Saturday, June 29, 2013

Visit with Mom and Dad

My dad's birthday is July 4th. I lost him 21 years ago. He and my mom are buried in Watsonville. I decided today to go visit their grave. I was there in 2012 during the parade for the Giants winning the World Series. I bought a flag celebrating that and have intended to take it to them. They, especially my dad, were real Giants fans. Sadly they are not physically here to share in the Giants current success. 2 World titles in 3 years would have made dad real happy. But today they got to share a little more in the recent success of the team they loved. One thing I always do when I visit is to weed around the grave and to pour water over it to really clean it. I learned this from Hikitsuchi sensei. He would do this when he would visit Osensei's grave in Tanabe. And I went with him a couple of times to his son's grave. Kazushii, I believe, died an unexpected and early death.

I tend to have conversations with them when I am there. I remember reading local hoops legend and basketball Hall of Famer Chris Mullin would sit in his hot tub at night, pick out a star, and talk with his dad who had passed away. I thought one of the best parts of the 'Man of Steel' film is how he is in touch with both his earthly dad, Jonathan Kent, and his Kryptonian father, Jor-el. Even though definitely of this earth, my dad was a super dad. He was a member of the highly decorated 442 infantry during World War II.
He was a great track star and basketball player in his day for Hollister High. I miss him and my mom very much.

And since we mentioned the Giants, they are really struggling as we speak. Sometimes winning a championship and becoming a champion are not as easy as being one. Injuries, mistakes, all seem to be surfacing tis year. So hopefully the pitching will come around, everybody will get healthy, and we will make a run as we did last year. Time will tell.

'Man of Steel' has been out a couple of weeks now. So if you don't want me to spoil it for you, read no further. I feel it is by far the best of the Superman films. We get quite a bit more of the planet Krypton than in past Superman movies and shows. And with the excellent 'Smallville' tv show we now realize the importance of his development during those days. DC comics has recently redone Superman and its other characters with the new 52. Some of that I like some not. But a lot of the new look that I like is in the film. Henry Cavill is an excellent Clark/Superman. Of course his emblem is an 'S'. But starting with the first Christopher Reeve film it began to be also the Kryptonian crest for the house of 'El'. And now we find that it stands for hope. Good touch. Also Clark would have struggled to find himself and would have traveled and interacted extensively with people to find out where he fit into our world. This is more convincing than his showing up at the Daily Planet and being hired as a reporter. Amy Adams is a great Lois Lane. So catch it while it is in the theaters. It is worth the 3D price....

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Birthday Blog

Well, I'm 65. Yesterday there was a dojo party and photo session after the morning class. Thanks to all those who attended and to those who sent well wishes. And a special thanks to Meng who made a low carb cheese cake. Being diabetic I am not normally able to partake of cake and such, but this was killer.

According to Andrea Mallis, my astrologer, this is a very important  period for me. I have and will have for awhile Pluto(power) in my 10th house of career. Jupiter(expansion) is transitting my sun(Gemini). And Uranus in Aries is touching my Moon(Cancer), Venus(Cancer) and Mercury(cancer) bringing lots of energy and 'expect the unexpected' to my life. Last month Nadeau shihan and I and a great group of instructors had a very successful Osensei Revisited II in Occidental. Next month I am a part of the Santa Cruz Summer Retreat.....Andrea recommended I do something extra special for my birthday, so on Tuesday Dianna and I are leaving for a week on the island of Kauai. Hanalei is probably(along with the Nachi waterfall) my favorite place on earth and that's where we will be. In 1996 I had this urge to visit the island of Bali Hai. And since in the film "South Pacific" that was the island of Kauai that's where I spent a week in August. I was fortunate to go back last year in March. And so I'm looking forward to Kauai III.

I've always considered myself a ronin. In fantasy the characters of Nemuri Kyoshiro and Michael Moorcock's Elric, perhaps taking myself way too seriously, I've felt at least part of my archetype for this life is that of the Eternal Champion, wandering alone and serving the Cosmic Balance of Order/Chaos and Light/Dark.....But after these years I am beginning to realize that after all I have roots and deep personal connections. It's hard to imagine Nemuri settling in and running a sword school based on his Full Moon Cut. Or Elric putting down roots, retiring his runesword, and being happy. But as much as archetypes are revealing(our fantasy life reveals so much about us) here and now things are okay, too. I wonder what it was like for Osensei post the World War II Iwama period, settling in, doing his daily practice and just being Osensei......

The photo above is of the mountain Makana on Kauai. It is referred to as Bali Hai. On the stage Bloody Mary looks away from the stage past the audience when gazing at this mythical place. I am looking forward to seeing Bali Hai again.

For my birthday I recorded the song 'Lulaby'. It was sent to be via attachment/email by Earla Porch.
Pictured above is a bronze bust done by Earla of Chet Baker. Apparently wrote this out for Earla and in the top right hand corner we see Chet/1962.
Initially I thought it was "Chetty's Lullaby", a song he wrote for his son Chet Jr. which is sung beautifully in Italian. But on looking closer I realized it was a different song. I don't know if this has ever been recorded. I asked Earla and she didn't know either. So I practiced it on my own and recorded an a capella version. In his autobiography "As Though I Had Wings" he states he composed 32 songs while in Italy. My sense is that this is one of them: