Three 7th Level Kendo-ka await their turn to test for 8th Level, the highest level that can be officially graded. Though ten levels exist, the tenth level is the equivalent to an enlightenment in the sport, and is rarely given.
Unfortunately, as we feared, Nicky and I both caught something on Friday, and have been mostly bedridden since. However, despite having chest colds, today was an important day: Okusa-sensei, Nicky’s kendo instructor from Canada, and also the President of the Canadian Kendo Federation, came to Kyoto to watch the 8th Level grading for his friend. He invited us to come along, and though I didn’t understand most of what was going on, it was still fun.
Perhaps my favorite moment was when one of the examinees yelled ‘sou desu ne’ for his kiai, which is pretty much “That’s true” in English. It was quite entertaining.
After the match, we all decided to get lunch together, so we went back to central Kyoto, where Okusa-sensei would be meeting his friends, to look for lunch. We went down several alleyways I’ll probably never be able to find again, and while doing so we passed by this recycle shop that was having a massive kimono sale... they were selling obi for only $10! It’s too bad we didn’t have any money on us.
We found a nice little ramen store on one of the streets, with a chef who was missing most of his teeth, but, that old man knew how to cook! The ramen had the most delicious smell to it, and he wasn’t stingy with his ingredients. Nicky and I both got slices of pork in our ramen that were easily 3cm thick. It was really tasty, and just what our bodies needed just then. Afterwards, we said our goodbyes and Nicky and I headed home. We tried watching “Insidious” but it wasn’t scary at all. Still, a good day!