The Purple Pinup Guru Platform

When purple things are pulsating on your mind, I'm the one whose clock you want to clean. Aiding is Sparky, the Astral Plane Zen Pup Dog from his mountain stronghold on the Northernmost Island of the Happy Ninja Island chain, this blog will also act as a journal to my wacky antics at an entertainment company and the progress of my self published comic book, The Deposit Man which only appears when I damn well feel like it. Real Soon Now.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Sparky: When Strikes FamilyMart!

Wired says:
Catering to an affluent demographic, Famima's ambitious agenda to change the way today's busy consumer shops is being hailed by the media as a needed transformation. Wired magazine calls Famima!! "convenience luxe...[for busy urbanites]" and The Food Channel agrees that the economies of this transformation appeal to a more upscale generation of shoppers. Instead of drip coffee, consumers come in for lattes and panini and sushi has replaced microwaved burritos. Famima!! offers the perfect fusion of premium groceries, fresh and healthy gourmet foods, and a deli cafe? The store carries specialty and trendy merchandise, pharmaceuticals and DVDs and each store offers digital printing and ATM services.
For some ungodly reason - the Guru believes this will interesting to our readers ... I go to the Santa Monica store all the time - Maria is a good manager. I personally like the drink selection but am not enamored of the sushi - the sandwiches below rock - however:
Smoked Turkey & Havarti - 5.50
Smoked Turkey, Havarti Cheese, Red Pepper, Lemon Caper Aioli on Focaccia Herb & Tomato Sub.
Tuscan Turkey - 4.75
Turkey Roasted, Provolone, Roma Tomatoes, Garlic Butter on Focaccia Plain Sub.
And I've yet to see this but hope to:

Trendy, interesting publications and difficult to find "anime" from Japan.


Osaka City Sekime station FamilyMart Convenience Store.

FamilyMart (Japanese: ????????) TYO: 8028 is a "konbini" or convenience store franchise chain in Japan. Established September 1, 1981. FamilyMart is owned and overseen by FamilyMart Co., Ltd. All of the usual Japanese convenience store goods such as magazines, manga, soft drinks, contraceptives, onigiri and bento are available.

FamilyMart's official motto is "Family Mart, Where You Are One of the Family."

FamilyMart also has franchise stores in Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan, Vancouver, British Columbia, and in Shanghai, China. Worldwide, it operates over 12,000 stores, with fast growth in Asia outside of Japan. In Japan, it operates over 6,000 stores.

As of this writing, FamilyMart also opened a store in Los Angeles, the United States, in July 2005, the first of 250 planned in the USA. The North American brandname will be "Famima!!".

On January 30, 2006, FamilyMart will begin a trial operation of an automatic cashier station at one Tokyo location, in cooperation with Itochu and Toshiba. Special tags on each item in a shopping basket can be sensed remotely and instantly at the register, and the total cost is immediately displayed.

Established: Sept. 17, 2004
Major activities: Operating a chain of specialty stores in U.S. using the Famima name and franchise system.
Address: 20000 Mariner Avenue, Suite 100, Torrance, CA 90503
Tel: 310-214-1001
Fax: 310-214-7200

FamilyMart Co., Ltd. (Japan)
Established: Sept. 1, 1981
Capital: Yen 16,658 million (Approx. US$151million)
Major activities: Operating a chain of conveniece stores using the FamilyMart name and franchise system
Employees: 2,318
Number of stores: 11,003 including area franchise stores
Net sales of total Family Mart stores: 954.4 billion as of FY2003 (Approx. US$8.7 billion)
Web Site:

ITOCHU Corporation (Japan)
ITOCHU International Inc.(US)
Founded as a trading and trading services company, ITOCHU is also a leader in telecommunications,technology, internet, retail and media
• Consumer-Related Products and Services
• Distribution
• Operations, Service and Maintanance
• Financial Services
• Information Technology and Aerospace
• Healthcare
• Security Solutions
Web Sites: ITOCHU Corporation (Japan) & ITOCHU International Inc.(US)

By 2006, 30 more stores will be added in North L.A., South Bay, and Southwest. By 2009 Famima!! will have 250 stores.

