So I'm sitting at a red light and I heard this thunderous roar come up from behind. With my vast knowledge of motorcycles, I thought it must be a Harley. When up next me pulls a beautful, black...50cc honda scooter? His helmet covered in stickers, this guy had the biggest, meanest, loudest custom tailpipe I have ever seen. On his scooter.
The light turned green, and fifty cubic centimeters of pure, raw one-stroke engine power growled to life in a cloud of oily-blue smoke as he shot off the line. Before I knew it he was maxxed at 25 kilometers/hour and I blew past him on MY 50cc Honda scooter.

sheryl crow

Sheryl Crow live at the Budokan was great last night! Of course I got lost on my way there. I'm so lame, I got to Shibuya Station and went downstairs to get on the Hanzomon Line, checked very carefully which direction to go, jammed onto a packed train of people going home from work and next thing I know I'm half way to Yokohama on the Den-en Toshi Line! Huh? So I jump off the train and get back on going the other direction, using the 5 seconds of cell signal when stopped in the station to email hiroko: "Wrong train! Soon!"
So as I'm walking up the hill to the Budokan I can here the kick thumping, and I jam up to the second floor and somehow get close to the seat and Hiroko goes "REN!" so I climb over the row in front of us, much to the dismay of the Japanese couple sitting there. Great show; Cheryl's so cut and she was busting out all the Japanese words she knew and everyone was just having a grand time. Very sing-along and some cool live twists on both old and new songs. And then, as only Japan can do, one encore later, the show ended right on time. Actually, 2 minutes early: 8:58pm.

5 minutes

Last night at practice Kanai-san brought in a stopwatch. Actually it was a purple kitchen timer shaped like an eggplant. She times us doing the 5 forms for the national tournament, including the opening and closing bowing. 5 minutes is TIGHT. I barely cleared it by seconds and one time went way over. It's tought to hurry but not look like you're hurrying.
Also have some serious work to do on the forms: first cut in ren is a mess, angle is all wrong on enyo because I'm not even looking correctly behind myself at the opponent, gyokko just isn't happening, and in maegoshi I'm leaning forward and walking on a tightrope, so I'm all off balance and cutting small. *sigh*


Wow, crazy weekend of iai. Showed up Sunday morning all nervous and freaking out about taking the 2dan test. We have a normal practice seminar, and then just before it ends Gosoke walks over, whispers in Naganuma-sensei's ear and says "Ren, you don't have to test. You're 2dan. 3dan in February! Hah hah hah...!"
So I'm 2dan. Freaky. Doesn't really count for much though. 3dan is where it gets ugly. For 2dan you just need to know the kata and do most of them reasonably accurately, but for 3dan you need to nail the kata AND have speed and timing. Gotta be fast cuts, smooth, and with the right rhythm. Lots of people fail the 3dan test. So I'm basically back to the beginning. As soon as the national tournament is over in two weeks, I'm back to drilling hard for February.

Hiroko made a killer pot of curry for dinner last night. Masa came over and we all watched the latest incarnation of Warau-no-inu. This season it changed from "Silly-go-lucky" to "Gonna Go Crazy! Funky Dogs!" The have a new game, too. Everyone pairs up, and the first person says something that starts with the chosen letter, and then on rhythm the second person has to make the sound of that word. So for example if the letter is "s" then the first person goes "swim! ing! pool!" and his partner goes "Splash! Splash! Splash!" As expected, it's insane and hilarious.