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1.I never act contrary to traditional morality.
2.I have no partiality for anyone or anything.
3.I never try to snatch a moment of ease.
4.I think little of myself but much of the public.
5.I am entirely free of acquisitiveness throughout my life.
6.I never regret what I have done.
7.I never envy others for their good luck, or on account of my ill luck.
8.I never grieve at parting from anyone or anything at whatever time.
9.I never reproach either myself or others; never complain about myself or others.
10.I never dream of falling in love with a woman.
11.Likes and dislikes, I have none.
12.Whatever my dwelling house may be, I take no objection to it.
13.I never desire dainty food for myself.
14.I never have antique objects or curios in my possession.
15.I never perform purification or observe abstinence to protect myself against evils.
16.I have no taste for implements of any kind, excepting swords and other arms.
17.I would never grudge my life in the cause of righteousness.
18.I never wish to have any estate that would make my old age comfortable.
19.I worship Gods and Buddhas, but never think of depending on them.
20.I would sooner lay down my life than disgrace my good name.
21.Never for a moment does my heart and soul stray from the way of swordsmanship.
The 12th day of the 5th month, the 2nd year of Shoho (May 12, 1645) Shinmen Musashi
I went to karaoke last week. I only go about once a year. Kara is empty as in karate and oke is short for orche - stra. Empty orchestra. The guy who invented karaoke didn't patent it and didn't make any money from it.
Once after an aikido event I went to a large karaoke bar with a few of the teachers. Sadateru Arikawa sensei came too. That was not so common. He didn't like social drinking much and he didn't like noisy places. He certainly didn't like singing. He was always happy to talk about aikido but it's difficult to talk against a background of karaoke.
Arikawa sensei didn't want to sing but some of the teachers were insistent. So eventually he agreed. Reluctantly. He had damaged his throat when he was young. His speaking voice was very quiet and husky. And his singing voice was very thin. But he liked me to sing songs in English.
Sometimes I sing Japanese songs. One of them is Ue o Muite Arukou. It's a positive and happy song with a catchy melody. I walk looking up. It was the first Japanese song to hit number one in the USA and it is one of the biggest selling singles of all time. It was bizarrely called Sukiyaki in English - a kind of grilled meat hot pot. The singer of Ue o Muite Arukou was Kyu Sakamoto. He died in the crash of JAL 123 on 12 August 1985. I remember that plane crash. It was the worst single plane crash in history. That night Ue o Muite Arukou had been playing when I had a meal in a Jap
This week another video clip of a cool swordfight. And how this clip and last week's clip relate to aikido. It's from Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai directed by Takashi Miike. It's the trailer not the complete fight so try to get hold of the movie.
There is a superb fight sequence. The actor Hiroyuki Sanada enters, breaks the balance, gets behind his opponent, and completely controls his opponent's weapon. A couple of times he deliberately leaves an opening for his opponent to attack and then counters expertly. As I mentioned he has extensive experience in martial arts and in action movies and his sword work is very natural.
This other excellent recent samurai movie is Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai from 2011 directed by Takashi Miike. The Japanese title is Ichimei. Another movie directed by Takashi Miike I really liked is 13 Assasins. I'll talk about that movie another time.
In fact Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai is a remake of a great classic Japanese samurai movie Harakiri directed by Masaki Kobayashi. The Japanese title of that movie is Seppuku. That's another movie I'll talk about some other time.
For now there is also a wonderful fight sequence in Hara-kiri: Death of a Samurai. The kabuki actor Ichikawa Ebizo XI plays the main character. I doubt if he has any direct martial arts experie
Yoji Yamada is famous as the director of the popular Otoko wa tsurai yo - It's hard being a man - series of Tora-san movies. They are rather lightweight. So the samurai trilogy Yamada directed subsequently was a wonderful surprise.
The three movies are The Twilight Samurai, The Hidden Blade and Love and Honor. I recommend them - they are all really excellent movies.
The swordfight is interesting because the main character Seibei uses a short wooden sword against his opponent's katana. A little like Miyamoto Musashi using a sword carved from an oar in his duel with Sasaki Kojiro.
Hiroyuki Sanada who plays Seibei has a background in martial arts and he is one of the few Japanese actors who looks competent when he is using a sword. He was in The Last Samurai and he is also in 47 Ronin due for release in 2013.
All I need is
I can't imagine
A way of certifying experience, taking photographs is also a way of refusing it - by limiting experience to a search for the photogenic, by converting experience into an image, a souvenir. Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs.
Susan Sontag, On Photography
Pieces, bits and pieces
Add up through the years
I've collected a small fortune
falling sick on a journey
my dream goes wandering
over a field of dried grass
We received some Japanese confectionery this week. A souvenir of a trip to Kyoto. Japanese people like to give souvenirs - omiyage - to friends and family after trips. Speciality food from the area they visited is very popular.
The confectionery was yatsuhashi. There are soft types and hard types. The soft type usually has a sweet filling like bean paste or sesame paste. The hard type is a little like Belgian cinnamon and ginger speculoos cookies.
The package said since 1689. Showing the date of a company or a shop has become fashionable. A coffee shop shows since 1977 on its sign. A microbrewery shows since 1996 on its beer labels. But hundreds of years old is very rare.
About the time that confectionery shop started business Louis XIV was the King of France. Isaac Newton was writing Philosophia Naturalis Mathematica. John Locke