oyako (parent & child)

oyako (parent & child)
Originally uploaded by renfield.

Genetics. There is no escape.


Originally uploaded by renfield.

Walked home from Shibuya station. Gotta love warm spring nights, with all the cherry trees along Meiji Dori in full bloom.

police movie party

sting party
Originally uploaded by renfield.

Ed,Ren,Brechte, etc.

Jer hooked me up with invites to the movie release party for Everyone Stares and I got there just in time to catch the last 5 seconds of Stuart's drum session. But I was really there to see Jer's folks Ilene and Derek, who were taking the movie on a global release tour. Hadn't seen then in about 5 years, since I was in West Hollywood last time. Great catching up with them! Too bad Jer couldn't join us. Ilene was particularly jealous that my mom has a grand daughter but, despite the fact that she's got three sons she has no grand kinds yet. However a many-branching family tree leaves lots of optionality, and they are yet young...No pressure, guys.

Afterwards grabbed some food with The Edo and reminisced about the good old Chiba days. Been in Japan for going on 13 years now...damn. Remember back in the day?

Had a good practice this evening. First, I managed to show up almost on time -- we started about 7:30 and trained for a good 1.5 hours. There a shiny fresh beginner on the floor (her second class) so I had her go through the basic basics whilst the rest of the class did their typical thing. At some point the theme became (I never manage to figure out what we're practicing until we start and get well into it) moving from one's center. There are lots of fancy ways to describe this, and several really, really talented martial artists who have perfected it (Kuroda Tetsuzan, etc.) but I like to keep things simple. The basic ideas are: stay balance at all times, reduce all unnecessary movement, remain flexible. All three are linked, and really one can't be done without the other two.
Staying balanced means just that; don't wobble like you're going to fall over. Keep your upper body over your lower body (or keep your lower body under your upper body.) Be aware of your left and right, your front and back, and whichever direction you move, make sure all your parts are cooperating, otherwise you end up swaying, tilting, dragging.
Reducing all unnecessary movement leads to the surprising yet ultimately intuitive conclusion that many things you do with your body to get it acting are really pointless. Straightening the ankle, forcing the foot to push off the ground and drive the leg/hip/body forward is a really silly way to start taking a step. Why use such a small muscle in the ankle to move the whole body? Instead, just keep the leg relaxed, pick it up using the large muscles in the butt and thigh, and get it moving from the hip. After that, the whole body will follow. The corollary is: use big muscles for big movements, small muscles for small movements. To take a step forwards, use the butt, thigh, and hips. To swing the sword, use the back and hips. To adjust the angle of the kissaki a millimeter, use the fingers and wrist. Also, you need to use the whole body together as one. In order to bring the sword overhead, if you're already stepping forward, you are in a sense stepping under your sword already, so there's no need to use the arm the bring the sword over your head, too. Use the wrist and arm to get the sword moving back, in conjunction with the body moving forwards.
Finally, flexibility is key to acting and reacting. The human body is really, really bad at staying still. Anything other than positions of natural rest are hard to keep; opposing muscles fight each other to tighten and stretch in opposite directions. Instead of trying to be rock embedded in the floor, be molten lava, dune of sand, flowing river, tempestuous wind. Even standing water in a calm lake is fluid; try grabbing a handful of it. Much harder than grabbing ice cubes. Being flexible starts with the knees; keep them bent and more importantly, bending. In order to keep the hips stable (giving you a good platform from which to move), the lower body needs to be like coiled springs or shock absorbers. No matter how the body moves, the knees must bend or straighten in order to keep the body balanced and moving efficiently.
Also, tension in muscles causes fatigue, and makes it harder to move in different directions; a tightly bent arm is tough to bend more, and really isn't a very good starting point for straightening out either. Tension in muscles usually means tension in demeanor, too. Staying flexible of body and mind means not expecting anything, and therefore means you are able to react to anything, to move in any direction.
Keeping the mind calm keeps the body supple; keeping the body relaxed quites the mind.


Came home about 8:30 last night, and P had just taken the Tonchabeast out of the bath, so I dried her off and clothed her up. She was in a fine mood, all clean and warm. Then P went back into the bath for herself, and I held Tonchan to sooth her to sleep.
She was having none of that; as soon as P left the room, blood-curdling screams and tear fountains. After 10 minutes, I finally just put her down in the crib and watched her from the hall. She calmed down considerably, but was still kind of sniffling. When P came back and picked her up, she immediately calmed down and was happy.
There are now two kinds of people in the world: mom and NOT mom. Ah, the love of a child. Until she's old enough to figure out that I'm the one who pays the bills, we are gonna have some respect issues.