Picture yourself looking up at a blue sky peeking through a huge canopy of leaves on a perfectly clear day in Kyoto. As the faint sound of Japanese flutes recedes softly into the background, it’s gradually replaced by the unmistakable chatter of hundreds of spectators. You lower your eyes to catch one last glimpse of the traditionally-clad procession disappearing under a huge orange torii and into a nearby shrine.
You take a deep breath of fresh air and think about how lucky you were to have just seen real live samurai, riding fully clad on horseback with bows taller than themselves and quivers full of arrows swaying with their kimono.
Suddenly you hear a sound like thunder.
One of the samurai has turned around, and before you manage a blink he’s already traveled 100 meters and is directly in front of you. You hear a loud “CRACK,” you blink again, the samurai is off in the distance and a small wooden target barely the size of a paperback novel falls to the ground in two pieces along with the arrow that ripped it in half. You attempt to turn to catch up with him, but before your eyes can refocus two more loud noises assure all three targets have been shattered with perfect accuracy. With one last battle cry, the samurai disappears into the distance and the crowd goes wild.
Today was yet another one of those once-in-a-lifetime type of days.
Seems like I’ve already had enough of those for five lifetimes.
Thank you, Japan.