honbu dojo open!

Shiokawa-gosoke may be 80, but as long as he's got a beer he's smiling!
Got to the dojo about 12:30 and had lunch. Folks started showing up and a little after 1pm we had an instructor's meeting to go over so administrative stuff and also talk about the opening ceremony schedule. Very important to get everyone's titles correct!
I changed and hung around the dojo as people came in and out. Niina-gosoke came back with Shiokawa-gosoke an hour later and he did 'kenbarai': dispelling evil spirits by wielding his sword in the four corners of the dojo. We took some photos and then headed across the street to Mitsukoshi Department Store for the official ceremony.
There were some speeches and then Naganuma-sensei and I demo'd some cutting, and then we ate and drank and chatted about for another hour.
Afterwards we came back to the dojo, changed, and went out for sushi and more smack-talk.


Niina-gosoke was totally beat from working so hard to get the Honbu Dojo ready for tomorrow, so practice was mellow and he went straight home to rest. We mostly worked on our own, going through the basics using the windows as mirrors. Yoshida-sensei (husband of Yoshida-sensei) came by and watched practice and chatted with Niina-gosoke most of the time. He's a cool dude and I'll be studying jo from him from now on.


Honbu Dojo practice with Sanno-sensei. Just two of us as everyone else was busy putting the finishing touches on the dojo itself; got all the trim on the shihan-seki (instructors' seating area) and cleaned up the office. Still have a pile of junk in the bathroom but we'll be ok for Saturday's official opening party.
Worked on the basics with Sanno-sensei and then ran through munazukushi. I've always hated that kata, but he got me thinking about the all-important weight transfer, and moving from the hips (not the arms), and it sort of felt like it came together a couple of times.
It's actually nice to feel progress, even after only two hours.
After practice everyone pitched in 1000 yen and we bought a bunch of food and bevvies and munched in the office. Niina-gosoke talked about how he was a hoodlum always getting in fights when he was young; somewhere in the Tokyo Police Station is his name and photo, taken during the various student uprisings and demos of the '60s.

hoshina-san at akihabara

Hoshina-san took over the Akihabara practice officially, and I am still in assistant instructor mode. I ran everyone through the warm-up and basics, then Hoshina-san took the beginners and I went through some kata with the other folks.
After practice Hoshina-san and I did some jo (staff) work -- she's been doing jo for over 10 years and I've been practicing for over 10 days. The difference shows!

old-steel cutting

Went to Nakano to get in some final cutting practice before the demo on Saturday. Instead of using my cutter I used my old (400+ years) koto blade that I use daily for practice. DAMN that thing can cut! I guess that makes sense, as that's what it was made for and in it's time it's done some real cutting (battlefield, people.)
The shape is so different (way more curve) than my cutter (practically straight) that I just can't draw my cutter effectively anymore. Will probably order a cutter smithed to my specifications to be as close as possible to my old blade, and then retire the old blade from cutting by giving it a nice polish and some beautiful fittings.
After practice Otsuka-san and Kiyokawa-kun and I went to Kosaka (Niina-gosoke's hangout in Koenji) for some brilliant and cheap food. Stayed late talking smack and getting ourselves all worked up about the future of iai.


From Joel:
Dude, where's my weapons?

is it me?

Had 3 people come check out class at Shibuya. The two guys left half-way through class, and the woman stayed until the end, but didn't up signing up even though she said she was interested. I gotta work on my soft sell.


Went to Shinagawa Citizen's Sports Center for an all-day jo (staff) seminar. Iwameji-sensei came up for the seminar and he is just amazing. In the morning we video-taped him going through the kata and explaining some finer points, then after lunch Hoshina-san and Orita-san drilled me on the basics and the first 12 kata. No chance I'll be ready to help Niina-gosoke teach by the end of the month, but I'm trying. Jo is way different than sword, and fun in its own way.
After practice Hiroko's parents left and Hiroko and I watched a few more episodes of 24. Story's starting to reach a bit, I think. Keith (senator Palmer's son) and Kim (Bauer's daughter) are both idiots, and that helps move the story along. But it really makes me wonder, doesn't anyone ever go to the bathroom? Or sleep?