Like everyday people…

26 11 2007

For the first time in many moons, I/we did not run off to do something this weekend/holiday. Thursday was spent Chillin. We watched some TV did some “puter” stuff and read. Nothing exotic to practice, study, learn, just being in quiet moments. It was nice not to have to be someplace else.T- dinnerWe had a simple dinner which was enjoyable, we were thankful to share it and have it.Sat. we arise some what early but not too much, we are off to Monterey to visit the Tokyo Delegation. We had a few stops to make one of which was at the Japanese market, for food stuff and Sake.Another quick stop to check out a marine consignment then on the hwy to Monterey.It was a fairly quick drive down to Monterey traffic was light. The weather perfect Autumn day of Northern Ca. The water at the beach was a perfect peaceful blue with just a light breeze it would have been a easy sailing day.We found out friend’s place easy and good times began. It was good seeing our buds it had been a while. They were in their new Apt, that was part of the reason for the visit, the other just to visit.Lady Tokyo had said she played piano before, classical she said, but wanted to learn Jazz piano. I brought along my keyboard and flute. After a while of visiting I got out the keyboard and went through a few basics on Jazz and Blues. Then showed her a few cord progressions, a turned on a few effects. From there we jammed, for a while. That was a high point for me. I got to just free style over some basic cords, and we got into a groove. She caught on well and we had a good time. Next time it should be better after she picks up her own keyboard and gets to practice some. I think we can do some cool grooves, that will be fun.

jam

(Note: Pictures are Arted out, Lady T is not comfortable being shown on the web. Gotta understand and respect that.)

at the table

Then dinner, OOOOSHIIIIII, A.E. did up dinner, and did it up right!!, The salad and pasta dinner was out standing! We had champagne, wine, and sake during and after dinner. We were in good spirits, but not wasted or close to it, all the food absorbed the liqueur. So unlike Nippon Style we did not get to the sloppy passing out drunk stage 🙂

table 3

We watched a great Music DVD during dinner, Prince, with Larry Graham on Bass, (my favorite funk bass player). With them were The Time, also there was Sly Stone’s horns section, James Brown’s sax player, & George Clinton also did a part. It was a GOOD concert. I was so pleased seeing some of my favorites. We chatted for while after dinner then went to bed as it was it the 2:00am range.

asaigihan

After a restful sleep we were up for breakfast, which Lady T was in charge of doing up. It was perfect for my taste, a simple Japanese breakfast! Miso soup with veggie, some mackerel fish and rice, with green tea. Simple, filling, & delicious.We watched a movie on Japanese abductions by Korea. A sad and interesting story. Something that is still not resolved it will be a sore spot with Japan for a long time.Then lunch time, Lady T. had started preparing almost right after breakfast seemed like. Of course we did not eat until 11:00 I think it was more like brunch.

lunch

It was Japanese style for lunch, sushi, tempura, sake, tea. Ah, very peaceful eating style visit, again Oshii!!! It was nice to have someone put the energy into cooking for us. We were grateful and full.

table

We watched a bit more of some taped shows from Japan our friend was in before we headed back home.  It was a good visit. It was good to ge out with our only couple hangout friends.Traffic was bad (read as it sucked) most of the way, but it was a good visit enough that the bit of traffic was not a big deal. It was worth it.A nice end to a couple of hectic weeks. I expect it to be quiet around here for the next few weeks. I will be putting my energy into my US Coast Guard licensing Exam Study and training (by sea blog). So nothing interesting here, I as far as I know… however things change…the Universe is funny like that.

Advertisements




Thanksgiving – Ch’an style

22 11 2007

Lotus

Mindful each moment

Each a present

Makes everyday

Thanksgiving





Shaolin LA – Ch’an

19 11 2007

Since I was in LA this weekend for the Kung Fu stuff on Sat. I figured I would go by Diamond Bar and sit with the Ch’an family at the somewhat new location. It was about 45 min drive from where I was stay and start early so I was up and out the door early Sunday. It was foggy, it got more foggy as I drove, but not to the point where it was a hazard.

D bar

I got to Diamond Bar very easy, the goggle directions were great. I was the first to arrive so I found a spot to the side of the building I figured to do some Tai Chi while waiting. I was just into some warm ups when the first car arrived. It was Tracey & Vicki, there were surprised to see me! I was an unexpected guest. I helped carry and few things into the location. The room is very nice, open, airy & good light. There is a fireplace at the end with some seating around it. I’m sure that is very nice on cool days and evenings. I could really get into meditating around a fireplace.

the room

It was great to see Tracy & Vicki, they were the ones who first asked about joining me for Tai Chi Chuan in the morning at the Santa Barbara retreat. We chatted a bit about this n that, then others arrived. More faces I had knew from the retreat, they were all surprised to have an out of town visitor. I was made to feel very welcome and a bit embarrassed by the attention. However it was at the same time, very warming to my spirit.

