miracles do happen

Amazing what happens when people actually do their job. Repairman shows up and replaces the broken door on the dryer. Took all of five minutes.

To celebrate this miracle of achievement, Hiroko and I went shopping. Bus to Shibuya, walked in the fabulous weather to Harajuku where Hiroko got some action-kickin' pants at Uniqlo. Then we grabbed some excellent gyoza, relaxed at Starbucks, and finally walked up to Omotesando and through Aoyama, checking out the cool furniture at Idee before cabbing home.


Fine weather for practice; a bit of wind, not too hot, not too cool. Gosoke ran us through various kata, trying to pound into our heads the importance of timing -- getting the lead foot and the sword to impact at the same time. Usually the foot goes first, leaving you with your sword poised overhead and your opponent thanking you for the opportunity right before he jams his sword into your unprotected chest.
After practice we went to get some sushi and other fine eats, and I tried to convince Gosoke that trading options is much safer than futures on margin.

rain rain go away

The typhoon veered east, missing the Japanese mainland, but still there was plenty of rain.
On my way to practice, I basically gave up, parked The Mightier Steed at Shinbashi Station, and took the train four stops up to Akihabara. Packed with commuters going out after work, the train was stuffy and damp and basically nasty, reminding me why I pay so much money to live just down the street from work and why I attempt to drive my scooter everywhere, even in the rain.
Now that the tournament is over, practice was mellow. Some folks are testing for promotion next month, but I'm not testing any time soon, so I'm just taking my time and enjoying things. Working on getting the foot/sword timing right: putting the monouchi into my attacker's head just as the front foot steps out. Tougher than it looks as I always tend to swing with my arms instead of letting my hips and back move the sword out.
Also have to work on drawing with the left foot forward (sa, sha, mawari-gakari), and anything that involves a thrust (munazukushi, tsuigetsu, hibikigaeshi, hazumi).
After practice Tanaka-sensei ran us through the five old ZenIaiRen kata that we do, and there was some confusion as to the exact movements because we hardly ever practice them! Nakagawa-gosoke's old book shows that Kiriage starts with the right foot, but Tanaka-bashocho said Naganuma-sensei said that it starts with the left foot...will have to verify with Niina-gosoke later.


Took delivery of my antique tansu.

It's a meiji-era (late 1800s) two-piece chest: the top has two large drawers, the bottom has a small door with two small drawers, and behind the lowest drawer is a secret compartment. Made of thick but light paulowina wood, it smells great and is perfect for storing our kimono and yukata and my sword stuff.
More photos


We've printed up paired forms manuals in English and Japanese, so Ando-sensei ran a few of us through the 10 kata. Distance is the toughest; hard to judge how far/close to get to make the techniques work, but it was fun to really drill into them for a couple of hours. I need to know them for 5dan testing, but that won't be for a few more years so no hurry.