Otsuka-san arranged a cutting practice in Nakano, so I trained through the rain and tried to work my sore muscles through some cuts. One or two decent attempts, but in general I was cold, stiff, and tired.
Have to demo for next week's aikido dojo opening ceremonies, so the extra practice was appreciated. Someone brought a new cutting sword, and when I say cutting sword, I mean it. It was all mihaba and no niku, perfect for slicing soft targets, but likely to bend on a bad angle, and certainly no good for killing people. Think machete; wide and flat. Kiyokawa loved it because it cut so well. Unfortunately, IT cut well, he doesn't. I'll stick with my meaty cutter, thanks. When I cut with it like Tanaka-sensei did when he owned it, then I'll feel good. Until then, I'll pass on the oversized kitchen knives.
Gosoke came around and we went to Koenji to eat dinner at his local place that he's been going to for decades. The food was cheap, voluminous, and stunningly good. I had a couple different grilled fish, fried chicken, fresh rice, and all kinds of nibblies. A definite must-visit-again.

if only i could count

In what has already become a tradition, Gosoke started practice with 200 cuts. That is, I started practice with 200 cuts. I figured my pace must have been really slow, because everyone else finished way before me. After we took a break, it turns out that Gosoke actually said 150 cuts, but for some reason I had heard and done an extra fifty. 10+ years in Japan, and I still gotta work on my listening skills.

it's official!

I now have a permanent residency visa.
However, I didn't realize that I STILL need to get a re-entry permit every three years (assuming I leave and re-enter the country.) So, this entire exercise was...basically pointless.


Joined various folks for turkey at Roy's in Aoyama.
Turkey with blueberry sauce was killer, as was the desert. Service sucked, badly. But the good news is the country manager was in from Hawaii, sent to Japan a month ago specifically to kick staff-ass and make the service better. He was apologetic, professional, and took something off the bill. So we'll be popping into Roy's again at some point to see how he's doing.

maia arriola

Is born!

time management

I am endlessly amazed by my own inability to maintain even the most basic of schedules. I take as my current excuse the fact that we switched calendaring software at work last week. But I"ve had this problem for much longer, so that doesn't really fly.
Showed up at practice and Nakayama-san was confused: "I thought you weren't coming. That's why I came early."
Then Tanaka-sensei showed up early: "Ren, what are you doing here?"
Finally I remembered that we had a meeting in the office to plan next year's schedule, so I changed back and headed over to the office. Attempted to set up the old printer and get the Yahoo! BB dsl modem hooked up as we figured out all the events for next year, including the seminars and whatnot in the US.
After the meeting we went to the cheap Chinese gyoza place and stuffed ourselves for less than twenty bucks a person.


More Amy babysitting. She absolutely loves Hiroko and fairly well tolerates me. Standard pattern: cry for five minutes, fall asleep on Hiroko, into the stroller, off to the park. Likes: swings and spring horsey. Dislikes: slides.


Met Kev and checked out Matrix: Revolutions. Not bad; not great but a decent close to a nice trilogy. Watching all three will soon achieve the cult status of watching the first 3 StarWars, or The Indy Jones trilogy, I predict.
We hung around the various book stores for a couple of hours and then watched The Last Samurai, which was actually quite good. A few "huh?" moments, like the ninja with their Hollywood ninja swords, but the sword fights were well done, and the movie didn't suck despite Cruise's best efforts to overact. Koyuki was a babe, and Ken Watanabe is The Bomb. He and Chiaki Kuriyama should take over Hollywood like Jet Li and Chow Yung Fat tried to do in the 90s.