blackout update

From mom:
I was in the supermarket at 4 pm yesterday, with a cartload of food, when the lights flickered twice and then went black. Only one register was open, so I just left all, got in the car and drove home.
Since it was the very start of the blackout, drivers were courteous and acting like every corner was a 4-way stop. It only took a few extra minutes to get home.
At around 6 Susan (next door) and I decided to find a restaurant open-while Tony and Papa were sneering. We never found one, so between the two freezers were able to barbecue, hot dogs, hamburgers, and corn on the cob. Was even able to gather enough stuff to make a fairly decent salad and have melon and chips on the side. A feast eaten by candlelight.
Emy and I purchased fans from Sharper Image that run on batteries (to use at Quilt Camp). How nice I had mine. Papa and I went to sleep with the fan blowing and somewhat cooling off the bedroom.
The light came back on sometime during the night.
Emy called this morning to say Manhattan still had no electricity. Parts of Brooklyn and Queens did have electricity. And so the saga goes on!
Needless to say my dinner in NYC has be cancelled, my plans to stay at Emy's this weekend has been cancelled, so I'll make some inari and that wonderful fried chicken with sesame seeds for dinner.

still raining

I'm so glad that tsuyu, the rainy season, officially ended two weeks ago according the Japanese Weather Bureau. I guess that fact this it's been pissing rain for three days straight is just some kind of weather anomoly? As well as the 5 degree Celsius drop in temperature?
At practice was not unforgivingly hot and humid! And damn but I was feeling good and doing well if I do say so myself. My grip felt solid and my cuts clean and fast. Still have problems with timing and upper-body positioning, but I actually felt like I've made some progress.
After practice we went for dinner and Ohtsuka-san entertained us with his tails of "home remform": he's going to remodel the second floor of his house into a dojo. He's taken out all the furniture and rented an apartment to store it/live in while the carpenters knock down internal walls, put in wall-to-wall flooring and cover the walls in mirrors. He and the group in Kichijoji want to start regular cutting practices, too, so Niina-gosoke has told me to oversee them, just like I'm doing with the cutting practices in Ichikawa. More cutting!


Well, I was all prepared to whine about the horrendous rain and cold, fall-like temps, but since half the eastern seaboard is without power, I'll just remind folks how glad I am that I bought myself a surefire e2e flashlight.

connected at the...shoulder?

For the first time in what seems like a long time, no beginners showed up to practice last night, so I got to train instead of teach for the whole two hours. Tanaka-sensei ran us through all 20 kata, and I was feeling ok, though a bit cludgy. Near the end, though, I felt a pinching/tweaking in my right shoulder, and my right elbow was a bit sore from over-extending, so I decided not to keep practicing for the last hour even though Niina-gosoke himself was watching over practice. No point in doing permanent damage, especially with the tricky state my right shoulder is in.
Then this morning I was trying to email BigTony in LA, but the mails kept bouncing back, so I called him. Turns out he thrashed his shoulder, too (surfing). So maybe we've got a psycho-sympathetic thing going on?


Mano-a-mano. Nakatani-kun and I squared off for two hours of intense practice. Actually, it being the middle of summer vacation, he's the only one who showed up to practice. So, I worked him hard, drilling the finer points of upper- and lower-body timing; trying to get the legs and arms to move in unison, drive the power from the hips, keep balanced and stable. We ran through fundamentals for most of the time. First basic cuts, checking angles, grip, and the timing of foot and hand movement. Then we did the basic renzoku waza; the two series of draw, cut, sheath that are aptly named #1 (horizontal cut) and #2 (rising diagonal cut). I stood him in front of the mirror to check angles and point out the timing of stepping versus drawing back the left hand to get the sword tip to clear quickly and cut powerfully.
Teaching in such detail is a great way to work on my own technique, too. I have to show proper examples, and as I'm explaining and demonstrating I'm realizing what I need to work on as well.
And yeah, it wasn't exactly cool and refreshing.
After practice I jammed back to work to jump on the Tuesday night conference call.
Couldn't do it at home because I'm in the process of switching my second phone line from the company to my own name; company no longer sponsors phone lines, so I have to have it in my own name and then submit an expense report every month for it. And since the owner of the line, and therefore the number, is changing, I have to cancel my Yahoo! BB 12 meg DSL account, send the rental modem back, and then sign up again and get a new modem sent out.
Of course, yesterday when I sent the modem back, I forgot to include the power supply...wonder if they'll notice?

elephants & ants

Ann's company is famous!

beware of disgruntled tattoo artists

Make sure you know what ink you're getting! Or you could be in trouble.

back to basics

Tanaka-sensei didn't come to practice, so Kanai-bashocho had me run the two beginners through the basics as she took the other two and did forms. Always nice to get back to fundamentals; grip, stance, focus. Good to work with beginners, because it makes me focus on my own technique; have to demonstrate properly, of course, but also as I correct them I notice the same mistakes I make myself. We are all beginners.


Nine people tested for rank promotion. Those testing for 1dan and 2dan passed, but the four testing for 4dan all failed. They all did okay cutting, but the kata part of the testing is really strict, and none of them made it. I don't plan on testing for 5dan for a while; no chance I'd pass any time soon. But no hurry, either.
Gosoke also told me that from now on, 5dan testing will include kumitachi (paired forms.)