What do Aikido and Venice have in common?

When we visited Venice in February this year (2007), a lot of our impressions had to do with Budo. Still in 2004 and 2005 we were visiting Venice to take photographs of the masks at carnival. This year was completely different. This is the story:

The date we had with the three German masks from Stuttgart had been cancelled that first evening. Somehow we did not get the chance to meet the three ladies. Instead we had dinner at the „La Bitta“, one of the nicest (if not „the nicest“) restaurants in town. We met two professors, who were seated at the neighbour table and both also don’t believe in coincidences. Marco is a professor for sinology in Venice. He spent years in China, Taiwan and Japan. Within the few days of our stay in Venice, Marco explained a lot about China, he showed us the University and helped us with the Kanji of our „Shingen-Dojo“. After we returned home from Venice, a kind young German fellow confirmed the Kanji and also sent them in proper letters. Without him we would not have looked for the Kanji, but as he mentioned so nicely: „There is nothing worse for a Japanese but to read a word without knowing the right token.“.

Shingen-Aikido-DojoDobora, owning the restaurant „La Bitta“ with her husband Marcellino, also has a diploma in Sinology and magically painted the Kanji for „Shingen“ onto the backside of the business card of the „La Bitta“ that first evening of our visit. We found out later that they were the right Kanji for the meaning (compassionate eye). We had not expected Debora to have such a wonderful knowledge of Sinology and also to practice Jiu-Jitsu. We clearly found some common interests that evening.

Coming to think of it, Venice has a long history of trade with Asia (Marco Polo). Many spices were exported to Europe through Venice. Therefore it is not a coincidence we were visiting the epicentre of experts for Asia. The university („Universita´ Ca´ Foscari Di Venezida, Dipartimento dei Studi Sull´Asia Orentale“) is situated in the centre of Venice and we had the honour to have a tour for several hours. We learned that when the university first moved into the old Venetian building, they found out there was original fresco showing oriental motives hidden under a lot of paint. Also this does not seem a coincidence. The photograph showing the print-Kanji of an original Chinese typewriter was taken with our visit at the university.

Arigato gozaimashita to Marco, Bruce, Debora, Marcellino and to the kind young German Aikidoka :-)!

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