We did a about a 2o min meditation, then brother Tracy gave a talk on some things he had experienced visiting another Zen lecture and relating some feelings about connecting with others. We also did a small bit of Motion Zen , then a small closing meditation. After that I was called on to speak, that was a surprise. Since there were a couple of new people I spoke just a bit on my reasons for joining and somethings I had experienced without boring the ones who heard it before. 🙂

The Diamond Bar group has 2 sessions on Sundays. Each one is an hour. The first for English speakers, the second for Chinese. I stayed a bit after the first session speaking with brother Ronald and his wife sister Yi-ping, then the second session started. It was close to my time to leave for the airport, but I stayed and sat with them just a bit, and got another introduction from sister Vicki to the new group. It gave me a warm feeling to feel so welcomed, when I was just expecting to just quietly come and go like a like shadow of a bird before the sun. The warmth of all I have met in this group ( Heart Chan) is but one of the attractions, but something important the spirit needs.

Now that I know were the location is I will visit again when in Southern Ca.





Shaolin LA – Kung Fu

19 11 2007

I had the chance to attend a Kung Fu classmate’s 16th year, anniversary reunion event this weekend past. He runs the Shaolin Temple Lomita – Kung Fu school In Lomita Ca., which is south of LA. It was the first event I had attended in several years. This one was told to me to be different as it was more of a reunion for my schoolmates.

studio

I flew in late Sat. afternoon, wisely into Long Beach this time. It was much nicer experience than going into LAX. it paid off more so on my return as I was able to sit outside the terminal and snack, read and enjoy the sun and great weather. But I’m jumping ahead.

airport LB

I checked out my rental car and headed over to Lomita. I was running early so I wisely decided to stop at a nice little Chinese Vegetarian restaurant I go to when in town. It is just a few blocks from the Lomita Studio. I had a small meal, figuring since there was suppose to be food there I would not stuff myself.

I pull up to the studio just as my elder brother and another school mate are getting out of the car. I pull along side the car and in jest, blew the horn and grumble about people leaving their car doors open blocking the street while shaking my fist in the air.

After parking I head in the the school. It was already starting to fill up, with a lot of people I did not know & students who I also did not know bowing. A found a couple of my brothers, we talked in the corner as others showed up, along with Kam Shifu. We all did the chit chat thing in the corner next to the main table whist everyone hustled about making ready for the ceremony to start.

Things were ready to begin so we took our spots at the table.

I was next to Shifu, with Manual the school’s Shifu on the other side. I had a good seat for the show, honored I was, but it should have been Rob’s place since he is the eldest…and much closer to Kam Shifu. I was also seated next to Zhong Xuechao aka Master Bing from the WuDang School. He was unfamiliar with the Tai Chi Mantis style so we had a chat on a few subjects later that evening. He is more quiet than me, started by asking where I learned to speak Chinese. At the far end of the table to me & Kam Shifu’s right were all my other classmates.

my table

The events started with a speech from Manual Shidai ( younger brother), and group tea drinking. Then incense and 3 bows for the past Sigungs (Grand masters). Next the Lion Dance.

The Lomita school and the Las Vegas school both have well known lion Dance teams and sometimes work together on shows and events. Tonight it was just the Lomita school preforming, although our brother from the Lohan school of Shaolin was also there.

lions

Following that there were demo from the various schools. There were some 8 -10 different schools from both Northern and Southern Styles present along with some young Shaolin Monks from China and their Shifu.

monks

The demos were excellent. The one that stood out most to me, were the Bua Qua, Wu Dang and the Half drunken from a student of the Lomita School. Most impressive was the Hsing Yi Master bending the 1/2 in thick iron bars , that were shoved into his neck. I got it on film! Impressive, they were thick bars which could not be unbent by hand.

Kam Shifu also gave his healing demos correcting pain from anyone who wanted to come up. Something I learned from him at the basic level of but have no confidence in using. He on the other hand has a large following of people who swear by it, and some who do not, just to be fair, in my statement.

After much To Do, and Ceremony , the last of which was a presentation of black sashes to 4 students of Manual’s it was time to eat.

sash

Things were laid out buffet style with everyone helping themselves. This is were eating before hand paid off. There was next to nothing I could eat, everything for the most part had meat. I ended up with a small portion of rice, like a half a cup with a small amount curry sauce, 1 teaspoon which I could not tell if was pure veggie so I did not take a chance with more than a spoon of plain sauce also some garbanzo beans. It was a wise move for me to look out for myself and eat first.

By now everyone is eating and chatting , chatting and eating. It was worth the trip seeing classmates I had not seen in some 20 yrs and retouching the bond of Shaolin training we share. It was pleasing to see some are doing very well on their paths. Large full time schools with many students, film, TV, etc. Makes me feel like have not really accomplished much, however some have stopped training at all. I am still on the path at least, humble as it is…

the group

A few of us slipped away after the end, when folks were leaving and went to one of the old gang’s house and shot a few rounds of pool. It was like old times, but now with gray hair.

Some left after a few games they had a long drive, shortly after that I crashed in the spare room I had a early trip to Ch’an practice some hour drive away. I left the couple of the regular players still at it. It was a good day of memories and vibes.





