Alright, I made a ton of progress. I’ll try to post some photos later.
Mike I followed your advice and used a block as a guide for crosscuts. This really helped a lot. I’m alternating now between using the block and not using the block.
I also found a video about using Japanese woodworking tools, and there is about an hour about saws. I’m using the suggestions from the video too…always start on the far end of the board, and using your thumb as a guide. The real game changer for me though was to not watch the part of the saw that is contacting the wood. Watch the part of the saw that is closer to the handle, and make sure it is following the line. You’ll get a straight cut this way. I tried it and it really surprised me how easy it was.
Also just that holding the saw at an angle gives you more power, but straightening the saw gives you more accuracy.