Dec 22 was the last Murasame-kai practice meeting in 2013.
As the title of this article suggests, we got together and played Karuta 18 times this year.
By reading some of the old articles form a year ago, I realized how much everyone improved in one year. All the members have memorized many more cards and definitely faster and more competivie.
As the day was so close to Xmas, we served Yule log cake and English black tea, instead of traditional Japanese sweets and tea.
We actually had another Xmas delight, a surprise present from Santa Clause!
A third generation Japanese lady who lives in San Francisco contacted me recently and offered a set of Karuta cards which her grandmother left behind. She kindly delivered the cards to my house a few days ago while I was out at work. I came home, opened the package, and was very surprised to see the cards inside. They were not usual recreational Karuta cards that I was expecting. They were official tournament cards certified by the Karuta Association.
It may be hard to see from this picture, but the cards are very solidly-made, and what is more unique about them is that they are slightly bent so it is easy to swipe them on a tatami mat. I heard that the bending job is done by hand even today as it requires subtle craftsmanship.
The lady who donated these cards to us didn’t know when and how her grandmother acquired these cards, but I’d imagine that she must have been a very advanced player to have these cards. I wish so much if she could play with us now. At least these valuable cards she left will stay with Murasame-kai and be actively used by its members for many years to come.
The very first practice meeting in 2014 will be a special New Year Party! I look forward to seeing you there.
I wish you all a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year!