External links

Sparky suspects this was the ascended master the Singaporeans down below were looking for - either that or Tammy ...

Morihei Ueshiba — O Sensei, Founder of Aikido


Japanese Name
Kanji ???
Hiragana ?????

Aikido (??? Aikid?, also ??? in an older style of kanji), literally meaning 'joining energy way', is a gendai budo — a modern Japanese martial art. Practitioners of Aikido are known as aikidoka, although the term technically denotes only those who make their living from teaching. It was developed by Morihei Ueshiba (????) over the period of the 1930s to the 1960s. Morihei Ueshiba is also known by Aikidoka as o-sensei (???) with the "o" prefix meaning "honorable", therefore signifying in this case, Honorable Teacher. Technically, the major parts of Aikido are derived from Dait?-ry? Aiki-j?jutsu (???????), a form of Jujutsu with many joint techniques, and kenjutsu (??), or Japanese sword technique (some believe the tactics in Aikido are especially influenced by Yagy? Shinkage-ry?). Aikido is also considered to contain a significant spiritual component.


The name aikido is formed of three Japanese characters, ???, usually romanised as ai, ki and do. These are often translated as meaning union, universal energy and way, so aikido can be translated as 'the way to union with universal energy'. Another common interpretation of the characters is harmony, spirit and way, so Aikido can also mean 'the way of spiritual harmony'. Both interpretations draw attention to the fact that aikido's techniques are designed to control an attacker by controlling and redirecting their energy instead of blocking it. An analogy is often made of the way a flexible willow bends with the storm, whereas the stout oak will break if the wind blows too hard. (The Korean martial art commonly known as hapkido uses the same three characters: some suggest a historical link through Daito-ryu, the main origin of aikido).

Morihei Ueshiba developed aikido mainly from Daito-ryu aikijutsu, incorporating training movements such as those for the yari (spear), jo (a short quarterstaff), and perhaps also juken (bayonet). But arguably the strongest influence is that of the katana (sword) and in many ways, an aikido practitioner moves as an empty handed swordsman. The aikido strikes shomenuchi and yokomenuchi originated from weapon attacks, and resultant techniques likewise from weapon disarms. Some schools of aikido do no weapons training at all; others, such as Iwama Ryu usually spend substantial time with bokken/bokuto (wooden sword), jo, and tanto (knife). In some lines of aikido, all techniques can be performed with a sword as well as unarmed.

Aikido was first brought to the West in 1951 by Minoru Mochizuki with a visit to France where he introduced Aikido techniques to Judoka. He was followed by Tadashi Abe in 1952 who came as the official Aikikai Honbu representative, remaining in France for seven years. Kenji Tomiki toured with a delegation of various martial arts through fifteen continental states of the United States in 1953. Subsequently, in the same year, Koichi Tohei was sent by Aikikai Honbu for a full year to Hawaii setting up several dojo. This was backed up by several further visits and is thus considered the formal introduction of Aikido to the United States. The United Kingdom followed in 1955, Germany and Australia in 1965. Today there are many aikido dojos available to train at throughout the world.


Aikido incorporates a wide range of techniques which use principles of energy and motion to redirect, neutralise and control attackers. One of the central martial philosophies of aikido is to be able to handle multiple-attacker circumstances fluidly. Randori, practice against multiple opponents, is a key part of the curriculum in most aikido schools and is required for the higher level belts. Randori is mostly intended to develop, like an exercise, a nage's ability to perform without thought, or mushin. The idea is that the continued practice of having one opponent after another coming at you causes you to constantly be aware, and to have no rest, therefore not allowing the mind time to think, but only for the body to respond. It is likely that randori is more intended to be an exercise than an actual preparation to be attacked by multiple opponents. Shodokan Aikido and Judo randori differs in that it is not done with multiple persons, but between two people. The role of uke and nage does not exist in these latter forms of randori since both participants attack and defend at will. Another tenet of aikido is that the aikidoka should gain control of their opponent as quickly as possible, while causing the least amount of damage possible to either party. If performed correctly, size and strength are not important for the techniques to be effective.


