Today I met Kobayashi Sensei for lunch. It went much better than I'd feared. It took a lot of work, but we were pretty much able to communicate everything we wanted to. Talked a bit about kendo and also about his recollections of Portland. He wants to come back, which would be great.
Kobayashi Sensei was born and raised in Fukuyama so after lunch, he took me around to show me some of the sights. First he showed me the budokan ("martial arts school") where he learned kendo as a child. Outside this school was a shrine and on the way up the stairs to the shrine there is a stone on which Miyamoto Musashi (probably the most famous samurai in history) meditated.
Then we walked to the nearby Fukuyama castle, which is now a museum inside. There was a garden show going on outside the castle so we checked that out too. There was some kind of drawing going on where if you had a museum ticket you could draw a stick and if it had a red tip, you'd win one of the nice chrysanthemums they had there. Sensei walked up and drew one dramatically "ZAAATT!" and sure enough it was a winner. We gave the chrysanthemum to Akahoshi Sensei's wife back at the temple.
View of the courtyard from the castle tower:
That evening, Akahoshi Sensei and I met with Yoshihara Sensei and Okuno Sensei for dinner. Had a nice Japanese meal with fish caught in the inland sea which borders Fukuyama. Both Senseis said they had very nice experiences in Portland last year and they'd like to come back again when Tsuchida Sensei visits next summer. It's shaping up to be another great seminar next year!