Now lets talk about the armour I was wearing. We started off by putting on what basically felt like pajamas. Then they do the arm coverings. This if followed by a sort of apron which covers you from waist to almost knee (if I were a samurai 400 years ago it would have probably been below my knee). Then they buckle you into the torso portion. Imagine a giant garlic press. Next they strap on the shin guards and shoulder plates. By this point you are feeling pretty packed.
Of course you have no idea. Now you learn what the long white sheaf of fabric that you purchased with your tabi (one toed socks) is for. It is called a sarashi. They basically in teams of two, seal you in with this as a belt. They start by cinching it tight and then proceed to twist it into a sort of braid, all the while smiling and asking if its too tight. There is nothing to be done for it so you just answer no. I thought this might be the worst of it. I was wrong. Imagine someone takes an impression of your face and then fashions an iron mask of the lower half for you to wear. Now imagine they do it for someone much smaller than you but still strap it on to your face with the straps for an iron helmet that is also too small for you. Yeah, it was kind of like torture on a small scale.
We drove back to the staging area/community center in a little bus. Everyones' faces said the same thing. Thank whatever higher power you believe in that that is over. Back at the base we quickly changed out of our gear, wrote the date, our names and addresses on the list that came with our armour for posterity's sake, and then sat down and got ready to eat and drink. There were some speeches and then everyone who had worn some armour got up and did a self introduction. The basics of mine were name, thanks to guy who got me involved, man was that every tough, however sharing it together made it not so bad. It was well received. After that we received our completion certificate (framed), our bento, and a cup. Finally we could relax, drink some beer and reflect on the conscious decision we had all made to participate. Many people pledged to go again next year. Maybe their helmets fit better.