Inoue-sensei, who runs Hiroko's Fighting Fitness Kyokushin Karate Gym. We went to a local Korean restaurant for his 36th birthday and packed far too many people into a tiny space. Everyone was generally muscle-bound (including a pro boxer who was huge) and really nice. The women in particular are generally insane.
I went with Keith up to Saitama to Kuroda Tetsuzan Sensei's Shinbukan practice. This guy is a legend; he is probably the single most talented koryu martial artist alive today. First of all, he has alien bug muscles. He can basically move any muscle in his body independently of any other muscle. So for example he can twist his upper arm clockwise and at the same time twist his forearm counter-clockwise. He flows like mercury and has incredible balance. You grab onto him and he doesn't move...only he's wrapped his leg around yours and swept you to the floor before you know what's going on. Freaky fun. We spent most of the time doing various body movement exercises, trying to move without moving, push without pushing. Basically impossible stuff, until Kuroda-sensei does it and shows that it can be done.
Went to Namikawa Heibei in the morning with the gang, and bought tons of stuff.
In the afternoon we went to Honbu (with a quick haircut detour) for training, and then after training we naturally went to the all-u-can-eat-&-drink place.
Nothing like a viking buffet to get the blood flowing!
National holiday, so Hiroko and I cleaned. Cleaned the vacuum cleaner, took the covers of the bed and couch and went to the laundromat to wash them. Did lots of laundry.
In the evening we met up with Jenn at the Keio Plaza and wandered around Shinjuku looking for a certain sushi place. Couldn't find it, so went into the place with the biggest frozen fish head outside.
If New York pigeons are flying rats, then Tokyo crows are flying coyotes. They are big, smart, and nasty. They'll tear through trashbags, abscond with small pets and children, and smoke and gamble all night, shrieking up quite a racket.
The one thing they don't like is other crows, dead. So Hiroko, a veritable wellspring of random knowledge, commanded me to find a fake dead crow. And lo! For twenty bucks I got a life-sized, plastic fake dead crow.
He's hanging stoicly on the balcony, and I swear since he's been put up I haven't even seen one crow in the near vicinity, though I can hear them far off in the distance.
Now I wonder if I could find a fake dead New Religion peddling old woman to hang on the front porch?
Went shopping Shibuya with Hiroko. I wanted to fix my broken watch band, and she wanted black leather boots. Turns out my watch band is no longer made and they have to check with the factory. Meanwhile I spotted the most stylin' Marc Jacobs red rubber, high heel, non-slip boots and Hiroko simply had to buy them. Ah, to consume. Small is the economic role we play, but proudly do we play it.
Also hit Muji for various supplies like a big cushion on which to sit, an incense holder, small useful plastic case, and bath salts that smell like a hot spring resort's fine soaking.
Back home it was an evening of massive cooking. Hiroko made meat pies and curry and I slaved away caramelizing onions for an hour to make a double batch of my mama's famous fake chicken liver pate. Calling it that doesn't do it justice though. Blend carmelized onions, string beans, walnuts, and hard-boiled eggs into a paste and eat with your favorite crackers. It is stunningly good and damn addictive. And probably healthier than anything else I can inhale.