All day iai seminars. Really tired in the AM seminar. Then Gosoke shows up and I show him the translations of the kata and now we've got a pretty good plan for making English materials to go with the iai videos. Then all of a sudden Gosoke gets that twinkle in his eye and he goes "Heah, ren, you wanna test for 2dan tomorrow?" And I stutter "Huh? 2dan?" and he turns to Nishihara-san and says "Sign ren up for the 2dan test. No guarantee you'll pass. Heh heh heh..."
So I'm testing for 2dan tomorrow. Strange world we live in.
Had dinner with Hiroko tonight at the new Thai place in Azabu Juba, Saam Roa. Damn good. And there's even not-spicy stuff I can eat like spring rolls and pad thai.

eri nagata

Finally had some coffee with the mysterious and elusive Eri Nagata. Haven't seen her in years. The short story:
1 - She's still anorexically skinny
2 - She's still a princess
Other than that it was fun. Still not entirely sure what her company does -- some kind of placement agency or something -- but she's having fun so it's cool.


For anyone who doesn't believe the sheer quantity of bananas we got at the Festival and Tournament during the summer, check out these photos. See that big table covered in bananas? And the photo next to it, of the three folks bowing? I'm the dude in the middle, absolutely laden with bananas.

i love ninjas

This is the coolest shirt I've ever seen.
I wonder if there's a wishlist-type website, where I can collect all the things I want. I know I can make a wishlist on Amazon, and another one on drugstore.com, etc. but how about one giant wishlist for ALL the other sites out there, including the big guys like Amazon and the little guys like cafeshops.com? This could be my million-dollar internet startup idea!

blog problems

Having some issues with blogger -- titles are getting messed up and can't always publish. Not sure what's up, but I think it's some issues with the latest version of BloggerPro...stay tuned...

Too much eating

Had the Too Much Food BBQ at the Calverts, and then everyone came to our place for dinner last night to finish off the weekend of gluttony. Pork chops. Wild rice. Pasta with pesto (basil from the balcony garden!) Shoe Cream. Ugh.

3 day weekend

Thank god for Sports Day.
Hiroko's birthday on Friday, but since she's not into doing big hooplas, I just sent her some flowers at work.
Iai was kinda crazy on Friday: junior highschool volleyball was using the gym we usually used, so we got sent upstairs to the RomperRoom of the kindergarden. Low ceiling, small room, six people. Talk about a cozy practice. We mostly practiced for the upcoming tests and tournament, attempting not to kill each other.
We will, however, have a BBQ at the Jeff & Ericka's tonight.
Did some cutting today and it went pretty well. Getting that one-handed rising cut (gyaku-kesagiri) almost every time. Everyone else was stressing because exams are next weekend and this was the last practice before testing. Something like 6 people going for 4dan, and they all have to do some cutting for their test. Good luck everyone!
Had a weird dream that Hiroko picked our new apartment in New York, so I go home to see it for the first time. It's in China Town. I go up to the 7th floor and enter the apartment: not bad; a decent room, kind of dark, wooden and brick walls, very much like Lee & Charity's place. But then Hiroko shows me the rest of the place: HUGE, modern white rooms with high ceilings, floor to ceiling sliding glass doors looking out onto the pool/pond, fireplace, big couches. So I ask her how much the rent is and she says "700,000 yen a month." "$7000 a month?! Are you nuts?" So then the real estate agent shows up with the contract ready to sign and say "Not paying more than 500,000 yen. $5000 is all you're gonna get, and with the economy the way it is, you'll never rent this place." And he looks totally bummed as we've already moved in and everything, and I can see on his face how he's trying to figure out what to say to his boss when he goes back with an unsigned contract. And then I woke up.
Hiroko says I probably had the dream because right before we went to sleep we were talking about her boss Terrie having an argument with his wife about their house in New Zealand.
On a totally different subject, for the national tournament next month I need a name patch for my uniform; a 10 cm x 15cm with "Tokyo" across the top and "Kuroda" in the middle. So I went to Tokyu Hands and got paper you can print on and then iron onto cloth. I designed the name patch on my computer and printed it, cut it out, and ironed it onto a piece of black felt. First one came out ok, but I ironed it too much and the letters got all yellow. So I made another one but forgot to take the backing off of the paper and when I ironed it it didn't stick to the felt. Then the third one the letters looked just right, but in the back around the letters there was some crud or something and these white lines also showed up. Tried blacking them out with a pen, but now it all different blacks.
So I went down the street the Blue and White, that cool store that has all the sashiko stuff, traditional fabrics and whatnot. The owner Amy wasn't there, but I had an interesting conversation with the other girl working:
Me: Do you do embroidery?
Her: Me personally? No. Do you?
Me: No...no I mean do you guys embroider to order? Like name patches and stuff?
Her: Oh yeah, sure! But I don't.
Me: I don't care WHO does it! You do offer such a service, eh?
Her: I don't-
Me: I know you don't! What is this, the Comedy Channel! I give you money, you give me an embroidered name patch, yes? No?
Anyway I managed to order a nicely embroidered name patch, but they have to check with the owner to see how much it'll be. Whatever it is I'm sure it'll be better than anything I could make myself!