The methods of training vary from organisation to organisation, and indeed even between different dojo in a single organisation. Typically, however, a class consists of a teacher demonstrating techniques or principles which the students then practice. Training is done through mutual technique, where the focus is on entering and blending (harmonising) with the attack, rather than on meeting force with force. Uke, the receiver of the technique, usually initiates an attack against nage (also referred to as tori or shite depending on Aikido style), who neutralises it with an aikido technique. The uke and the nage have equally important roles. Uke's role is to be honest and committed in attack, to use positioning to protect oneself, and to learn proper technique through the imbalanced feeling created by nage's technique. Nage's role is to blend with and neutralise uke's attack without leaving an opening to further attacks. Simultaneously nage will be studying how to create a feeling of being centred (on balance) and controlled in the application of the Aikido technique. Therefore, students must practise both positions in order to learn proper technique. When O-Sensei taught, all his students were uke until he deemed them knowledgeable enough of the technique to be nage. Movement, awareness, precision, distance and timing are all important to the execution of techniques as students progress from rigidly defined exercises to more fluid and adaptable applications. Eventually, students take part in jiyu-waza (free technique) and/or randori, where the attacks are less predictable. Most schools employ training methods wherein uke actively attempts to employ counter-techniques, or kaeshi-waza.

O-Sensei did not allow competition in training because some techniques were considered too dangerous and because he believed that competition did not develop good character in students. Most styles of aikido continue this tradition although Shodokan Aikido (see Styles) started with competitions early on. In the Ki Society there are forms (taigi) competitions held from time to time.

One of the first things taught to new students is how to fall. Both tumbling, and later 'break-falls' are an important part of learning Aikido. This assures an Uke's safety during class.


Aikido techniques are largely designed towards keeping the attacker off balance and locking joints. Much of aikido's repertoire of defenses can be performed either as throwing techniques (nage-waza) or as pins (katame-waza), depending on the situation. Entering, irimi, and turning, tenkan, are widely used aikido concepts, as is striking, atemi. The use of striking techniques is dependent on the organisation and, to some extent, the individual dojo. Some dojo teach the strikes that are integral to all aikido techniques as mere distractions used to make the application of an aikido technique easier, while others teach that strikes are to be used for more destructive reasons. O-Sensei himself wrote, while describing the aikido technique ikkyo, "...first smash the eyes." (This might well refer to the fact that the classic opener for ikkyo is a knife-hand thrust towards the face, to make uke block and thus expose his or her arm to the joint control - thus, as though moving to smash uke's eyes.) Manipulation of uke's balance by entering is often referred to as "taking uke's center". It is sometimes said that Aikido contains only defense, and the attacks that are performed are not really aikido. From a historical perspective this claim is questionable, but many if not most aikidoka have the defense techniques as the focus of their training.


In the early days when Ueshiba began teaching to the public, students tended to be proficient in another martial art. Due to this, attacks per se are generally not focused on in contemporary aikido dojos. Students will learn the various attacks from which an Aikido technique can be practiced. Although attacks seldom are studied to the same extent as some arts, good attacks are needed to study correct and effective application of technique. "Honest" attacks are considered important. An "honest" attack would be an attack with full intention or a strong neutral (neither pulling or pushing) grab or hold. The speed of an attack may vary depending on the experience and level of the "nage" (the partner who executes the throw or technique). Whether the attack is fast or slow, the uke's intention to strike or control (if grabbing or pinning) should remain, in order to provide the nage a realistic training scenario.

Aikido attacks used in normal training include various stylized strikes and grabs such as shomenuchi (a vertical strike to the head), yokomenuchi (a lateral strike to the side of the head and/or neck), munetsuki (a straight punch), ryotedori (a two handed grab) or katadori (a shoulder grab). Many of the -uchi strikes resemble blows from a sword or other weapon. Kicks are sometimes used, but are not usually part of basic curricula. Most aikido techniques can also be applied to a response to an attack, e.g. to a block, and some schools use this as the "basic" form of a given class of technique. Beginners also tend to work with techniques executed in response to a grab. Grabs are considered good for basic practice because the connection with uke is very clear and strong, and it is easier to "feel out" body mechanics and lines of force.

