, "maybe word got around that I was feeling so bad, and nobody thought there would be class."
Forgetting about class, I asked him about his trip, and he pulled out his laptop, booted it, and began a slide show of pictures he'd taken in and around Manila and the area south of Manila where he hopes to build a dojo.
A whole section of the slide show was devoted to the inside of a food store, and as each grocery item appeared on the screen Sensei would say how much it cost. Up came a bunch of bananas; "a kilo of bananas cost about 30 cents," he said. This went on until I'd mentally spent about $10.00 US, which at Manila prices would have filled up two shopping carts.
I guess you can live cheap in the Phillipines.
He talked about the half-acre of land he has picked out, and about his plans for a couple of buildings. I asked him how soon this could all come together, and he replied that he'll know more after short trips in November and next January. But, he said, he could be moving there as early as next summer and as late as a year from then.
As the sun rose higher over the Cotati Fire Station across the street, Sensei said he had to be getting back home, probably for a new dose of pain medication. It had been good to hear his voice and listen to his ribald stories of life in Manila. Secretly I was envious of the many young men who will travel to train at his dojo once he is established there. I'm sure that there will be many delights beyond those of training with an extremely accomplished exemplar of Iwama Takemusu Aikido.
technorati tag aikido