The troops rallied at Lucky for a Jeremy dinner. Stevie showed up with Yuji's wife and her friend, and I made fun of Stevie's desire to go to Law School. We reviewed some of the LSAT questions he had trouble with and I realized I could probably ace that test, but I have no desire to increase the number of lawyers in the world. Anyway Stevie isn't happy at work now so best that he does something he wants to do, and he said he's wanted to be a technology patent lawyer for a while. So good luck to him!
Kevin and Jeremy where waiting for Ollie and Chiori at the Westin, and so we can blame Ollie for their late arrival. Amazingly, Stevie was totally on time, making Ollie and co. look even sillier. As soon as she sat down Chiori started inhaling food like she hasn't eaten in days. Chicken bones disappeared between her nashing teeth as Ollie lobbed bad puns across the table. The discussion included bad music, especially that Scatman dude who died, as well as funky bass lines to porn soundtracks. With Kevin, Jeremy, Ollie, and Stevie in full effect, Hiroko was in true pain. But she knew what she was getting into when she married me!
Mama at Lucky also asked me to translate their menu into English, so that's my little project for the week.


Tanaka-sensei opend his own aikido dojo in Shiomi, so he asked me to demo some cutting for the opening ceremony. Sekido-san and Ohtsuka-san brought the stand and targets and everything for me. The dojo was on the 4th floor of a plain office-type building. Nice new tatami mats on the floor and very clean and bright.
I didn't realize how squishy new mats are, and I badly blew the first cut because I just sort of sank into the mat and lost all my hip power. Demo wasn't great but afterwards folks gathered around fairly impressed, asking to see my sword and where I learned, etc. It was then that I realized just how dull my cutter has become. The hamon is completely worn off and it's so not sharp I can run my finger up and down the blade easily. That didn't exactly help with my cuts, either. Time to polish it up! We've got one last cutting practice next Saturday, and then I'll probably take the sword down to Hataya in Machida to have it repolished.

x-mas party

This year's company year-end party, held as always in the basement ballroom of the Westin Hotel, was themed Jazz Night. Always a bad sign, as I, unlike my favorite author, have an undyingly passionate hate for Jazz. Besides being Jazz, it was loud. Loud Jazz, a terrible combination. Bust everyone else, enjoying the copious amounts of free booze, didn't seem to mind, and in fact most where having a rip-roaringly good time.
Big congrats to out to Nori-chan, who won the Big Prize: round-trip flights to Hawaii plus hotel. She busts ass and deserves it.
The food was killer as always, and I thoroughly enjoyed the chocolate waffles with gelato.
After the party seems like most folks continued on the festivities into the wee hours, but I went back up to the office to finish up some equities work.


Went early to Akihabara to actually do some electronics shopping. Seems the remote control for our VCR is dead, and there's no way to program the recording timer without the remote. So I hit a couple of places, all of which told me that they don't stock that remote and I would have to order it. Finally I went out on a limb and bought a generic programmable remote that claimed to work with my VCR. It doesn't. Then again I'm wondering if maybe the VCR itself is broken. Since it's several years old, and we all know that home electronics in Japan are designed to self-destruct in five years, I think I'll take it into the local electronics shop and see if it's fixable. Maybe it's just the infrared port on the deck and it can be replaced for a couple bucks. Maybe it's time to buy a DVD recorder...
Practice was standard; taught beginners for an hour after doing the paperwork to sign up a new guy; Tanaka-sensei asked me to do it because he had to teach and his wife wasn't there to do it. Of course I screwed up the paperwork and charged him too much. Tanaka-sensei and I are basically useless without his wife around.
Last hour Tanaka-sensei ran us through hashirigakari and I worked up a nice sweat for the first time in what seems like a while. The other Tanaka-sensei (aikido and jo/tanjo) also confirmed the demo on Saturday for the opening of his new dojo, and Otsuka-san and Sekido-san said they'd provide the targets and cutting stand. Those guys are great; they do so much for me and the organization, besides each running his own company.
Hiroko got a bargain on two huge steaks ("They were cheaper than fish!") so we chowed American-style while watching the evening news.


Well this month Thursday Iidabashi practice is on Mondays, due to scheduling conflicts. However 30 minutes into practice the juggling group that always practices on Monday showed up. Oops. Seems the vice-principle gave us Monday in place of Thursday without verifying with the Board of Ed, who gave Monday to the juggling group like always. So today I came home early and will make dinner, watch tv, and goof off. And I need it; still not recovered from Friday's hell practice, Saturday's cutting, and Sunday's beating.


Tanjo, literally "short stick", otherwise known as a cane. Shindomusoryu is the staff style founded by the only man ever to beat Miyamoto Musashi. A couple of centuries later, after getting menkyo-kaiden (translation: ass-kicking license) in Shindomusoryu, Uchida-sensei went off and established Uchidaryu with an even shorter staff.
In those days (Meiji period, the beginning of Japan's modern age, just after sword bans and samurai regulation) the idea was an aristocrat would have his cane to fend off any would-be sword-carrying attackers.
Niina-gosoke is menkyo-kaiden in Shindomusoryu and taught us the more practical variations of some Uchidaryu, including defense against dude-swinging-baseball-bat and psycho-with-steel-pipe. The distance is SKETCHY; you gotta be right on top of someone to hit them with a stick 90 centimeters long, so it's fast and close. Kiyokawa and I made short work of his bamboo shinai -- splintered it in the first ten minutes, then went to town on each other. I got a nice lump on the head for being too slow, and he got a crack on the hip bone as well as a split fingernail. All in all a fun afternoon.