There is also the matter of atemi, or strikes employed during an aikido technique. The role and importance of atemi is a matter of some debate in aikido. Some view atemi as strikes to "vital points" that can be delivered during the course of a technique's application, to increase effectiveness. Others consider atemi to be methods of distraction, particularly when aimed at the face. For instance, if a movement would expose the aikido practitioner to a counter-blow, he or she may deliver a quick strike to distract the attacker or occupy the threatening limb. (Such a strike will also usually break the target's concentration, making them easier to throw than if they are able to focus on resisting.) Atemi can be interpreted as not only punches or kicks but also, for instance, striking with a shoulder or a large part of the arm. Some throws are arguably effected through an unbalancing or abrupt application of atemi. Many sayings about atemi are attributed to Morihei Ueshiba, although their precise content varies considerably based on the one doing the telling.


Weapons training in aikido usually consists of jo (4-foot staff), bokken (wooden sword), and wooden (or sometimes rubber) tanto (knife). Both weapons-taking and weapons-retention are sometimes taught, to integrate the armed and unarmed aspects of aikido. For example, a technique done with a straight punch may be done with a tanto or jo thrust instead, or a grab technique may be illustrated as a way to draw/strike with a weapon while being grabbed.

Many schools use versions of Morihiro Saito's weapons system: aiki-jo and aiki-ken. The system contains solo kata with jo, and paired exercises for both jo and bokken. Some lineages use bokken kata derived from older sword schools. Also, quite a few aikido teachers, such as Mitsugi Saotome and Kazuo Chiba, have developed their own weapons systems. This is largely due to the fact that O'Sensei did not teach weapons to his students, excepting a few.


The aikidogi used in Aikido is similar to the keikogi used in most other modern budo arts; simple trousers and a wraparound jacket, usually white. In some places a keikogi of karate cut is preferred, in others most people use judo keikogis. Keikogi made specially for aikido exist, but usually not in the lower price ranges. Many dojos insist that the sleeves are cut short to elbow length, to reduce the risk of trapped fingers and injuries in grab techniques to the wrist.

To the keikogi, some systems add the traditional garment hakama, wide pleated trousers. The hakama is usually black or dark blue and in most dojos, the hakama is reserved for practitioners with dan (black belt) ranks. Systems also exist where hakama is never worn or are worn from a specific kyu rank; others exist where women are allowed to wear it earlier than men.

The belt, obi is wrapped twice around the body similar to karate or judo. Although some systems use many belt colours similar to the system in judo, the most common version is that dan ranks wear black belt, and kyu ranks white - sometimes with an additional brown belt for the highest kyu ranks. In some dojos it is common to have the same color belt at different levels.


The ending "do" in the word aikido indicates a spiritual path, unlike the ending "jutsu" in the word aikijujutsu, which indicates a system of techniques. Many people see this difference as important as well as regarding iaijutsu and iaido, jujutsu and judo, and kenjutsu and kendo. Others see this distinction as a historically incorrect and somewhat unnatural division. For example, literally, do refers to a path and jutsu to a technique: therefore, some argue, aikido involves both a way (do) and technical study (jutsu).

Ueshiba taught that, while it was important to become proficient in physical technique, this is not the ultimate purpose of training. He taught that the principles learned through training in physical technique are universal and are to be applied to all aspects of one's life. He once commented that he was teaching students not how to move their feet but, rather, how to move their minds.

Many agree that Ueshiba's style became softer, more fluid, and effortless as he grew older. Some suggest this was due to a shift in focus to the spiritual aspects of the art, while others suggest that this was simply a natural result of Ueshiba becoming more proficient in physical technique. Various interpretations have arisen since Ueshiba's death.

