July - September Activity Report 2006.
After Homma Kancho’s first visit to Bangladesh in February of 2006, Emily Busch, AHAN Nippon Kan President traveled to Bangladesh to meet with AHAN Bangladesh Coordinator Maji Sarkar. The purpose of this visit was to put into place the mechanics for current and future AHAN projects there. AHAN Bangladesh Coordinator Maji Sarkar and his family were wonderful hosts for this special visit and Homma Kancho took time out from his visit to Turkey to assist in the project implementation.
Our first goal was to set up a three-year rice distribution system for the Dharmarajika Orphanage. On Homma Kancho’s first visit to the orphanage in February, he was most impressed that 500 boys were fed at the orphanage three times a day. After seeing the joy on the boy’s faces as they ate their lunch, Homma Kancho decided that a gift of rice would be a good gift indeed. Homma Kancho and Nippon Kan white-yellow and green belt members kicked off this rice distribution project with a special Bangladesh fundraising seminar held last March. Link here AHAN Bangladesh Fundraising Seminar Report March 18th, 2006.
|Negotiating for the rice, AHAN President Emily Busch and Homma Kancho.|
|Whats going on? Attracting attention.||Rice loaded on flatbed rick shaws.|
|The caravan of rice laden rick shaws weaves through the crowded streets.|
|Arriving at the orphanage.||The rice stacked high into storage.|
Maji, Homma Kancho and I went to the markets to find the best suppliers of rice and set up an agreement for Maji to purchase and deliver 500 kilos (1100 lbs) of rice to the orphanage on a monthly basis. We organized a delivery system for the rice, and planned the delivery of 1820 kilos (4000 lbs) of rice for the following day.
On any given day, the Dharmarajika Orphanage feeds, clothes, houses about 500 boys while also providing an education and medical care the best they can. After arriving at the orphanage with our rice donation, we visited the orphanage infirmary and met the staff. The staff were all from Bangladesh, and they were very proud of the fact that the doctor was Islamic, the nurse Christian, the assistant nurse Hindu and the attendant Buddhist! This special multi-cultural staff worked diligently with very few resources to keep the boys and others in the surrounding community as healthy as possible.
Plans were discussed for future AHAN projects for the orphanage that would include assistance for the medical staff with a visit by an AHAN Nippon Kan medical team to help with hygiene education, a facility remodel for the kitchen and an upgrade the water purification systems.
|Emily checking out the kitchen.||With kitchen volunteers.|
|Boys eating their lunch.||Some of the older boys serving lunch to the younger boys.|
|With the orphanage medical staff.||Medical supplies for 500 kids.|
On this visit, we also paid a visit to the Paris International Elementary School to deliver school supplies, and spend some time with the children there. After a morning of playing games, doing origami and watching martial arts demonstrations, the children surprised us with song, singing “We Shall Overcome” in perfect English.
|Children singing “We shall overcome”.||The children seemed delighted with the visit.|
|Folding origami together.||With some of the mothers waiting for their children.|
In front of the central train station in Dhaka, the capitol city of Bangladesh, is the Hotel Sea Land, owned and operated by Maji’s family. The Sarkar family provided hotel accommodation for my stay and also took very good care of me at their home with meals, and lots of time spent “dressing up” in beautiful Bangladesh clothes. I want to thank the Sarkar family sincerely for all of their wonderful hospitality and for helping me so much is organizing all of the activities in Dhaka. A lot was accomplished in a very short time. Too short indeed, I would love to go back!
|With the ladies in Maji’s family.||With Maji’s parents.|
|Everywhere by rickshaw.||Snack at local market shop.|
To follow up, on August 15th and Sept 16th, 500 kilos of rice were delivered to the Dharmarajika Orphanage. It is our plan to be able to make these monthly deliveries for at least the next three years.
Link here for report by Maji Sarkar, AHAN Bangladesh
Link here for report by Emily Busch, AHAN President
Link here for receipts for rice deliveries in August and September to the Dharmarajika Orphanage.
