SAITAMA | Iaido- Saitama Budokan

For the next few days I am going to spam post all my adventures on my previous Japan trip because I won’t want any more backlogs to clash with my Chiba trip lol. Couldn’t be more blessed to received such a great news and here i am now back in Japan*excited*. So I better finish up my stories for Tokyo and Kyoto right now.


P/S: If you are planning to pick Iaido up, this blogpost would be a good FYI for you :) 

How many of you guys have actually visited a sports stadium on your holidays overseas (in any country) or even seen athletes perform live? Not the usual kind of tourists’ activity, I know lol! But no harm for me to visit Saitama Budokan’s stadium which is considered one of the biggest in that area. As I mentioned on my much earlier posts that this trip wasn;t just about me trying to get a breather after the whole DAF15 scam case, that was just a side thing and the main reason was to support (anata) as he did his 2nd dan grading. 




I honestly think men are not the kind to admit their feelings whenever we ask them about how they are feeling for an exam or other scenarios. Konon act so macho but bet inside they are nearly pissing their pants lol! Okay, sorry guys I was just born mean so deal with it :P 




That morning on the 4th day of our Japan trip was the big day for あなた, we woke up so much earlier than our usual 7am timing because the stadium where we are heading to is located in saitama (slightly further in than Kawagoe-shi) and getting there requires us to change train lines about 3 times before reaching (station name). The rest of あなた’s group already had a much earlier headstart because they took a different route that doesn’t require much train changing but the down side it was slow compare to ours (we took the express train). From there we were supposed to walk about 2km+ to the stadium as according to あなた’s last grading experience there wasn’t any taxi that early but to our uttermost surprise there was PLENTY waiting below the station! Kena troll kau kau lor XD 




Guys being lazy we all decided to just hop on the taxi lol, but really never knew that cabs in Japan starts from 700yen and for such a short distance like 2km it could easily cost 1000yen per trip! Imagine paying RM35 for that, you also would just say save money and walk instead haha, unless you are carrying tons of luggage then that’s exceptional la. Public transportation in Japan is generally expensive especially if you are not a local there, might feel a slight pinch but with proper planning at research there are tourist packages that offers daily/ weekly transportation passes that could save you a whole lot more than buying on the spot J Of course not for taxi la, only train and buses. 




Think I fell in love with the country-side town of Saitama! It’s full of greenery, roads are empty but not the ghost town kind of empty and everything there feels so peaceful. A totally different experience than being in the busy city streets of Shibuya and other districts within the city area, explains a lot why some people would prefer to stay abit further from the hustle bustle city life and aside from that the rental in the countryside is also much lesser compared to the city. The price difference is pretty vast if you are renting a place there, example for the same rental price in the city your room might only be 200sft meanwhile in the outskirt area you can easily get a 600sft space. 




Saitama Budokan stadium is one of the biggest yet CLEANEST well maintained looking stadium I’ve ever seen in my entire life comparing to our local stadiums la (obviously!), having spent my earlier days being an athlete representing my school and the state constantly having to visit our poorly maintained stadium to train :-/ 



And I realized here in Japan we are hardly late for anything, usually early or on time but never once a late moment in our trip lol, see being late is a Malaysian thing lol wtf. Since we arrived at the stadium early thank to the taxi-san, managed to explore the stadium grounds and boy it’s huge and well equipped with individual sections like the examination halls for various types of martial arts and an archery field too. But the best part is yet to come which was the Iaido grading examination which I will share a video of  あなた performing alongside with 3 other participants!

Though I’ve seen him practiced a few times when I visited him during his classes in JCKL but his performance never ceased to constantly amazed over and over again with the his fluidity of his movements. And seeing the rest practice too, I don’t think I can remember the steps even if you make me do it a x1000 times over lol *goldfish memory*. 



Explains a lot why I stopped Karate halfway during my primary school years, (stopped at brown if I am not mistaken) because as you advance higher, there are more steps to remember and even the first few grading (white to purple) I was struggling like mad already D: 

And bet you guys didn’t know the only place in the world to actually do your official iaido grading is in Japan itself, the birthplace of iaido itself. 




Though some might find this practice inconvenient compared to more commercialize martial arts like karate or Judo where you can easily do for your grading in your own country but I personally think this practice is what that keeps the authenticity of this art form alive and also it’s because as foreigners who practices this outside of their country needs to be registered under a dojo in Japan in order to go for their grading. Not all gradings are done in Saitama, it depends on which prefecture your dojo resides in. Like  あなた’s he was registered under a dojo in Saitama by his sensei hence his grading is here in Saitama Budokan.

Check out the video, sorry if it’s slightly shaky because I was holding it up at an angle to get a proper view for the whole presentation (5 minutes).





DID YOU KNOW?
  • For iaido exam, you are only given a limit of 5 minutes to present your set. Anything over is considered failed. 
  • It’s not only limited to men, women too are allow to participate. 
  • The cool down period for each grading is according to your current rank (eg: 3rd dan, you’ll have to wait 3 years before your 4th dan grading) 
  • Highest rank you can achieve is 10th dan 
  • There are Japanese clubs in KL you can join (for kendo/iaido) like JCKL, seputeh. 