Kyudo – Sunday

13 11 2007

 kyudo-guy.png

 I had received an email about Kyudo special practice this weekend. A senior student of Sensei was in town and was holding a practice session.

arriving.png 

I had not been to practice in awhile so I was looking forward to it. Also the session was to be outside so we were able to do distance shooting. It was something I had not done since Japan. Cool! After a few last minute emails, things were sorted out and the practice was on. The rain was the only factor and they had plans to work around that. So I get back from LA and around 12:00 am I get a new email, the location has changed, it is now closer to me. Cool, very cool in fact, so I thought. The next morning I head over and see NO oNe. 😦  I called and find it now has been changed again, back to the park 😦 Ok… I was close to packing it in for the day, however… it was one of those things that Zen practice says “let it go” I did and set forth for the hour drive. After a bit of problem finding the place I finally made it. Yippee.

 open.png

There were a couple of new people I had not seen before , who introduced themselves. Everyone said hi, (almost) it was good to see the group. It was a nice day. I watched for a while to refresh my memory on what to do. Then I had at it.

 rack.png

I spent most of the shots, getting adjusted, working on the form the draw, judging the distance. It was not easy. Even doing the form right does not mean you can hit  or even reach the target for that matter.  After a while Don, the Senior gave me some help. It made a difference in the feel of the shot, but I still needed a lot of work.

fuu.png

 Which is ok, because it is all about me, not a competition. Well at least not an outside one. I am my competition. Don told me something to do about aiming, I followed it and my shot went to the same place each time, but off to the side. I asked about that and made the correction suggested, better but still off… After a while of that, I keep the form instruction , but went back to my old way of aiming, now I was hitting the board at least.  I was also told something about the draw and release that was very similar to what was said in the book “zen and the Art of Archery”. By now it was getting heck a cold as the sun was setting. Everyone started putting on layers. Right now I got the cold bug from it.

line.png 

 Anyway if there was more time I could have made the correct adjustments to hit the target dead on. As it was the shots that were right on target near the center, just did not made the distance. I think it was 23 meters, and I was using a light Yumi ( Bow).

 line-2.png

There a Anyway, although a hassle getting there, it was worth it. I’m looking forward to the Spring Retreat at the Sonoma Zen center. Hopefully I can attend this year. I also have my Ch’an ( Zen ) retreat that month also, the following week. It should be a good month for centering.





Yata…

8 11 2007

I received a note from the company president the other day saying my Three Month Probationary Period was coming up soon we needed to meet. Unlike with the last job from hell I had not been feeling any danger vibes. In fact I have been very comfortable here, life has been good. Not my dream job but, it is still good. I have not been checking the want ads since starting here. I even have my own office now, & bathroom… sweet.

my space

So the Boss and I meet, she says she is happy with my work. Is there anything I want or need to make me more happy, comfortable, interested. No, I said I’m good, thanks. Next she went through the company benefits I’m up to get now. Nice!

 

Even though I’m not big on having to travel (fly) this is a good place to work until it’s time for the Nippon adventure. This job is a good thing (TG).

 

 

Kyudo practice this Sunday…

 





Half Day Re-Treat Fremont

5 11 2007

This Sat. past, Nov. 3, a half Day Ch’an retreat was held at the HeartZen Fremont Meditation center. It was in my mind a re-treat of the Santa Barbara experience. The size was not as large, the venue not a nature center, but the spirit was as good.

TA center

We started at 1:30 and went until 5:00. It was really after 5:00 everyone was still busy chatting that Shijie had to flash the room lights for us to leave so she could lock up.

The day started with JMJM shixong, speaking on the Nature of Chan, our connection with the Universe and with each other. On the spiritual level there is only one not two. What we do to/for others, we do to/for ourselves. He also touch on Zen in business, other areas of life, & mindfulness because Zen is not just about Meditation, it is every moment, everything we do.

JMJM speaks

As always one of the interesting parts of these is hearing other give their experience on their practice of Ch’an. Spoke of heath/sleep improvements, change of attitude on life, relationships with others. I did my talk on our spiritual connection with the environment. How we are as Ch’an practitioners responsible not just on a physical level for the environment but also on a spiritual level. Our goal of easing suffering and connection to the Universal chi does not stop just at people. We all connected to all things, all suffering, be it person, animal, plant, water, air. Their/it’s suffering is our suffering.

ecoflag

We with through some motion Zen drills as a group. it was a bit crowded on the mats , but we made it through with no injuries -)

After tea break we did about 20 minutes of sitting Zen. That seemed about the right amount of time for many. Following that we had the raffle drawings. There were many prizes and lots of smiles.

After the meeting I got to speak with Brother JMJM about the visit to Shao lin Si. (temple) and the reunification of Sitting Zen with Motion Zen at the Shaolin Temple.

It was a good afternoon spent with the Ch’an family.

fremont group

I look forward to the May gathering, with perhaps a special treat in January with a visit to the States from Shifu.

I will be in LA this month on Shaolin Kung Fu affairs, this will give me a chance to meet and sit with the Diamond Bar group.