Birthday teppan yaki

6 07 2013

Best way to celebrate my birthday has Ben going to my favorite teppan yaki buffet restaurant, called TaiRyu or DaYu (Japanese and Chinese name respectively).

Being a fixed price eat and drink as much as you want buffet it’s good to spend some time and enjoy a little bit if everything Japanese, from sashimi to good garlic beef to different kind of fish all made on the iron plate (except the raw fish of course)… washed down with Kirin beer and sake or many different kinds of juice…

So 潘蕾 and I enjoyed a long receipt of assorted foods:


Recovery from hell

23 05 2013

10 days ago, one morning, when trying to read my email from the laptop, Windows stop loading properly but got stuck on the logo page. After checking and trying I figured out that the hard disk had been suffering a breakdown: even mounted as secondary on a working pc (got plenty, it has been the main part of my job in the past months to fix hardware) I could not “see” it.

Using some hard disk recovery application (HDD Regenerator, from a recovery disk my dad made for me) I could detect tons on bad sectors in the first partitions of the hard disk, probably exactly in the boot sectors.. No tool I tried was able to do more than just tell me the problem, so I resort to take a trip to the famous electronic city here in Shenzhen.

Located in and around 华强北路, North (běi) Huáqiáng street, close to SEG building (Futian district), the Shenzhen electronic market is really the paradise for electronics, both real and of course fake gadgets. Besides the products that when original are more convenient in Hong Kong, the market here offers also a full set of electronics related services, spacing from buying components (capacitors, LED, transistors, transformers, the whole lot!) to repair of any electronic devices, either the full system (PC, printers, etc.) or just parts, like mother boards, power supplies or, in my case, hard disks.. both repair or data recovery.

hard disk data savior

..counting the money well earned and that I was almost happy to pay to recover my data..

For data recovery, here they use some basic tools based on PC-3000, a Russian system able to perform miracles from time to time.. but of not so easy use (manuals are in Russian and Chinese.. we had a previous version at work, but with missing certifies and of course no more any engineer able to use it!).

But the guy at the specialized shop saw at once that the data were recoverable even if it was not possible to repair the hard disk, so I invested in a new shiny external hard disk of 1 Terabyte, and in the extraction/recovery job.. it was not cheap, but at least I could recover several GBytes of pictures I did not have any recent backup!

Next time in Hong Kong I will buy a new laptop hard disk (cheaper and of better quality than here, for sure no fake!) and then recover completely my laptop.

FUNNY THING OF THE DAY – As said, the electronic city is wonderful for mobile phone copies, as the new Samsung S4 copy a friend purchased (and I will as well soon), but when we checked it out we noticed that the default keyboard had a slighlty little problem: one letter was missing!!! Typical China!!

something's missing!!

something’s missing.. something’s double.. guess what!

Hamburger, pizza or kebab?

2 04 2013

(Spoiler: no Aikido, only food and blabbedring here, even if it is related with the weekend of the previous post 😉 )

Sunday practice in HK and even getting up at a good relaxing not working days hour I manage to get to HK and have time for a good lunch before practice. Given the international place, much better than the village, Longgang, where I live, I wanted to have some western meal. OK, kebab is also Asian geographically but I associate it always with Norway (Norwegian late nights with friends but also alone usually on the way home giving the proper break during long walks!).

So I went to North Point only because I stayed in this area during Endo sensei seminar and it seemed to have several restaurants (yeah, ok, anywhere in mainland China/HK/Taiwan there are several restaurants!). I dd not want to go to more fashion and extremely western places like Wan Chai also because North Point was closer to the practice place subway stop.

But after walking around and finding nothing on the main road I went on some parallel small one and inverted my walking, going then toward the subway.. Still nothing western (I did see a couple of steak restaurants, but the typical Chinese version that is always ok looking but terribly oily and never properly done!). And then found something more interesting than burger: time for sushi!!

lunch in HK

sushi lunch in HK

It was ok sushi, even with the disgusting sea urchin and one with a large prawn or crayfish. Tasty. Maybe even too much!