July 25-28, 2006
While in Turkey, Homma Kancho took time out to visit Bangladesh and assist in the first rice delivery for the Dharmarajika Orphanage. He brought with him baseball bats, balls, and enough gloves to make four baseball teams. Homma Kancho joked, I am NOT a serious baseball player, not good enough at the game to be teaching it, but with about 200 boys clamoring to play, I will give it my best! Homma Kancho gave a valiant effort in trying to teach the game of baseball to so many very excited boys. I am not sure all of the rules of the game were understood clearly, but they had a great time hitting and catching all of the balls that were flying everywhere!
Homma Kancho decided on the baseball equipment donation about five days before leaving on this trip. Nippon Kan members quickly organized and got the equipment together. Speaking about the baseball equipment, Homma Kancho said “I have met many sad children in the world. Through AHAN, we have tried to help the children the best we can in many countries I have visited. In February I met the children in Bangladesh. I remember standing on the second story balcony of the orphanage dormitory looking down at the bumpy playground below. The kids were playing with a ball made of rags and a tree branch for a bat. I could not tell if they were playing a form of cricket or baseball, but they were playing. I thought, how can I share with these children.
My first thought was, I am Aikidoka, and maybe I can somehow share Aikido with these children. I thought again. For these children living in these conditions, teaching them nikkyo or shihonage just didn’t seem to make sense. I felt the limit of where I could reach with Aikido at that moment. Bangladesh does not yet have a deep understanding of Japanese martial arts; their only exposure to them being through the cinema. To try to teach these children correct Aikido technique and philosophy might be possible, but it would take a tremendous amount of time. Better I thought, to share with these children in something they were already interested in. Baseball! I thought, not only was it good physical exercise but it also would teach teamwork skills.
|The stance is actually a cricket stance.||First time with a real baseball glove.|
|The Founder and high priest of the Dharmarajika orphanage holding a new smurf bat.||Lunch together with the Founder and staff.|
When I was a kid, I never was truly interest in ball games, but never the less, I found myself in the position of instant coach! I drew a home plate in the dirt and stood over it. All of the boys were very enthusiastic and excited; even if they did not know the rules of the game. I had to keep my eyes open, and ready to duck, there were so many balls flying through the air! It was fun, and for a moment I felt like I had returned to my own childhood along with all the other boys.”
|All of the children line up waiting for us to arrive.||A very serious demonstration.|
|Homma Kancho and the demo team.||Using a ball to teach tai sabaki movement.|
The next day, Homma Kancho sat watching a Chinese martial art demonstration at the Paris International Elementary school put on by the boys in the martial art class that met early each morning before school. Using a ball and mitt, Homma Kancho taught the boys about flexibility with practice of tai sabaki movements.
All of the baseball equipment, soccer balls and school supplies donated to the orphanage and the elementary school in Dhaka were put together by Nippon Kan headquarter members in Denver. Thank you to everyone for your help with this project!
*Thank you letter from Dharmarajika Orphanage
*July’s 1st rice donation receipt from the Dharmarajika Orphanage.
Written by Emily Busch AHAN President
Aug 9-16, 2006
Aikikai Ireland-AOL, Simone Chierchini www.aikikai.ie invited Homma Kancho to teach a fund raising seminar in Donegal, a town about five and a half hours west of Dublin, Ireland. The strife between Northern and Southern Ireland has been part of world news for decades, but this story is about AHAN, and the positive events that took place during this historical weekend.
Sixty students from thirteen dojos from both North and South Ireland came together to attended this seminar in Donegal in mid-August. The seminar was held in a community recreation center where attending students roomed and cooked their meals together to complete this special experience. Sharing time together itself was a great experience, and a wonderful opportunity to meet and get to know students and instructors from different parts of Ireland on a one-to-one basis.
Simone Chierchini Sensei is a second generation Aikidoka. His father practiced Aikido and was an Aikikai instructor in Italy therefore Simone Sensei grew up as an Aikidoka under his father’s tutelage. Recently Simone Sensei moved with his wife Lara and two children from Italy to Ireland where he started his own dojo in Sligo, Ireland. One of the purposes of this seminar was to raise funds for “Musubi Mats” to assist Simone Sensei in his teaching.
What are Musubi Mats? Simone Sensei not only teaches at his dojo in Sligo, he travels frequently in a small truck that he rents, taking practice mats with him from town to town for students to practice Aikido under his instruction. He calls this his “moving dojo”. Part of the funds raised by this seminar will go towards the purchase of new Musubi mats for Simone Sensei’s moving dojo and the rest will go toward the purchase of permanent mats for the community center.
