x-mas bbq

In the tradition of our ancestors, we had a Japanese/Jewish X-Mas BBQ. Conan and the Smallwoods came first, with Conan immediately commandeering The Comfy Chair, quietly transfixed by his new Etch-a-Sketch and the cold medicine keeping his sniffles under control.
Amy and the Rudicks then showed up, with Amy happy to bound around the loft. The BBQ was fired up and the traditional pork loins were set upon the grill whilst we warmed up with slices of fine domestic beef. Kairi and Ericka came soon after, giving Amy a playmate and completing a fine collection of children's toy cellphones.
Others gathered and the food piled up. We made an extra beef run, complete with Alaskan King Crab legs, revived the BBQ for its Second Coming, and put away even more food. Complete and utter gastric destruction; no one went home empty-handed and the fridge is still packed with left-overs.

emperor's birthday

Happy 72nd birthday to Emperor Heisei!
Took advantage of the day off to accomplish three things:
  1. Went up to Saitama to practice at Shinbukan. More Kenjutsu. Everyone else was practicing iai and Kuroda-sensei asked me if I had my sword with me. I didn't bring it, assuming I wouldn't be doing iai for months. So all I had was my wooden sword. He figured good enough and started showing the first iai form. All the iai forms are from iaigoshi: fold your left leg under you, such that your left heel is in your butt, then put your right heel in front of your left knee, keeping your right knee off the ground. So yeah, you're sitting on your left foot. And yeah, it hurts. But wait, it gets better. From this position, rise up into a low stance, right foot forward, left knee off the ground. But don't stand up, you have to basically float up; ukimi. Literally "to float." Needless to say, the top of my left foot is nicely sore and swollen.
  2. Came back from practice and put the Cuisinart to use: made about 3 kilograms of Mama's Famous Fake Chicken Liver Pate (carmelized onions, string beans, walnuts.) Cuisinart, as you know, is French for "Kitchen Power Tool" and it is the single greatest invention since the Intelligent Meat Fork.
  3. At my request, Hiroko cooked her stunningly good fried chicken in sweet/sour marinade. Add in a spinach salad, miso soup, and fresh rice and we had us a meal.

go chimi!

Seems like it was just yesterday that I gave Yu-ching the really, really terrible nickname Chimichanga (now reduced to the much more tolerable Chimi-chan), but now she's been at Amazaon.co.jp for a while, and I'm at Deutsche, and she's run the Honolulu marathon for the 3rd time! Amazing. I can't even get up before 10am on a Sunday, and she flies to the other side of the world to run for hours on end.
Speaking of which, Ramesh now officially owes me money, as not only did he not run the marathon in under 5 hours, but he didn't even bother to go to Hawaii! Beers on him, but it's up to me to collect!

cousin dave

Finally uploaded all his photos from his Japan trip.