07 January 2010

090807 Day 1

Heh heh. Looking at my notes I must have been pretty wiped out after travelling for nearly 20 hrs. I think I wrote this on the train from the Airport to Tokyo.

Sing - Tokyo managed to get some sleep on the plane. Impossible on Tiger.
Tokyo - Hot and humid.
Got through customs, heaps of people. (Well durr, what was I expecting)
JR (Japan Rail) Train - went the long way around the Yamanote line (a line that loops around Tokyo).
Disembark train. The First Challenge: Make it to the Ryokan before 1am (they have a curfew).
Noodle Place. (WTF?)

A very telling list of my first impressions that stayed with me for those first 24 hours. Looking back I do have some additional memories that I'll share.
Starting out on Tiger made much of the rest of the trip really hard. Those uncomfortable 4 hours seemed to really take quite a bit of energy out of everyone. Arriving in the discount terminal, we had to make our way to customs, this involved a half hour walk dragging our suitcase through 34ÂșC heat and humidity at 3am. Yippie.

After getting through customs, we had about 3 hours to kill, so we took the opportunity to grab something to eat. But the only thing that was open was a place that had the greasiest stir-fry rice and chicken that I have had the misfortune to purchase, but I was hungry and had some anyway. Bleah.
We then made our way to the bigger terminal (Terminal 1 I think) to check into our Singapore Airlines flight. That terminal is amazing. The rows of checking terminals for each airline meant that we were only in line for a couple of minutes and then check in was done and dusted!! Compared to Darwin it felt a little too fast.
So after waiting another 50 minutes we finally boarded our second flight. Let me tell you the international economy of Singapore is one of the nicest I've flown in. Lots of room, your own entertainment screen, your seat can incline really far back and your headrest can be angled around so you can rest your head against it. Bliss...

Arrival. It's amazing the culture shock right off the bat when you land in Narita. The walk to Customs is along this huge walkway with numerous sections of magic carpet, yet it still took about 15-20 mins of walking. It goes on and on...
Took another 30 minutes in line to get through customs, but went through okay. We then had to take the express train to Tokyo to get to our accommodation. Now we have been traveling for nearly 20 hours at this point, the express train took 50 mins (the information from the operator's webpage said 20 minutes ¬.¬).
Then we had to navigate our way to accommodation, the Kimi Ryokan. By now it is 8:00pm, it's as hot and sweaty as a Devils' testicle, and we were all pretty beat by this stage that I was just longing for a shower and then sleep.

But thanks to the guidance of Billy we made it and then we all just crashed to see what the next day would bring.


29 October 2009

Oh Happy Day!!

When I first got my practice jien, the first wet season it went through, a part of the guard warped and separated from the blade. This is because it was made in a very cold, low humidity and it is now in the exact opposite. So Sifu arranged to get it sent back to his friend who made it to get another one fixed.

Fast forward to a year -year and a half later, I finally got it back.

The reason was that get guy fixing it had one of those unexpected massive heart attacks and passed away. So Sifu had to wait until he went over to Alaska to visit before he could really get my sword and the rest of his back and send them back home.

But I have my sword back, just needed to glue the new guard plate back on and let it sit in clamps for a couple of days.

I had been using one of Sifu's swords in the mean time, although I gave that back yesterday. And I have to say that my forms feel really different now. I suppose it's just a matter of getting used to the feel of the sword (the weight, grip etc) again.

So yeah, very happy at the moment to have my sword back. I'll post a pic when I get home ^.^

Currently Reading: The Dwarves by Marcus Heitz

21 October 2009

Nearly Didn't Happen

I've been training with Sifu now for around two years.

In that time I have acquired some skills with the Jien (Chinese Straight Sword), including two forms (Liang yi Jien and San Tsai Jien), techniques and some drills (good forearm strength!).

Last night Sifu said as that I was (virtually) the only student who consistently serious about the jien, said that he would start teaching me Kun Wu Jien. He showed me the first 6 or so movements and I have to say I love the feeling and expression of the form already. It's a fairly long form at around 45 movements long. So while it will take a while to learn (and then years to master), it shouldn't take as long as Lian Yi Jien. As that was the first form I learnt and had to learn a great many steps and sword techniques just to be able to perform it.

I've seen a youtube video of Adam Hsu performing Kun Wu Jian and that is just incredible to watch.

Looking forward to the next couple months of sword classes :)

Currently Reading: The Dwarves by Marcus Heitz

13 October 2009

Push - Push back

I've just been going through some of my posts (fixing the many, many spelling errors :sweatdrop:) and I came across this post last year.

I use to follow the 100 pushups before I realised how much it was overtraining my arms and stopped. But on a whim I decided to do a quick exhaustion test (ie keep doing push ups until you can't to anymore).

My score? 30. The last one (see link), I managed to complete 28. So in the year and a half I have been seriously focused on kung fu has helped me keep up the strength in my arms and shoulders. Cool.

We don't train push ups because they set muscle strength in a limited range of motion. For practicioners of kung fu, we need to have a greater range of motion. If we did train in push-ups it would be counterproductive.

12 October 2009

All Good Things Must End?

It's a bit sad, but my second job is coming to an end today. I'm picking up my last paycheck tonight.

The store just isn't making enough warrant keeping me on for the couple of shifts that I do. While it's a bit unfortunate, I'm not that upset because the job isn't worth that much to me anymore.

When the previous manager was running it, I was making around $300-350 a week extra in my pocket (mind you I did put in a quite a few hours to get paid so well). But with the new manager I was lucky to get $150 a week (the hours got cut right down).

So while the job was very good for me in the sense that it paid for my trips to Japan and New Zealand, I'm not sad to be leaving it. I was starting to looking for another job closer to town anyway.

Now I just need a replacement so that I can keep saving for Europe. I'm thinking of finding some work in a restaurant bar or something like in hospitality the hourly rates are quite good ^.^

Here's to hoping...

- Grover