i got it!

Ton had a fever for a day, came home early from school yesterday but was fine this morning.
Warm spring day today, but expected to get really winter-cold tomorrow.
I can feel my hay fever trying to figure out if it's time to come play or not; crazy weather messing with everyone.
Except Mo. My son is apparently made of iron. Including, I sometimes think, his brain.
Recently he enjoys walking and refuses to ride in the stroller. He'll put on shoes (often his mother's or his sisters, my Little Gay Boy), and stand in front of the door mumbling, "fas-fas...fas FAS!"
He demonstrates how fast he is by running full speed into the opening elevator doors, and bouncing his head off of the back wall of the elevator. Acceleration he has mastered; braking, needs work.
This morning he walked the entire way to school. Every time I tried to take his hand, say when crossing the street, he would pull away and shout "I got it!"
Every time a car comes near I announce "CAR!" and both of them immediately hustle to the side of the rode and wait for the car to pass. This generally involves jumping off of whatever curb/step/planter box is nearest at hand. And of course Mo follows and copies his big sister, just with half the coordination but twice the stubbornness. If I try to help, I get a resounding "I got it!"
Then he runs off down the street, looking in every direction except that in which he is headed, with that weird, wobbling, tottering, barely balanced stride that only a toddler - whose brain can't keep up with his legs - can do. I sometimes wonder if he has knees for any purpose other than to fall on and scrape all the skin off of.

And occasionally he shouts, for no apparent reason, and generally in the direction of a fence or wall: "YAKI-IMO!"*

* baked sweet potato, an item sold off of the back of a truck that drives around the neighborhood in cold weather, blasting that word from speakers mounted on the rood, and baking them in a scrap-wood burning, smoke-belching furnace on the back of the truck.

new dojo

There were many reasons to open our own dojo; Salty and I have always agreed on why we train and how we train, and we got sick of dealing with politics and other peoples' rules about what/where/when/how to do things.
After a decade of doing it everyone else's way, we decided it was time to do it OUR way. For some silly reason, a few folks seemed to think our way was a good alternative to all the other ways already out there, so our plan for a little hide-away space for the two of us has balooned into a 70 square-meter basement with 3 meter high ceilings in the posh neighborhood of Aoyama.
Today I trained on my own. We still haven't put up the sword racks, or even decided which wall is the front yet, and most of the stuff is sort of piled into corners until it gets sorted...but the space is big, empty, and quiet.
I changed out, claimed one of the lockers, grabbed a brand new zafu, picked a wall, and sat. I enjoyed very much the fresh white paint on the walls, the new carpet on the floor, the firm cushion, the random building noises from the pipes and ducts. After about 20 minutes I hefted a brand new oar-style heavy bokuto (not that heavy, only about 3 kilos) and did 100 warm-up squats: bring the arms all the way back so the sword touches the butt, then keeping the spine straight, sink straight down into a squat as the arms (hand, elbow, shoulder) extend out into cutting position, letting gravity do the work, keeping the arms light and just sinking into a slow, heavy cut. 25 straight, 50 left and right kesa, then a quick last 25 with just arms, working the back and really stretching out the neck and shoulder muscles.
Given the bruised state of my ribs, it felt good to stretch everything out slowly and methodically.
Then I strapped on the sword, with new old saya. Elvis did a wicked good bamboo wrap and re-lacquer, and I just had to adjust the shim a bit to get the sword to fit nice and snug.
Ran through all 28 kata, calm and careful each one. Started with goyo, then go-o, goka, hashirigakari, and finally naiden and okuden.
By then the locksmith had arrived to change out the bathroom door lock. Earlier Salty had closed the door with the inner lock button locked, so he couldn't open it, and no one seemed to have the key. The maintenance company dude managed to open it, and called the locksmith to replace. He swapped out the old doorknobs for new ones that can be opened from the outside with a screwdriver or even a coin; a much smarter lock for the toilet than before!
I also called to get a fiber optic line pulled so that we can get some internets, but apparently the building isn't even wired up. I specifically asked the owner but I think he was confused; probably doesn't know the difference between DSL and fiber, so we are checking with the maintenance company if they can even pull fiber to the building. If not, we'll go old school DSL, or as P calls it: "Piiiiii biddy biddy biddy" (that being the sound of an 800 baud modem doing a handshake to get some intertubes.)
Finally I ran through some basic jo strikes, at least what I could remember, and then called it a night.
Next week practice starts officially, though we still need to figure out a million things, like which wall is front, where the sword racks go and how to mount them, target soaking, targets, cutting stands, book shelf...

Uoshin tendon

Uoshin tendon
Originally uploaded by renfield

Seriously excellent tempura lunch with P today at a random little place in the back streets of Nishi-Azabu.