I went to Taiwan (with five friends)for the first time and experienced life in Kaosiong City
;ate the local cuisine;took the MRT line;walked the main streets and side lanes; felt its traffic and the pulse of daily life all around me. It was a good comparison to our own Singaporean way of life and I appreciated the difference.
We were fortunate to enjoy cool and sunny weather so walking to the dojo and going to near -by shops for lunch was a breeze. During the iaido practices I met welcoming participants but as they didn't speak English I felt left out and bewildered at first. However, by the second day, helped by Charlie Sensei, I adjusted my attitude to one of keen attention. The long periods of concentrated training focused my mind and has given me the mental stamina to last hard practice and be willing to do more such training. Also, being in such a large group stimulated us and made training more enjoyable!
It is too early for me to say if I am going back every year but this, my first training in Taiwan has special meaning as a total experience - never to be duplicated again, because this first impression of everything is the best and most keenly felt.
In the beginning, I had doubts about the value of the Taiwan training to people who are not grading. Now I will recommend it strongly to anyone who can make the time. It was an enriching, enjoyable experience made possible also by kind companions who helped me communicate with the locals.
Regards to all