Went with mom and P to visit Mako in the hospital. She had a really bad fever and swollen, infected tonsils so she's spending a few days getting an IV drip and relaxing. Her fever is almost gone and she feels much better, but her throat is still soar and she's pretty weak. We brought her a bunch of food and magazines and stuff, and I think she's enjoying a relaxing break in a clean, nice hospital. This is also the perfect chance to get her to stop smoking, so I confiscated her smokes and told her if she stayed clean for a month I'd feed her and buy her all kinds of stuff. I don't mind using bribes when it's for her own good!
The good things about being a once-a-year lightweight are twofold:
1) I have no tolerance and am therefore a cheap date. After beer one, I was feeling fine.
2) It is literally a once-a-year occassion, and so everyone makes an effort to join so as not to miss it.
We started the evening at Dubliner's in the basement. Fish & chips and a Kirin draft. I remembered why I don't do this regularly: beer tastes like crap! After I finished a pint I didn't mind the taste so much, I just tried not to trip on my own feet walking out.
Next we headed to the Absolute Icebar. By now everyon's heard about this place. It's a giant -20°C freezer and everything, including the glasses, are made out of ice shipped in from Sweden. Did I mention it was cold? Even with the bar-provided jacket and gloves, it was cold. No, I mean COLD. After drinking two Absolut Vodka blends and biting a chunk out of my ice glass, we moved down the street.
Figure Complex is a randomly cool bar/club that looks like Ghost In The Shell, or a really clean, Japanese Blade Runner. The staff are all very into it as well, and after a few more beverages, Miho, Maki, Yoshimi and the rest were having a fine time...or at least I was.
By now I was well into Gettin' My Drink On, and it was time to move to Mogambo's. It was a celebration of 40Below vodka, so that meant I simply had to ring the bell (the first time I was there when Lee rang the bell, I have no recollection of that entire evening), buying everyone in the bar a shot. It sounded like a good idea at the time...
I then managed to avoid getting assaulted by Russian hostesses (see previous adventures) though I was certain that a Ukrainian lass was fondling my shaved head, only to find out it was in fact Richard. At some point I managed to outlast Simon (who had snuck back to work to get his housekeys, a better alternative to sleeping in the entrance lobby of his apartment) and did at least as much damage to Richard (who is English, and therefore a professional) as I did to myself, though I "took wee naps" (don't call it passing out) at the table, responding to the occasional "Be Strong!" with my fists at my temples, index fingers pointed horn'dly skywards, croaking a feeble "strong. like. bull."
Usually we practice some basic patterns: step left start drawing, step right and cut, step left and ready the sword, step right and cut again. Problem is there is no distinction between the movement -- closing in on a retreating opponent -- and the final enter-and-cut, which both closes and powers the cut.
So we mixed it up and tried stepping only once, stepping three times, stepping back and cutting, etc. Trying to get people to think about distance and about powering the cut with the hips. Should not matter which direction you move, what matters is the distance to where you're cutting, or more specifically the distance between where you are, where he is, and where you will be and where he will be when you connect the cut.
This tied nicely into the kata gyokko, my absolute least favorite kata simply because I really, really cannot do it worth any beans whatsoever. It's the perfect way to concentrate on moving (back, out of the way) without losing the hips which must immediately return and drive the cut forward.
And btw it looks like Elvis rocked his 2dan in aikido. Nice job; back to work!
We headed out to the Fighting Fitness Gym for a seminar on Nanba Movement; concentrating on the bones, joints, hips, and inner muscles when moving, as opposed to just the outer muscles. Lots of fun doing cool stretching and movement exercises.
After that we were pretty hungry so we headed out to Sankoen for a yakiniku meating cooking feast.