Moving to Osaka: Joining a new Dojo; Etiquette.

by Shan
(Edmonton, Canada)

Hello, Imafuji sensei! I will be moving to Osaka (Sakai to be more specific) from Canada in less than 2 months to study for about 1.5-2 years and I'm hoping to continue Kendo there.

I want to make a good impression with the dojo I will be going to. I decided to go a Kendo Dojo close to my school but the drawback is that the sensei's instructions will all be in Japanese so that might be an additional obstacle I have to worry about since my Japanese is only conversational.

From having visitors come to my dojo in Canada and researching online, I heard it is good to bring your club Tenugui as a gift to the dojo and to always be at the lowest position when lining up.

What else should I do or be aware of when I join a new dojo?

Thank you!

Answer: Thank you for your question and sorry for the delay of my reply. I thought I answered your question somewhere if not hear. I don’t remember. Sorry for the delay.

You will be there for 1.5 or 2 years? Wow! I envy you! That would be great! It shouldn’t be difficult to find a dōjō once you get there.

Make sure that you know which one is kamiza (higher position) and shimoza (lower position). You can ask anyone at the dōjō. So you know where you should go.

I don’t think there are many things that you need to know what you should be doing at a new dōjō.

Make sure that you go and greet senseis. I know you already know that. They should have shihan (the head instructor) or anyone who is the main instructor if they don’t have a shihan.

Don’t walk in front of people. If you must, lower yourself and have an open hand in front of you saying “sumimasen (excuse me)”. I am not sure if younger generations do this anymore but this is one of the things you must do when you are walking in front of people. Like this image

I don’t think they will tell you the dōjō rules so my recommendation is to observe what they do very well. It is impossible to know all the dōjō rules. Tell them to show you the rules because it is your first time in Japan. “Hajimete nihon ni kimashita node, reigi, sahō de shiturei ga arutokato omoimasu node yoroshiku goshidō onegai shimasu”.

Even though my Japanese is pretty rusty, that should do :)

Good luck!

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