Shumatsu is Japanese for weekend.

This weekend several things happened. I tried calligraphy, I got to wear armor in Kendo for the first time, and I went sightseeing with my host family. Some of that you may already been aware of, but today I have some pretty pictures! Only two, as A) I want to give my family a long slide show of my experiences in Japan (an endless stream here would defeat the purpose) and B) with a limit of two per post I avoid clogging my posts and page with far too many images.

That said...

Shodo, the Japanese art of calligraphy. In a two hour lesson, I showed the "good sense" that I am often attributed when I try activities that are very Japanese. I did very well, having never had a lesson before. This is the only picture I have of my experience, as I was too busy practicing and paying attention to bug anyone for photographs more than once. However, I have a wealth of calligraphy I did to show off, which I think makes up for it.

The picture's slightly blurry, and I have others, but I'm lazy so...

It may be difficult to tell, but that is me. I got to wear Kendo armor for the first time on Saturday, and will be able to for these last four weeks of time I have in Japan. Having started Kendo at the very end of September, I have apparently made stunning progress. I had my first Kendo match, which I lost, but only one of two points were scored on me (we ended by exceeding the time limit). My opponent was surprised to learn how short a time I had been learning Kendo. I was thankful for the praise, as I couldn't hit him. He had the inherent advantage of knowing how to block.

As these four weeks begin, I have a sense of sadness and relief at the same time. I love my life here very much, it has nothing short of devastated what I now see as low expectations of how great this trip would be. However, at the same time I miss home a heck of a lot. I am a homebody to the core, and as such the people, places and things of home have been continually growing in my mind. The sense of relief is extremely slight, being more of an expectation of when I return than anything else.

Until then, I will continue my studies.

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