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Training in Samurai City

November 14, 2016

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Hi everyone!

So, as you’ve seen from our Special Soba video, we traveled out to Fukushima and had a lot of fun. That was only the half. This part, though, is what we were most excited about. We went to Samurai City, and trained in a dojo, and were overwhelmed with respect and awe, and have walked away with memories really dear to us.

When we both walked into the dojo, we felt like we were part of something special. Seeing all of the women there warming up to train, in a big open dojo, with the windows open and a faint breeze passing through it, all beside the giant fortress: it felt mystical. There was magic here, and we were both completely caught off guard. I think we were a lot weirder on camera as a result.

I think the two of us handled this very differently. I was awkward and giggly and anxious. And I think that I compensate in situations like this by being more awkward and trying to get people to laugh. But the whole time I felt really emotional. I knew that this was a special opportunity, and – what’s more – I felt nervous at how quickly it was fading away. Most of the time I was there I was in the moment, but also thinking “holy shit this is going to end soon so soon.”

Martina was a lot more reserved. This means a lot more to her than she showed in the video. I wanted her to do a voiceover in this video to try to explain it to you, but she’s not comfortable talking about it there, so I’ll talk about it here: Martial arts were a big part of her life growing up. Her whole family went to Karate. Her father is a black belt in a few degrees (second degree? Third? I’m not sure). Martina did it for a long time before she just couldn’t do it anymore, because she kept getting injured. This was before she knew she had EDS. She hasn’t done any martial arts since. And so, for her to be here now, after so many years of being away from it, actually practicing in Japan, in Samurai freaking City, is something that’s not only special to her, but something that’s going to be special for her family to see.

Martina was also in pain for a lot of this. Lifting above her head is really rough on her shoulders, but that didn’t stop her from going on, yet at the same time it reminded her of why she doesn’t do Karate anymore. A lot of emotions gathered at once, so she wasn’t her usual bubbly self. But I could see it in her. I know this had a lot of meaning for her. And I know she’ll remember this forever.

We also took a bunch of pictures, as always. Some are from Samurai City, but others are from the rest of our trip. Check em out here!

We didn’t make videos of everything we did when we were here. We did have a LiveChat at the Onsen, though. The rest of the Onsen was just amazing though. It was my first time sitting in an Onsen outside by a waterfall. I couldn’t really shoot any videos there, though, because I’d have to be naked, and that’s not the kind of video we’d post on YouTube. But that, too, was profound. Hell everything we did in Aizu moved us. We had a great time and hope you’ll give it a chance as well. Check out their page to learn more about it.

Otherwise, you might have noticed Sharla in this video. She was with us the whole trip! She posted some videos on her channel as well. We linked to part 1 last time.

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Training in Samurai City

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  1. Simon, I don’t think you looked awkward or weird on video at all! At least, no weirder than normal. I’m glad you guys were able to do this video, I’m really happy for both of you. I wish it was a little easier on Martina to do something like this that she so obviously enjoys. What a beautiful video, this is the side of Japan that I am most in love with.

    1 year ago
  2. Watching your videos always puts a smile on my face, thank you ❤️

    1 year ago
  3. Having read this & re-watched the vid, I still can’t see where you looked awkward or anxious. You both look like you’re truly having an amazing experience & looked really awesome in your uniforms ^_^. Your instructors were lovely & I thought it was so cute how they were giggling when they called you cool & handsome :). They were adorable then & inspiring later when they were teaching you guise. Their skills are immediately evident & admirable especially since I know it’s a way of life for them. I was touched by how seriously Martina was taking it & I had no idea that she was in pain. I’m so glad she did it anyway & I hope that the pain was helped by a soak at the onsen. Thank you both, as always, for your sacrifices & for sharing.

    1 year ago
  4. Hey just FYI the video lagged the audio somewhere in the middle, then synced up again right at the end (at least for me, in firefox).
    I like the videos but unsynced audio is hard to enjoy.

