Kate Beaton's version of a famous Musashi incident — see the full cartoon
Mushashi Miyamoto — Japan's legendary yet real swordsman . . . if you don't know anything about him, the rest of this won't make much sense (but then, there's always the Wikipedia page. Oh all right then: maybe this one).
So, anyway . . . Canadian web comic artist Kate Beaton has retold one of Musashi's most famous encounters: see this fabulous Musashi cartoon.
There are several Musashi references in the Fudebakudo book. I deliberately included two conflicting versions of how he founded the niten-ryu because, since nobody ever checks their facts, I thought I might as well make Fudebakudo inconsistent. After all, that's how all good myths perpetuate.
The Portland Aikikai dojo is itself so aesthetically pleasing it's a wonder they let ugly visitors on the mat at all.
The sign said "SHUT UP AND TRAIN" when I first turned up. A week later, it had been changed. Not by me.
It's been quiet on the Fudebakublog because I've been busy — just back from Portland, Oregon, working on the current Beholder project. I must thank my excellent and long-suffering hosts, Judith and Eric of Foreworks, for putting up with me. The Chinese say, "After three days, guests and fish begin to stink," so those two were very tolerant; I was there ten days. It was a productive time, working on material that should be out in 2009.
It was also super-cool to meet up in Real Life with a long-time (no, really: well over a decade) online friend Robert, and his lovely wife and duty adult Elaine (it quickly became clear, I think, that Robert and I had a tendency towards childishness — in a good way, obviously). Oh, and talking of American critters, the raccoons and possums I had been promised failed to show up. Actually, I did see one raccoon, and that was on the way in from the airport, and it was lying peacefully by the side of the road, having tarmacadam dreams. But I don't think that counts.
While I was over there, I managed to catch a couple of classes at Portland Aikikai. I took these two unapproved photos as I snuck out the door, which was a bit rude since everyone had been very friendly. And I do mean friendly, even though, when I had first arrived, I could not help but overhear "casual" talk in the changing rooms about the Iron Man triathlon in what I now suspect was a subtle yet deliberate attempt at psychological intimidation. Heh, a nice trick, gentlemen.