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The Bekkasei Manual - Surviving Katsuura for Gaijins

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  • #16
    Housing guests

    By moving to Japan for a year you left all your old friends behind, but since you brought your laptop, you are still in touch with most of them. And after many months of sending interesting mails about your Japan experiences, wouldn’t it be the most natural thing if one or a couple of your homies might want to see all of it for themselves? Sure! And you study at an "International" University promoting cultural exchange, right? So, why does chapter three section seven of the IBU book of Criminal Law state that you are not allowed to have friends sleep in your room like you normally would have guests stay at your house in your home country too? Well, I have thought about it and other bekka veterans too, but we can’t find any reasonable explanation. You see, most of you wouldn’t turn your rooms into a Spanish Costa del Sol style overbooked hotel. Your friends want privacy too and wouldn’t stay for more than just a few days, maybe a week at max. So what’s the problem? There isn’t! You officially rent a room from IBU, so feel free to invite friends to see Japan and spend some time with you in Katsuura. It’s good for you, it’s good for your friends and it’s good for Katsuura’s micro-economy. Borrow some blankets and mattresses from the guest rooms and make your buddies use the sliding doors. And unless your room is totally spy free, because of bribing the cleaning ladies with boxes of expensive Swiss chocolates, avoid high hotel bills for your friends by putting the extra night gear under your bed during the day.


    • #17

      Many of you North American bekkasei who were broad up in strictly automotive cultures might not think highly about owning a bike now, but as a bekkasei it’s a matter of mental survival. Those who have a bike have freedom. They can leave Katsuura at no costs at any moment and that’s a priceless asset if you want to keep your sanity through change of scenery therapy every now and then. As a Dutch I am totally at ease with using a bike for transportation, but for those who are not, you better make the switch fast. Japanese taxi’s and trains don’t move very much late at night and cost money which is better spend on snacks and sochu and beer. Cycling is perfect training for your legs, which is great for your kendo and a bike takes you further then you would think at first. Walking to Onjuku Beach is no fun, but on your bike it will only take you about fifteen minutes. During my last three bekka months I cycled for an hour to McDonalds in Ohara almost every other day. Just think of it, you are young, you have people to meet and places to see. Bekkasei are not allowed to ride a scooter or drive a car, so in Katsuura you need a bike as much as you need a shinai in jigeiko. Get yourself a bike and defend it with the biggest meanest lock you can find.


      • #18
        Smurf Hill

        It can be done people. Yes, it’s possible. Reaching the top of Smurf Hill on bike without touching the street with my feet even once nearly blew out the battery of my pacemaker, but after months of trying I managed to reach the top on bike without walking even one step! A few days after my record breaking attempt I even reached Katsuura’s Mount Everest for a second time. Start with a swift attack, but switch to a more relaxed pace of peddling in the middle. Don’t even think about getting all the way up, keep your mind empty and your hearth beat low, try to relax your upper body, breath slowly from the stomach and only use the power of your lower legs. The last twenty percent of the ride is worse than all of kangeiko’s kakarigeiko, but when you already got so far your self confidence will have reached such a temporary high that you would even be able to trip an elephant if you had to. Believe me, it can be done. It’s an enlightening zen experience and the world will never look the same to you. Smurf Hill was in my year the name of the steep hill after you pass by the running track. I mean the one going down to the AU-shop, the surfshop and the Oranda Ie, not that long road to City Hall.


        • #19

          Fireworks are fun and you can get them quite cheap in Katsuura. If you would only be willing to remember a few of all these well mend words of wisdom, please remember the following: "Don’t wear nylon pants, shirts or jackets when you play Cowboys and Indians by shooting at each other with bottle rockets, roman candles or heavier stuff." Don’t, cause nylon burns even faster than magnesium and leaves extremely ugly black and purple scars which girls won’t appreciate as cool at all. Plastic surgery is not cheap, wear your fireproof gi when playing hide and seek! Don’t shoot fireworks from your windows or anywhere near the bekka home during office hours and during week nights always check if Fujita is really gone home. You don’t want to be caught in a room filled with smoke from wall to wall having to explain that you "didn’t" shoot a couple of packs of bottle rockets just moments ago. Only legal eagles or kings of liars poker will survive such a bust, amateurs need not apply.


