Since I had already practiced some karate back in Spain, I thought that coming to Japan was my perfect chance to continue. Therefore, I joined the Kyoto University Karate Club and go to practice most days, although it is a little difficult to coordinate with classes. And, even though especially at the beginning it took quite a lot of effort to figure out what I had to do at any given moment (since the Japanese terms for karate were a mystery for me when I arrived) and had to put all my effort into somewhat following everyone else, I would say karate has usually been the highlight of my day ever since I came here.
Through karate I have not only been able to make most of my Japanese friends (since I spend so much time with them), but I have also learnt a great deal about the Japanese culture. After all, karate is embedded with different traditions and norms which originate in Japanese culture and philosophy. By bowing with my teammates before and after class, following seniority rules and reflecting upon the purpose of learning karate (as well as by talking every day with my new friends), I have come to feel more integrated in Japanese culture, and have come to understand parts of it which would have been obscure to me otherwise.