Little House In Ise

Dr. Pervy II
August 31, 2008, 20:26
Filed under: Expat, Family, Japan | Tags: , ,

Biking home today Megumi spotted a 100 yen shop and we had to stop.  As we wandered around I heard the kids giggling in excitement about something. Kokoro ran up to me and announced, “They have a new picture! Come see!” and ran off. I had no clue what she meant but figured I’d better find out. She led me to the beverage section and pointed to a rack of Dr. Pepper. I groaned. The kids had found a new grotesque on the label and decided that Papa NEEDED to know about it. SO, Here is some more freaky advertising from Japan for your entertainment…

There was another new bit of anime art as well but that was a bit too over-the-top so I decided against posting it.

This blog has been brought to you by the caffeine in Dr. Pervy…

So, when do my product placement earnings start rolling in?


What Habits?
August 26, 2008, 16:59
Filed under: Aikido, Japan | Tags: , , , ,

Summer vacation is over and I am back in Tokyo. The city is cooling off. This week has been the most pleasant for training in months. Even so, with even a slightly energetic partner it’s not hard to work up a good sweat. Today I worked with a young woman who had so much energy, flexibility and general martial bounciness that I was soaked with sweat very quickly. I could not keep up with her so I tried to set a pace that worked for me but didn’t frustrate her too much (she has “Kill Bill” intensity in a much shorter package). At any rate, we achieved a balance that seemed to work.

Afterward, we chatted a bit and at some point I mentioned that one of my goals for my training at Honbu was to rid myself of bad Aikido habits. It was a simple enough statement that I have made many times in the past but she jumped on it. She wanted to know exactly what habits I meant…

Everyone has bad habits but for the life of me I couldn’t think of a decent response. That one simple question has sent me running through the Aikido card-catalog in my head trying to figure out what exactly I want to fix! Without a clear awareness of what is broken fixing anything is tough. Apply palm directly to forehead!

Going to class and imitating sensei is a fine approach to learning but to really “level up” a specific focus on details eventually becomes necessary. I know what techniques (general areas anyway) are my weakest but what about bad habits? So, my new goal, find and fix specific bad Aikido habits.

More Sweat — Less Foam
August 11, 2008, 12:31
Filed under: Aikido, Expat | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

A mob of world-class martial artists is generally what it takes to make me to speak in public. The Aikikai Honbu Dojo morning class is exactly that and they easily forced me to make an off-the-cuff speech. As a result, a nice French(ish) restaurant in the heart of Shinjuku was the scene of multiple crimes against the Japanese language. Luckily for all present, there was no karaoke involved.

The party was nice and the food quite good. Drinking and chatting with the various Aikido celebrities who frequent ichban geiko (一番稽古 : practice number one) was cool and revealing. Among the revelations was that two of the pretty young women of morning class are the daughters of a seventh dan shihan, morning class regular. I had wondered if they were sisters but it hadn’t occurred to me that they were more than figurative members of a powerful Aikido lineage. Aside from being a bad-ass (Nehru jacket, goatee and all), that shihan is a very proud father and, just recently, a grandfather. Oddly enough, these are not the sort of insights one picks up when being twisted and thrashed into a sweaty pulp.

I poured many drinks that evening. More than merely mimicking a Japanese custom, it also served the purpose of being a friendly conversation starter and ice breaker. Since working crowds is not really a great skill of mine, I only made it halfway around the room. However, I did pour for Doshu and chatted with him briefly. It was small talk but was nice to feel that he was making an effort as well. It didn’t occur to me until later that I probably should have asked him for an interview. Ah well… next time!

Near the end, Doshu addressed the crowd offering thanks to individuals and groups for acts of personal and organizational kindness over the last year and then he got to the good stuff — Aikido talk. OK, it was a party and he had a few drinks in him but he did offer one bit of martial wisdom: When on the mat, train hard and sweat, moving your mouth only makes foam. So, in a nutshell, he said, “More sweat — less foam”.

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