Got on the bus at Tokyo Station and left right on time: 11pm. Stopping every 2 hours, we got to Yamagata Prefecture at 6 in the morning. Breakfast at a highway rest stop, then a visit to Iai Shrine; dedicated to the Father Of Iai, Hayashizaki Sensei.

Path leading back to the shrine

Niina-gosoke checking out the shrine

The photo is of Nakamura Kenzaburo performing Toyama-ryu

Various arts/sensei, including Mugairyu, Ishii Gogetsu, and others that we know and/or have trained with

Back on the bus we wound our way through the still-snowy mountains and got to Miyashita-bo by 11 am. Miyashita-san was born and raised here, and she's the only one in her family to leave Yamagata. We had a huge lunch and then rode the bus up to Hagurosan, a stunning temple at the top of the mountain built in 593 (yes, that's over 1400 years ago.)
The priests did a purification ceremony for us and then we practiced for a couple of hours in the hall next to the temple.
After practice, we walked down the 2466 hand-laid stone steps to the bottom of the mountain, walked back to Yamashita-bo, hit the bath, and had dinner.

The 300 year-old Japanese cedar are as dangerous as they are majestic. My nose hasn't stopped running, my whole head is stuffed up, I haven't slept in over a day, I walked down 2466 hand-laid stone steps through the mountains, and my allergies are not having fun.
Plus, our room happens to be right next door to the party room where everyone else will be drinking the night away.


Niina-gosoke took us to Hashimoto-san's restaurant Toyoda, just down the street from Honbu Dojo.
The building a really cool and the food was awesome: traditional multi-course meal in a beautiful room w/a traditional balcony garden. Couldn't believe we were in the middle of 21st century Nihonbashi.

tokyo journal

With Yuki's help I've pulled the original Tokyo Journal website out of archive and given it new life.
Still not sure how much of the original I should fix; part of the charm is how old-school it is. Remember: this was end of 1994/beginning of 1995. Pre-Internet bubble, pre-internet everything just about. And in Tokyo no less.
Also, the last two months, April and May, were done under particulary stressful circumstances.
Check it out in original 640x480

seminar photos

Put up Niina-gosoke's photos from the LA seminar last week.


So what is it with people getting so concerned over a piece of paper and a title? Even as they get older, all they seem to care about more and more is status, as determined by some rank or certification or pile of money.
Very strange to me, but then it seems like it's been that way for as long as people have come together and given each other fancy titles.
Well all the titles in the world won't stop your enemy's sword from taking your head off, so enjoy your certificates and scrolls and titles.


For the first time in what seems like a very long time, I did not go to practice tonight. Naganuma-sensei has some kind of gnarly foot infection or something, and his whole leg is swollen up.
So instead of going to practice, I spent 12 hours in the office working. Used to be I would do that 4-6 days a week, 3 weeks a month. And then...I got over it.
Don't get me wrong: my job is cool (and my dept head reads my blog -- hi hammer!) and the people I work with are cool and the work I do now is cool. But work is work; it pays the bills. If I won the lottery tomorrow, I certainly wouldn't still work every day to keep busy. I'd build a really big dojo and invite everyone over for training, all day, every day. And probably play more video games, too.


You may now comment at your leisure. Readers are reminded, however, of two things:
1) This blog's sole purpose is to transmit to the masses the ramblings of the author. Your comments are at best a minor distraction. (You got something to say, make your own damn blog.)
2) The author's mother is a frequent reader of this blog. So keep it in yer pants, tough guy.


Drab and rainy day, but regardless Hiroko and I spent the afternoon checking out the area around Shinagawa Station. They have a new New York theme just on the other (Bullet Train) side of the station; NY-style deli and whatnot. It's all fairly cheesey, not very NY at all, and for some reason the water fountains are named Columbus Circle, etc. Only in Japan.
We goofed off in the bowling alley arcade, had some lunch at TGIF's, and then hit the IMAX theatre to see Innocence. I didn't really get it, but the animation was stunning.

bali photos

Put up the photos of Hiroko and mom's Bali trip.