Nihon Chronicles 2010 …Rain, Sakura and an Izakaya

19 04 2010

Day 2

I’m up at 6:00 am, dressed and over to the park. I started with some Chen Tai Chi under the Sakura trees. A short time later the retirees shown up for Yang 24, I joined them again. Afterward one guy tried his English on me. Nice fellow about my age, he rode a motorcycle, really more of a scooter, but close enough. In Japan there is no discrimination between “Bikers”.

We are having internet installed today at Mum’s Apt. nice, I’m Jones’n about not being in touch. Yet I know I am not missing a lot, if anything, but I do need some emails stored in order to TCB here on a couple of things. I’m back at my spot on the sofa now, watching the cherry blossoms and the light rain from the window, from time to time Sakura pedals float around the trees as the breeze frees them from their birthplace. I am delighted I finally got to see some Sakura here. Although they are past their prime there is the sense of beauty that once was and how they are all over the place in Japan, remarkable flashes of color. I am looking forward to seeing them full one day.

With the rain today and the nice view, it is a good day to hang out and really rest after our journey. Today the plan is after the internet is installed, which is an all day job I am told. It involves two or three sets of people coming to the house to do stuff. Phone company, internet company, maybe the provider, sugoi complex for that here. Afterward we are going with Okasan to an Izakaya for drinks and food. Wooohoo! Then a quiet evening at home. With Sake and the internet, maybe I hope I can see the last missed episodes of Lost and “V”. I would be a happy camper.


Internet is on, yay!! I’m reconnected to the world. ( all these post are of course after being connected, I just wrote the whole time on the computer and now sorting for posts)

Dinner and drinks at the izakaiya, was great!!!!!!!

I tried some new flavors and some old, yum yum,

I got my buzz going on from a couple of plum chuhais and we are back home out of the rain.

Good times!

So it begins…

5 01 2009

heartchan-logoI thought that ending the year with some Kyudo would be good for my spirit. I was right it was, more than worthwhile. Even with the extreme consequences of acute pain over the next few days. The pain will be gone in a few more days, the three level lasting benefits will be around for a while. A fair trade off, sometimes you have to go with the “no pain no gain thing”.

Today was the first day I’ve really been out since last year 🙂 sounds funny ne!  It was the first Chan session of the year, I wanted to be there.  I thought that it would be good for my spirit and in harmony with the energy that seem to evolve to make this happen. Good ending , good start…philosophy. I had a bit of luck just before the end of the year, my car was repaired and cost me LESS than Half of the estimate!  Whooohoo ! How cool is that and rare !  Sweet!

Today I wanted to get the first of three New Year activities off to a good start. I headed to Fremont for Chan practice. My only disappointment for the day was, I invited a former student of mine to come Chan practice. I did not even get a reply to the email.  I was called and told how unhappy life/job was for her I thought it may help. Oh well, I tried… you can lead a horse. One of the things I still need to work on is not being so disappointed by the lack of courtesy by some people. LZ says I will be happier in Nihon with the overall manners of people. Hmmmm.

Our last meeting was on the Winter Solstice, this time it is the first Sunday of the year. It was cold again, I was ready I wrapped up and was good to go. As the group was small we sat in a circle and chatted about the plans for the New Year for the group. When I first started with the group there was only the one group to practice with here in the Bay area, now there are several. In different areas over the Bay Area. One of the topics of discussion was, having a meeting in Fremont as the main hub just once a month. More external focus places on the satellite groups. This works out for me, as I had planned on attending only once a month due to the drive. It will be a longer session to make it worthwhile for all to travel the distance since we are all spread out. It all sounded good to me. I came up with the plan to take my Kung Fu students to the Berkeley meeting once a month since it is on the same night as a class. It can be their feild trip and get to add some further balance to their studies. Perfect that one of my senior students asked about more meditation coverage, and I wanted to add more of  a spiritual training experience to martial training. This may workout well.

