Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Asia Trip 2012: Iaido and Kyudo Shopping in Tokyo

TUE 17-JUL: Martial Arts equipment stores have been popping up all over North America in the last decade. While they cater primarily to the more popular activities like Karate, Judo, and Kendo, it is still possible to find Gi, Hakama, and Tabi that can be used for the arts that we do.

For the more customized equipment like Iaito, Yumi, and Ya, online stores that ship from the States or Japan have become an important resource, but are still prohibitive due to shipping and import fees. Even as the quality of selection increases, nothing beats the ability to see, touch, and choose in person.

Our stores of choice in Tokyo are Asahi Kyuguten for Kyudo, and Shobu-Do Sangyo Co. for Iaido. Asahi is located approximately 10 minutes by foot from the Otsuka JR station. The service was exceptional, as a friendly, elderly lady catered to our every whim.

We shopped for over an hour, trying on Gi, Hakama, Shita-gake, and looking through a variety of Ya and Nigirikawa. As we completed our purchases, one young women brought out a folder filled with order forms. Apparently, this huge stack of paper represents all the business our club in Toronto has had with them. Go Seikyu Kai!!! ^_^

After a quick stop for lunch at Yoshinoya, we continued on to our Iaido shopping. The Shobu-Do shop is located about 5 minutes by foot from the Suidobashi JR station in the direction of the Tokyo Dome theme park. From our current location, we simply hopped back onto the JR Yamanote line to Sugamo station, then switched to the Toei Mita subway line to Suidobashi.

We spent considerably less time here, as there really isn't all that much equipment required for Iaido practice. We got some extra Gi, Juban, and Obi, and were asked to come back in four days to pick up the Hakama which are to be embroidered with our names.

It was such a great feeling having accomplished our major equipment purchases with so much time left in our trip, that we decided to celebrate with some Kaiten Sushi! This huge restaurant is located in the second basement of the Shinjuku 2nd Building. It had five chefs working in different corners of conveyor belt as they worked specific orders. The service was extremely quick, allowing entering patrons to find a seat in short order. Needless to say, the food was Oishiiiiiii~~~~

Tomorrow, training begins!

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