I’ve been asked by a couple people to repeat my “travelogue”, like previous trips.
I can do that. But it’s probably not going to be as interesting. Last time, there was the DXK festival happening. I was running from training, to event, to training pretty much constantly.

Of course, it’s just my 3rd day here. I’m really only starting to get going.

Thanks to a flight running late out of Las Vegas, NV, we had to wait for the 60-ish passengers making connection to Haneda. Just when they boarded and the doors were closed — oops — an earthquake in Alaska caused a ground-stop for all aircraft not already in the air which were headed in that direction. All-in-all, about 1:20 delay. Better news – I was in a 3-row of seats and someone didn’t show. Japanese woman and I got to relax a bit. I have to say, I like the A330. A much more comfortable ride than 767 or 777. And with elbow room?!? Oh, hell yeah….
Still, 12-1/2hrs on my couch would be a long time. Flying to Japan is a very long ride.

Arriving too late in the evening to catch Kanna’s Phantom Show in Shinjuku, I headed straight up to Ikebukuro. Threw my bags on the floor, and pretty much immediately sat down to observe another student’s training. Followed by a quick dinner with Sensei, and then a test-shoot as a warm-up to a photo shoot we did on Monday evening.
There was talk of heading to Dept H, for their monthly party. I wanted to go. I really wanted to go. But despite sleeping over half the airplane ride, was totally and completely out of gas… And went to bed instead.

Despite it being referred to as the “VIP Suite”, the small room at the Dojo isn’t much more than space for a futon on the floor, and a hotplate. But it is plenty comfortable enough. Oh – but it is otherwise fully appointed! A suspension-worthy frame right in the room, already equipped with a bamboo beam, and hashira with a crossbar.

However, one inconvenience is with it being an office building, there is only one toilet on each floor. At that’s at the other end of an outside walkway. It was much colder two years ago than now. But still need to at least throw on Samue just to pee.

Bathing also takes a twist. But it’s a traditional Japanese twist. There is a neighborhood Sento only about a kilometer from here. $4.50 gets you a communal bath (or shower) and a soak. Like your water warm? The first tub is kept at 45C (113deg). Definitely gets your attention.
You kind of have to wonder what the local pensioners think of the odd assortment of white-boys who wander through. I’ve never gotten more than a passing glance. But a little bit of respect, I’ve found, will get you a very long way in Japan.

Morning means breakfast. And it was a bit of work to find a good breakfast place up here. I miss my apartment in Shinjuku. Easy walk to a number of fav’s…. Settled on a Yayoi west of the railroad. Decent food. Decent price.

Honest, I don’t remember all of what I did on Sunday. Travel-blur was in full effect. After a lovely nap, I did wander over into Sunshine City. There is a park right next door where a lot of cosplay kids gather. And it was full of them that day.
Interesting place. At that park is the monument to the Allied POW camp established after the end of WWII. Kind of weird that Sunshine City was built on the location where a lot of the high-ranking officers, and especially war criminals were held. And hung.
Now it’s another monument to consumerism. 60 floors of shops, restaurants and offices. Oh – and an aquarium too….

Lesson Sunday evening was very productive. One of the biggest “inside” jokes at Osada Ryu goes, “Hey, what ties have you learned?” Because we all know it’s way more about the “how”, than the “what”. We spent a lot of time Sunday on the “how”…. Refining technique – practicing connection and control – over and over. Sure, I’ve already learned a couple new patterns. All the better to express – and apply…
Dinner again with Sensei. And a well deserved rest.

Monday, well, I forgot that Shinjuku Gyoen was closed. Disappointed, because autumn is in full blush right now. A reflection of the blessing in my trip this past March, where I was somehow here for the entire Sakura cycle. Now, the Maple trees are the most amazing shades of red. Others brilliant yellow. So I hopped back on the train, and spent almost the entire day down at Meiji Jingu enjoying a favorite place, at a beautiful time of year.
Again, a nap – before spending a late evening photographing a model for Osada. I still need to go through those photos before I can post anything. It was a private shoot – and I need to find a decent frame where none of you can tell who she is….

And on to today. Breakfast again at Yayoi. Then back down to Shinjuku, where the Garden was nothing short of incredible. It was a very warm day. Probably in the low 70’s. Sun shining. Kids running around the open spaces. People walking, lounging, and photographing right along side me. But not overly crowded. I spent almost all day there. Late lunch at a new favorite Katsudon restaurant, and back up here.
Again, sat and watched other student’s lesson. Learned a thing or two from that. Then a dinner date with a lovely friend, who came back up to the Dojo to be tied. It was great to see her. And she’s a treat to tie. Very receptive. Very appreciative.

And with that written, now 1:00am – I need to go to work. It’s morning in New Mexico. And I have a customer to take care of. Technology is cool. I can make a little money at the same time as I’m spending so much of it here – from almost halfway around the world…..