big al

Kev and I headed out to Ichikawa for the first time in ages to see of Al. After nearly seven years running Crazy Cactus he and Keiko are finally outta here. They bought a place in LA and are going back to Cali in a couple of weeks. Fun to be back; I used to hang out there every weekend back when Hiroko and I lived down the street. Saw Hugh and N.Z. Steve and bunches of other folks I didn't recognize. And I made Al promise he'd send Hiroko his recipe for Mexican Rice, the key ingredient in the Big Al black bean and chicken burrito.

Came back to Tokyo and stopped off at Lucky to grab some late dinner. They put up a new sign so that you can see that Lucky is a drinking and eating establishment from down the street. Looks corny and very cool. As usual the place was dead; no idea why it's empty on Saturday nights but packed on weekdays, though.


Saturday morning practice and I managed to convince Misae from work to come check out Mugairyu Iaihyodo. She's a shodan in Shinden Musoryu or something, but it was time for her to taste koryu. Three hours later she could barely lift her arms, and holding her umbrella as we tredged back to the station through Typhoon #4 was a chore. I think she had fun, but we couldn't motivate her to sign up. Guess it takes a special kind of whacko...

watch your step

With a few minutes to spare, and a familiar rumbling in my bowels, I headed into the bathroom in the building next to the train station (behind the bread store...what do all buildings-next-to-train-stations have a bread store?)
The stall was occupied, so I patiently waited my turn. When the door finally opened, out stepped a man who was either homeless trying really hard to never, ever bathe.His skin and ragged clothes were covered in a thick coating of grime and he smelled...homeless. He nodded and smiled a yellow-tooth'd grin and stepped out, passing completely by the sink and out the door.
I entered to tiny stall. It was, like most bathrooms behind the breadstore in the building next to the train station, a Japanese toilet. Small enough to begin with, the door to the stall opened inwards, leaving very little room to maneuver. I stepped in carefully, put my stuff on the hook behind the stall door, and noticed it.
Seems the previous user had a healthy lower intestine, but bad aim. He was about 6 inches too far back when he squatted, and his flush, alas, did little good. I now had several options: find another stall (risky given my current state), somehow motivate the airplane into the hangar, if you know what I mean, or stoicly ignore, adapt, and overcome.
I decided for the US Marines-like option, adapting quickly to my situation by squatting WAY forward, my forehead resting on the cool front wall, gripping the Jesus Pipe for all hope in heaven (the pipe that sticks up out of the wall and goes immediately into the floor just in front of the recepticle -- there for no other reason than to give you something to hold onto whilst squatting.)
My aim was truer than contestant number one, and I managed to achieve the objective and extract with no casualties.


Niina-gosoke's practice was fun as always, but with my throat still sore I could barely manage more than growls and coughs, which made for an interesting time when I had to call the opening and closing bows.

the great yiddish debate rages

Shtick is not spelled "schtick".

Tell him that Websters' dictionary lists "schtick" as a variant of "shtick".

That doesn't sound right:*&q=schtick

All the sh/sch stuff in Yidish have the duel spellings:*&q=schmear

etc. etc.

my father is beyond geek

In response to The Geek Test. (FWIW I scored "Major Geek")

He took his undergrad finals with a slide rule.
He got his PhD in chemistry when there were only 104 elements.
The calculations for his PhD (thickness of soap bubbles) were run on the one computer on campus. A whole box of punch cards.
He got his MBA before the Internet.
He now teaches an "Internet MBA" course, which includes lectures on supply chain theory, modern business management, and Photoshop for website graphics.
His one pair of glasses are older than me.
His one pair of hard contact lenses are older than me.
He makes the barcode haircut cool.


Had lunch with Hiroko; she treated me to sushi. We each had 1.5 person's worth (a single serving just isn't enough) and it was good. And just to remind me how cool Hiroko is, she gave me her last and only piece of salmon, because she know's it's my favorite, and she wouldn't even accept one of my tuna pieces in exchange. She's such a babe.
After lunch we grabbed some icecream from the MiniMart. My mint-choco melted nicely and dripped onto my white shirt and heinous flower tie. The tie stain is indiscernible, and I did a decent job of dabbing the melted chocolate out of the shirt, but still.

world competitiveness yearbook 2003

Is out, and Japan once again misses the top ten. Sixth out of the G7 countries, Japan beat Italy, but I bet Italians aren't complaining. Would rather be as competitive as Japan, or as relaxed and well-fed as Italy?

is that a frog in your throat or are you just glad to see me?

Hoshina-san couldn't come to class so she asked me to cover. Only two guys showed up, so we drilled hard on the basics and then focused on the kata for the upcoming competitions. My throat was feeling pretty bad, and by the end of practice I'd basically lost my voice. Niina-gosoke showed up about 8, as well as Orita-san and Tanaka-sensei, but by 8:30 I was toast, and didn't stick around for Niina-gosoke's Hour of Power.
We did, however, get the Pelican cases delivered after some minor confusion about the address. Very slick, these are. My swords will be quite comfortable on the trip to the US and Canada this summer.

behold: mold!

Guy from Ken Corporation came this morning to check the apartment. Showed him the mold above the window in my room, as well as the crack in the bathtub, the sketchy bedroom door, and the crappy display on the apartment intercom. Cool guy, but he just reports back to the owner, so we'll see what ends up getting fixed. It's a buyer's market, so I have a bit of room to play hardball. Hiroko and I can give them the standard good cop (Japanese wife) / bad cop (foreigner husband) schtick.

i am a steak

Just finished Wall Street Meat by Andy Kessler. Almost makes me wish I was born 10 years earlier so that I could have seen the fun on Wall Street, instead of just catching the tail end of it from Tokyo when I joined Morgan Stanley 5 years ago. Oh well, maybe it's best that I missed it. Great read, though. Gives me a new perspective and more ammo for my cynicism.


Slept for 14 hours. Came home about 5pm feeling nasty, hit the bed, woke up at 7 this am. Still not feeling great, but getting a bit better. Hiroko feels just fine, for what it's worth.

Phil Elmore

Is a Math God.

yu-ching is cooler than me

Yu-Ching not only has a blog that's cooler than mine because hers is bilingual, she saw Keanu Reeves live and in person, shopping in Omotesando.


Hiroko is finally getting over her transferring it to me. Throat is sore, head's a bit thumpy, body aches...


I am considering renaming The Mightier Steed "east".

There is a small compass attached to the front of The Mightier Steed, just above The Speedometer Than Knows Nothing Over 60.
Whenever I look at the compass, it invariably says I am facing east. There are two possible reasons for this:
1) By some innate sense of direction, I subconsciously know when I am facing east, and only then do I actually look at the compass
2) It's broken

I'm leaning towards #2, but I do have a pretty good sense of direction, so you never know...