20 07 2012

Back in the day, there was a hit song by the Chambers Brothers by this name. I wonder how many who read this blog remember that…it has nothing to do with this post, at least directly…I just recall that song when ever I hear just TIME…

“time waits for no one”…the Rolling Stones

The action marked a milestone in my life timeline. It gave me a moment of weirdness in my inner space…seriously. It however passed quickly as I filled for Social Security benefits. Wow, how many years had I thought of this, and seemed sooo far off. Now, those thoughts seem like yesterday…but this is now. Although not as dream filled, starry eyed, naive,  other than a few minor aches I feel the same as I did way back when this moment was a distance dream. Even then, it was never about moving to Japan and starting a new life at this stage.

In this life you never know what the tide will bring…

We have basically about 3-4 months to pull everything together to leave. If this is truly suppose to be my path the Universe will pull it together because I do not see how by my power it will happen. I do see if everything worked out, we could barely slide by… However how many things ever workout just as one plans…one has to adapt… to succeed… to survive. Move like water.

Things are little by little falling into place even with the set backs things still are coming together. I will need to cut down on attachments ( ie: things that will need to be shipped) to make the shipping more reasonable. I have already emotionally dealt with that reality. Now I need to deal with it physically.

Getting the Kyudo seminar behind me successfully will be a big relief and free up time to prep for the passage. This is a constant thought riding in the back of my mind, getting past this Kyudo seminar, and it is purely just a personal challenge/goal.

Things are very different now from when I had all this planned five years ago. When I had a good paying job, owner of property ( well the bank and I did), nice car, retirement money… Ahh so different now. Life is like that change, want it, like it or not it is in your face. One has to adapt… to succeed… to survive.

There are three things, three events I need/want to do before we leave. My last stateside personal events. The 21st annual memorial banquet and tournament for my Kung Fu Federation. At the tournament this year I have four students competing this is a record for my school. Nice that it is for my last stateside school.

The next thing is a Chan retreat. It has been several years since I have attended a retreat even many months since I’ve attended a local meeting. This retreat is to be special due to the speaker, Juemiao Miaoming (Mark Troxell). I have personal reason for wanting to connect with him. He comes from a martial art background in his pursuit of Chan. Unlike many people I have met, most coming from a meditation, relaxing, background he is like me. The Shifu has made him a disciple so it will be interesting to speak with him. Too bad there is not enough time to interview him for my Kung Fu beyond combat series. However maybe there will be , maybe this what I am supposed to do. Either way it should be interesting to talk with him about Cha’n and the marital arts. Also to say goodbye to my friends and family there with both organizations which are separate but related.

Lastly the Kyudo seminar the grand finale. I am in most nervous about this. I will just do my best. My confidence goes up and down like ocean surges.

I have put in the request for the week off from work to attend this seminar. I am off from all jobs for that week and it will be a live-in seminar. However a completely different vibe from the Sonoma Zen Center Kyudo Seminar I attended my first year of Kyudo. I will be off work and away from home for this event. It is only 90 min from home but still it is a several nights stay away. On a side note. I really want to attend the Zen Kyudo Retreat (s) in Hawaii. I will plan on that, next year maybe too soon, but at least 2014.

A bit of a disappointment there are several people in my KYUDO dojo who are testing for Sho-Dan. However there is one young woman, a Nidan, who has tested with me from the first, when we started in Japan. She will not be testing this time she will be in Japan. Another Nidan from my dojo is pregnant, so there goes her testing …poof! I will stand alone this year for SanDan…Yoooosh!!

I hope I get a good spot this time, not Omae or last! Omae is nice because you do not kiza as long but … You are right there on front street for the judges.

I just found out the other day even if I am living in Japan I have to go through the Renmei group here on the states to test in Japan. What is the deal with that?!!? I will check into this more or at least I will have Sensei check into this. I wonder since I’ll be joining a local school if this still true. I thought once I left the states I would be done with the Stateside Renmei. On another note I have been asked to design prize vouchers for the seminar tourney. First official recognition I exist…

On a note close to that, when I was trying to join a school a couple of years ago, there was one dojo where I was told basically I was not welcome there because I was interested in Zen. This “Zen” Kyudo thing, I was told is not the real way of Kyudo. This school was the real Marital way. Now I see all over this person’s website references to Zen Kyudo as a real art.

My birthday is the weekend before the seminar. I have a sail planned, perhaps I’ll treat myself to go see “Brave” as well, for some fantasy inspiration. Jyo Zen Sensei is having Kyudo gathering that weekend. I would love to go, but…it would be too much.