The seminar raised a total of $5000.00 US. This was made possible with student support, and was also made possible by AHAN sponsorship that paid for all of Homma Kancho’s and Nippon Kan Assistant Instructor Tony Dolan’s airfare, travel and lodging expenses. Homma Kancho donated all of his teaching time at no charge to Simone Sensei or attending students.
|Presentation of funds raised at the seminar closing.||Everyone helps together.|
Homma Kancho spoke at the seminar closing, “Nippon Kan is an independent dojo that is not under the control of any organization NOR does seek to control any other dojos through association with Nippon Kan. This important Nippon Kan policy allows for the possibility of participating in the kind of special seminar we have had together this weekend.. This seminar has been special in that many different people from many different dojos could come together for a common goal. The practice of Aikido this weekend allowed all attending to communicate and understand each other in new ways, and I hope these new relationships continue to grow. I appreciate everyone attending this seminar and hope all of you will be able to attend next year at a follow up seminar in the planning for Dublin.”
Because of his continuing efforts, Simone Chierchini Sensei was awarded the honor of AHAN Nippon Kan IISA (Instructors in Support of AHAN). Being an IISA Instructor does not depend on style or affiliation. The only requirement for IISA Instructors is that they are involved with humanitarian or cultural activities providing service through Aikido for their own communities. It is leaders in these efforts that are recognized and honored as AHAN IISA Instructors, and it was great to be able to honor Simone Chierchini Sensei for all of his efforts in his own community.
Written by Tony Dolan
Link here to My Report written by me, Tony Dolan.
July 18, 2006—
Nippon Kan student Tyffany Price was selected by Nippon Kan to participate in the Nippon Kan Japan Cross-Cultural Internship Program. Tyffany is currently living in the remote village of Higashi Naruse in Northern Honshu for a three month internship. Link below to a progress report from Tyffany on her new experiences in Japan.
Nippon Kan General Headquarters Cross-Cultural Exchange Program with the village of Higashi Naruse in Akita Prefecture, Japan has been in operation since 1990. Higashi Naruse Village is small remote village in mountainous region of Northern Honshu whose cultural heritage and lifestyle has been perpetuated for centuries. Higashi Naruse village offers a very special opportunity to experience traditional Japanese culture untouched in many ways by the effects of our modern day world.
Since 1990, close to one hundred students have visited Higashi Naruse as part of Nippon Kan’s Cross-Cultural Exchange Program and in the last sixteen years, 25 students have participated in long-term study internships in conjunction with the Higashi Naruse Village Office Department of Education and Cultural Affairs. This program offers students a chance to work with children in elementary and middle schools and to participate in local event and program project planning.
Nippon Kan Japan Cross-cultural internship program is ongoing
and we are currently in the process of selecting students for
the winter 2006 and spring of 2007.
Written by Nippon Kan Staff
|Tyffany in her office.||With children doing origami.|
|Playing with Naruse children.||Playing games.|
|Under the waterfall; a village festival tradition.|
July 19-Aug 4th, 2006
|Ankara and Cappadocia concert poster.
Click to enlarge.
Istanbul concert poster.
October 31st will be the kickoff of the Matsukawa Kyougaku International Concert Series 2006. This year the concert series will be held in Ankara, Cappadocia and Istanbul, Turkey. Homma Kancho went to Turkey in July to help lay the ground work for this upcoming series of concerts.
The Matsukawa Kyougaku Taiko Drummers from Matsukawa Village, Nagano Prefecture, Japan have worked in cooperation with AHAN Nippon Kan in a number of events to introduce Japanese traditional music and support humanitarian causes in many countries including the United States, Brazil and now Turkey.
In 2001 and 2004, the Matsukawa Kyougaku Taiko Drummers came to Denver for a series of cultural and fundraising concerts, and in 2005 went to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hosted by AHAN Rio de Janeiro. Homma Kancho was the chief coordinator for all of these past concert series and will serve in that function again for this upcoming concert series 2006 in Turkey.