SAITAMA KENRITSU BUDOKAN

4- 1877 Hinode Ageo-shi,

Saitama Prefecture 362-0032, Japan

048- 77772400

www.saitama-budokan.jp 

Congrats to the Malaysian Team that made it!

Also met a friendly uncle  (on the left) who taught me how to fold the hakama properly and even gave me his hachimaki as a souvenir when he found out i was just a visiting tourist lol. Quite interesting how Japanese people can talk so easily about their lives to people they just met like my case haha, found out that he works as a postman and still single (maybe he is hinting lol!).

After あなた’s exam was over which was around 11am+, we were already hungry since our breakfast was at 6am lol. Everyone didn’t want to walk anymore so we checked the bus schedule and so happen to be in luck since the next one would be arriving in about 30 minutes time. I decided to kill some time by exploring the huge hiking park that was just right opposite the stadium where I had the pleasure of meeting my first cat in Japan lol. 




I know I am pretty lame for always wanting to see and play with cats everywhere I go during my travels/ daily life but they are too cute to resists!! Cats here in Japan are so fatttttttt, huge and friendly, plus the body language they display towards humans always feels like its saying “PAT ME HOOOMAN OR FEED ME NOW!” XD

The park is called Saitamasujio Park 




If you like long morning walks in the peaceful cooling countryside then I think you would like this park, as you can see from the map displayed at the entrance of the park they have facilities like a public swimming pool (kids & adults) and a jogging track inside which あなた and I didn’t managed to explore further since the bus we were waiting for arrived earlier than expected. Remembering back the scenario where we walked about 800m into the park to just look around, helped me snap a few OOTD pics and the next thing we knew the bus had already arrived at the entrance (had a warning call from anata’s friend). Heck we sprinted all the way back because we were scared the bus might drive off without us and boarding the bus I sounded like I was going to die as I was panting so hard like a fish out of water gasping for air XD 


But surprisingly enough the bus actually waited for a good whole 5 minutes before continuing on his route and we found out the bus arrived 5 minutes earlier than the initial schedule (damn punctual lor!) and he left the park exactly the same time stated on the schedule.

eg: 12.15pm estimate arrival but bus arrived at 12.10pm instead and waited a whole 5 minutes before leaving for the next route exactly at 12.15pm.

Rant side story:

Damn…how I wish Malaysia bus system was this punctual and reliable D: why la can’t rapidKL be like that?? *sobs & rage*. Our stupid bus system is so unpredictable, and moreover the word TIMETABLE doesn’t even exists in their system unless it’s a shuttle bus, making it difficult and risky for users like me to plan our schedules with the constant fear of being late or super-duper early to reach our destination =.= And early I meant like 2-3 hours early ya or 1-2 hours late, never once an “on the dot” moment with Malaysia public transportation.

-END RANT-

Upon reaching the train station, before exiting the bus only then passengers are required to drop in their fees instead of paying first upon entering. This concept is genius I tell ya! Why didn’t RapidKL think of this system earlier? Sadly logic is something lacking here in our dear country lel, imagine this scenario: It’s time consuming whenever a passenger has to dig for change to pay the bus conductor before entering and this causing a queue too if he/she doesn’t have small change, BUT if they were to allow passengers in first and pay upon exiting won’t be even more faster?

Maybe I should write in a long letter to RapidKL one day and send it over to their CEO or something instead of their useless minions who are just going to tell me to go through channels >.>
Next stop is getting back to ikebukuro to check out from Sakura Hotel (we are gonna miss you!) and we head over to Saitama where we’ll be staying with our very first local Airbnb hosts! Damn excited because it’s my first time using Airbnb to do a booking, even gotten a discount thanks to Cheesie’s invitation to join Airbinb lol.

If you are new to Airbnb like I was, then use my link to sign up and instantly get RM86 off your first booking! Sign up with my link: www.airbnb.com/c/lchow111

Taka-san here we come!

We actually did our booking with Taka-san for the 4th Oct way before things went south and I arrived earlier than my initial plans, sadly taka-san was already having other guests from 1st-3rd Oct if not I would have just book another extra few more days with them to make things easier. They are seriously the best hosts I’ve ever met, can’t wait to share how awesome this husband and waifu team are <3

Off to Saitama we go~ and ugh… back to lugging my heavy luggage bag again T_T 

My neko hair clip gotten from the 3 Coin station i mention previously in my Shibuya & Shinjuku post. It brought me happiness indeed because it's so cute lol.

Another lesson learnt from this trip: Don’t move around too much unless you just have a huge shoulder supported bagpack like those bagpackers who travel lightly. Large and heavy luggages aren’t exactly the most “travel friendly” inventions around. Well, didn’t have much choice since everything in this trip was last minute but at least it was one heck of any experience lol.
Coming up next is Taka-san, places to eat in Saitama and of course the usual tourist spots of Tokyo that one must visit at least once :-P


There's always someone in the group that never fails to photobomb lol.
Just reminding you constantly that how proud i am of you and will always be no matter what, i do hope that i can be there to see every one of your achievements because you mean that much to me seeing your grow and progress in life just makes me happy. Despite our difference, my hot headed temperament and your "kayu" behavior, i just hope we don't stray too far from each other but hold on to each other instead. We'll be back again soon Saitama Budokan, in 2017 :') 


And last but not least Merry Christmas everyone! 
Have a blessed celebration and make sure to stay safe.


XOXO,

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