After the Kyudo seminar it is full steam ahead to set sail for Nihon, with only two month to pack and go. Kind of scary when really thinking about it. So I use thought control… Or denial.

There is a bit of a side track for a job for Yoh Sensei and the ZenBoat. I will be flying to the East Coast for a week to the boat show, helping with marketing the Zen24. Then back to put hopefully the final wraps on leaving a couple of weeks following.

At this time i’m kind of like leaving Daisan going to Kai right now.

The New Year begins…

18 01 2012

The NewYear is on!

I get a sense of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. In another post ( never posted) I said it was the Universe’s job to provide me a source of money for our trip. Then out of no where, I was offered more hours at the job with Blue Pelican Marine. Enough that I could quit the much disliked security job. Really the same amount of hours as there,  but a little more money and no commute. I had at first planned on quiting…C-ya! However after some thought I have chosen to keep the security job for another four months or more. That will give me a couple of grand or more toward our trip. That would be worth the dislike of getting up at 3:45 in the COLD during the week and going to the JOB.

I have to say since I have been allowed access to the guard shack and I bring in my little space heater it is not so bad after I get to work. It is still cold and boring though but it is more comfortable. It also helpful to my attitude now that I can classify this job as extra help to leave the country and not just survival doing a dead end job. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak.

I have set the time here at four to six months, that will give me about 3,000 + toward the kitty. That is if I can pull this off. It maybe too much ! I’ll need to start getting to bed earlier that is for sure since I can not take a four hour nap once I get home from the early a.m. security job. I’ll have to ganbatte cause $3,000 -$4,000 would help a lot.

Meetup at the Dojo

16 10 2011

In the middle of our move from a land based operation to WaterWorld we took the afternoon off to go to a Kyudo Demo. This of course threw our moving time off and I ended up finishing at 3:30 am.

The Japanese Art and Cultural center in Saratoga held and open house. All the Japanese arts taught at the center were asked to demo. Karate, Kendo , Aikido, Kyudo, Calligraphy all had their spots.

LZ and I went to the demo as I was to help with the Kyudo. There were four of us to do shooting. There were only three Makiwara setup. Everyone did the pre-shoot steps. However as we had too many shooters and not enough Makiwara I choose to stay out of the final real shot with an arrow and I just help retrieve the Ya afterward. The time was short only 1 hour for setup and demo.

The trip was not a waste though. Our friends the Tokyo Posse came up from Monterey to meet us at the Dojo. We had not seen them in a while so it was pleasant to catch up.

We had lunch at a sushi place , however it was not that good. One of those Korean Owned places. Not bad but something is missing from the taste.

We wanted to go to a izaikaiya that our friend spoke highly of, but sadly it was not open for lunch on Sundays. Bummer, I was looking forward to that. This place is suppose to be like being back in Japan.

After lunch we went to a bakery next do some dessert. The desserts were good. Not a Japanese bakery but the taste was light and flavorful very Japanese style. Sho-kun thought the desserts look good also.

We will have to plan on another trip to San Jose to hit the Izakaiya. I have a jones (craving) for some serious Japanese good food and drink…yosh!


8 06 2011

First off, I hate packing, I hate moving! Now that is out of the way…

I started moving some stuff into the ZenKaze HQ yesterday after I got the keys. Basically though just emptying the back of the truck of so much just sitting there stuff today. So that I could more my first load of stuff which was mostly books to the storage/office. I have started packing my knik knack treasure collection at the apt. Moving is a hassle! I hate it! It is nice it has been two years since we moved. There was a time when LZ and I first started out we moved about 4 or more times in a a span of a little more than six months. What an ordeal that was. We have less things now than when we moved from our Condo, so that is nice. However we need to reduce even move for this move as it is a prep for the Japan move.

It will be me who needs to unattached from stuff more so than LZ. She is pretty good at throwing stuff away I am not. So in a way this move will be part of my Zen practice learning “to let go” I did a bit of exploring the office building yesterday and was pleasantly surprised to find there are two community lunchroom kitchens in the building.

The upstairs one us the nicer . Bigger, with a view and and outside balcony with a table and chairs. One can see the Oakland hills and surrounding area.

Nothing like our Bay view now and not private but… The $aving$ will be nice! This move is all about saving money with a side not of getting use to living on the Zenamaran. We should be able to put away about 1,000 a month with this move. Much needed for the trip and relocation.

