Saturday August 1
Woke up at 7. am. to get my driver’s license renewed at the DMV and arrived early enough to be 5th in line. I was in a panic since I had to pick Carel vd Westhuizen at the airport at 9 a.m. and our DMV is horrible considering that there is no parking. With that said, the ladies there were wonderful and not only opened the doors early but had me walking out the door at 7:58. I called Joe Wilson and the two of us left for Richmond to pick up Carel. Just as we were about to exit onto I64, Lorie called and told us that Carel had missed his flight due to the long line at customs. I came back and passed out for a couple of hours before Joe and I left again. After a slight delay, I found Carel and after getting his bags, we left for West Point to pick up the pig for the Okinawan’s Kangeikai (welcome party) on Sunday. I have shown Izumi Sensei many pictures of a traditional Southern Pig Picking and he was very excited to experience first hand.
After getting Carel and “Wilber” back to our house, we had some time to catch up before heading to the dojo and meeting everyone for the ride to Richmond. My nerves had held up pretty well leading up to this big week for the dojo and as the hour was approaching to pick up Hanshi Gibu, Makoto Gibu Sensei and Hisashi Izumi Sensei, I certainly started to feel anxious. We all caravanned up to Richmond International where we met other dojo members who came up on their own. After a fairly short wait, we all began to gather outside the security gate and I caught the recognizable gait of my good friend Izumi Sensei as he made it through the “tunnel” from the plane. Then Hanshi Gibu and Makato Gibu Sensei emerged and made their way up to us in the terminal lobby. With a huge applause, we greeted and welcomed them to the Commonwealth of Virginia with lots of handshakes and smiles.
After getting their baggage, we walked out to the car with a beautiful sunset across the I-64 corridor and made our way towards Williamsburg. They were all very tired and I think a little alarmed at how fast all of the other cars were going. After checking them in, we went to Outback Steakhouse where they had their first decent meal in 17 hours and we all got a chance to catch up. Madison and Emily especially like sitting with Izumi Sensei as he took the time to give them a kanji writing lesson and joke with them both.
I returned them to the hotel and Hanshi Gibu had me look over the Dan certificates as well as the Gasshuku certificates before I let them all try to get some sleep for the night.