A range of aikido schools can be found, each placing a different emphasis on physical techniques, underlying principles, and spiritual concepts. This is largely a result of at what point the founder of each of these schools trained with Ueshiba--earlier or later in Ueshiba's life. The former tend to focus more on physical technique, while the latter tend to focus more on spiritual concepts. However, this should not be overstated, especially since there is considerable variance from sensei to sensei, and an "aikido continuum" is quite problematic to actually construct. Some aikidoka view "physical vs. spiritual" as a false separation, or a failed attempt to stereotype branches of aikido.

Ki Society is an example of a school that focuses heavily on the spiritual concepts of aikido in addition to physical technique.


Obsolete form of the ki kanji

The Japanese character for ki, is a symbolic representation of a lid covering a pot full of rice. The steam being contained within, is ki. This same word is applied to the ability to harness one's own 'breath power', 'power', or 'energy'. This 'ki' is the same as the 'qi' in qi-gong, but many people argue it is not the same as the 'chi' in t'ai chi. When aikidoka say that someone is training with a lot of ki, they usually want to express that the person is very non-forcefully compelling in the execution of his technique. Timing, a sense for the correct distance and a centered (undisturbed) mind and body are particularly important. Most teachers claim to locate ki in the hara, which might be loosely defined as the body's center of gravity, situated in the lower abdomen, about two inches below and behind the navel. In training it is constantly emphasized that one should keep one's hara — that is, remain centered. Very high ranking teachers sometimes reach a level of coordination that enables them to execute techniques with very little apparent movement, sometimes even without seeming to touch their opponent's body.

Essentially, ki corresponds to the physical concepts of center of gravity, center of momentum, and center of force. However, these centers are not necessarily the same, so ki also encompasses the biological and mental aspect of training oneself to have exquisite control over motion.

The "spiritual" interpretation of ki depends very much on what school of aikido one studies, as some emphasize it more than others. Ki Society dojos, for example, tend to spend much more time on ki-related training activities than do, for example, Yoshinkan dojos. The importance of ki in aikido cannot be denied -- the name of the martial art, after all, can be translated as "the meeting of ki". But what ki is, is debated by many within the discipline. O-Sensei himself appears to have changed his views over time -- for example, Yoshinkan Aikido, which largely follows O-Sensei's teachings from before the war, is considerably more martial in nature, reflecting a younger, more violent and less spiritual O-Sensei. Within this school, ki perhaps could be better thought of as having its original Chinese meaning of breath, and aikido as coordination of movement with breath to maximize power. As O-Sensei evolved and his views changed, his teachings took on a much more ethereal feel, and many of his later students (almost all now high ranking senseis within the Aikikai) teach about ki from this perspective.

See also: Qi, Qigong


Aikido training is for all-around physical fitness, flexibility, and relaxation. The human body in general can exert power in two ways: contractive and expansive ( Many fitness activities, for example weight-lifting, emphasize the former, which means that specific muscles or muscle groups are isolated and worked to improve tone, mass, and power. The disadvantage of this, however, is that whole body movement and coordination are rarely stressed. Thus, while muscle size and power may increase, there is no emphasis on the ways in which those muscles can work together most efficiently. Also, this sort of training tends to increase tension, decrease flexibility, and stress the joints. The result may be aesthetically pleasing, but when done to excess may actually be detrimental to overall health.

The second type of power, expansive, is mostly stressed in activities such as dance or gymnastics. In these activities, the body must learn to move in a coordinated manner and with relaxation. Aikido also mostly stresses this sort of training. While both types of power are important, it is interesting to note that a person who masters the second type of power can, in a martial context, often overcome a person who is much bigger or stronger. The reason for this is that the contractive power is only as great as the mass and power of your individual muscles. Expansive power, however, as used in Aikido, can be much greater than your size may lead you to believe. This is because you move with your whole body. Rather than stressing and tensing only a few muscles, you learn to relax and move from the center of your body, where you are most powerful. Power is then extended out naturally through the relaxed limbs, which become almost whip-like in their motion. Needless to say, the power behind an entire person's body will be more than that of someone's arm or leg alone.

