Asian Tour – Japan
- October 1, 2023
So much has happened this summer that I forgot to tell you about the last leg of my Asian tour to Japan! It was very exciting for me to visit Japan again. This time I landed in Tokyo.
My first visit to Japan was in 1995 after the Earthquake in Kobe. I traveled to Japan with the late Jonquil Solt, OBE, and Inger Bryant to see if we could help Japanese challenged and disabled adults enjoy what is now known as para equestrian sport. This memorable visit gave me my first impression of Japan and was the first time I met Mr. Mickey, a pioneer of para equestrianism in Japan whose enthusiasm pushed the sport forward.
In 2009 I went to Japan, visiting Kikouen on the the Island of Fukuoka. I stayed at the center called Kikouen, a most beautiful center that was helping people who are intellectually impaired to enjoy a full and productive life. I spent a week giving lectures and soaking up the incredible atmosphere of this extraordinary place.
Now in 2023 I arrived in Tokyo to be met by Emiko Oto, a friend who I had not seen for several years. The minute I saw her I recognized her, and was so happy to see her.
Emiko drove for two plus hours to somewhere near Otomoto where we stayed. It is a beautiful hot spring area under the eye of Mount Fuji.
The next day we went to Otomoto, which is a beautiful riding center that is on a small hillside, just above the village houses. I was given a horse to ride, which made me very happy. I toured the area on the horse, at first walking along the road of the village, then up a small hill to look at the amazing view of the mountain.
Afterwards Emiko introduced me to intellectually impaired riders at the riding center, some of whom would be competing in the summer at the Special Olympics in Germany. I felt at home and quickly became involved. It was inspiring to teach these students. We had enormous fun putting a saddle and bridle on a horse, and then enjoying leading with some groundwork. In the amazing surroundings of the riding center, I gave the staff some lectures about Traumatic Brain Injury, and Post Trauma.
The next leg of my journey took me to Tokyo where I provided a seminar to practitioners who are working for RDA in Japan. I was welcomed by their president Kiginu Nakata and then gave my lectures, “How Horses Can Help People Who Are Post-Trauma ”. It was very moving to be with people who all recognized that horses had a profound effect upon healing and wanted to know more about the topic of trauma. My short stay in Japan was a wonderful experience. Riding under the watchful eye of Mount Fuji was amazing. The weather was perfect, and the often shy mountain was in full view. I was honored to be able to participate in an afternoon Tea Ceremony at the home of Kiginu Nakata. And finally, it was extremely moving for me to watch Emiko Oto prepare intellectually impaired riders for their international dressage competition in Germany. Japan is an amazing place, and I am looking forward to returning in November.