Another topic was that our practice was not just about sitting and meditating. Chan is more than just sitting. Our Chan practice is about living, the quality of our lives and how we interact with our environment which is an extendcion of ourselves…that is our practice…living.

Twilight Zone kind of feeling…

2 01 2009

The transportation vessel awoke early on New Years Day. I was up about my usual time of 6:30 am. It is still dark. It takes me a few minutes to get myself organized and awake enough to do morning sitting practice. It has been a couple of years now, I no longer think about trying to do it or how to breathe to get past the sleeping leg. I can focus on my breathing Chi now. Another help another great help I have now is my timer. It is  so wonderful, a bit ( the only) of a treat for Christmas. It is called a ENSO Clock it can lay flat or stand up. This is the timer to have fro your sessions!  I use it as an alarm for the morning and as a timer for my Meditation practice, Love it! What makes this clock so cool is. It has selection of bells/gong to choose from to hear, four. You can get the effect of being in a temple or hall. Also you can set the volume, so it is not shocking a jolt back to the world of illusions.


Next item from the day was some Motion Chan. I practiced, Chen Tai Chi first to get things going internally. Next was Tai Chi Palm Sword it is my second favorite Jian set also my only Tai Chi weapon set, so I need to keep it familiar. Next up was a Mantis set. One of the original 4, Lan-Jie another personal favorite. My final practice for the day was Tai Chi Palm, Our Tai Chi Praying Mantis, Tai Chi form. That along with some breath Chi Gong I felt gave me a good foundation for the day and start fro the New Year.   I am feeling good that I could even do these sets. For the last couple of days I have been in major pain. Back, shoulder, rib pain. Sometimes to the point of I would need to stop what I was trying to do and get my breath back while waiting for the wave of extreme pain to pass. Pain like near heart attack level stop you in your tracks pain. I pulled something when I was fighting a cold, sneezing. Then I went to Kyudo and re-worked those muscle groups…too much. Now the consequences…ow. At least I am healing I should be ready for first shot of the year on Monday. I happened to have a Doctor appt the next day of Kyudo, so he checked me over. Agreeing it was a muscle thing.  I feel like I am working my way into the New Year somewhat in the reverse of leaving 08’. I have Heart Chan on Sunday, then Kyudo on Monday and my official Shaolin Class starts on Weds.


As we have a Japanese base household, we follow that path on New Years, we have a quiet reflective New Years eve and day. I spent part of mine writing an article about the Art of Kyudo, Life and Zen…as I saw it. Our friend over at Black requested an article for his site-mag.  I thought it turned out pretty well, a re-write of something I posted here long ago. I had even used a couple of nice examples that came to mind to help with a concept or cross-concept explanations. All of this explained purely from what I felt in my heart was the connection or correlation in something and Zen wither it was motion or sitting, Yang or Yin Chan.

I had purchased sometime ago a Heart Chan CD that is played sometimes at our sessions. We do not have music going during our sessions, this is played before our sessions start. I had yet to listen to it. One thing leading to another, it had been sitting on my CD rack…waiting for it’s time.


I had been so pleased to find out someone ( thanks everyone) had translated more than a few words from the Shifu’s various talks and lectures. There is now an English book. A fine example of good things in small packages. My copy had arrived a few days ago.  I had only read the first few pages to see what was going to be in it. I did the forward, intro, etc, I had yet to get to the meat of the book…

This book is given free to anyone who requests it. It is an easy to read, little book. a Small donation is appreciated

I decide for NY’s afternoon I would read Shifu’s book and listen to the CD, perfect. It would be a good mind set to be in going into the New Year, on the first day of the New Year. So I started to read. The music is nicer than than I recall. It is not really listened to at the meetings as there is social stuff going on. Now it fits in the background for reading. It plays just at the edge of awareness, enough to hear without listening unless you want to. I’m a pretty fast reader and the book is very readable with the CD playing. About 1/4 – 1/2 of the way into the book and I get shocked!