Hence, aikido develops the body in a unique manner. Aerobic fitness is obtained through vigorous training. Flexibility of the joints and connective tissues is developed through various stretching exercises and through the techniques themselves. Relaxation is learned automatically, since without it the techniques will not function. A balanced use of contractive and expansive power is mastered, enabling even a small person to pit his entire body's energy against their opponent.

With this, different masters stress different aspects of training. Some masters stress importance of body posture while executing the technique in order to coordinate different parts of the body, while others deal with the physical aspects of it. With each way, comes a different means of interpretation of the same basic principles of the art which is discussed in more detail above.


Aikido training does not consider the body and mind as independent entities. The condition of one affects the other. For example, the physical relaxation learned in aikido also becomes a mental relaxation. Likewise, the confidence that develops mentally is manifested in a more confident style. Psychological or spiritual insight learned during training must become reflected in the body, else it will vanish under pressure, when more basic, ingrained patterns and reflexes take over. Aikido training requires the student to squarely face conflict, not to run away from it. Through this experience, an Aikido student may learn to face other areas of life in a similarly proactive fashion, rather than in with avoidance and fear.


The major styles of aikido each have their own Hombu Dojo in Japan, have an international breadth and were founded by direct students of Morihei Ueshiba. Although there has been an explosion of "independent styles" generally only the first five listed have been considered major. Iwama Ryu is a debatable sixth as, although its influence is major, it has until recently been part of the Aikikai (see below).

  • Aikikai is the largest aikido organisation, and is led by the family of the founder. Numerous sub-organisations and teachers affiliate themselves with this umbrella organisation, which therefore encompasses a wide variety of aikido styles, training methods and technical differences. These sub-organisations are often centred around prominent Shihan and are usually organised at the national level, although sub-national and inter-national sub-organisations exist. Please see List of famous aikidoka for more detail.
  • Yoshinkan Founded by Gozo Shioda, has a reputation for being the most rigidly precise. Students of Yoshinkan aikido practise basic movements as solo kata, and this style has been popular among the Japanese police. The international organisation associated with the Yoshinkan style of aikido is known as the Yoshinkai, and has active branches in many parts of the world.
  • Yoseikan was founded by Minoru Mochizuki, who was an early student of O-Sensei and also of Jigoro Kano at the Kodokan. This style includes elements of aiki-budo together with aspects of karate, judo and other arts. It is now carried on by his son, Hiroo Mochizuki, the creator of Yoseikan Budo.
  • Shodokan Aikido (often called Tomiki aikido, after its founder) use sparring and rule based competition in training as opposed to most others. People tend to compete to train rather than to train to compete. Kenji Tomiki, an early student of O-Sensei and also of judo's Jigoro Kano, believed that introducing an element of competition would serve to sharpen and focus the practice since it was no longer tested in real combat. This latter view was the cause of a split with O-Sensei's family who firmly believed that there was no place for competition in aikido training. Tomiki said that at no point did O-Sensei actually cast him out.
  • The Ki Society, founded by former head-instructor of the Hombu dojo 10th dan Koichi Tohei, emphasizes very soft flowing techniques and has a special program for the development of ki. It also has a special system of ki-ranks alongside the traditional kyu and dan system. This style is called Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido (or Ki-Aikido).
  • Iwama Ryu emphasizes the relation between weapon techniques and barehand techniques, and a great deal of emphasis is placed on weapons training. Since the death of its founder Morihiro Saito, the Iwama style has been practiced by clubs within the Aikikai and an independent organisation headed by Hitohiro Saito. Saito sensei was a long time uchideshi of O-Sensei, beginning in 1946 and staying with him through his death. Many consider that Saito sensei was the student who spent most time directly studying with O-Sensei. Saito sensei said he was trying to preserve and teach the art exactly as the founder of aikido taught it to him. Technically, Iwama-ryu seems to resemble the aikido O-Sensei was teaching in the early 50s mainly in the Iwama dojo. The technical repertoire is fairly large. The new, separate from Aikikai, Iwama Ryu Aikido has been renamed Iwama Shin Shin Aikishurenkai.
  • Shin'ei Taido Founded by the late Noriaki Inoue, nephew of Morihei Ueshiba.
  • Yoshokai aikido, begun by then-hachidan Takashi Kushida of Yoshinkan aikido.
  • Tendoryu Aikido Headed by Kenji Shimizu.
  • Shin Budo Kai headed by Shizuo Imaizumi.
  • Kokikai aikido, founded by Shuji Maruyama in 1986.
  • Seidokan Aikido, founded by Rod Kobayashi.
  • Nippon Kan Headed by Gaku Homma.
  • Nishio Aikido a part of the Aikikai although techically well defined according to its head Shoji Nishio.
  • Takemusu Aiki Tomita Academy. Academy for the development of Takemusu Aiki founded in 1992 by Takeji Tomita.
  • Aiki Manseido Headed by Kanshu Sunadomari. Independent style centred in Kyushu, Japan.
  • Aikido Yuishinkai, founded by former head-instructor of the Ki-Society Koretoshi Maruyama

