We are redecorating one of our bedrooms and in the process we have had to remove an enormous amount of clutter before we could start. My wife was quick to point out that most of the junk that we had to shift was kendo related.
Unfortunately my kendo stash is not just limited to the one room. I have bogu, dogi and kendo memorabilia evenly distributed throughout the house. Bogu takes up a lot of space, but the biggest space invaders are shinai. I have dozens dotted around the place, including those that I am looking after for sensei who would prefer not to bring them every time they visit. Naturally I also have a collection of left over take which I keep just-in-case I ever get round to building Frankenshinai.
I have donated old and unused bogu to various dojo, but still have a tendency to hang on to things “just in case”. I have three pairs of kote that I use and another 4 sets that are not good enough to give to anyone, but still seem too good to throw away. Along with the men I wear regularly, I keep a lovely old 2 bu hand-stitched men that I had made about 20 years ago. There is nothing wrong with it, but I don’t use it because it doesn’t fit. It is enormous. If the elephant man ever takes up kendo, this is the men for him.
My preference is for take-dou, but I have a yamato dou to save weight on flights. I invariably forget to take it and use one of my old favourites instead. At the same time I keep an old take-dou that has obviously become broken inside. I can never work out how it can wobble as much as it does without the laquer cracking. Perhaps that’s the reason that I can’t bear to part with it.
I am to kendo equipment what Imelda Marcos was to shoes. Although I have enough kit to last for the rest of my kendo career, I am still irresistibly drawn to bogu catalogues and start to drool over new breakthroughs in bogu stitching.
A re-occurring nightmare is that when they eventually ship me off to Sunny-view Retirement home, there won’t be enough room for me and my kit. Still I suppose I could always try hiding it under the bed.