On a side note today at work is a good day, I get to drive most of the day. Right now I’m sitting in the car, blocking an entrance from being used to a parking lot. I get to write this blog post, listen to Jazz on the radio and just chill in general… How cool is that! I just needed to not fall asleep 🙂

Blackness in Flux in Okinawa:

14 02 2011

And now for something completely different. The post here usually have to do with me directly, this one indirectly…

This is Black History month, so I thought this would be a good post. I went to a presentation the other day given by my friend who runs the blog Grits and Sushi. She and other Blasian woman gave this talk at UC Berkeley. Both of the women are from a Nubian father and a Okinawan mother. My friend was born here in the states and the other woman was born in Okinawa in Black Town. They have different perspective on life as a Blasian both here and Okinawa.

It was interesting listening to the angles of life in Okinawa. In a way it is said Okinawans are the Blacks of Japan. The Okinawans both looked down on people of color ( Blacks & Browns),  there and yet held them in high regard, do to their kindness to the Okinawan and the sameness of their suffering as second class people. The Okinawan women who had mixed children often had very hard lives and were considered trash by some.

Another guy who was also of mixed background had some very sad tales to tell of Okinawa during the occupations times. It is so sad people can be so heartless to others.

There will be a continuation of this presentation next month, this time there will be an added speaker, another friend of mine, who runs the blog Black Tokyo who spent time in Okinawa in the Marines. He will give his perspective on mixed relations there in Okinawa. Check out their blog for more info on this topic. It is a sad, educational and interesting topic.

and now for something completly different…Calistoga Christmas

30 12 2010

The day started out with the promise of rain. The weather spirit kept it’s promise later that morning.

By the time we got on the road it was starting to rain pretty steady. We made our way out into the boonies of the bay area, wine country. It is a nice drive no matter the weather of the day.

As we crossed from the boonies into deep boonies places with names like Yountville, Oakville, the views took on a different feel with views of the foot hills holding hands with the clouds.

There is something about towns out in the middle of nowhere that make a man of color get a chill . One knows to slow down and do not speed through places like that. If possible do not stop just slide on through.

Well before you get to Gernyville just after Oakville is a small town full of hot springs and spas, out in deep wine country, called Calistoga .

A fairly cool town. They are used to having a large group of diverse people come through. LZ has been wanting to visit. So instead of Christmas presents, this was our present to each other. Christmas day in Calistoga in wine country. We wanted to it some wineries however they were closed on Christmas day.

We modified the plan to Wine tasting on Sunday, the spa on Christmas. After we got in and settled we found the one restaurant that was open and had a small shared lunch. A salad and calamari both were good.

After that we headed to the spa fir a treatment. Being thrift minded I went for the foot reflexology. LZ followed suit. We were able to gave it done as a couple in a shared room.

The foot massage was good, however was more like foot massage than reflexology. Having studied reflexology and even gotten a certificate, that I felt some thing was missing in the technique. Much more of a ohhh this feels good, than a healing session.

Afterward we headed on to the pool and Jacuzzi. Water pumped in from the mineral springs is relaxing and said to be healthy to the skin. Great it was indoor. It was cold and rainy !

Next up was a light dinner at a local place. One of maybe two places open it turned out to be a pretty good place. The food was good and we got a small discount from the “passport” book given to us at the hotel. With it when visiting places listed in there you got a discount. Seemed like about 10%, better than nothing!

Also with this passport book we were able to do wine tasting at a large number of places for free. The average price for tasting at each winery was about 10.00. There was One that was 20.00.

The next morning at the hotel the breakfast was Free. It was fairly good. Fresh made waffles, juice, eggs, cereal, bagels, pastry, some other stuff which I forgot. I was able to leave the table with the ahhhh,

enough feeling.

So after breakfast and checkout, it was time to hit the wineries .  LZ had eight places on her plan.

It was another rainy day but not too cold so it was alright. We went to one place that had dogs tuning around that came out to meet every car that pulled up. LZ being a dog lover liked that.

Another placed we stopped had a cat that came to the car to meet us then followed us around. As we were ready to leave yet another cat showed up.

We made several stops throughout the afternoon, however did not make the 8 planned stops. We did do six. By the time we finished those LZ was floating pretty well. I held back since I needed to drive.

Dinner was at a place called “mustard”. Kind of a diner grill place. we did not ($$) over do the eating and had just a small order, which was enough.


That was or last stop before making our way out of the valley back to our island home, with as expected LZ sleeping most of the way.

It was a nice little get -a-way that was not expensive for the two of us to celebrate Christmas and the end of the year.

The rest of the pictures HERE

Kyudo on the water…

2 10 2010

This Sunday past, was the official naming ceremony for our boat, Zen II. A while back I had the idea of shooting a few Ya to mark our ocean passage. Then had the idea of doing Kyudo as part of the naming ceremony for our boat.  It went well. I did the full write up on the Zensekai 2 by Sea blog so will not do it again here. However here is a shorten edit video of the ceremony…