Then it was time for shopping (cheese and chocolate especially), practice and then time to get back. At the border it went smooth and fast, so fast I decided to get my burger with a good beer at the Irish bar in the center.

Double cheese, where the double affected only the meat (yummy) but not the cheese resulting in a quite dry burger. Over killing it with ketchup and senep did help a bit. And the Kilkenny draft encouraged. Also, for once, I managed to watch some football while eating.. Ah, why a sports bar in Longgang seems so difficult?

dinner in Shenzhen

burger dinner in Shenzhen

It seems like a lot of food, but one must not forget that besides the 2 hours practice, the trip is all together a good 6 hours (3 per direction) including walking, subway, train. Especially in the night I always get home dead tired. This time I got home with also a little pain inside my right knee. Long time no problems.. a pity now, because this wekeend I will be in Shanghai for some festivity and practice.. Let’s see if these days of rest will help.. even if I am going to carry a heavy bagpack with several books to leave to 潘雷 and Wednesday night I’ll sleep at the airport (or train station, I don’t remember which benches were more confortable)..

Weekend of Aikido in Hong Kong

20 03 2013

weekend practice @ Doyukai Hong Kong dojo

Last weekend I took free on Saturday and went to Hong Kong for the weekend double session at Doyukai Aikido dojo.

I had the pleasure to meet Nagai sensei (center of the picture) at Endo shihan seminar in Hong Kong a few weeks ago. It was very nice to enter in contact with Doyukai dojo and the international bunch of people practicing there. So interesting that it was worth ask for a free Saturday and head to Hong Kong for participating to their weekend sessions. Read the rest of this entry »

Shomenuchi?? Really??

7 03 2013

I have been practicing at Shenzhen Aikido club since November when I moved here. They have a schedule with 3 sessions per week, but given the distance and practice time I have managed max 2 sessions, and I admit not every week, but I have been practicing there!

The club is quite beginner level: they got a couple of black belts, some dark color ones (brown, blue) but the majority of people is in the range white to orange, with the higher number in the white range. A start up club (even if it has been there long) facing the problems of a border business city, with Hong Kong just 1 hour form the center and where most of people deals with lots of traveling in their daily job. There is anyway a quite well established core, and the teacher is well motivated: Alan, 4.dan, who lives in Hong Kong and commutes to Shenzhen just for practice.

Besides being beginners they are also hard! Stiff, mainly, both beginners and not, both males and females. Then also most of their Aikido forms are what I call “old Aikido”, lots of use of arms and push/pull and strength, typical of beginner level (we have all passed through that! No complains, for the beginner, but then when you get farther on the path you should try to work on the “soft” forms, as Endo sensei says often now!)

Anyway, the people are nice. And dedicated. Luckily for me the physical stiffness is not a mental one. They mainly are Chinese with a few foreigners, long time living in Shenzhen. I am the only new fresh one among the foreigners, and the only new already Aikikai graded that I have seen joining the club (except for a couple of business men traveling with their keikogi, as we all do!). Some of them are also interested in the feelings I do manage to transmit from time to time during practice, and in different way to perform ukemi or be uke.

I am not teaching there, I do not expect to be able to do that and I do not want to confuse or mislead the beginners from the way of their teacher (even if it is not my way.. I do need to practice!). But I also told the teacher, at the very beginning, that some techniques I would have not performed in his way (if asked by training partners, I would show the teacher way, but usually anyway my variations are so small for a beginner that they do not even see it) and I would have tried always to keep my mind and my center relaxed and free. This is something most of my partners there feel.

So, for a club that is a beginner one, before last Tuesday I cannot remember to have practiced shomenuchi!! What I remember of the practice sessions is, always, techniques from katatedori gyaku hanmi, katatedori ai hanmi and tsuki. Also once per month at least there is a tanto dori session (all students are equipped with their own tanto, except me!). And once or twice in a while we have sessions without mats, “in order to learn how to fall on the floor in a soft way”, according to the teacher vision.. but I will talk elsewhere about this.. Anyway, tantodori and tsuki are definitively not among the techniques I consider important to build up the basics in Aikido!

