Studying at Starbucks every night this week after work, and I'm sure I'll be there all weekend, too. The same high school girl was sitting in front of me two days in a row. She was mildly amused when I showed up again tonight and said "tadaima (I'm home)", but her smile soon faded as she wondered why her cell phone wasn't getting any reception. Little did she know that the pencil case on the table between us housed not only a mechanical pencil and a green highlighter, but also a made-in-China, totally illegal cellphone blocker. 4 fresh triple A's and that thing kept the desk on the third floor of Starbucks undisturbed all night.
Stopped into Lucky's for a quick dinner of the usual: eggplant with miso and ricebowl curry with grilled garlic. Entertaining the wacky idea of renting out the whole place (well okay maybe just the back rooms) and having a big old birthday party this summer...but first things first; gotta get through this damn test on Monday, and then practice iaido like mad for the yearly enbukai end of June.
Whole lotta hype recently about Extreme Programming. Haven't tried it at work yet, but it seems to have potential...then again having some programming discipline in the first place helps, too.
It's official: nik & dave get married. Got the announcement yesterday so now we gotta figure out the logistics of getting out there and getting to/from Rhode Island. Remember I don't have a driver's license and haven't driven a car 5 times in the past 10 years. Think we'll be bummin' rides off of some of the other wedding guests or something...
I'm in serious study mode -- Japan Financial Registered Representative Level 1 exam is Monday -- spent a good 4 hours at the 'bucks last night cranking through corporate governance, bonds, and mutual funds.
Stevie put up some photos of the BigBeefyBirthday Party and the Pimps and Hos party afterwards.
Me, I went to iaido and we started practicing seriously for the yearly enbukai and competition June 30. I can barely lift my left arm.
Went to the monthly iai kenshukai (practice seminar) yesterday. It was in the gym of a school down the street from Akihabara Electric Town. People from all different Mugai-ryu schools came, and this seminar was specifically for beginners so it was really intense on the basics. Naganuma-sensei drilled us on the first 5 seated kata and 4 standing kata, and there were about 5 assistant instructors so we got lots of specific help and pointers.
After about 2 hours I and 3 others were called up while everyone else sat down in the back. We had to take off our swords, bow, put our swords on, do the first 5 seated kata, take off our swords, and do the final bows. I was tired and pretty nervous so I messed up the first sword bow, which Naganuma-sensei caught and smiled, asking "Blade out! You know that. You nervous?" which made me even more freaked so I did it again on the final bow and he said again "Blade OUT. Ren, you really are nervous aren't you?"
So anyway at the end of that he says "OK, these 4 have just been promoted to 3-kyu...even though ren can't bow to his sword correcly. Congratulations. Don't forget to pay the 7000 yen testing fee!" Huh? that was a promotion test? Uh, ok. So now I'm 3-kyu!
The whole seminar was 3.5 hours long and I really think I learned alot. I think I'm starting to get noto (sheathing the sword) and I almost remember all of the first 9 kata, but my arms and shoulders are killing me. And we've got regular Monday practice again tonight so I am hosed.

On Saturday we celebrated Jeff and Kevin's BigBeefyBirthday at Barbacoa. I think we put away several cows and a not few beverages. Beef sweats abounded and after dinner several folks went to Ed and Ted's annual Pimps and Hos party, but Hiroko was feeling a bit sick (sore throat) and I was beef-bloated so we just went home.

Last night finally watched Chocolat -- great movie!