Archive for June, 2010

Your Herald Only Hurts Your Clan’s Cause

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

I have just spoken with a man from a clan called Supurānku, who have need of fighters. They are growing quickly; already they are large enough to meet my size requirements easily. But they are still a young clan, and they retain the mentality of one. According to the captain I spoke with, the clan “strives to retain the culture of a small, young, and eager clan.”

This is exactly what I do not need. I told him of my misgivings, and this is a great step for me. Normally, when a clan’s representative tells me that they like my skills and they want to move forward with negotiations, I do not know how to say, “I am honored, but I must respectfully decline, for your clan’s Way and mine are not in alignment.” But I am learning, and I told the captain that I was doubtful.

It only makes me angry then, to have this politeness and professionalism returned by the sudden arrival of one of their heralds, who tried to convince me that I should continue negotiations with Supurānku, and that I will never find an army that gives me what I need. He proved entirely unable to notice my polite statements that we had nothing further to discuss, and I spent far longer talking to him — and listening to his unwanted pep talk — than he deserved.

So even as I am learning to say, professionally, “Your clan is not for me”, it seems I must work harder on learning to say, professionally, “You are irritating me and wasting both our time. You will go away, now.”

When the captain left, my impression of Clan Supurānku was simply that it was a nice enough clan, but not for me. Now, my impression is one of distaste and, honestly, anger. But I have no time for rage; I must put on my tabithe split-toed boots worn by ninjasthe split-toed boots worn by ninjas and prepare to journey into Yagyū, to meet with a man from Clan Kaiketsusaku, who may perhaps be more reasonable.

Weekend Kata Practice, and a Hard-Working Herald’s Message

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

There is a fair in Iga tomorrow. Akane and I will be having friends over to join us at our house, so we have made sure it is clean and welcoming. Between bouts of cleaning, I have spent the day playing with a ninja-tōThe short sword most associated with ninjas. Note that unlike the katana and wakizashi carried by samurai, the ninja-tō was straight rather than curved. It was roughly the length of a wakizashi.

The ninja-tō was also generally of inferior workmanship compared to the more expensive blades available to samurai. Even if a ninja could acquire a katana, it would be too long and unwieldy to carry on most missions; ninja generally relied on smaller weapons like the shuriken and manrikigusari, and on more deniable weapons like the kama.

“Ninja-ken” is another perfectly acceptable name for this weapon; it’s like the difference between saying “ninja blade” and “ninja sword” in English.The short sword most associated with ninjas. Note that unlike the katana and wakizashi carried by samurai, the ninja-tō was straight rather than curved. Also known as a “ninja-ken”. kata that my friend Michio described to me recently:

“I can see that there will frequently be situations where I have to hang from a tree branch, roof, or overhang, stab an enemy, then haul his body up into the place where I am in order to avoid being detected. And I have a kata that seems to work for that. It was a good learning exercise.” Curiously, I have never had to solve this exact problem, though it’s similar to one I’ve dealt with before.

So I agreed to work out a kata for it, without having seen Michio’s. Then we can compare them. It will make a good way for him to check how well he is learning the martial arts, too.

Well, either it’s harder than it looks, or I’m going at it entirely the wrong way. But my focus has been very scattered these past few days.

I did not go to Yagyū today, of course. But while I was practicing in the yard in front of Akane’s and my house, I got a message from a herald anyway. A singularly unhelpful message, much like the previous message from one of this herald’s gumi“group”Japanese for “group”; can refer to anything from a “five-person group” (a common work-unit in Japanese corporations) up to an entire branch of the Yakuza such as the Yamaguchi-gumi. yesterday: It specifies what weapon skills and fighting styles I would need to know, but nothing else. There is no mention of any of the things I need to know to decide if I am interested or not.

Where is the clan’s headquarters located? Would I be constantly on the road from Iga to their castle, and exhausted by all the travelling by the time I even arrived every morning? And is this with a clan at all, or with a larger army? Where do they fight, and what are their objectives and strategies?

On Monday, I have appointments with two other herald gumis. Perhaps I can have lunch with a friend along the way.

