Todd and Narumi went to Shiodome for the day, so Hiroko and I watched Amy. Standard Operating Procedure: Amy cries, Hiroko holds her, they both fall asleep on the couch, Amy wakes up and cries a little more but doesn't want any food. Hiroko eats a couple of hotdogs and Amy's watching the whole time. Now Amy's interested in eating. She chows down some yam and goes through half a bottle of apple juice (from Lucky Mama). Amy drinks out of the little tiny wine glass, and every time she drinks, I say "kampai!" (cheers) and she clinks my glass, then tosses back the apple juice in one shot. Just like dad.
After eating and drinking and getting her diaper changed, she was all energy and gigles. It was too cold to bother going outside so we wandered around the apartment until she discovered the bedroom lamp. It has a big round button on the cord that you push to turn the lamp on and off, and Amy was REALLY into that. Then she bounced around on the bed before going back into the living room. She was most fascinated by my feet (or was it my socks?) and before we knew it mom and dad where back.
Todd and I walked to Niku-no-hanamasa to get groceries and we had a big tonyu nabe; pork and tofu and veggies stewed in soy milk. Todd and Narumi went to check out the government housing in Shiodome; a big modern tower. The place they live in is also government housing, so their place is huge and cheap (you're welcome for my taxes.) The Shiodome apartments were interesting, but not entirely super-cheap. Todd also said some of the New Concept places were just weird, and from the pamphlets they look like they spent too much time worrying about how slick the bathroom door handles looked or the view out the window, and not enough time thinking about useful space layouts.

north babylon fishing club

Tokyo Branch


Went over to Jimbocho/Ochanomizu area, famous for used book and sports equipment. I intended on hitting Himaraya but got to Minami Sports first and got a good deal on Burton boots and step-in bindings. I tried step-in rentals last season and the cheesy rental boots/bindings were good enough, so I figure mid-range Burton step-ins will be fine for me. Thought about a helmet too, but didn't find the Bad Lieutenant so I gave up. Also got a nice pair of mitten/gloves.
When I got home, Hiroko and I went to dinner at Lucky and dropped off the English menu we made for them. Lucky Mama was so thankful she gave us two bottles of apple juice (she knows we don't drink), a cool picture book about a salaryman who takes an early afternoon (written by the producer of the Lucky restaurant), and wouldn't let us pay for our dinner. Hiroko's comment: "Damn! We shoulda ordered more food!"

al-gebra threat

From my brother:

"At New York's Kennedy airport today, an individual later discovered to be an engineer was arrested trying to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a setsquare, a slide rule, and a calculator.
At a morning press conference, Attorney general John Ashcroft said he believes the man is a member of the notorious al-gebra movement. He is being charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction.
"Al-gebra is a fearsome cult," Ashcroft said. "They desire average solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute value. They use secret code names like "x" and "y" and refer to themselves as "unknowns", but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country.
"As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, there are 3 sides to every triangle," Ashcroft declared.
When asked to comment on the arrest, President Bush said, "If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes.
"I am gratified that our government has given us a sine that it is intent on protracting us from these math-dogs who are willing to disintegrate us with calculus disregard. Murky statisticians love to inflict plane on
every sphere of influence," the President said, adding: "Under the circumferences, we must differentiate their root, make our point,and draw the line."
President Bush warned, "These weapons of math instruction have the potential to decimal everything in their math on a scalene never before seen unless we become exponents of a Higher Power and begin to factor-in random facts of vertex."
Attorney General Ashcroft said, "As our Great Leader would say, read my ellipse. Here is one principle he is uncertainty of: though they continue to multiply, their days are numbered as the hypotenuse tightens around their necks."

akihabara practice

Seems there was no Shinjuku practice, so everyone came to Akihabara, and for some reason Tanaka-sensei actually came early, so he changed and we all started practice about 6:30. There were several beginners, so after running through the basics I split off with them, but Otsuka-san said his feet were still hurting so he'd teach the beginners and I got to actually practice.
Tanaka-sensei ran us through all 20 kata, five times each. The unending depth of my suckiness continues to amaze me. I can't cut straight. I can't turn. I cut too small. My angles are all wrong. Ryoguruma was really giving me problems; I can't get the first cut to stop, and if I can, the second cut is totally off. The footwork is a mess too. I have so much work to do this year, I almost wish I didn't have to teach so much, so that I could just study and practice on my own. But that's not really fair, as all of my instructors took the time to teach me, so now it's my turn to help my students. If I need more time to practice on my own, I'll have to do it by finding more time, not reducing teaching. Maybe I should start going to Tuesday night practice...I could also consider waking up early on the weekends to practice...nah, never happen!


Finally posted the various photos from our latest US excursion:

Seminar in LA
Seminar in VA
MOMA Queens
Long Island
New Year's

bye-bye bystedt!

Tomo has announced that he's leaving Morgan Stanley! He got a job with Titleist Japan, maker of many fine golf goods. Basically his dream job. Not exactly clear what he'll be doing but it will involve selling Titleist stuff, talking to clientsn and suppliers, coordinating with the other offices including the English-speaking head offices in the US, playing golf, talking about golf, working with people who play golf, and deal with golf-related issues...basically a golf-lover's paradise. Good job, Tomo! And good luck!


First official day as leader of the Monday Shibuya practice, and Niina-gosoke decided to come and teach; something he does once every couple of years. The members are mostly new so I hardly know any of them. All told we had about fifteen. Niina-gosoke started with the very basics; how to put the sword in the belt, drawing/cutting/sheathing fundamentals. We spent the whole time doing the basics and only a couple of kata. It was a nice way to start and will give me many good points to work from in the next few months. And it wasn't too terribly cold, either.


Today we gathered in the (heated!) Yakumo Gym in Toritsudai to have the first official practice of 2004. About 70 people showed up, and Niina-gosoke took us through the first couple of hours of practice. Then he split us up into groups by rank and had adjacent ranks do a few kata side-by-side. Occasionally he'd single someone out and tell them to move to the next-highest ranked group, and then the lower group would step off, everyone would slide over, and the next-highest ranked group would step on. Several people got promoted that way on the spot, including Miyasawa-kun, who thanked me and told me it must have been because of the sword he's using that he just bought from me. I didn't disagree; that's a great sword.
In the afternoon Niina-gosoke took the women and ran though various self-defense techniques. Ando-sensei took us 4th/5th dan and drilled us non-stop on all the kata. About half way through he announced "We will...NOT take a break! Next!" and we just kept cranking away. With the cutting practice yesterday and the workout in the morning by 4:30 my arms were dead.
Then we headed down to a place by the station for New Year's Dinner/Tomoyose-san's Farewell party as he's heading down to Okinawa next week. Now we have an excuse to have a seminar in Okinawa!