Wednesday, December 8, 2010

On expectations and other stuff

I have been teaching here for over a year now. Initially most of my activities revolved around Japanese Embassy, as said before - I was allowed to use venues for free. Now I am trying to switch my focus towards other facilities that have better resources (read: tatami). Yet as for today - I still am Aikido teacher in Japanese Embassy. This is why i received this:

I knew exactly what I was expecting - there would be an official tea-house sushi with soft sounds of shakuhachi and koto coming from beyond shoji screen, we'd be shouting Tenno heika banzai under Raising Sun flag, there would be Battleship Yamato lurking somewhere in the bushes and the more perceptive of guests would be able to spot ninjas hiding up in the palm trees... Beautiful Japanese women dressed in traditional kimonos would have haiku competition and at the end of the ceremony Buddhist priest would give blessings and fortune cookies to everyone.

Reality was - as it usually is - a bit different. There were many people, most from the diplomatic circles, all ambassadors and attaches and so on. There were Japanese women dressed in traditional kimonos, but in all these crowds it was difficult to spot them. I bumped into our Polish ambassador and got invited for Christmas meeting at her residence. There were Russians (hard to miss them ;-), British, Dutch, Americans, Indians, South Africans and many many others. Our Japanese hosts somehow disappeared in all these crows and - with exception of Kobayashi-san - were difficult to come by.There was short and actually not-so-bad speech from Japanese Ambassador, there was taiko presentation by ten-odd kids, there was wine, nuts, tempura and sushi, and then... I was back to the office.