Saturday, November 14, 2015


I'm in hospital. Rules for going to hospital:

1) get surgery done early if you can. Don't wait twenty years like I did this time. You want to be young and fit so you recover faster. Also, nurses are cute. Really. I think that's better when you're young.

2) download as many movies as you can before you go in. I downloaded nine and watched them all in two days. I can't download movies on my mobile data connection. I don't have wifi at this hospital. I don't game. If you're a gamer then being in hospital will be just like not being in hospital but you get meals brought to your bed. I'm assuming that gamers lie around playing computer games all day. 

3) the best movie for watching in hospital turned out to be "Say Anything" which was a surprisingly good teen flick starring John Cusac circa 1988. The worst movie was "The Act of Killing", which was more distressing than surgery even though I only watched the first hour of three.
The rule here is that you want your movies to be light.

4) have surgery in Japan. I've had Surgery in Japan four times and it's always been great.

5) local anesthetic if possible. General knocks you around too much. I also hate the being knocked out cold and then waking up what seems like a second later and realizing you've probably just experienced close to exactly what death feels like and it didn't feel like anything at all. Also, your doctor can't shave your eyebrows if you are still awake.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


僕: (昨夜の稽古で)ギボーと一本勝負したら小手を取ったけど、三本勝負に変えられ、ぼろ負けした。
妻: ...
僕: 一本目取って満足した。
妻: ギボーもギボーなりに満足したでしょう。


Busted foot

So much for easing back into kendo. Busted my right foot last night and am having difficulty walking. Bruised heel I guess.

Monday, March 16, 2015


Back at kendo. Went to the doctor to get something for tummy bugs, meaning I get to go to kendo early. Killing some time at Komeda coffee, where they make old style coffee with cinnamon. Reminds me of Castle Towers before karate at the Castle Hill RSL. Killing time usually involved a Mars bar eaten layer by layer starting with the chocolate coat, or a croissant purchased at Brumby's bakery and eaten slowly. A good rest before karate, which was usually pretty hard.


Bread - 2nd installment

When the dough has doubled in size it's done. How long that takes varies widely depending on climate and type of yeast.
Remove from bowl onto a floured board
Divide the dough into as many balls as you want mounds in your loaf. Make the balls by folding the dough in on itself so you end up with a smooth side (up in the photo) and a bum side (down in the photo.
Cover with a damp tea towel and test for ten minutes.
Prepare your bread tin (using oil spray here).
Roll the dough out and fold in three.
All folded in this pic.
Roll and stretch nice and long.
Roll up in spiral and pinch the end closed.
Place in the baking tray with the pinched side down.
Second proofing. How long you leave it will depend on how fluffy you want the bread, how much time you have etc. I covered for most of the proofing until it rose above the height of the tin.
Once I got it to this stage I baked for about 40 minutes at 150 degrees centigrade and then for another 10 or so at 200. I was doing tax and got distracted.
The result looks and tastes pretty good, but it's a lot easier to buy a loaf for a few dollars down the shop.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

White bread - Recipe for Rebecca

Japanese strong baking flour, "Haruyokoi" (Spring love??).
I'm using three times the amounts listed in the recipe.
Of this flour I'm using 600g.

 So, 600g of strong baking flour in your favourite mixing bowl.
Fine cane sugar. I don't know what you would call this in Australia. The measurements are three large spoons. Large spoon here is 15ml, which I think is the same as France (Australian tablespoon is 20ml). I measured it on the scales and it came to 30g, so as long as you use 30g I guess it doesn't matter too much what kind of sugar you use.

Table salt. 9g.
Mix the dry ingredients.

I use "Hoshino" brand natural yeast. It's as sweet yeast with a nice flavour. I used 48g. Not sure what you would use instead but I imagine that in Where you are there are plenty of yeasts to choose from.

Natural mineral water. 330g

48g unsalted butter, softened.

Pinch the butter into the flour.
Mix the yeast and water together and then add to flour.
Mix thoroughly.
And knead
And knead. Goes from being a bit drier than you expect to being a bit wetter than you expect before settling down so don't panic and try adjusting too soon.
It is supposed to get to a stage where it forms a membrane when stretched.

Ends up forming a nice ball. I knead in the bowl.

Transfer to any container you like and cover for first proofing.
I have a setting on my oven for proofing. 35 degrees for an hour and a half. Went out so leaving for a few hours. Already been five hours. Be home an a few more

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Thank you Thanks to Lionel for visiting on his trip to China. It was lovely to have a fresh pair of eyes to look at Japan through. Please take some time to check out Lionel's work at the following site. Thank you also to Dave who should be kayaking in a river somewhere in Nepal by now. Dave's and oasis of calm wherever he goes, and his entourage of beautiful women is not confined to Brisbane.

Nakano matsuri

Spent the afternoon at the Nakano matsuri today after getting out of bed at around. I'll post a few pics I took with my mobile phone on the left of this page.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Live at the Budokan

Met up with the club from Sompo Japan this morning at Nippon Budokan. The picture above is of the pre-competition warm-up. An panorama taken with my trusty mobile phone. The comp was the 全日本実業団剣道大会 (All Japan Corporate Kendo Championships). Sompo Japan's team has been strong in the past but its members have been redistributed around the country over the past couple of years so they rarely train together as a complete unit, and some of the team members have not trained since being relocated. Both teams fielded were knocked out in the first round, the first in daihyo-sen and the second two wins to one.

I've uploaded a video of the same warm-up as the above panorama. Unfortunately the quality of the video in my camera isn't all that good. You should get some idea of the mass of activity that was happening on the floor. There were 288 teams of six (including the sub) at the comp, so there may have been in excess of a thousand people practicing. Being there it seemed like a lot anyway. Turn it up loud.
Access the video from the following link
(You'll need Quicktime or another media player that supports AMC media)

Duck and cover

And here's a brief public service announcement to help you sleep at night.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


I finally got through to the surgeon yesterday to find out that he had infact received my message to the effect that I wanted to go ahead with the surgery as soon as possible. Looks like I am booked in for early next month which is frighteningly close.

I mentioned the surgery to Ozawa-Sensei and he said that there's no need to stop training; I should just do kata and basics without wearing my men for a while. He has a good point. I've also been asked to train at Noma-Dojo starting next month. Noma-Dojo trains every morning from 7 to 8am. I could train and then go to work. Do I really want to train that much?

Hard labour

I was admiring a shinai bag that one of the girls at my club had the other day and she said that it was made by a prisoner in Shizuoka where she now lives. He makes kendo goods as part of his prison activities. She said she has six shinai bags made by the same prisoner. The one she had the other day was really nice. It was blue with a sort of traditional looking white embroidered pattern. I want my own prison made shinai bag. I will have to look into this.