          • #20
            Last words

            So kids, this was a little bit of bekkasei kihon for you. There are many more secrets to be found, but like in martial arts, the biggest secret is in the basics and these are all right in front of you now. Not all techniques can be taught in words, many things can only be understood through practice. You must practice hard and master all arts; practice drinking, practice with fireworks, practice with girl friends, practice Japanese, practice not getting caught, practice cycling on Smurf Hill, practice surfing at Hebara, practice kendo everyday, don’t skip natsu gashuku and kangeiko and than maybe one day you will tell your half-Japanese offspring: "Life is a bitch, but once I was a BEKKASEI."


            • #21

              Thanks for this information i suppose. If I ever go there, ill keep this in mind.

              I will certainly continue practicing with girlfriends here.


              • #22
                I always take chocolate... the bars I find in Japan are tiny. Biggest so far was a Kitkat. The first trip I would have been prepared to go 10 rounds with Mike Tyson for a Mars bar. And I would have kicked his $*$ for it.


                • #23
                  What a top thread! Let's sticky it!
                  Last edited by Andoru; 18th December 2004, 06:20 AM.


                  • #24
                    My scooter barely made it up smurf hill, let alone biking it!!

                    Required reading for all thinking of going to Budai.


                    • #25
                      Excellent work, kind stranger.
                      If only I had seen this before i came here.


                      Pen Pals, eh ?


                      • #26
                        That kind stranger was an Oranda bakka bekkasei who got wiser by lots of trials and many errors, by fooling around with the authorities(what authority?) and trying to screw up the system to his own advantage. You still have three more months to go, squeeze out of it whatever you can, practice lots of drinking in the holidays, be creative with fireworks and don't skip kangeiko! Kangeiko means waking up damn early, but your first kangeiko is an important experience in your kendo carreer. Spread the kihon from the Bekkasei Manual, never give up, always gambatte and don't forget that you'll only get one try at being bekkasei. Next year when you get home, you won't be "special" anymore, you'll have to be normal again, think about that. Lots of luck and most importantly: "Have FUN Danny Boy!!!"


                        • #27
                          7Eleven city? I love 7Eleven! The 7Eleven(I mean Katsuura's 7) crew became my family overseas and thought me more Japanese, than I ever learned in class.

                          Drunk at dawn
                          Spaghetti with meat balls
                          Breakfast at 7Eleven
                          (7Eleven iiiiii kibun!!!)


                          • #28
                            uuuh, I mean ... "taught" me ... it's that damn sochu again!! I must practice more! Practice, practice, iki iki, chachacha, chachacha, nome shine bakka aho! Countury gamu .... Amerika! Korea! Nippon! Canada! Finlando! Tjechoslowakia! Suweden! Chili! Nippon?? Chachacha, chachacha, Oranda! Oranda! Chachacha, nonde, nonde, nonde! Oranda! Oranda! Iki iki, iki iki!!!!! Natsukashiiiiii, beybey and kampai!


                            • #29

                              One last thing about bekkasei life, the following is an example of the way to become best friends with your language teacher.

                              G: I have Japanese class and I am bored to death.
                              K: Abuses about half an hour giving some kind of totally unstructured explanation about some super polite form of Japanese grammar which you will never use in daily life.
                              G: Kuro-chan, Kuro-chan, I have question.
                              K: Quiet!
                              G: But, I a question have!
                              K: Shut up!
                              G: Question arimasu, hontooooo!
                              K: NANI??
                              G: Shitsumon suru daijobu?
                              K: Shut up! Quiet! Shut up!
                              G: "Serious" question arimasu!
                              K: What do you want?
                              G: Ok, listen to this: "What is the difference between Chinese teriyaki and Korean teriyaki?
                              K: BAKA YAROO!!!! STUPID QUESTION!!!! SHUUUUUUT UUUUUPP!!!!
                              G: Baka yaroo nan desu ka?


                              • #30

                                My only question to you:

                                Were you sane before coming to Japan and driven crazy by participation in the bekka?

                                Or were you crazy and ultimately driven sane?

                                Your illuminating articles will surely become the essential reading for those who fall into the bekka-vortex.