2011 was our first time at Shibaricon so we weren’t 100% sure what to expect.

At one point it was touch and go if we’d even get to Chicago as Iceland’s volcano had erupted and volcanic ash was in the air progressively closing airports in the UK and mainland Europe further and further south. We were listening to the news with interest as we drove south toward London, Heathrow and our flight.

We stayed over the night in London with our friend Jon Murakawa who’s surprising and delightful wooden house is an old and hidden treasure of London, in fact Murakawa san is one of London’s lesser known treasures himself. We were sorry not to have more time with him. Heathrow was still open for international flights as we drove toward the airport.

Once in the air we thought that our travel worries were over. We’d beaten the ash and airport closures out, all plain sailing right? Well plain flying anyway. Unfortunately not, we were to have another moment of worry as the pilot announced that  due to bad weather we might be diverted… happily however we weren’t but were instead treated to a typically bumpy descent into O’Hare.

We were quite excited to get to Chicago and the hotel. We’d come a couple of days early so we could have a day just looking round down town Chicago. Unfortunately the weather was foul and it rained a very rainy rain pretty much continuously.

So on to Shibaricon itself…

One of the things that I was most looking forward to was meeting people that we’d only ever spoken too on-line before.

I’ll say this, some of the guys we met were entitled to have egos if anyone was. They were ‘big names’ in the US in much the same way that we weren’t. And yet the bigger the name the more down to earth we found them. Wish I could have said the same for some people who weren’t so skilled and had less reason to think so much of themselves.

I just can’t really explain how great it was to meet so many really great people, make so many friends for the future, it was incredible.

There are so many great memories that it’s impossible for me to even get them in order.

Special play moments include a triple suspension in one of the side rooms. The suspendees were Clover, Elle and Lotus lily. Clover was much to her delight the filling in this suspended sandwich. Doing the rigging were myself on clover, DonSir on Elle and Lochai on Lotos Lily.

I remember that the room was empty when we started…

Another big memory was the Cabaret. Wow that was something! We had really had to work very hard to get a routine we could do in 10 minutes. This was going to be burning fast! In the end as soon as we started the audience vanished for us and we just went for it in our own little world. I remember hearing an Ohhh at one point which was the time of the drop lift, then all I can remember is finishing and suddenly this wave of sound washing over us. It was incredible.

Of course one of the memories was my first time teaching at Shibaricon, I did wonder how people would react to the classes I’d put in as they weren’t necessarily classes about ties, rather classes about how to tie. These classes were a great pleasure for me. I can’t say how wonderful it is to see a class ‘get it’ and find something new that can help them get more out of their rope kink. It was my very great pleasure to meet and teach you all.

Our last memories of Shibaricon were of leaving, tiredness, being sorry to go and promising to return the next year.

And the next and…


We shall return.