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  • The Bekkasei Manual - Surviving Katsuura for Gaijins

    Ok, whiners are no winners and the more you complain, the more you live in pain. Lets cut the crap and support this year's heroes and all the future champions of Katsuura. These words are for all of you out there who don't believe in the Last Samurai and want to see Japan yourself before you make up your mind on things like the value of catching shuriken, the truth about bushido, the hazard of eating miso soup after a harakiri and the ideal angle of attack with a kamikaze plane. Sharpen your machetes and follow this thread for some advise on a rumble in the jungle; hey hoo, let's kakarigeikooo!

  • #2
    Curfew

    Although it might be the very first thing the International Office wants to teach you, the words "eleven pm curfew" have absolutely no meaning at all, they probably never had and never will. Free spirits who quit school or steady jobs to leave their families and friends for a full year, who fly around half the globe to a far away country full of earth quakes and spend all of there savings to fulfil there dream of studying the martial art of their choice straight from the source, should have enough common sense and self respect to ignore petty rules like a curfew. Curfews are useful in times of war, but not in a peaceful little village like Katsuura.

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    • #3
      Guards

      Respect the guards, they are only doing their job, they are working for the same reasons as your parents. Let them close the windows and lock the sliding doors. And if they ask you to switch of the lights and the meeting room wide screen tv, don’t complain, just do it. Some guards are actually nice and funny guys, who like making jokes and have an honest interest in foreigners. Sometimes they stay a little longer to have a smoke and some will even invite you for a drink. Let the guard lock the front door and when he is out of sight, unlock the door, switch on the tv and lights, restart the music and it’s party time again!

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      • #4
        Drinking

        Being drunk shows a positive spirit, being drunk is ok, being drunk is good, but being stupid is bad, so refrain from starting fights or breaking other people’s property. Although it’s a great way of stress relief, never purposely break any koryokaikan things. The trouble it would get you in totally outweighs the fun. When drunk at home don’t pee in the shoes or against the int. off. door and watch out for the glass doors near the shoeboxes, I almost broke my nose on one of them. Drinking and kendo in Japan are one. Many high ranking Japanese sensei might be considered AA-clients in the countries where you come from, but in Japan they have the status of half-gods, and why not? We mainly consist of fluids, so drinking is healthy. Drinking makes your kendo more supple and playing kendo with a hangover is an important skill which must be mastered as soon as possible. You might be surprised by unexpected parties in the middle of the week, but last night’s party is no excuse for skipping practice today. In Japan renshu never stops.

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        • #5
          Internet

          Bring your own laptop, buy a Japanese wireless card in Mobara and you will have unlimited internet access for a year, which is, except for Budai’s huge kendojo, probably the best IBU facility you can wish for. But, however friendly and sociable a kind of creature you might be, never ever share your laptop with anyone, because one night, when you will find yourself in that stressful situation of having to send that all important make-or-break-e-mail to keep your (ex-)girlfriend on the hook, you might find the whole mainframe changed to Chinese or Korean or your electronic surfing ability might be seriously halted because your computers immune system is nearly death from exhaustion after fruitlessly fighting thousands of porn viruses imported by your room mate who had been carelessly enjoying an all night session of internet hanky panky, if you know what I mean. I won’t go into detail, but one of the outward symptoms might be a dubiously stained keyboard.

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          • #6
            Coffee

            The cheapest coffee can be found in the machines in the back of the Shokudo. The best coffee is served at Skylark. You might not see coffee as one of life’s first necessities, but wait until you are a month or so into the program than you will be willing to drink more black coffee than there is salt water in that piece of Pacific Ocean in front of Hebara Beach, and that’s a lot. Coffee is the cheapest and most legal drug with no nasty side effects like hangovers or schizophrenia, so think about that.

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            • #7
              Food

              The best al round dinner deal is at Tomato; good quality food, big portions, not too expensive and no cockroaches. For those who prefer the simplest of dishes, the best tempura ramen and karee raisu can be had at the Shokudo. Real hamburgers should be eaten at Freshness Burger in Chiba City and Ohara’s Moss Burger and McDonalds are not bad either. Katsuura’s DomDom teriyaki burger brunch should be kept for Sunday afternoons only. Nothing beats teriyaki with fries and a soft cream after a game of beach golf to wake up from your Saturday night hang over. Bekka tradition says to have your Sunday breakfast around 3 pm.

