Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Gun Kendo

One of my Japanese friends used to fix helicopters near Sapporo. He had joined the JDF out of high school and they promptly shipped him off to the snowy boredom that is Hokkaido. He apparently got pretty soured on the whole army experience, and has been steadily getting rid of anything army-related that's still around his house.

The other day he said, "hey, do you like kendo?" I said sure, why not. Who doesn't like sword-fighting? So he gave me one of his leftover pieces of army equipment.

This is basically a huge wooden rifle. The Japanese army uses it to train their soldiers in bayonet fighting, or "Jukendo." In other words, it's gun kendo. The downward cuts of traditional kendo are absent. The sport mostly consists of stabbing attacks towards the throat and the chest.

My friend inscribed the name of one of Japan's old kendo masters on the handle, possibly sarcastically...the translation wasn't made clear to me. This might be the name of the guy who was famous for using extra long swords...or the guy who fought with two swords, I'm not sure.

So last night I brought this thing back home from work. Keep in mind it's about 170cm long, whereas I'm about 185cm tall. My boss sees me carrying this thing. He says "Hey, do you have a business card?" I say "Why, in case the cops see a scary gaijin on a bike with no lights riding around at 10PM with a huge Jukendo staff?" Nervous chuckle.

So I had to assure him that I had a business card on me and he double-checked that I knew how to say "This is my boss, please call him." in Japanese.

Luckily, me and the staff made it home without incident.

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