Went over to Higashi Koenji to have Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki with Stevie and Eriko and Hye-won and Yon-sama and Eriko's family.
After dinner we walked over to Stevie's place and talked about the crazy times we had in Seoul. I brought the photos I took when we were there 10 years ago and totally embarassed Hye-won.


Hye-won and her husband, the famous Korean Idol Yon-sama!

hye-won & ren
Ren and Hye-won

The Wonder Twins

Went to Yurakucho after practice to meet Stevie and his cousin Hye-won from Korea and her husband and everyone else.
Haven't seen Hye-won in like 10 years, since I went to Seoul with Ivan and Stevie and Hye-won showed us all around. I have a totally traumatized image of Korea now, because all I did was hang out with Hye-won and her friends, drink, and eat, and drink.
Hye-won's now 8 months pregnant, so she's not drinking for now, but she's making up for it by eating!

red alert

From whence it came.

polish pride

polishPride, originally uploaded by renfield.

Lee Guzofski: Polish-American.

night of the polish heavy weights

So Lee goes to Madison Square Garden to see Night of the Heavy Weights.
His buddy Jud's write up was so good, I am blogging it here. Without permission, I might add.
Last Saturday, Lee and I attended the "Night of the Heavyweights" boxing match at Madison Square Garden. The featured match was a fight between a guy named Ruiz and the pride of Poland, Andrew Golota. The crowd was filled with thousands of Polish folk - faces painted, draped in red & white flags, yelling angrily in Polish (at least it sounded angry) and all absolutely bombed.
Lee, very proud of his Polish heritage, was like a kid in a candy store. As the night progressed, Lee proceeded to order trays of champagne for all of his Polish brothers sitting in the nosebleed seats in section 413. They were a bit confused at first and were not sure if they should thank Lee or kick his ass, but after explaining that he was a fellow Pole, they gave him a hug and chugged champagne together. (If you have not been to a boxing match before - they serve champagne like it is some kind of classy event, even though the crowd is roughly the same crew that hangs out in OTBs, with more fights in the seats than in the ring).
As the night progressed, Lee collected more and more Polish paraphernalia - every time Lee went to get a drink or go to the bathroom, he would return with a new Polish t-shirt, hat or flag given to him by a new friend. (The most interesting item he came back with was a doctor working for the polish mob, who gave Lee a business card and let us know that we could call him if we ever needed medical attention but required something more "discreet" than a hospital. I am not kidding - this actually happened).
At about 11, I turned around and found Lee leading a group of about 100 men and women in a Polish fight song. At midnight, Lee was at the front of a group of Polish people threatening to beat down some poor Ruiz fan. As I walked out of the Garden, my last image of the event was watching Lee crowd-surfing on top of a sea of people dressed in red and white.
I am sorry the rest of you were not able to witness Lee in all his glory - it was truly awesome.

sleep deprivation

Been trying an experiment for the past couple of days: since I generally don't get enough sleep as is (late conference calls, late practice, too lazy to get off couch, get in shower, get in bed, etc.) lately I've been swapped 20-30 minutes of sleep with 20-30 minutes of post-shower, pre-sleep zazen meditation. Well ok I call it that, but it's basically me sitting and staring at at an incense stick as it burns it way to gray ash. Fairly sure I have not reached a transcendental plane just yet, but I do know that as soon as I go to bed, I am dropping off to sleep in what I think is a shorter amount of time than if I just sit and stare at the tv, shower, and crawl into bed.
Of course, to do a properly controlled experiment I'll have to spend one week eating donuts right before bed, another week playing with action figures before I go to bed, another week reading comic books before going bed, etc. and see if any of them cause me to drop off to sleep more quickly than normal, too.
Such is the life I live, dedicated to the pursuit of scientifically backed truth.
Hiroko and I saw Kakushiken Oni-no-tsume at Shinagawa Prince Hotel Cinema.
By the same director as Tasogare Seibei, and a very similar story: average Joe samurai, the woman he's always loved by can't admit it, the clash between old-world samurai and Western modernization, a challenge to friendship, a final duel, a secret technique. Not as good a movie as Seibei, but also better in some different ways. Not very much fighting; this is not a samurai flick. Someone told me it's a story told much more from a woman's point of view, and I sort of get that now that I've seen it. Anyway if you liked Seibei and Ame-agaru, you'll like this one. Assuming you ever get the chance to see it.