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              • #8
                Girl friends

                Get a girl friend, it will make you feel at home faster and might be the best way to learn a lot of Japanese. Speak the language of love and your vocabulary will increase with the speed of a fighter plane on a sonic boom. There are two little problems at IBU though. Japanese chicks are hot, but most in Katsuura are not. And, most female students find boy friends within their own sports clubs very fast, so you will have to broaden your horizon to other cities or go online to find a pen pall. This term needs some explanation. Pen palls don’t care for writing, all they are after is your natural pencil, but they are a bit shy to say so. The pen pall scheme does work. One bekka was very successful at this. Just a few mails and he got himself a girl friend with free room and board for weeks in some nice big city far away from the koryokaikan. You won’t believe it, but there are lots of lonely Japanese girls and young single moms out there willing to teach you Japanese and experiment with cool gaijin-kendo-studs. I say: koibito gambatte kudasai.

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                • #9
                  Getting busted

                  "While In Japan, there is the Japanese Way Only." In Japan many things are up-side- down, so when you get busted act contrary to the way you might be used to when you get caught at home. If you get caught in Japan simply tell the truth. Immediately admit everything, because somehow they always know that you did what you did and what you did was wrong! In Japan you have the right to make mistakes, as long as you admit it and say sorry. Say sumimasen many many times and write an I-am-sorry-letter and clean up the mess if they ask you to and than everything will be alright. Lay low for a few days and then just do whatever you enjoyed doing again. Analyse the reasons for getting caught, learn from your mistakes, but never surrender to the ideal-son-in-law-syndrome, you can only be bekkasei for one year.

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                  • #10
                    Deportation

                    Don’t worry about being send home until your second private meeting with Bunasawa, that’s the time to change your so called illegal habits or stop skipping class for a while, but just for a while. Deportation from Budai is like kendo, you can still win when you are one ippon behind. Like everything else in life it’s a matter of zanshin and semme. Considering deportation, the most important thing is not to worry about the empty threats from any other personnel than Bunasawa (or Makita sensei of course). As a bekkasei it is your mission to focus on having fun. Ignore bruises, blisters and black eyes, but watch out for a total knock out.

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                    • #11
                      Cleaning ladies

                      These women look like your average friendly Japanese house wives making a few extra yen by wiping your floor and flushing your toilet, well, nothing is further from the truth. They are spies from the int. off. disguised as James Bond’s Miss Money Penny wearing rubber gloves for a change. Whatever kind of contraband you want to keep secret from the office don’t have it lying around your room on cleaning days.

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                      • #12
                        Deo

                        Bring a load of your own deodorant. Japanese deo is not the same as what you get in the western world back home. Japanese don’t sweat so much, so Japanese deo doesn’t work on gaijins. It’s only sold in small packages and it’s really expensive.

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                        • #13
                          Medicine

                          Also bring your own pain killers, coughing and anti flew medicine. Japanese medicine is not as strong as what you might need. It’s hard to explain what you need if you are not nearly fluent in nihongo and forget about reading the labels. So, bring your own dope and for the health freaks among you, complementary vitamin pills might be handy too, since there is not as much fruit and vegetables in your new seaweed-tofu-rice-and- noodles-menu as your physical systems might be used to at home.

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                          • #14
                            Wall Paper

                            Most bekkasei are real men, but even the toughest criminals rather spend their free time looking at something else than the plain grey concrete walls of their rooms. Prison style living quarters are hard on any living soul, even for those with a raisin for a brain or just half an inch of sensitive inner self. Living at Budai means interior design time. Don’t throw away your empty beer cans and sak bottles, they look better in some form of modern art in your room than as trash in kitchen down stairs. Think of your kindergarten days and be creative. To cover the walls I suggest traffic signs and shop flags. The shops get the flags for free and the city buys the signs from your tax money, so they are basically yours anyway. These artefacts generally have lots of kanji’s and a colourful design, they will brighten up your boring rooms in no time and after having looked at them for a few weeks even the worst dyslexia cases will start wondering what the kanji’s on these pieces of industrial art might say. I see no crime in getting yourself some flags and signs since they will probably teach you more words than Kurowitch in a month. May the office order you to take down your "wanted" posters and "no littering" signs, put them in your closet and hang them back on your walls after you passed room inspection.

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                            • #15
                              The Kitchen

                              The idea of the bekka kitchen is that it is a place to safe some money by cooking your own food, but because the kitchen is full of cockroaches and since everything you touch is infected with a mix of bacteria which is potentially more deadly than any kind of biological weapon which the US and Britain used as an alibi to invade Iraq, you might reconsider home cooking and rather spend your pocket money on having your lunches and dinners in one of the well respected Katsuura restaurants instead of spending it on a local hospital bed which are even harder to survive than the globally feared bekkasei kitchen.

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