Friday, March 09, 2007

Kendo Update

Currently, I am sitting in the airport after coming here EXTREMELY early to compensate for anticipated traffic. While I did have traffic, it wasn't bad enough for any considerable delays so I essentially came about two hours early. And since I have nothing better to do with my life for the time being, I think I will put in another entry into my blog. This one may be a long entry though. Just note that I will be home when this is posted as there is no such thing as free internet at the airports.

First of all, I would like to complain about Midway's lack of plugs for laptops and cell devices. It wouldn't be such a big deal if the travel wasn't to be long, but I would feel better having a plug for my laptop while I'm stuck here.

It's about a month until the tournament in Cleveland and that day is approaching fast. I've been doing my best to train as best as I can in whatever way I can to be prepared for it. There are some good things and bad things about what is going on.

If the tournament were to happen tomorrow, then I would definately say that I am not prepared. I don't think that I would ever be ready for a tournament if I trained 24 hours a day, but I definately feel that there are some things that could be worked over. I've been able to attend at least one practice a week so I haven't been completely sedintary. But I would definately love to have more sparring time so I can reflect on my skills and work on weak points. Unfortunately, things have been heating up academically, so there are some times where I have to skip practice and training due to academia or just being too tired after a long day of school. Optimally, I would be training about an hour a day doing the basics and stuff, but real life's a bitch sometimes, huh?

I finally was able to attend my first seminar a few weekends ago. Miyahara-sensei was teaching for the day at the University of Chicago. I could go into everything that he taught us, but then I might as well write a novel cause it was a lot that he told us. He talked about things ranging from basic shinai and bogu care to suburi and even taught us a few things about parrying effectively. The whole thing lasted about five hours and I ended up being very happy to attend. The trip would have been perfect if it wasn't for the freezing rain that plagued the whole trip back.

While not Kendo related, I did get to go to an Iaido practice to see what the training was like. Unfortunately, due to me going back and forth between Indiana and Georgia for breaks (they don't have Iaido as far as I know), not having time during school, money issues and concerns over training for a month and then having to leave, I wasn't able to join. I do know that I will be attending Iaido practices once I graduate if I get a job in a place that has Iaido somewhat close by. The dojo I visited was the Indianapolis Budokan that is run by Andrew Bryant. Everyone was very nice and eager to greet me which was nice. They did a few forms and stuff, but I was largely impressed as I was watching.

I guess I can add something in on this as well. I've had to stop with the Japanese classes since my advisor told me that I needed to take other classes, so now it's up to myself to continue my Japanese education. It really hasn't been going over too well since I have other aspects of my life to worry about, but I try to get in a little something every once in a while like watching stuff on the AZN network, reading manga (love the Musashi no Ken) and playing video games in Japanese.

My reading is pretty decent right now. I can read a few things, but my Kanji knowledge is holding me back. When it comes to learning Kanji, I don't like using lists and memorizing them. I feel better when I learn by usage, so I'm more apt to memorize them when I read them and see for myself how they are used. For that, I am reading manga, though I would like to read other material to have a more well-rounded view on them.

My listening could most definately use some work. When people talk slow, I can usually manage. But since they talk very fast on most TV shows, I have a hard time catching anything that they are saying. I don't really know how I can get around this other than just doing more listening stuff. Anime is a nice resource, but I think I should look for more real sources to listen to.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Spring Break Plans

It seems like it was just yesterday when the semester started. Everyone hates that period between MLK Day and spring break because it's six weeks straight of school with no breaks in between. But the weeks flew by with very little warning and now, Spring Break starts in just a matter of days.

What prompted me to write this was an interesting thread that I read on 1up last week. Someone thought of an idea to take the idea of spring cleaning and bring it in the realm of video games. I thought that it was more of an idea of getting rid of the extra fluff in your gaming collection, but it was a bit different than that.

I'm pretty sure that every gamer has a collection of games that they started playing but didn't finish. This happens for a variety of reasons such as lack of time, loss of interest or increasing interest in other games. Well, this person's idea was to use the month of March as a time to compile a list of games that you bought and never finished and make it a goal to complete the games on that list within the month.

I've thought about participating in this, but due to my hectic college schedule, it's something that is impossible for me to partake in--or at least it would be difficult to complete any sort of amount of games. So I felt that it would be better for me to wait until the summer to do that sort of thing when I have more time on my hands.

What does this have to do with Spring Break though? Well, I've decided to try this out while I am at home for Spring Break. Amid the homework that I must complete, there is a lot of free time that should be better spent in making my gaming collection worthwhile. There are a few games that I would like to try to beat before I come back, and below is a list of them:

- Gunstar Heroes
- Super Castlevania IV
- Super Star Soldier
- Sonic and the Secret Rings
- Starfox (SNES) - Hard course
- Super Mario RPG

Since I only have a week, I wanted to keep the list small. The good news is that most of these games can be beaten pretty shortly despite the difficulty being high in some of them. I added Super Mario RPG for good measure, but I don't even know if I will even get to start the game after playing the other ones. I just plan on taking the games down one by one and hopefully reaching my goal of beating them.

There are also some other things that I want to do over break. There are some games and accessories that I would like to sell over ebay to clean up my overstock on games.

I also have plans to do some Kendo training when I get back home. I won't be able to make it to GKA this time around, but I have a shinai that I can do suburi with and a treadmill to do some running with to train for the upcoming tournament. I hope to get the cardio in more during school, but I'll have to see about that.
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