Friday evening Gosoke sends me an email: "Cutting in the dojo 8pm Sat for tv crew." Huh? Seems the TV show Adomachikku Tengoku was shooting for an episode of the Nihonbashi Muromachi area where our Honbu Dojo is, and they wanted to get some shots of that gaijin doing that sword thing. I soaked a couple of targets and headed to the dojo. TV crew arrived and we explained the place so the director goes "OK start w/a zoom, and when he goes to cut, pull out and get the whole thing" and I tell him "Dude, that's impossible." He kind of looks at me funny and the cameraman goes "It's ok, I'm a pro." I look at him for a moment and realize he doesn't have the faintest clue what's about to happen, so I tell him "When I put my hand on my sword, the cut is over about three-tenths of a second later."
This doesn't seem to register so the director just says "Let's try it once" and so I sit down, he says "Go!" and I cut. The cameraman lowers his camera and stares at me. The lighting girl turns off the light and stares at me. The director stares at me. The dude with all the rolls of duct tape stares at me. Gosoke is off to the side and just laughs and laughs and finally says "A bit faster than you expected?" So the director says "OK...can we try it one more time?"
I end up cutting about five times, and then Hashimoto-san from Toyoda cuts a couple times (though not from the draw) and then the try to take digital photos. Again I remind him that unless he's got rapid-fire on his camera, there's no way he's going to get it. We spend the next ten minutes trying to take a photo of Hashimoto-san just as he's cut the target, and finally get a usable photo.
After the shoot I headed down to Toyoda where Hashimoto-san hooked us up with a fine bottle of Suimoken and some quality eats and we laughed about the shoot and wondered when and how much we'll be on tv.
We sat on the warm electric carpet and ate and went through a wee bit of one of Hiroko's sake bottles and spent a couple of hours talking smack and life.
I keep trying to get Synth to write a blog, because his life is marginally interesting and he does marginally interesting things like teach at Todai and hang out with The Man and what not. But being a fiction writer already I guess he can't scrape together the effort to actually write a marginally interesting blog. He's too busy figuring out how to end up in a bungalo in Venice Beach, CA.
First we paired up and worked on some basics: draw and cut, step in and finish. With a partner holding a target and moving backwards, it's much easier to get the feel of extending out, reaching out, not up or down, with the cuts.
Then we did ren, with one person in front and one standing behind. The key is again to extend forwards and then turn and extend forwards again, moving deeply into the enemy's space, taking control and connecting.
I admit to showing off and having a bit of fun. First I did "heavy" cuts; S-chan was standing behind me, her sword held horizontally to receive my second cut, and when I turned and cut I just sank into it, pushing her down into the floor. She kinda freaked a bit wondering how I did it. To be honest I'm not really sure how it works. I'm not actively trying to push down or anything, I just kind of thing "heavy" and then sort of sink through her in more of a downwardly way, but the trajectory of my sword isn't necessarily going down because I'm still extending the distance to reach her.
Then the next time around I cut way WAY out and knock her staggering back a couple meters. Again I'm not actively pushing her, but I'm just trying to cut forwards through her, with less of an impact and more of a continuous drive. It's all in moving from the center, though I'm not entirely able to explain it nor teach it, just something that kind of happens sometimes and that I can do on occasion on purpose. But it sure is fun.
After practice I ate a handful of frosted animal cookies. Nectar. Of. The. Gods. The Senpokan posse brings them for Niina-gosoke, so they pile up in the dojo, assaulting my self-control and my BMI. But so So SO good.
Traditional Sunday evening dinner. Hiroko cooked, madly. And we ate, madly. She is quite honestly the second-best cook ever. (Number One is, in fact, mama. And if you think I'm biased, you've obviously never had dinner at her house!)
The yellow and green is chrysanthemum petals and spinach, sauteed. Damn fine.
Down the street from the train station is this house. It is, literally, full of junk. So full it is spilling out the windows. Every now and then I see an old man wandering around the piles, moving things around, perhaps adding a bit or bob here and there. Kinda redefines compulsive, eh?
Took Synth on the patented Akihabara Tour; started with electronics parts and ended with B-level idols singing in front of the train station and a Doner Kebab sandwich. He's doing research for latest super-top-secret book, and checking out the fan models of super robots in Akihabara was critical to that. No, really.