my dad is cooler than your dad

You say your dad is cool? My dad is cooler. You say your dad has a website? My dad's website is bilingual and animated. You say your dad takes photos? My dad is an award-winning portrait photographer.
My dad is cooler than your dad.

like the cure sang: "it's never enough..."

Tuesday student practice, and I was the only one who showed up. All the students are supposedly in the middle of finals, but then again it's really REALLY cold in an unheated gym these days. So Kanai-san and I had the whole place to ourselves for 2 hours. I spent most of it in front of the mirror trying to figure out how to cut horizontally. Obviously, I failed.
Wednesday at practice in Akihabara Naganuma-sensei congratulated me for making 3dan, and then after watching me do some forms, tore me up into little tiny pieces: "Good thing you didn't test with me, I wouldn't have passed you." He then proceeded to school me for several minutes on all the little and big things I was and wasn't doing. "You're left handed, so use that strength to carry the blade. Why do you kill your own strength? Your horizontal cuts aren't; the blade is titled, making waves, and you're not using you hips. And it's slow. Your sword tip wobbles around, and when it stops it's not pointing anywhere useful. Where's your opponent? Where are you cutting? Is that how you were taught to hold a sword?"
At the end he gave his patented Naganuma Smile and finished "I've never once thought I was any good. Not once. So there's no way you should either. I don't criticize you to make you feel bad, I do it because if you think you're any good, you never will be. You get better by realizing how bad you are, and trying to fix what's broken. You have potential, you've got a fingernail grip in 3dan, and from now on it gets serious. You've shown dedication to make it this far, but the things you could get away with up until now won't cut it anymore, literally."


Dave Barry has a blog.

breath of fresh air

My BlueAir 501 air filter arrived yesterday. I set it up behind the comfy chair in the living room and turned it on. On the medium setting it's almost silent, and the only indicator that it's on is the blue light on the front brushed metal panel. Very cool. I can hardly wait for the hay fever season to start so that I can breath clean air in my own apartment!


Hammer got some sumo tickets friday night, so we skipped out of work early to check it out. That's the way to watch sumo; box seats fifth row, with bags and bags of food and stuff to take home. At the end of the tournament, after Hammer had put down serious quantities of beer, the retired Terao himself appeared. He was mobbed by grandmas, but Hammer battled his way through the crowd and I managed to snap a photo with my cell phone:

glad I remembered

All day iai on Sunday -- morning was a beginners session and I thought I was going to teach but only 3 new students showed up, so I and Kanai-san and Oki-san got some hard training from Tanaka-sensei as Ando-sensei took the beginners. In the afternoon Gosoke's special seminar was tough as always. A couple of hours into it, he goes "Sekido-san! recite the member's duties!" Sekido-san got through most of them, but then couldn't remember the organization's principles. Otsuka-san got the principles ok, but couldn't remember the member's duties, and down the line it went. When he finally got to me, I managed to stumble through both. Gosoke laughed and said "Well, that'll do. Too bad for everyone, you're promoted to 3dan! The rest of you, you think just being able to do the forms is enough? You gotta use your head, too! Hah hah hah!" Ah, the seemingly frivolous but infinitely deep Niina-gosoke; he's always got a chuckle and a smile, but the key is, are his eyes laughing, too? If so you're ok, if at least I don't have to worry about testing, and can focus on cutting in preparation for the demo in Kyoto this spring!
After practice went over to Nancy's Casa Feliz for a house-warming party. I brought a bunch of food from Outback Steakhouse and we chowed well. Stevie's been fired, but he hated his job and his Mormon boss, so he's actually kind of happy. Ed's collecting unemployment and doing well "consulting", Tony brought champagne and is planning a Murder Mystery Night...the usual zaniness.