Too Much Leisure Time is Not Good

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

I have not been as diligent as I could in practicing my skills, or in writing the scrolls I must post in Yagyū. What I have written, I have shown to some friends, and they have been able to provide much good advice. With their help, I should be ready to visit Yagyū tomorrow.

In the meantime, I have been able to enjoy Akane’s company a bit more. Now that I am not spending long hours chasing Clan Tenya’s enemies, I am not so tired that during my evenings at home.

Over the past few days, my friend Michio has sent messages from the picturesque wilds of Kii Province, where he has recently started learning the ninja-tōThe short sword most associated with ninjas. Note that unlike the katana and wakizashi carried by samurai, the ninja-tō was straight rather than curved. It was roughly the length of a wakizashi.

The ninja-tō was also generally of inferior workmanship compared to the more expensive blades available to samurai. Even if a ninja could acquire a katana, it would be too long and unwieldy to carry on most missions; ninja generally relied on smaller weapons like the shuriken and manrikigusari, and on more deniable weapons like the kama.

“Ninja-ken” is another perfectly acceptable name for this weapon; it’s like the difference between saying “ninja blade” and “ninja sword” in English.The short sword most associated with ninjas. Note that unlike the katana and wakizashi carried by samurai, the ninja-tō was straight rather than curved. Also known as a “ninja-ken”.. I have responded with some tips and pointers, and he seems to be learning quickly and well. It is interesting to see his enthusiasm and his joy in discovering the ways of combat — so different from my current jaded, tired and cynical state.

It is strange not to have done any ninja missions in over a week. At least Akane needs occasional errands run in Kotobasatsuki, which gives me a chance to travel and do some scouting.

How Can Weapon Skill Not Be Useful?

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

I am writing new scrolls to post in Yagyū town, to let the armies of Nihon know that I am available for hire. The last time I wrote such a scroll, I was skilled in the way of the sansetsukonA three-sectional staff. Looks vaguely like a nunchaku with an extra section. Famously used as an intimidation technique by one of the bad guys in Raiders of the Lost Ark, who smiled evilly and then folded it up into a coat-hanger.

Three-sectional staff; weapon that looks like a nunchaku with three sticks instead of two., and particularly the popular Aka Hōseki Jōgesen ryūA school, tradition, or style in martial arts.A school, tradition, or style in martial arts..

Now, I find that I have not touched a sansetsukon in nearly a year. I am faced with a minor dilemma:

Do I study hard, and try to quickly recover my skills? Many of the messages I have received from heralds recently have stated that they are seeking Jōgesen fighters.

But those same messages also say that the groups seeking such fighters are small clans — just the sort that I no longer wish to join. If I spend my time practicing with the sansetsukon, I may simply make myself attractive to the groups that I don’t want to deal with.

The idea that a skill might prove to be a drawback, rather than being useful, does not sit well with me.

Resuming My Tales

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

It has been far too long since the last time I wrote any of these tales; I have been busy setting up this new venue for them. Also, I was quite busy fighting on behalf of Clan Tenya. In fact, I was kept entirely too busy as a member of Clan Tenya.

But that is no longer. I and the clan have now severed ties, and so I begin a new chapter in my life. It seems an appropriate time to re-start these tales.

In the months to come, I may even fill in some of the more interesting events at Clan Tenya — or I may simply leave it as a gap in my history, for there was much running back and forth in forests, and not enough assassination. In the meantime, my energies must now be focused on finding a new clan to fight for.

My preference is for one with a large, established army. No more will I join my fortunes to the tiny, upstart clanstech startups, especially "Web 2.0" onestech startups, especially "Web 2.0" ones of Ōmi Province.

I must prepare scrolls to post in the town of Yagyū, where clans and armies send their scouts to find fresh warriors. I have much to do, and I ask the blessings of the kamiOne of the spirits or deities of the Shinto religion. Can range from a nature spirit, such as the spirit of a particular river, tree, or rock, all the way up to nationwide gods like Inari or Amaterasu. Like all Japanese words, “kami” is both singular and plural.One of the spirits or deities of the Shinto religion. Can range from a nature spirit, such as the spirit of a particular river, tree, or rock, all the way up to nationwide gods like Inari or Amaterasu. on my new adventures.