pizza salvatore cuomo

pizza salvatore cuomo, originally uploaded by renfield.

mitsui museum

Kinda crappy weather, but Hiroko and I walked through Ginza and down to Nihonbashi to check out the Mitsui Memorial Museum. Three hundred years ago the Mitsui family started up a simple shop and that grew into one of the largest enterprises in Japan. The Mitsui family felt one of their duties was to preserve the finest of cultural artifacts for all, and the personal collections of the various Mitsui branches have been brought together under the museum.
The museum itself is small, occupying the top floor of the brilliant bank originally build early in the 20th century. But the collection is stunning; pottery, scrolls, swords...anything and everything, with several national treasures.
After the exhibition we hit DPNYC, swung by the dojo so that I could grab my sword, and headed home.

cinnamon bun

cinnamon bun, originally uploaded by renfield.

gosoke review

Gosoke has been reviewing all the kata with the various instructors who rarely, if ever, come to honbu to train. I showed up late, as I do every week. He had already gone through the first 10 kata, so I jumped in for the next 10. He went through each kata, highlighting the key points and what to watch for when teaching. Verified a few points, clarified a few more, gave me some more homework to crank on, too.
After practice I went by Miri's for a nice burger. Everytime I've gone by the past few weeks she's got a private party going on, so finally tonight I was able to get in. Damn but that girl can grill a fine burger.

stop the madness

Nancy implores you to Stop The Madness!
I am not a literary man. That is to say, I am literate. And often I am quite literal.
I do read quite a bit, and in two languages. Not just the required readings of labor and life; I read for pleasure. My definition of enjoyable reading is twofold.
The first kind involves the joy of gaining knowledge through reading. Into this group I lump: anything technical including books on programming languages, circuit-building, and assorted geekness, words about words i.e. Safire's On Language column, cookbooks and other DIY, and anything historical, the more Japanese arcane the better.
My second kind of enjoyable reading is that which I simply enjoy for the process and experience of reading. It started with Where The Wild Things Are, progressed up through A Wrinkle In Time, rampaged through The Chronicles Of Narnia, the entire fictional works of Haruki Murakami (in both Japanese and English), and is now settled comfortably around Altered Carbon and Hardcore Zen.
As I said, I am not literary. I have known only two writers in my life, both roommates in college and both incredibly more intelligent than I. Daboo wrote a story about a child and a balloon that reminds me of the joy of seeing the world from the perspective of a five-year old. The Schwa wrote a story whose title was the sum total of the story itself, the rest of the text contained in one massive footnote. It struck me as sublimely ingenious, if a little inaccessible.
These men are literary. They read, they write. They read some more.
Notice that I have not listed any of the contemporary fiction rags; magazines whose design seems constructed with the simple purpose of announcing from your coffee table "You did not, and could never, read me. But my existence makes you exemplary of the culturally needy generation-Y to which you belong."
These magazines are generally an odd form factor (huge, or tiny), type-set and laid out by someone who studied something avant garde at RISD and whose idea of stylish I generally pronounce as 'illegible.' The lack of actual content, of words worth reading, is more than made up for by the complete lack of kearning, the jumble of typefaces that slash across artistic photographs, and the adherence to a theme that changes issue per issue, from "Love" to "War" to "My Roommate Plays Backgammon."
I have met several of these so-called designers, artists, "writers". Their paltry ramblings and headache-inducing creations fill my burnable trash recepticle.
Through that magical intersection of luck and timing, my wife introduced me to the guy who for a time edited the magazine produced by her company. He was cool; insightful, a writer. He contributed to Kuhaku, he wrote a book about the cultural phenomenon of Manga. And he knows Murakami Haruki personally.
Oh yeah, and he had this new fiction periodical to show me: A Public Space.
Immediately I was suspect.
Size: oddly small. (check)
Cover: arsty photo called Matress Flip. (check)
But then I opened it. And then I started reading. And then I read some more. Short stories. A smattering of poetry. And It Was Good.
For the last time: I am not literary. But I dabble in the occasional word (natch; this blog) and I enjoy a clever turn-o'-phrase and I certainly don't mind stories short enough to consume during my short subway commute.
And I got me a subscription to A Public Space.