pork, pork & natto

pork, pork & natto
Originally uploaded by renfield.

Went to Dorobushi for lunch and had the madly delicious pork, pork, and natto. P got the veggie special. Then we walked up to Omotesando to check out Suruga Isho, which was having a sale. Chatted with the architects about possibly building a custom TV stand book shelf thingie...mmm, custom furniture...


Originally uploaded by renfield.

Eimi-chan, whom I work with, has been doing Shodo (calligraphy) for 20 years. When I told her I had a tokonoma (display area) in my new place that needed a kakejuku (hanging scroll), she wrote this mu for me.

Mu is the first character in Mugairyu, and it means nothingness. Ooooh, deep...


Originally uploaded by renfield.

Not really eating, just sort of licking and chewing. Practicing for real food.

father's day gift (early)

Last Sunday we checked out the Tiffany's in Roppongi Hills and P hooked me up with some sweet cufflinks:

Technically it's a bit early for father's day, but these are just too cool.

late night training

Big turnout in class today -- 10 on the floor and so no room for me.
We started with some stepping variations:
ayumi ashi: normal stepping; left right left
okuri ashi: shuffle stepping; keeping the forward foot forward
yose ashi: bringing the feet together (back foot to forward foot) before stepping out again with the forward foot
The point is to focus on balance and moving from the center. It's far too easy to just be lazy and "kick" with the back foot, extending the ankle (technically contracting the calf muscle, since using a muscle meaning contracting it, not stretching it) and using that to push the whole body forwards. But it's a silly way to move; the lower leg muscles are pretty small, and with all the weight on the back foot, it's gotta do the double duty of both holding up the body and moving it forwards. Much more efficient to move from the center, basically move out with the hip (not the leg or foot) of the non-supporting leg. Imagine trying to keep the weight evenly distributed on both legs, then bend the knees to give the hips room to move, and push the right hip forwards. The right leg is connected to the hip and therefore steps out. The back (left) supporting leg doesn't "do" anything; it just sits there supporting the body, staying flexed. Since the hips are connected, if the center of the body moves then eventually the whole body including the supporting left moves forwards. Not really magical, but certainly not the kind of movement most folks these days are used to doing. With the strong muscles of the body (back, thighs, etc.) moving the whole body as one, it's easy to translate that into the sword, so cutting out far, fast, and strong is easy, without relying on the small muscles of the arms.
I certainly don't move how I want to move, but I can feel some progress and I can see how others are still forcing their bodies to move, pushing and pulling with small muscles, arms fighting legs, momentum carrying the body out of balance. It should be smooth and easy, but of course getting to that point is the hard part.
After class Salty and I ran through a bunch of kumitachi for an hour. He moves well on some kata, needs better timing on others. I feel like I'm stuck in tar sometimes, just not getting my arms and legs coordinated, but in general it's all working, kind of. Will be good if I can keep pounding away every week. Salty can almost keep up with me, but he's got serious limits on the speed at which he can react and I'm really not that fast, it's just that I have better (well not better, but more effective) timing versus how he moves against my attacks. But he'll get there, he just needs to be pushed. I'm lucky in that I spent alot of time working with the young and fast who weren't afraid to really rip into me, and of course Gosoke taught me all the kumitachi personally so having him knock my sword into my own foot is a good way to learn.

more tonchan photos

Check 'em out here.

heavy load

Ah, the joys of parenting. For those without children and/or those not interested in stories about baby bowel movements, stop reading now.

So I was just about to get dressed to go to work when I heard a blood-curdling exclamation from P. Fearing the worst, I ran into the bedroom to behold...P holding a smiling Tonchan, attempting to remove Tonchan's clothes to reveal an absolutely overflowing diaper.
I helped pull the clothes off and jammed them in a bucket in the laundry room sink, along with the freshly-stained quilt that Tonchan was lying on. Back in the bathroom I held Tonchan as Hiroko stripped her diaper and hosed her down. Tonchan giggling and having a great time with all the attention.
It seems that if one has a stupendously large bowel movement, and then one rolls around on one's back excitedly, one's diaper is unable to contain the contents and one resembles a pig frollicking in its own feces.
Gotta love babies.

congrats moka!

Originally uploaded by mokayama1979.

Moka has a son -- congratulations!