Read the rest of this entry »

Did I lose it?

2 03 2013

Two months into 2013 and I basically did not updated the blog (or the picture for what it matters). But I do not think I lost the interest in sharing my little insignificant life with the rest of the world. I still have many meaningless thoughts that want to get out of my constricted brain and find their way to the blog-o-sphere..

I have started updating the 2012 annual wrap up that will be posted during the weekend and some more thoughts..

Because if my finger have been idle on the keyboard, the rest of me hasn’t. Not only my underused little brain of mine, but the oversized body, during February especially, has been quite stressed, but in a good way!

I spent my Chinese New Year Holidays traveling to Europe: a fast as usual visit at home for an early celebration of both my father and mother’s 70 years birthdays followed by 10 days of great Aikido in Northern Europe (weekend in Helsinki, Finland, and 1 wonderful week in Stockholm, Sweden). No time to visit my beloved Norway, but soon probably it will be possible! In Finland & Sweden I had the pleasure to see several old friends, very close ones, and even make new friends. Among the old friends, Jacqueline (Stavanger Jūshinkan Aikido) graded very well to 1.dan and also Erlend (Oslo Sentrum Aikido) graded to 2.dan. I can say more about Jacq grading only because in the uke turn I ended up with her (even if I started first as uke of Patrick from Umeå and then enjoyed also being thrown around by Sara from Berlin!) 🙂

Very active days, starting from one session in my home town at Valdengo Aikikai dojo and then continued with an average of 2 sessions per day with either Endo sensei or Lyly sensei or Nevelius sensei or some other very nice instructor! And what can I say about the training partners? Just that both my body and my mind really missed (and misses) this kind of practice. I have to complain less because here in Shenzhen at least I have joined an active club with 3 sessions per week, but the Aikido style/level is nowhere close to what I really love.. but that is life and choices, and nobody is keeping me here with a gun pointed to my head.. At least also here the people is nice..

Once back, balancing with the job and the stuff to catch up with, I still managed to put one extra seminar, still with Endo sensei, this time closer to home: still about 3.5 hours (by metro + train) but the stage was in Hong Kong, and it was nice as well to meet new Aikido people just from over the border. And at the same time seeing again Ulrich and Francois “from” Shanghai (German and French, respectively 😉 ).

For now no more seminars and some compulsory overtime in order to catch up with all the extra days taken for Aikido. Some work, some quite interesting new management stuff to learn and an idea forming in my mind about the following months.. with one big Aikido seminar already planned for the 1.May holidays.

FUNNY THING OF THE DAY – I do not really know if it is the weather, my mind, bad luck or (I put here my money) the general level of stiffness in Shenzhen dojo, but when practicing up to 3 times per day in 12 days in Europe I had no joint troubles and during my first session back here in China, last Thursday, I felt some annoying pain in one knee and all the body was struggling to relax properly. And then I had to buy extra supplies of Feng You Jing and the tiger patches since I had given away all I had during my trip to Europe!

FUNNY THING OF THE DAY, 2 – Last week, the Italian political election took place and the results have been quite a shock for most of Italians. A sad and worrying shock. It leaves a quite negative environment and future prospect for Italy, whose economy is not that good already and now the country is facing a strong political uncertainty as well. Actually one party has won (not the “left”, not the “right” but the “we hate politics we are not politicians but still please elect us”) but the prospect of their intents is scary (the real ones, not the program that is actually a very.. left wing one!). Curios to see what will happen.. but stay abroad as well 😉

After practice shock!

21 11 2012

Right after Aikido practice yesterday, I was changing alone in the locker room, since I had to leave the class a little earlier, when a huge rat hops in.. ahhhhh!!!!

I hate rats!!!

It seems the place here, both Shenzhen center  and Longgang village are full of rats.. I seen a few around the factory area and in the streets just outside..

Reminding me of Stavanger.. not good memories!