jen, originally uploaded by renfield.

This is what happens when she's sober.


ouchie, originally uploaded by renfield.

The good news, Yasutoshi cuts REALLY well. Great balance, even though it's a whopping 1200 grams (my previous blades are 900 and 950). Don't notice the weight so much, but I did mess up on the placement of the menuki, and after 2 hours of practice, I busted this lovely blister.
So, back to the shop it goes for some minor adjustment. The quest for perfection is a long and arduous road...


IMG_0773.JPG, originally uploaded by renfield.

Hot damn. New blade. Must. Cut.

chicken dinner

chicken dinner, originally uploaded by renfield.

Ted and Hiroko enjoying a wee drop of sake.

@ hataya's

@ hataya's, originally uploaded by renfield.

Spent the afternoon hanging out at Hataya's shop, looking at stuff with Ted and Roger. Picked up my new cutter and looked at some cool daruma fittings. Ted got some nice horse menuki and Roger ogled the dragons. Hataya-sensei showed up a couple hours later and, being Hataya-sensei, told me that he forgot to pick up the registration for my sword. Then again, being The Man, he wrote on one of his business cards "I'm still getting the registration for this" and we stuck it on the sword. Any cop who sees that will know not to mess.

kure deri*

Boss MacDaddy had a free pass from the wife, so he decided it was time for some Team Bonding. The troops gathered at Hanezawa Garden for some semi-outdoor seating surrounded by kerosene heaters and we did damage to the pork and veggie cauldrons before heading over to Muse for continued revelry. After getting my ass trounced by Fish at darts (twice) I strolled to the bar and drank OJ with blatant irreverance as the converts traders continued on with what started out as none-too-politically-correct discussions of the many ways a man and his yen may revel in debauchery in the back streets of Tokyo.
Got home at a reasonable 1:30am, though I was first to slide away and I expect unending amounts of ribbing when I go back to work.

* kure deri is an abbreviation for "credit derivatives".


Big turnout for class tonight. I thought maybe it was a testament to my amazing teaching ability and charisma, but it turns out that most of the regular Tuesday classes are cancelled because in November and December it's hard to use the various school gyms as they are taken for end-of-year school festivities.
So with ten people on the floor we took our time; slow warmups and basics for over an hour, and then some simple kata work.
Theme for tonight started with the knees and how much they need to bend in order to keep the hips level and centered. As the practice progressed we sort of wandered about touching up minor points, and I had one of the minor epiphanies that doesn't really help but makes it much more fun to keep trying: relax when you draw. Totally and completely obvious of course, but when I do the one out of ten thousand just-right draw I am always totally mellow, almost not even caring. I'm not thinking about it, I'm not looking at my sword or my feet or anything in particular; just looking ahead and at the moment I need to draw, the sword is silently and smoothly out, without over cutting and with no exaggeration. Feels good, and so I'm trying to actively pursue that practical nonchalant-ness so that I can summon it at will. Non-trivial unfortunately.
On a specific note, I am working on keeping my left arm closer to my body; not flaring the left elbow and rotating the left hand to turn the sword over as I draw, but more of a corkscrew kind of twist so that the position of the hand (in X and Z space) doesn't change (only moving along Y; front to back.) This keeps the koiguchi more pointed at the point of impact, and tends to keep my from chunking the cut; comes out more smoothly and directly. Also stops me from opening too widely to my left, exposing my right arm to removal by an astute enemy.

After I got home, Ted was crushed and went to sleep, and then Jen showed up fresh from her tour in Kyoto so the Kuroda Hotel was in full swing. Jen takes off for Gunma and more research but she'll be back this weekend.

millie's big hat halloween

DSCF0007, originally uploaded by kenkayomillie.

I just love this photo.

and a good time was had by all.

IMG_0716.JPG, originally uploaded by renfield.

The 8th annual Suimokai Festival "Kenkakubanrai" was enjoyed greatly. Elvis and I did kumitachi, and I also did some cutting (with only minor screwing up) and finally when it was all over I did Part One of my 6dan test. Part Two has been set for December 1, so I guess that means I passed.
The Ladies made it to the finals in the team competition and despite my best efforts to fail them, they proceeded to victory.
Finally, in the Entertainment Division, Hoshina-san and her crazies from Akihabara did some rousing dancing and won themselves a couple hundred kilos of rice, plus cheap suitecases in which to carry it home. I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me.