The holidays have been a bit too restful. Cabin fever isn't really acceptable in the absence of sub-zero temperatures, yet I managed to catch it over the past few days. Japanese variety TV at new years is, as an aesthetic experience, probably akin to being stung by a scorpion. You go somewhat numb and the intervention of others is required in order to be roused. Time turns fluid and slips by as a boy band is grilled over 3 hours of viewing. They're made to improvise skits, weigh in on various and sundry unique food items, execute impromptu slapstick comedy, and clean a muddy car wheel with a high pressure water contraption. Another show pits two teams of hapless contestants against each other in a random rush to avoid injury in weird, semi-violent challenges.

Although I failed for the first time ever to enjoy my very own traditional dish of (sticky/dense pounded ricecake) mochi and maple syrup, I did make it out to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine in Kamakura to parlay with the gods on the cusp of the new year. It was worth the frosty toes to look behind me as I ascended the steep steps at the python of people lined up to toss their coins.

A few days later, lying outdoors on a slightly inclined stone slab, hotspring water running down and around, I thought about kendo, my fortune in being around such high quality kendo people, and the infrequency with with I've taken advantage of these surroundings in the past 6 months. Hence the idea for this fresh year is to practice more, think more about it 'aloud' in this space, and stay chisel.

I like music a lot and I would like to invite everyone to listen to this song if they think they might enjoy it.

Happy New Year!