Tonight after iai I was riding my scooter home and I rode through a pile of puke in the middle of a cross-walk. And that's all I have to say about that.
I hunger for a Ninja Burger.

Last night at iai 2 interesting things:
1) Taka brought his first sword in as I'm thinking of buying it. Beautiful balance and fantastic blade. And this thing absolutely SINGS. Barely swing it and it whistles high and loud. It's almost silly, but certainly instills confidence that the blade is angled correctly and cutting well.
2) I couldn't get the cut for the kata no-okuri correct, so Ando-sensei got two bokken (wooden swords) and proceeded to bonk me on the head several times until I figured out the parry and resulting swing.
How many times on this blog will I post "Damn it sure was a hot and sweaty iaido practice"? Probably as long as the hot and sweaty summer lasts, I figure.
Last night Kanai-san was back after a 2 week break and she drilled us in basics for almost the entire 2 hours. My cuts are small and my blade angle is terrible. Much work to be done!

Beware all ye who deny the power of Phil.
My brother informs me that he now has 2 foster kids bringing the total number of children in their house to 4 (including my brother, of course.) Oh yeah, and a trampoline.
While the newest addition to my family will very soon be, I hope, a real sword. Fingers crossed that I find something good: August 4th the sword dealer is coming to peddle his wares after practice.
Put up a few photos from the shizankai yesterday. I learned my lesson: take photos from in front. I have an entire roll of shots in which you can see someone's back as they execute some cut on some target that you can't see. So next time I conquer my fear and stand in front of the targets in the danger zone, risking life and limb and the occasional piece of straw in the ear.
Went to master's on Saturday night and had the best yakitori (meat on a stick) in Japan. Melinda is in town for a couple weeks; she's working at an international school in Brazil and applied for a job at a school in Tokyo for next year. Good chance that she'll get it, so she may be living close next year!
Eric's also here for a couple months (lawyers!) living down the street so we grab dinner now and then. Supposedly he and Melinda and the gang relived their Ichikawa days by drinking at Master's and then singing karaoke all night. Scary.
Steve and Oide's 9-month old Kane was in fine form slobbering all over the place, and Hugh and Mami's monster-sized gremlin Michael Toshiki was a mad ball of energy and noise -- he don't like people too much but damn if he ain't a cutie. And he's as big as Master's 3 year-old daughter even though he's half her age.
Shibuya group photo is up! Who's the sketchy white guy in the bottom right?
Yesterday I went deep into the sweaty depths of Saitama for my first shizankai. Here's what I learned:

  • real swords are fun!

  • bad blade angle won't cut, not matter how strong you are

  • yoko ichi-monji (one-handed horizontal cut) is non-trivial

  • nuki-uchi (cut from the draw) is seriously non-trivial

I managed to butcher a few rolls; had one nice yoko ichi-monji that I'm proud of because it was a full roll resting on a stand (not stuck on a stand spike to hold it in place), but it took 4 tries to nail it. Almost cut a full roll nuki-uchi but I'll blame the roll by claiming it was dry and very tough. Next month I'll try a half-roll nuki-uchi standing, and maybe sitting, too. Actually next month I think I'll just work on half-rolls with single-hand cuts. Fun!