broken links

The astute reader will notice various broken links. Some of these are beyond my control. For whatever reason, Lee's and Nate's don't seem to be working. Some of these are control within my control. Ren's Big Adventure is yet to be migrated over from the old twics file system to
These things will be fixed, in time. Or not.
Tomorrow Hiroko and I leave for California. We'll spend some time in SF with Jorge, Corr, and my God-daughter Emi, then all of us will rent a van and chug down to LA. I will immediately pop over to Big Tony's to do sword stuff in San Diego.
Then Hiroko goes home and I go on to Guelph, Ontario (Canada) to do even more sword stuff.
We will take many pictures, and have many adventures. And if you're lucky, you might even find out about 'em.

quality by bystedt

Bystedt's family business, founded by the grandparentals, now run by his uncle, makes leather gloves. Get your own stuff!

I have a dream...

So we're flying in low orbit around a very Earth-like planet. We enter the atmosphere and are cruising above the barren terrain, getting closer and closer. As we fly over an impressive butte, the landscape changes to a typical suburb, then a small city. Just as we we're making a landing approach, we notice a helicopter parked on the crest of a cliff. Could be trouble. We land in a field on the outskirts of town and set off to explore. Very Earth-like. Humanoids abound. English is spoken. Suddenly we realize the uniformed are coming, and we scramble into the underground garage. We find a car that looks very much like a Mini and pile in. I'm driving. As we approach the exit toll booth, I realize I'm not sure what the strange square markings mean. From the lines on the ground it looks like I should be in the left lane, so I ease over, find the parking ticket behind the sun visor, and out we go.
We're now walking briskly through the back streets, working our way back to our ship, and I realize my baseball cap is sticking out like an alien visitor (which I am.) We stop at one of the many street vendor tent/booths and buy cheap winter coats. My companions go for yellow, but I opt for a mid-thigh length red number with matching backpack. I dump my spaceship uniform jacket, backpack, and baseball cap, being sure to empty the many pockets and transfer all the useful items to my new jacket; multihead screwdriver, white LED flashlight, etc. I pay with the local currency equivalent of 2000 yen (cheap!) and hurry around the corner to catch up with my fellow aliens. We finally make it to the field, board our ship, and accelerate to atmospheric escape velocity as the armed and helicopters circle the field below. Close call. As we enter and then leave orbit, sling-shotting away from the planet, warning lights on the ship's control panel begin beeping, beeping, beeping...I wake up and turn off my beeping alarm clock.

"you all suck. remember that."

Didn't get any time to practice, as I lead basics and when Tanaka-sensei showed up I spent the whole practice teaching two newbies.
At 8:30 regular class ended and thankfully Niina-gosoke began his Hour of Power. We did the first form shin for over half an hour, with Gosoke correcting our angle, timing, and hip movement. Then we tried inchuyo, trying to get the parry-and-cut action right, which prompted the quote of the title. Gosoke used The Dowel (a thin dowel of wood the length of a sword -- lighter than a wooden sword so easy to carry all the time) to demonstrate that if we all tried to parry a real sword cutting down at our head, we'd all be dead, mostly from our own blade getting deflected into our own head. Then he used The Dowel again to show how, even if we managed to parry the attack, our counter-attack wasn't actually hitting the attacker's left abdomen, leaving us open to further pummeling.

After practice I collected Hoshina-san's sword and sai, went to the office to get the Pelican sword case, and dragged all that gear home on the subway, in preparation for the seminars in California and Canada next week.


NPO Hougyoku-kai's 6th Annual Festival and Competition, Kenkakubanrai. I was on the planning committee so I've spent the past couple of weeks working with everyone to pull this off. It was tons of fun, but as I was in the highest division, I got the thrashing I deserved. I won my first match and lost the second to Akama-san, who advanced up from the division below mine. He ended up sweeping both divisions and winning the top award. It was an excellent reminder for me that I still have much to learn and even more to practice. I had plenty of excuses; I've been spending more teaching, I was on the planning committee, I've been getting ready for the US and Canada seminars...but the truth is I just haven't practiced enough and I wasn't good enough to win.
I did, however, get Niina-gosoke's consolation prize:

After the festivities we all went to a place by the station to eat and drink and have fun, and I heard many great stories from Shiokawa-gosoke about when he was young, and Okazaki-sensei's tales of karate. When it was time to go home, I was feeling lame but glad I'd got some perspective, and ready to start fresh tomorrow. I guess I was too busy thinking about redoubling my efforts at practice, because I turned right against a Left Turn Only sign, just in front of a police box. As I was waiting for the light to change, a cop ran out, invited me over, and gave me a 5000 yen ticket.
A fitting end to a fine day, I reckon.