This coming series will be sponsored by AHAN Nippon Kan headquarters and hosted by AHAN Nippon Kan Turkey and Ali Uludag Sensei with assistance from Mrs. Banu Alverscini who will be serving as coordinator for the Ankara and Cappadocia concerts. The concert in Ankara will also be sponsored by the Japanese Embassy to Turkey and the concert in Cappadocia will be sponsored by the City Government of Urgup. Proceeds raised from the concert in Istanbul will be donated to the Turkey Kidney Foundation and the TEMA Foundation for environmental causes.
July 29-Aug 4th, 2006
While Homma Kancho was in Turkey planning for the upcoming concert series to be held in Oct-Nov, he took a trip from Istanbul to Dhaka, Bangladesh to assist with the implementation of AHAN projects there. (See Support for the Children in Bangladesh at the top of this article) After returning again to Istanbul he turned his attention to teaching, and instructed classes in Ankara, Istanbul with Istanbul Aikikai, Aikido Turkey and also in the seaside town of Izmir at the 9 EYLUL University.
All of the classes taught by Homma Kancho were greatly received and we thank Homma Kancho for taking time out of his very busy schedule to spend time in practice.
Written by Banu, Ankara, Turkey
|Practice at the Ankara dojo.||
With students at the Istanbul dojo.
|In front of 9 Eylul University with
Ali Sensei in Izmir.
With 9 Eylul University Aikido club members.
Aug 28-Sept 11, 2006
Armando finally arrived from Nicaragua at Nippon Kan headquarters in Denver, Colorado on August 28th, 2006. It took two years to overcome both Armando’s medical conditions and immigration obstacles to finally make this dream come true.
Armando Lopez Espinoza is a twenty-three year old law student who has been battling cancer for the last five years. Two years ago, while Homma Kancho was in Nicaragua teaching a seminar, he first met Armando. Homma Kancho was impressed with Armando’s sincerity, determination and positive attitude. Armando told Homma Kancho during his visit to Nicaragua that it was his dream to see America, and with Homma Kancho’s, AHAN and Nippon Kan students help, two years later this dream finally came true.
Armando had first been invited to visit Nippon Kan in the summer of 2005, but his medical condition became unstable and he was rendered unable to travel. AHAN Nippon Kan headquarters sponsored Dr. Ray Howe to visit Armando in Nicaragua to check on his medical status.
Funds for Armando’s airfare and other special travel expenses were raised with two special AHAN t-shirt fundraising campaign, and thanks to the support of Nippon Kan members, about 200 t-shirts sold out quickly in support of this effort. During Armando’s visit in Denver, many members and friends donated their time to take Armando on field trips and family visits, especially on excursions that related to Armando’s study of law. Many thanks to everyone who participated in this experience. A list of activities, our own volunteer host staff and a photo essay is included in Homma Kancho’s article about Armando’s visit “A Gift of Time from a Special Young Man”
Written by Emily Busch
July 16, Aug 20, Sept 17
Like clockwork, everyone arrived without fanfare and began making preparations for the evening’s meal service as they have done almost every third Sunday of almost every month for the last sixteen years. Everyone knew what to do, and sets about their tasks with calm proficiency. After the meal of 280 to 300 dinners was served, and all the equipment was packed up into the truck, the Nippon Kan volunteer staff waved goodbye, and disappeared back into the night.
This homeless meal service project at the Denver Rescue Mission is one of Nippon Kan’s greatest traditions. Thank you all for all of your help these many years!
|July 16th meal service||300 meals served|
|Aug 20th meal service||325 meals served|
|Sept 17th meal service||280 meals served|
|Total meals served since 1991||44, 298 meals served|
July 15th, 2006
For the past twenty eight years, Nippon Kan Youth Program classes have been held for our younger members age seven to fifteen. There are two youth program classes at Nippon Kan; one class for the younger and newer members, and an advanced class for Nippon Kan youth members by special invitation. Depending on the season there are about seventy young people enrolled in Nippon Kan’s Youth Program. The program is designed to teach not only our young members, but their parents and guardians are also encouraged to participate in this program at special times.
Observation by parents is not allowed during regular youth program classes. We have found that parent observation can be too much of a distraction for younger participating members, but every other month, parents are invited to participate in a special class together with their children on Parents Day. Link here for information on Nippon Kan’s Parents Day.
