the girls

the girls, originally uploaded by renfield.


We got up early and out the door on time to taxi up to the Chuo City Sports Center. The place was already setup and so everyone got changed out and registered, then before you know it we were lined up and starting the opening ceremonies. We had the standard boring (and long!) speeches from the ex-Cabinet bureaucrat, the mayor, etc. and then we're off!
Started with the cutting demo; me and five guys took our places, faced our targets, and did our damage. I think five out of six of us made our cuts, so that was good. Then Gosoke and Yamada-sensei did a jo vs. sword demo, and finally all the Big Sensei demo'd iai kata. Always interesting to see the differences between all the big guys; very subtle in some ways and obviously different in others.
After the demos we started the competition: single-elimination pyramid, divisions based on rank. I judged for several divisions up to lunch and my back was pretty sore from sitting up straight in a chair for a couple hours solid.
For lunch I ate with the guests and other sensei; Hashimoto-san provided bento from his restaurant and it was damn fine eats. I stuffed myself and then got back down on the floor for more judging.
My division, 5/6dan was last. I was wearing my formal kimono, with long sleeves, and had my tabi (socks) on, so in my first round I couldn't see where I was cutting and I kept sliding all over the place. I barely won, beating Tominaga who has always kicked my butt since years ago, but only because he's a long-distance truck driver and hasn't practiced much. Got into better form in the later rounds and swept my way to the finals.
Then it was time for all the final rounds so I was back to judging for the first few divisions, and then ran back to do my final round for first place. Didn't feel too bad, just kind of cruised through it as I was pretty fried by then, but managed to get three out of three flags for the win!
Then we did the awards ceremony, handed out trophies and certificates, etc. and before you know it we were cleaning up and getting ready to head out.


Slept in and got down to Honbu to get haircuts and shaves then cabbed to the gym for some pre-tournament setup and seminar. Gosoke was running the seminar, and Yamada-sensei and Konishi-sensei couldn't just watch without helping out, so they jumped in with many pointers and everyone was most appreciative.
We trained for a couple of hours and then cruised to Miri's for some tasty burger and turkey dinners before heading home for a decent night's sleep.
I looked all over for my zekken (name patch) and of course couldn't find it at all, so decided to wear my kimono, as I should be dressing up formally anyway.


The Senpokan Crew arrived well on time so I met everyone at the ANA Hotel and helped the guys get cabs to the hotel. BigT and Father Neeley piled in with me to go home and inhale a massive pot of Hiroko's famous black chili.
I bought a new wireless router earlier in the day (as well as some slick remote-controlled Ferrari's that we buzzed around the trading floor) and got that setup as we turned to living room into a remote office -- four people, four laptops, lots of key clicking.

crabcake @ cicada

crabcake @ cicada, originally uploaded by renfield.

Went to Cicada for dinner with some of the guys from work. Quality food. Had kind of a Moroccan thing going on, with lots of fresh, organic goodness. Tangine, couscous, hummus, lamb. Oh, happy lamb. Fine seafood, too. And totally reasonably priced.
The clientele fell into three main categories: groups of 20ish/30ish Japanese OL women. Old, rich Japanese couples. Gaijin couples. Gay men. Considering we were a table of 5 guys, I would add to that list "cool and heterosexual gaijin dudes from Wall Street."

guzofski in japan

FH030021.JPG, originally uploaded by renfield.

During the massive dojo basement cleanup I unearthed a bunch of old photos and had them all dumped to CDR. Here are a slew of photos from when Guzofski was in Japan; some shots from the Azabujyuban festival and the going-back-to-the-USA/happy engagement party. I'll upload more as I go through them.

capt'n DD

The Gaijin Samurai Invasion has begun! Captain Double D arrived this evening and being the real trooper that he is, showed up for class. At least it wasn't die-of-dehydration hot; weather's dropped off a cliff the past few days and now it's just colder and rainy and humid.
We cranked the basics and did a few kata for a couple hours, and then he was lookin' mighty ready for a shower and some significant sleep, so we called it a night.
I went home and came to the painful realization that my internet connection wasn't just slow. It's worse than that, he's dead Jim.
After nearly three years of tireless service, my Linksys wireless router is d-e-a-d. Can't flash the firmware or hardboot or system reset. Can't ping it, can't trace it, can't do nothing much but plug in the power and watch the red error LED turn on and stay on. Indicating (hello!) an error.
Time to get me down to BicCamera for some replacement shopping.

clean dojo

clean dojo, originally uploaded by renfield.

I spent the day cleaning up the basement dojo. I threw away seven trashbags of old useless crap, cleaned out the small room and made it into my mini-sanctuary, moved my antique tansu and sword rack into the sanctuary, cleared out all the useless storage under the stairs, rebuilt the metal shelving unit into a narrow, tall rack for the sanctuary and a rolling clothes rack for underneath the stairs, and finally I rolled all the targets and stacked then nicely into the corner.
Seriously didn't realize how much space I have in the dojo, and now with it all cleaned up I realize how lucky I am to have a house with a basement. I can use it for training, and Tonchan can use it as a playroom.
This house has issues; too many stairs, too damn hot in the summer and too damn cold in the winter. But it's got a big basement and plenty of room otherwise, and for the middle of Tokyo I'll be hard-pressed to find such a fine space.