    1 year ago
  5. Hi Simon and Martina,

    Loved all the videos that you’ve been making in Japan. :D
    Just wondering if you could recommend places to go or see around Tokyo at the end of the year. I’ll be headed down with a good buddy of mine to celebrate New Years there and we’re intending to check out places around Tokyo. Mostly historical places.

    Also will you guys be going for Hatsumode? Will there be videos of that and like, fukubukuro shopping? I’m super psyched to see your takes on both. :D

    1 year ago
  6. Martina, you continue to be a touchstone for me (no pressure! LOL). You are a HUGE part of how I found out I have EDS and your continuing to share the reality of it AND pushing through it at times is really amazing for me to see. It’s good to know I am not alone – misery loves company and all…but also that sometimes things are WORTH hurting for. Sometimes ya gotta push and then have the pain coma the next day (or week) and realize it was totally worth it. Hang in there ( but not actually ’cause that’d hurt).

    On a lighter note – were’d you get Kogi? I am looking for a giant round pudgy pillow to hold at night (to help keep shoulders/collarbones in place), regular pillows are just too flat, any recommendations on where to look?

    Stay dazzling daaaaaarling zebra!

    1 year ago
    • Holy cow that was easier to read with line breaks, I sound nuts — comment system takes them out….noted. LOL

      1 year ago
  7. What an AMAZING adventure!! Could you guys share the name of the onsen where you stayed? It looked so amazing!

    1 year ago
  8. Well I cracked up bigtime at Simon singing RuPaul’s Drag Race theme……. “Sashay Away”!

    1 year ago
  9. This was so so lovely to watch to watch. I loved every part of it!! Aizu is really so beautiful. Well… Japan, is really beautiful. :’) And I love experiencing this beautiful country through your videos.

    Keep up the great work guise, lots and lots of love from Malaysia! ❤️

    1 year ago
  10. kind of random – but would you guys ever consider publishing a photo book with photos of all your travels? They’re gorgeous.

    1 year ago
    • Ah…I never thought of it! I didn’t think of our photos as good enough quality. It’s just a hobby we do because it’s fun. I still feel like there’s a lot of skills we lack in the photography department.

      1 year ago
      • I’m going to go “second” that thought — I really do love the pics you include in the blog especially since we get to see the whole wonderful collage, but there are some really eye catchingly beautiful shots that stand out from the rest. I think a photobook might be a great EYS item to add o the store.

        1 year ago
  11. This was so awesome to watch, especially after reading your blog post Simon and learning more about Martina’s connection to Karate and how much it means to her. I’m so happy that she had this experience and watching her push thru the pain made me tear up…but happy tears. Go forth and kick ass, Martina!

    1 year ago
  12. I might have completely missed it, but did you ever specify what martial art you two were practicing? It looked a lot like Aikido which I took for a semester in college so that is why I am asking. :) Also I obviously am not completely aware of what Martina’s condition is like, but Aikido isn’t as involved as other martial arts like Taekwondo or Karate so it might be a nice alternative. Like a Tai Chi/ Aikido mix that would be easier on the joints but zen-like badass way.

    1 year ago
  13. So, I know you’re both tall, but even being short myself and having met you in person I never thought you were that tall. But you looked liked freakin’ giants in this video! I guess I’ll have to re-think the whole I’m super short thing. Gotta love those women – adorable and deadly, what better combination could they be.

    1 year ago
  14. So amazing!!!! I will have to check this out when I come! I also really would love to do Kendo and other martial arts <3

    1 year ago
  15. I’ve been slowly looking at what classes to take around Tokyo, and due to my chronic joint pain I wasn’t sure if I could keep up with any martial arts. How rough was this for you two? And if it wasn’t too bad, do you know of any classes around the Tokyo area?

    1 year ago
  16. oh wow that’s an interesting fact about Martina’s special connection to martial arts. :( it’s unfortunate that she can’t really do it heaps because of her EDS but it’s beautiful to see her do her best even in pain. take care and lots of love from the land down under

    1 year ago