The above styles can trace their lineage through senior students back to the founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba. Two further well known martial arts use the name Aikido but do not have this direct connection. They are Korindo Aikido founded by Minoru Hirai and Nihon Goshin Aikido founded by Shodo Morita. These schools, with some historical justification, suggest that the name Aikido is not the exclusive domain of arts derived from the teachings of Morihei Ueshiba.


It is sometimes said that in Japan the term aikidoka (????) mainly refers to a professional while in the west, any one who practices may call themselves an aikidoka. The term aikidoist is also used as a more general term, especially by those who prefer to maintain the more restricted, Japanese, meaning of the term aikidoka.

External links

It's embarassing to recall Christian bullies from St. Cyril's whaling the tar out 7 year old me for being Jewish. But I did study karate with Chuck Norris for a week until one of his instructors got upset at me (lessons were suggested by Adam West as Batman to mom via TV). So I went around the corner to the Ozman-ryo and learnt Aikido.

“Karate kids” rescued after Japan mountain quest
TOKYO (Reuters) - Three Singaporeans were found safe Thursday after getting lost on what they said was a mission to find a legendary karate expert on a snowy mountainside in Japan.

One of the three men told police in Hirosaki, near the northern tip of Japan's main island, that they had come to Japan after his dying father, a martial arts expert, had ordered them to seek out the karate teacher, TV Asahi said on its Web site.
"Japan looked so small on the world map that we thought we would be able to find him straight away," one of the group, aged between 25 and 50, was quoted as saying.
another view
All three were dressed in light clothing and huddling in an abandoned car when they were rescued from the slopes of 1,600-meter (5,249-ft) Mount Iwaki in the early hours of the morning after calling for help on a mobile phone, a police spokesman said. "Neither police nor local people know of anyone running karate classes in this area," the spokesman added.

Sparky adds:
In many respects,the three-peaked Mt. Iwaki, a great volcanic cone arising out of the southern Tsugaru plain, dominates the Tsugaru popular religious imagination. The mainstream Iwaki Mountain Shrine (Iwakiyama Jinja) is located at the base of the southern slope of the mountain. The northeast section of Mt. Iwaki is considered to be its own sacred mountain, "Akakura", and is also seen as having three peaks (less discernible to the untrained eye). These rugged slopes are the sites of many small-scale unorthodox and alternative shrines, many of them associated with kamisama spirit mediums. One of these is Akakura Mountain Shrine, the subject of the book "Immortal Wishes."

Remember - Sparky's Gung Fu is strong!

Hirosaki Castle

Hirosaki Castle
(???, Hirosaki-j?) is a 17th century Japanese castle located in Hirosaki city, Aomori prefecture, Japan. It was constructed in 1611 by the local Tsugaru clan. A three-storied castle tower, fortified moats, castle gates and some corner turrets (yagura) survive or have been reconstructed.

The surrounding Hirosaki Park is one of Japan's most famous cherry blossom spots. Over a million people enjoy the park's 2600 trees during the sakura matsuri (cherry blossom festival) when the cherry blossoms are in bloom, usually during the Japanese Golden Week holidays in the end of April and beginning of May.

I am a rambling guy ... rambling ... rambling ...


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