Right—I really need to get into the habit of blogging when I've just done one thing. But I have so many things going on at the same time that it's a little mad.
The Girl with the Pink Shoes
This is a collaboration with Stephen Jackson, an excellent photographer operating out of Chiba. He took the photos and gave me guidance on the kind of story he wanted—I just put the story together and spent a silly amount of time filtering and distorting every word.
After taking nearly four years off any sword work (excepting about two weeks when I tried iaido again in Saitama), I have now signed up to learn German longsword at Castle Tintagel, an SCA-style group operating a few stations north of my current abode.
I've normally balked at this sort of thing, thinking of it as little more than ignorantly whacking people in the head with metal objects, but the organizer is actually quite good at what he does, and was a consultant on the new Berserk movies, which have some of the best Medieval warfare I've ever seen. He's developed an entire system of swordsmanship out of illustrated Medieval texts.
That said, at their major events, whacking is exactly what it is about—you put on armor and bash people as hard as you can until they say they're through. However, after years of pure theory, I'm actually thinking that that sounds like fun. I'm still working without armor and with padded swords, however.
The final sparring round tends to be a full melee, which can be a little scary when you realize it's a tight room packed with six guys with longswords going at each other willy-nilly. However, my time with iai and haedong gumdo has served me well, and I am rather proud that I won my second melee. It was three-on-three, and not only was I the last one standing, I personally took out all three of our opponents. That is probably the only time in my life I'll be able to say that, so I'm basking in my little glow of geek glory for a minute. One of my opponents was a former champion fencer, so it's not like I was beating on newbies. I'm nice to the newbies.
The Apocryphal Bible of a Soul
I've collected some of my early poems into a self-published book. It's been printed at long last, and there are about 80 copies available. If anyone's interested, I'm selling them for a ¥1000 softcover, ¥1500 hardcover, plus ¥200 shipping. Just mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like one.
The layouts are pretty good—I've done a full job with InDesign. I've been reading from this and from my newer work at What the Dickens in Ebisu on the first Sunday of every month, and I'm hoping to try Drunk Poets inShimokitazawa for the first time tomorrow.
Also, thanks to my friend Manna, I can now claim that it is being used as a supplemental reader at Rikkyo University in Tokyo.
No Time to Wait
I have been assembling my team to produce my first self-written play, No Time to Wait. I've tentatively booked a theatre in Shinjuku from Nov. 19-24. I am very excited to already have several wonderful people involved, and now just need to fill a few more roles before I can get started in earnest.
37 Pages of Poetry
Since I was madly busy with No Exit, I haven't been able to update my site. I finally did so this week, adding 37 pages of poetry that I've written since December, not including a 7-page indulgence in the slam style.
The poetry section on this site is getting rather difficult to manage, so I think I will henceforth put all my poetry updates on HowYouFeel.jimdo.com.
Here's one of the shorter examples:
A Sword to Your Envy
Let go of my ankle,
I've also updated my Models photography section to include the lovely Kat and the dashing Oscar.
After a year and two weeks of waiting, I am now a permanent resident of Japan! This means I can work where I want, and I can leave the country for up to three years at a time with a re-entry permit, and basically have free rein to do whatever I want except break the law.
You can only apply for one of these after ten years of living here (unless you're married to a national, in which case you just need to be married for three years and live here for one). However, aside from writing a Japanese letter outlining why you are a worthy candidate, it's easier than a university application.
The madness was that I got back from a week of training to find a postcard in my mailbox saying that I had to pick it up that day. I read the notice at 3:15. Immigration closed at 4:00. Travel time on the train would have been exactly 45 minutes. I made some frantic phone calls. It was busy the first three times. The fourth time, they picked up, and I was allowed to come back within a week.