Bye-bye Mallardi

Good 'ole Texan Mike Mallardi is finally leaving Japan behind. Going back to Austin to get himself one of them fancy MBA's. Had a BBQ on the roof of Akasake Tameike Tower to celebrate.
The gang was in full splendor, as usual. And yes, I did indeed take the single most unflattering photo of dear Nancy. This one beats even the photo of Tony I took at the Calvert's going away party.


OK, this whole custom furniture thing is pretty cool. Hiroko had some old chairs at work that we had reupholstered and fixed up. We also got a side table for next to the couch, custom made to our specifications. Check 'em out.

still jet-laggin'

I went to Gosoke's practice but was moving like a sloth. Gosoke even said that I looked really tired, and that's the worst he's ever seen me practice. Chaulk it up to jet-lag. FYI, Niina-gosoke's jet-lag cure: when you get home, do NOT go to sleep yet. First go into a really, REALLY hot sauna and sweat like mad. Then take a nice hot bath, then go to sleep.

I got soaked by the rain on my way home, and didn't make it to Mallardi's taco party. But Hiroko had fun.

thank god it's friday (er, thursday)

Went to TGIF's in Shibuya after work to celebrate Spike's new marital status. Seems it was just a few years ago he was a bright-eyed college grad in a new suit, with a mouth full of respect for me and his other elders. Now he's a hardened Wall Street techie, full of knowledge and beer.
By 10:30pm my jet-lag was coming on strong, so Hiroko and I split a cab with Tomo and cruised home.

the girls

Sarah (my sister-in-law) and her foster daughters were supposed to go bond at an Outward Bound outdoor trip, but it got cancelled at the last minute, so they went to visit my parents in Connecticut instead.

some more pics

From the cutting session in Tony's back yard (thanks Jimmy Crow):

home sweet home

6 am taxi from Guelph to Buffalo, NY. Quick jump to Chicago. 12 hours to Tokyo. Watched Chicago, The Core, How to Lose a Man in Ten Days. Landed in Tokyo, got the swords through customs with typical bureaucratic hassle. Airport Limousine bus to Shibuya. Traffic. Cab home. Sleep...

canada seminar day 2

over 15 people showed up for the AM seminar, including a bunch of guys from Kai-sensei's Seibukan dojo in Toronto and all the Chicago folks. We ran through the first ten kata again like we did yesterday and spent the last 15 minutes playing in pairs with distance and tekizuke, keeping the kissaki pointed at the opponent and keeping the pressure on to find an opening.
Went to Griphs for lunch as nothing else was open on a Sunday, in the summer, in Guelph. Note to self: bring lots of food next time, and/or have a car.
Hoshina-san and I are beat after being on the road, teaching, and eating so much. Getting picked up at six am for the two hour drive to Buffalo Airport, to fly to Chicago, to fly back to Japan. Can't wait to go home tomorrow!

canada seminar day 1

Everyone gathered in the dance studio (room 210) for practice and we got through 10 minutes of warm-up before Kim Taylor came up to say we were all gathering in the west gym for an opening ceremony of sorts. So we all headed down there, had some words from various folks and Fran the spriteliest naginata (halberd) wielding old woman ran us through some warm-ups.
The we headed back upstairs and started the seminar. Good turn-out; about 12 people including Simon and several others from Chicago. We started by going through the basic cuts, then kihon 1 & 2, the basic draw-cut-sheath moves, before getting into the kata.
In the AM session we got through the first 10 kata; go-yo and go-o, and had 15 minutes at the end to practice in pairs getting the feel for keeping your kissaki pointed at your opponent, keeping the pressure on him, and chasing him down.
Broke for lunch at noon and got some food at the University Centre before heading back for the PM session at 1:30.
Basically the same group again, so we did the next 10 kata goka and hashirigakari, and then for the last hour paired up and ran through various kata again with wooden swords, trying to get a feel for where the cuts are going and how the opponent moves.
The demo started soon thereafter, so we headed down to the main gym and saw some demos of Musojikiden-Eishinryu, kyudo (archery), naginata, and other sword arts. The Eto-sensei and Eto-sensei each did a traditional dance to music, one with a sword and fan, the other with just a fan. Hoshina-san demo'd five Mugairyu Iaihyodo kata and I did one cut as all we had were dry beach mats.
The demo ended with Ohmi-sensei in his kendo gear getting his but kicked by Fran in her naginata gear.
After the demo Hoshina-san, Rob Rivers, and I headed out for dinner. Guelph being a one-bar town, we headed out to the University Centre (closed), Griphs (says open but was closed), and finally walked about half and hour all the way down to the Stone Road Mall to get a late dinner at Casey's. We had the bartender call a cab so that we could get back to the east dorms by 1 am. When we came back, Ohmi-sensei, the Eto-sensei's, and everyone else was still drinking in the suite next door.