There are several pages that Shifu is explaining Chan. Chan’s relationship to things, to something, a way of mind, of life, etc. What is shocking is several of the examples are the same as what I used in my article about Kyudo/Zen and Life. One of the examples about order in nature is almost word for word with the Shifu’s. I am shocked. I think Wow I’m on the right path, I guess I do get the basics of this. I recall the words about resonating with Shifu and a story brother JMJM told about someone wondering what to say when giving a lecture. When the person just let go, let it happen and connected to Chan in his heart, resonated with Shifu, the lecture went well. That is how I felt about my article. When asked to write something, I did not think I had the words. Once I stopped thinking in words and expressed feelings, how things work for me, Chan via my heart the article wrote itself. Now to see some explanations are the same as Shifu’s gives me a pleasant but strange Twilight Zone kind of feeling.

Happy New Year

Yokoso 09’…goals…The Eightfold Path…

2 01 2009
  1. Right View
  2. Right Thought
  3. Right Speech
  4. Right Action
  5. Right Livelihood
  6. Right Effort
  7. Right Mindfulness
  8. Right Meditation

haPpy NEw yEar – あけまして。。。

31 12 2008



the Zen Crew  _/)



A master of the tea ceremony in old Japan once accidentally slighted a soldier. He quickly apologized, but the rather impetuous soldier demanded that the matter be settled in a sword duel. The tea master, who had no experience with swords, asked the advice of a fellow Zen master who did possess such skill. As he was served by his friend, the Zen swordsman could not help but notice how the tea master performed his art with perfect concentration and tranquility. “Tomorrow,” the Zen swordsman said, “when you duel the soldier, hold your weapon above your head, as if ready to strike, and face him with the same concentration and tranquility with which you perform the tea ceremony.” The next day, at the appointed time and place for the duel, the tea master followed this advice. The soldier, readying himself to strike, stared for a long time into the fully attentive but calm face of the tea master. Finally, the soldier lowered his sword, apologized for his arrogance, and left without a blow being struck.


New Year Awaits

New waters to sail

Fair winds or storms

may your center be calm…Zen 08′ _/)


Christmas in Zenland

31 12 2008

In our bubble here in Nor-Cal I have tired to ignore the world stuff during the holidays,  so our Christmas was quiet and peaceful. Which was exactly as we wanted it. LZ had off for a change and she was mixed in feelings on having it, because it meant she would have to work on New Years day. To Japanese that is the big event. Christmas is fun and all that, but New Years is the big Kauna.


Anyway back to Christmas, we did not go anywhere. I spoke with my Mum by phone. #2 son sent an e-card, and #1 is Muslim. A few cards came from friends, and a we did Skype chat with our buds. In the pad ( that is old school talk for home) or Crib (as we called it, back in the day) we were warm and cozy. It was suppose to rain but it did not, no matter we had no plans other than to chill for the day. We did my little happy birthday JC ceremony and kickit (relaxed) the rest of the day.


We had put up some Christmas decoration around the house. LZ likes that Christmas lights feeling, we did all blue this year.


Dinner was Simple, looked good, Hot, Filling, and Oishii ( yummy)  and inexpensive. It was a good day in Zenland. We felt thankful.


Sat. we went drove out to Sac to visit my Mum. The traffic was horrible! It made me sad. I really dislike sitting in traffic. It does not get me bent out of shape it is just , sad to sit there being late. However before that…hills

We had a the chance to view the Apt that LZ had been craving to see.  We drove over there before heading to Sac.


It was in a good location, the price was good, the building was good, the Apt layout was good, the view was not. It was a let down.One can just see a sliver of a view if one looks across the top of the bulding . Yeah the one with the trash cans.


More so for her than me. I could tell before I saw from the balcony, when I was in the parking lot the view would not be all that. I was correct. Oh well, when the Need is ready the Place will come. That is part of that trusting the Tao/God/ Great Spirit/Universe thing… That on going lesson…test… whatever.

Ganbatte!  Yosh !

Merry Christmas- Happy Holidays

23 12 2008


Whatever you celebrate, may it be filled with love. Best wishes for a Happy Love filled Holiday.