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Tokyo Shibari Osada Steve, Otonawa, Kinoko & Naka Akira, Iroha Shizuki, Shigonawa Bingo, Yoi Yoshida March 2016

/, Travel/Tokyo Shibari Osada Steve, Otonawa, Kinoko & Naka Akira, Iroha Shizuki, Shigonawa Bingo, Yoi Yoshida March 2016

Tokyo Shibari Osada Steve, Otonawa, Kinoko & Naka Akira, Iroha Shizuki, Shigonawa Bingo, Yoi Yoshida March 2016

Tokyo Japan in March 2016.
The weather find, the cherry blossoms beginning to bloom.

My memory of these events is at one and the same time vivid but probably incomplete due to the time elapsed since the trip and the killer jet lag that plagued me on the trip. If one thing all our travelling has taught me it’s new strategies for dealing with jet lag and the importance of scheduling to account for it.

I can’t even begin to say how excited we were for this trip. We were going to see Yukimura Sensei and learn his style of kinbaku a little more. It was therefore with great sadness we learned of his passing the week before we were due to arrive. Yukimura Haruki is irreplaceable. So we didn’t even think of getting time with an alternative teacher.

Fortunately for us Osada Steve who’s been a student of Yukimura Haruki for many years offered to teach Yukimura Ryu in the time we had booked with Yukimura Sensei himself. In spite of the obvious sadness this caused we had a remarkable trip. As we left from our home in the UK we had mixed feelings about this trip. We had been looking forward to going for a long time. We were going to have a good time and yet it was overlayed with sadness that lent a melancholic feeling to the trip. It was going to be great, but we would miss seeing Yukimura Haruki, he was a tremendous old gentleman when he wasn’t tying and we were looking forward to seeing him. It was not pleasant to know that we would in fact never see him again.

The flight to Tokyo was a mixed one. Unfortunately it was a stopping flight changing at Qatar. We had to run from one flight to the other and only just made it. On the plus side the service and menu on the leg to Japan was much better than the one from UK to Qatar. The reverse was true on the way home.

Having arrived in Japan we needed to get a bus to the place where we were staying outside of Tokyo. We were very grateful to have a place to stay as we’d heard that accommodation was one of the biggest expenses when staying in Japan. In the end though what we gained in accommodation costs we lost in train fairs. So while we’re grateful to the wonderful hospitality of our hosts another lesson was learned and we determined to stay in Tokyo on the next trip.

We decided to start out with a day trip for ourselves to Odawara castle and impressive building by the sea which was also unfortunately shut for renovations when we got there. Still we had a good walk around the castle and gardens and moats before checking out the sea shore.

Outside of rope one of the best things about this trip was getting to see some of the beauties of Japan itself. Huge thanks to our friend Otonawa who showed us not only a great market and one of the most famous temples in Tokyo but also the best tempura we’ve ever had. I’d like to thank him very much for the time he took to show us around.

It seems like a blur looking back on it but we went around some of the more famous districts of Tokyo like Akihabara 秋葉原 or ‘Electric town’ a centre of all things otaku with many shops full of video games anime and manga (And quite a few cosplay cafe’s). It’s also home to the famous M’s pop life department store, a seven storey sex shop where we may have acquired some cosplay items. Speaking of cosplay you see a lot of cosplayers and girls in maid outfits advertising the many maid cafe’s in Akihabara.

We had an amazing lunch with Japanese academic Tanaka San who’d interviewed us on the subject of Japanese style bondage in the UK a few months earlier. It was in a beautiful restaurant in a tall building looking out over central Tokyo.

A great thing about visiting Japan is seeing friends you maybe only see once a year otherwise. I’ve already mentioned seeing Otonawa and visiting a beautiful temple. After some shopping in Harajuku we had ‘lunch’ at the Monster Kawaii Cafe before heading to Shinjuku to meet with Kinoko Hajime and Towa (who some of you will remember being a headliner at the LFRA (London Festival of Rope Art) in 2015). We met outside of the ward office in Shinjuku and went drinking in Golden Gai which is filled with tiny themed bars so small you can only fit a few people in.

We went on to a rope open house at Otonawa’s home along with Kinoko and had some nice rope there and some amazing food from Otonawa and Tsubasa. We also left a gift of green Irish whiskey there.

Another stop to see friends was Bar Ubu in Shinjuku to see Shiganawa Bingo & Yoi Yoshida, and to do some rope at Ubu. We also shared some whiskey filled chocolate balls which caught some people by surprise when they bit into them.

A little more sight seeing involved going to the Japanese Crime & Punishment Museum at Meiji University, interestingly they also had some torture and execution devices imported from Europe such as an Iron Maiden and a Guillotine.

The one thing I haven’t mentioned yet is the days of tuition with Osada Steve. Well it was very emotionally challenging I’ll say that. Without going into details it opened some more mental doors that really influenced the rest of our bondage too. Thanks again to Steve for his excellent teaching and hospitality. We were also able to stay for one of Steve’s Studio Six photo sessions. It was as always great to just watch Steve tie.

Another great treat we had at the end of our stay was going to dinner with Naka Akira, Iroha Shizuki, Naka’s interpreter Vincent & Erisa (a photographer)  & Docvale and Tyka who were in Tokyo studying with Naka san at that time. I seriously cannot remember a meal like it, there was a huge variety of amazing food, tea, beer and above all warm saki, warm saki is amazing.

It was with a heavy heart that we left Tokyo and headed back home to England. We did some last minute shopping at the airport and felt sad to be going. We got home exhausted but wiser from the trip and very glad we’d gone. We’ve gained some amazing memories and we’d be back again and again.

By | 2017-08-03T22:57:38+00:00 August 3rd, 2017|Categories: Learning, Travel|Tags: |0 Comments

About the Author:

WykD_Dave (Dave Rickman) is a UK-based shibari bondage enthusiast, who now teaches and performs internationally accompanied by his partner Clover. He started exploring bondage 27 years ago and was autodidact for the first 17 years, until a lesson with shibari professional Osada Steve changed his way of tying. Dave loves Japanese style rope work, and decided to dedicate himself to this. “It isn’t about the rope, it’s about the expression, the look in the eyes, the hopelessness, the agony”. Now, Dave & Clover teach and perform all around the world. He takes great pleasure in seeing people get it and open their minds to what rope bondage can really be. “Not just a means of restraint but a much deeper and personally connected experience than any other I’ve ever found.” Running into Dave means running into his lovely partner Clover. She is very passionate about shibari bondage too, she models and performs, as well as makes impressive photos of Japanese rope work done by Dave. Her photography focuses on the feelings involved in rope play, not just the pretty ties, and she tells stories with her pictures. Dave: “Of course Clover’s a huge part of everything. Without her photography would people ever have noticed?”

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