Youth Program promotions are held biannually, and it is a Nippon Kan tradition that most everyone receives a promotion if they have been attending regularly. Since it’s founding, Nippon Kan has never held testing or asked for fees for kyu or dan rankings in both the Youth Program and the adult classes. This is strict Nippon Kan policy. Attendance, participation in community service projects and attitude make up the main criteria for promotion in Nippon Kan’s unique promotion system.
On promotion day there is always excitement in the air as parents, family members and friends gather at the dojo to watch the demonstrations and promotions at this special ceremony. On this occasion, demonstrations were given by the Advanced Youth Program members, and adult uchideshi students.
|Excitement and feet in the air!!||
Written by Youth Program Instructor Thomas Dammen
Sept 9th, 2006
To date, AHAN Nippon Kan’s used computer redistribution program has delivered over 200 computers to children in schools, temples and orphanages in Mongolia, Nepal, Mexico, Nicaragua and Brazil. All of the computers distributed were donated locally by individuals and companies in the Denver area. Our Nippon Kan computer staff, led by team leader Erik Moore checks, repairs, cleans and readies all of the computers for shipping. Senior members in the Advanced Youth program class and their parents also help with this ongoing program.
|Everyone lends a hand to bring in the computers.||Next step; the computers will be cleaned and checked for shipping|
This September, Developmental Pathways, a local business in Denver donated seventy computers, fifty five monitors and nine power supply stations to this cause. The dojo is bursting with computers with this latest donation and computer storage and work areas, closets, uchideshi rooms and even the hallways are filled to the brim with computers destined for countries around the world
Currently, AHAN Nippon Kan is preparing to send fifty of these computers to the Dharmarajika Orphanage School in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
|Hatako makes herself at home in Homma Kancho’s office.|
Nippon Kan Headquarters is located near many of the mail thoroughfares through downtown Denver and Denver like most modern metropolitan cities is made of tall buildings and plenty of concrete.
Also located near the Platte River, the Nippon Kan gardens have become quite an oasis in this concrete jungle to much visiting wildlife in the area. The gardens are frequently visited by squirrels, raccoons, neighborhood cats and even a fox or two who usually arrive after 10:00 pm.! Many different birds visit the gardens and the gardens are home to snakes now and then, frogs, fish, dragon flies and even praying mantis.
One day in August a new visitor came to the Nippon Kan gardens. Her name is Hatako, and she arrived during dinner time as Domo Restaurant patrons were enjoying their dinners in the Nippon Kan gardens. We were surprised to find Hatako walking calmly on the gravel between the tables pecking at crumbs that might have escaped from the plates on the tables above.
Hatako, (we are not really sure if Hatako is a “he” or a “she”) seemed quite tame, and did not shy away from people who approached her. We were concerned that left in the wild, Hatako would not fare too well, so we brought her inside. Hatako now resides in a beautiful cage filled with the most delectable in Dove cuisine in the Nippon Kan office where she is sunned and allowed to stretch her wings on a daily basis. In the Nippon Kan office, Hatako now serenades (happily I believe) the Nippon Kan staff with her beautiful call.
Everyone seems to like Hatako very much as the new addition to our Nippon Kan family. I think I am a little jealous…
Written by Genbei
Nippon Kan Puppy 3rd Kyu
Nippon Kan is a busy place, and there are usually many activities in progress at the same time at Nippon Kan both at home and internationally. My editing desk is piled high with reports and information on ongoing projects and it seems like before one project is finished the next one begins! We have trouble keeping up with all of the website updates, so I wanted to apologize that sometimes our updates are a little late!
We do realize the importance of documenting all of our various projects so that the many people who support these projects both home and away can see what progress is being made. We realize the obligation we have to keep informed all of those (including members of other dojos) who have worked so hard to make all of these projects a reality.
Thank you for your patience!
Written by So Yoda
Nippon Kan Editing Staff
Always On the Go!
Homma Kancho never seems to stop moving. One minute he is teaching class, the next he is cooking in the Domo kitchen. “Where is Sensei?” “He’s out of the country again!” is a common reply.
We finally caught up with Homma Sensei catching a snack
between projects in the Domo kitchen!
So busy, Homma Kancho barely has time to eat!
*permission by Homma Kancho was granted to use this photo.
written by Jason
|Homma Kancho finally takes a moment to eat. So busy|