bbq @ tony's

Went over to Tony's for a BBQ. Met Hiroko in Shibuya and single-handedly revived the Japanese economy by being good consumers and inhaling various products from Muji, Loft, etc.
We grabbed some salad fixin's and got the #55 bus to Tony's.
As is tradition, Tony kept his guests (and himself) plied with wine while Hiroko and I took over his kitchen. Tony has 9 cutting boards, but his knives are as dull as spoons. Tony has a brand new oven that had never been used because when I opened it I found the shrink-wrapped instruction booklet and a note from the repairman who installed it, dated July 2002. Tony has 2 bottles and one bag of salt, but hardly any sugar. Tony has stupendously good French coffee, but only one coffee filter.
As she tends to do, Hiroko worked her magic. Scrounging olive oil, balsamico vinegar, and sugar, she turned bacon, pine nuts, and Nancy's garlic chips into a stupendous dressing for a spinach and bell pepper salad that had the crowd in fits. With the BBQ belching out smoke as well as steaks and chicken, I took Tony's pasta, grated some gouda cheese and turned it into a feeble attempt at baked ziti, and the feast was on.
We rounded out the evening by watching Charlie's Angels on TV. Besides Kevin failing in his attempt to leap the couch in a single bound (Tony was quick with the salt and the red wine on the carpet did no damage), it was a lovely evening.

visions of grander than I really am

Dream #1: I was castigating The Israeli and Palestinian leaders, at length, for their failure to reach a viable peace agreement.
Dream #2: spiders that looked like mushrooms crawling up the back of my legs. I woke up with a start to find Hiroko getting out of bed, brushing back the mosquito net that rubbing teasingly along my calves.

reality of lameness

Only two weeks to go before the Tokyo tournament, and I am in trouble. Last year I was in the unranked division, and by some strange twist of fate, luck, and promotion, this year I am in the 4dan/5dan division, the most advanced division. In general, I am pretty hosed, as everyone else in the division, including all my instructors, outrank and outclass me.
Tanaka-sensei ran us through all 20 forms and then left us to our own devices. It was humid and we were all sweating away nicely. Orita-san kept up a regular stream of complaints every time she could catch me, but I didn't give her much of a chance as I ran through my five forms over and over again, every time comparing my own movements to the movements inside my head and realizing just how much more I have to learn. Tanaka-sensei was helping Kanai-san with the last form, shiho. It's nasty: surrounded by enemies you attack in four directions. The cuts are tough, connecting them without leaving yourself open is even harder, and cutting convincingly, with plenty of hip and reach, is nigh impossible. I can't do that form more than a few times before my right arm feels like it will fall off. I focused more on the two seated forms, inchuyo and yochuin, as well as musogaeshi; I keep losing my balance over-extending on the turn to cut behind after the initial forward strike.
We kept practicing well past 9:00, and finally I had to stop because I was completely dehydrated and my right arm would move any more. No sense in killing myself, I've still got two weeks.

woo woo!

From Joel:

This is hysterical.

Step 1) Watch this
(pay particularly close attention to the demonstration)

Step 2) Then mix it up

tokyo the most expensive city in the world

Just in case there were any doubts, Tokyo is indeed the most expensive city in the world.

Hundreds of Americans, largely in finance and banking, are moving back to the United States this summer from Tokyo, often ordered home by stateside managers who don't think Japan's stagnant economy is worth the high cost of maintaining workers there.
For those expatriates still in Tokyo, neither deflation nor that softening housing market has helped much so far. Prices there are still 26 percent higher than in New York.

from dave barry by way of Hammer

I guess sometimes you don't really think about your domain name...until it's too late:

The first one I can forgive as English isn't most Italians' first language.
But the second one? No one in that whole organization said "Hmm, why do so many pimps and johns keep emailing us?"

momoyo and kensuke

Went to Shimura-sanchome on the Mita line, ostensibly to see Satchan's newborn son Kensuke, but really I was just there to play with Momoyo, who's now 6 years old, in first grade, and missing her two front teeth (making ramen slurping really easy.)

Hiroko and I met everyone at the station and immediately went to Toys 'R Us to get stuff for Kensuke, then hit the Royal Host for lunch. Momo, having the appetite of an old man instead of a six year-old, opted for ramen.

After lunch we went over to see Kensuke and parents, and as all the females reminisced and gossiped (they're all from the same town that Hiroko grew up in) Momo and I draw in her coloring book and poked Kensuke until he gurgled and made other entertaining noises.