Got everyone at the hotel, hit the 7-11 for lunch supplies, and trecked out to Meguro. Met Ishida-san on the train and we made it to the gym by 8:45am. Everyone changed, we got the place set up, and we were ready to go by 9:40am. Opening ceremonies, speeches and then we're off!
Started with 2dan division and Tony made it to 3rd place, despite his saya cracking, sending a piece of wood hurtling through space. Derek and Joanna and Colin all proceeded well, too, and I even managed to survive to face Tomonaga-san from Yamaguchi (last year's winner who beat Tanaka-sensei) for the finals.
Had lunch and Hiroko pulled out a huge bag of build-your-own fajitas parts, and then after lunch the Kanazawa-sensei demo'd karate, jo, tanjo, and sword.
In the afternoon we had the final rounds. John beat Colin (head shavin' time!), Tomonaga beat me, and everyone had fun.
After the closing ceremonies we headed back to the hotel before returning to Bloom Hall in Shibuya for the post-party. I was so fried I fell asleep during the party, but everyone was drinking and having a good time.
Hiroko finally took me home and the rest of the gang went to do Roppongi damage.


Rallied the troops early in the AM and managed to get the group down to Machida by about 11. Checked out Hataya's shop;Neeley bought a great koto period spear head and Filthy got a great deal on a maezashi (long dagger.) Hataya-sensei took everyone to rotator sushi, and then we checked out the shrine where they practice before heading back to Namikawa Heibei. Bought a bunch of supplies and then got back to honbu dojo about 4pm. Ran a quick promotion exam and some folks did some last minute practice before heading home to get ready for dinner. Became a total stress case as we were late for dinner and everyone, specifically Konishi-sensei, was waiting for us. But the dinner was awesome and everyone had a good time.

narita airport

Was eating cheap rotator sushi in Shibuya when Colin called. He dead-headed on an early flight from San Francisco and was already in Narita. I told him I'd be there shortly and got up to the airport by about 4pm. Neeley came out next, and then Tony (no problem getting his swords through -- Hataya-sensei has much pull!) and then everyone else.
We humped down to the train station and grabbed the Narita Express to Tokyo Station, then commandered several cabs up to Sumisho hotel. Got everyone checked in with only minor issues, then hit the restaurant across the street for much needed dinner.
Headed home with Neeley and Tony in tow, in time to make a 9pm conference call. The joys of work!

will & sachiko

Last saturday night when will & sachiko came over for dinner, will took some really silly photos.

needling pain!

My right should has always been bad. Well, not always, just ever since I dislocated in it college and didn't do anything to fix it.
Went to a shoulder specialist about 7 years ago who, after looking at x-rays of my should said "You are a very, very stupid man. Why didn't you go to the doctor when you did this? If you stress your shoulder seriously again, you will probably have to have surgery just to use your arm normally."
So, taking his advice like the genius I am, I continued to practice aikido and iaido.
Tonight at practice, whilst swinging the kilogram of razor-sharp steel that is my sword, I felt the most intense needle of pain bore through my shoulder. This was my body's way of telling me I shouldn't use arm strength to cut; very bad technique.
So I have a new motivation to pursue proper cutting technique; less important than the speed and fluidity of the movement is the desire to avoid putting too much strength into my shoulder which results in a red-hot nail of pain being driven from my shoulder into my very soul.

ginza sunday

Somehow managed to wake up early enough to go to practice at Honbu. Spent most of the time working with Miyasawa-kun, showing him how to move his left and right hips independently, and extend the sword out without using any arm strength. After a couple of hours he started to get the hang of it, so I hope he keeps drilling.
Met Hiroko at home, had some turkey sandwiches for lunch, and then hit Ginza. Main street was blocked to traffic and it was nicely shaded from the tall buildings. Low humidity as well so it was a pleasant afternoon. We went to Camui to get the clip on her favorite black sandals fixed, then checked out the cool toys at Matsuya. We decided to buy a shoemaker's stool for the entrance hall but it was ¥18,000 so we figured we'd look on the web and find it for less. Surprise! Cheapest price on the web is ¥22,000 -- who would have thought a department store in Ginza would be the cheapest?