cutting fun

Had a great cutting practice in Akabane. Was feeling pretty good and even nailed several cuts through a beefy almost-double roll. Had some success with horizontal cuts, too, but still can't quite nail the feeling. Then again even Tanaka-sensei can't nail them every time, so I don't feel to bad. It's just a matter of time and practice.

apartment fun

So after months of getting the run-around from Ken Corporation, the rep Mr. Ryu finally came over to see us. Conversation went something like this:
me: So, yes or no, does Ken Corp have anything to do with the maintenance of my apartment?
ryu: Well, you see, after the maintenance contr-
me: YES or NO, do you have anything to do with the maintenance of my apartment?
ryu: umm...not exactly.
me: Fine, thank you. Here's a pen and some paper. Write down the phone number of the owner, I'll deal directly with her myself since you are both unable and incapable of representing my needs.
ryu: Can I just explain-
me: No. You're excused. Goodbye.

He leaves, I take the number and call Mrs. Hirata:
me: This is ren kuroda from Sky Corp.
her: ??? I've never been called by a tenant before!
me: Well, just wondering what's been going on with the repairs to my apartment. Have they been scheduled yet?
her: Uh...I'm still waiting for the estimate-
me: The SECOND estimate already came, two weeks ago.
her: Well you were on summer vacation all August-
me: I was out for two weeks in JULY, but that was over a month ago anyway. But let's not dwell on the past, let's look to the future. WHEN will these repairs be done?
her: That's up to you and Ken Corp and the repair company?
me: Really? Fascinating. Ken Corp said they were waiting on YOU.
her: Well I don't know that, Ken Corp handles all the mainten-
me: But Ken Corp just told me that the mainteance contract has been cancelled and they don't do the maintenance any more.
her: Well I'll call the agent first thing tomorr-
me: But Ken Corp doesn't have a maintenance contract anymore. But go ahead and call them, and while you're at it why don't you go ahead and schedule the maintenance? It's been several months, we've already have TWO estimates, what are we waiting for?
her: I'll call Ken Corp tomorrow.

And she hangs up on me. SO, Mr. Ryu is going to get a nasty call from Mrs. Hirata I'm sure, so I expect a call from Mr. Ryu tomorrow. And if I don't get one, I'll just go ahead and call Mrs. Hirata again and see how her call with Ken Corp went.
To be honest, I don't actually expect the repairs to ever get done, so now I'm just in it to see how many lies I can catch people in.



Quick dip in the onsen again, then breakfast. Everyone piled onto the bus and we headed over to the sports center. Opening ceremony, speeches, then I and Tanaka-sensei and Naganuma-sensei did some cutting demos.
The tournament started and I was judged the lower division with Naganuma-sensei on C court. Ended fairly quickly, and tore through the rest of the divisions until my division started, on D court. I was third up. Second up Nishihara-san, palm sweaty, droppped his sword. Into his right foot. Blood spread in crimson blobs. I threw in my two tenugui (towels) and grabbed the bandage out of my case. His foot was wrapped, leg tourniquated, and we put him on a tatami mat and carried him out to the front door. Awaiting the ambulance, I ran back to tell everyone what was going on and was told "tournament's still going on, waiting on you!" so I grabbed my sword and stepped onto the floor. Right were he had cut his foot. Most of the blood was already cleaned up, but in my mind I could still see that big crimson blob, like to circles joined, thick and dark. Needless to say my concentration was not exactly on, and I lost 2 to 1.
Interesting, as we were in Yamaguchi and the Yamaguchi folks were doing well. The judged was...interesting. Can't really say it was bad, but obviously there are some ways of doing things that need to be more standardized. For example all the non-Tokyo folks start shiho facing straight forward, which means the second cut is done with the back to the judges. We're taught this is a no-no, which is why we do shiho starting on a 45-degree angle to forward left. Also other little things; arm placement, height of the sword tip after cutting...small details which I'm sure all the sensei will be discussing and normalizing. It was a good learning experience, and I'm glad the Yamaguchi folks did well, as they worked hard to put the tournament together for all of us.
Niina-gosoke was judging the final for 5/6dan (highest division), and he actually raised his flag for Tanaka-sensei's opponent, giving Tanaka-sensei 2nd place. Niina-gosoke's comment was that we all have to refocus on basics, as he's been saying all along: when the foot steps down, the blade must be in cutting position, not still back above your head. This is why he didn't give Tanaka-sensei the flag, and why many of us lost. So it's back to practice!
At least my cutting went ok, and in the team division I tied with Sanno-sensei, so that's my major accomplishment for the day.
After the tournament we said good-bye to the bus and got a ride to the Tanaka Hotel. Checked in and hit the onsen before dinner. Nice hot soak and then a glorious dinner in the room. Hiroko and I were both beat so it was time for sleep.