ishihara family

ishihara family, originally uploaded by renfield.

Went to the dojo in the afternoon to work on kumitachi with Elvis in prep for our demo next week. He went to the aikido class at night so I stayed in the dojo by myself and did some cutting. Was fairly mediocre, so I've got lots of work to do before next week, and not much time to do it in.
Left the dojo, walked around the corner, and as I passed Starbucks I spied Millie asleep in her stroller, mom and dad Ishihara drinking coffee at her side. Haven't seem them in a while so I pulled up a chair and ate biscuits with Millie after she woke up. She didn't remember me, was groggy from just waking up, and generally doesn't like guys. So she stared at me. The. Whole. Time.
I also linked to both mom and dad's blogs, so if you're in a Japanese reading mood, check them out.

millie ishihara

millie ishihara, originally uploaded by renfield.

Much cuter when she's asleep!


sushi!, originally uploaded by renfield.

After work met up with Jen and Hiroko and Roland for some quality seafood and smacktalk. Roland is my hero, not just because he's now teaching at Tokyo University, but because he's buddy-buddy with my man Haruki Murakami.
We discussed the many ways Roland could work with Jen, and decided it would be best if we got a write-up of Jen's Japan Food Tour in the NYTimes travel section.

drunk jen & ramen

drunk jen & ramen, originally uploaded by renfield.

Hiroko too the day off to be productive, which apparently involved going to a sake-tasting party with Jenn and sampling several domestic bevvies from Japan's finest distilleries. She and Jen were right glowing by the time we met for dinner, which consisted of Ayu Ramen. Ah, the magic that is Ayu Ramen. And to top it all off, we got 5 chances at the lottery in the shopping mall housing the restaurant, and I won 500 yen twice!

robin in the hood

Robin came in from Cali last week and we had a right proper Tokyo Good Time.
We trained at Honbu on Tuesday and then went out to all-you-can-eat sukiyaki with Niina-gosoke and the crew. We tried to go to the all-you-can-eat place we usually go to, but it's out of business. We killed it!
On Wednesday I had to work late so Robin spent all day at Honbu working with Gosoke -- eight hours straight!
On Thursday Robin went down to Machida to do Toyama-ryu with Hataya-sensei.
On Friday there was no class so Robin went to the sword museum and Aoi Art and Namikawa Heibei, and then we had dinner at Lucky down the street.
Saturday we had a killer cutting practice with 15 people at Honbu -- took some good vids so those will be posted in due time.
After cutting and then cleaning the dojo top to bottom we headed down to Ninjin for some mad greasy Chinese food and then checked out the massive Yodobashi Camera at Akihabara. We looked at a mile of MP3 players and almost killed the guy who's job it was to sit on a ladder and shout with a megaphone about the special sale prices. Elvis upgraded his cell phone and we tried to get some coffee at the maid cafe but it was packed and they didn't allow photos anyway, so what's the point?
Coming back to the station we ran into Niina-gosoke on his was home. He couldn't believe we were still out shopping.
And finally on Sunday we took Robin down to the ANA Hotel, did some last minute gift shopping, ate a final rotator sushi lunch, and got him on the airport limousine bus.
Hiroko went shopping and I biked over to Honbu and did kumitachi with Elvis for a bit in prep for our demo in a couple weeks.