all thumbs

Cutting practice at Akabane. Dragged Komatsu-chan down to practice and she did really well for her first time cutting. Orita-san cut her thumb when warming up, and I did pretty well considering I'm still jet-lagging. Can't wait to move so that I can cut in my own basement whenever I want.

command the chicken

From Jeremy:
Your wish is his command!

more tokyo journal photos

Put up a few more photos from dinner with the old TJ crew. I still need to dig all the old TJ website archives off of ZipDisk and put them up on the web somehwere -- we were doing the coolest stuff back in 1995!

masamune sword shop

Drove up to Redlands to Mike Christianson's shop and met Ted Tenold and Keith Larman. Niina-gosoke worked with Ted to draw and spec out the long and short swords that he'll have Howard Clark forge for him. I bought that killer wakizashi that Ted will polish and mount for me, and Niina-gosoke bought a nice tsuba set for his HC blades. He also bought a set of tsukagashira and menuki that match his Soten-style tsuba on his sword now. So when we go back to Japan he'll switch out the current fittings and send them back to Ted to go on his HC, as they match perfectly to the tsuba he bought at Mike's shop. Tony also bought a book that has Shiokawa-gosoke and Iwameji-sensei on the cover. We've only ever seen the French version of the book; the English version is quite rare. And there was even a random antique box with Niina-gosoke's mon (family crest) on it; a rarely used version of the crossed hawk feathers.
Some may call it luck, but in Japanese we call it en: fate.

seminar day four

Hot hot HOT in the dojo today. Must have been at least 100F but that didn't stop us. Niina-gosoke ran through the first seven tanjo kata that we did yesterday, and then we did the last five to finish up the set of twelve. Everyone really enjoyed smacking each other, so that took all morning. Had more In-n-Out for lunch and then we grabbed all the video cameras and gosoke ran through the 12 tanjo kata again really slowly explaining all the different details, footwork, and moves.
Then we started doing jo, with gosoke explaining the difference between the old-school Shindomusoryu and modern seitei kata. We ran through ukan for a few hours and then gosoke finished up the day by showing everyone the twleve basic patterns of jo as explaining and being filmed.
After the seminar we came back to the house, showered, changed, and went out for some Italian. Tony's daughter Madison came with us and was really cute holding Raven, Verdugo's adorable baby daughter.
Back at the house we talked smack and wound down as folks dropped out to drive and/or fly home.
A good seminar was had by all.

seminar day three: party!

Finished up the day doing wakizashi kodachi and then starting the tanjo kata. Back at the house we had a ripping party for Bill Arno's birthday among other things. William The Clean was tattooing Verdugo in the garage, adding his daughter Raven's name to his back. Big Tony was mixing Margeritas at the bar, and the back yard was jumping with veggies and dip, sandwiches, burgers, and dogs. Yours truly spent a luxorious hour in the living room with Diane cranking all the knots out of my back and legs, and Niina-gosoke enjoyed the spicy buffallo wings and beverages.
We watched the worst video ever, I bought a killer wakizashi from Ted, and then finally went to bed way too late.