Archive for February, 2011

A Scroll of Much Confusion

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Yesterday, Kento and I met with Rajan, Seijun, and another of the forest samurai. Rajan has a scroll written by some warrior-sage high in the clan, describing some battle tactics which are supposed to ensure the safety of our warriors.

This scroll is very confusing, and at least one of the manrikigusariA chain weapon with weights at both ends, which can be used for striking or entangling.A ninja weapon consisting of a length of chain with stuff at one or both ends. Generally has weights at both ends, but occasionally one weight will be replaced by a hook. The weapon can be used for entangling (by wrapping a weight around an enemy’s limb) or for a direct strike with one of the weights. It can also be used to entangle an enemy’s weapon with one end, then strike the enemy’s body with the weight on the other end. They hate that.

When the chain has one end attached to a kama, it’s known as a kusari-gama. (Kusari means “chain”; when it’s the second item in a compound word, it becomes -gusari. Similarly, kama becomes -gama in compounds.)
techniques that it calls for makes no sense at all. It’s a needless flourish which won’t make us any safer or assist us to strike the enemy harder.

Over and over again, the scroll says things which are completely unclear. Many times during the meeting, all five of us were scratching our heads and asking each other, “Do you know what that means? No? I don’t, either.”

Since these techniques were presented to us as “guidelines”, not orders, Kento made me very happy by saying, “I can tell you now: My ninjas will not be following these guidelines.” Rajan thinks the sage must know something we don’t, but even he must admit that he isn’t sure what it could be.

He is trying to set up another meeting, where the sage himself can explain to us why and how these techniques can help. We shall see how that goes.

In the meantime… today may involve another trip to Nagoya. It’s supposed to be a simple pick-up: just meet with our operative at a restaurant, where he’ll pass me a message that I must bring back here to the castle. But things have a way of going wrong in Nagoya. Wish me luck!

Holidays Are For Other Clans

Monday, February 21st, 2011

The streets of Sakai are nearly empty today, as many people are at home for a holiday, commemorating the lives of great emperors of the past. But Clan Noriaibasha is ambitious, and our personnel are hard at work in the field and in our castle headquarters.

Seijun and his team are now active in Ichibanyōshi and Keishutsu, the first two districts of Ichimen that I secured for them. They should be moving on into Shiryō-no-Hako, Kurabero-no-Hako, and Migaku soon. I’m sure that other problems will crop up eventually, but for now, the ground and the streets in those districts are the samurai team’s problem for now.

We all know I’ll have some rooftop workThe HTML is all done, but I’ve got to write a whole bunch of JavaScript to make that HTML actually do useful things.The HTML is all done, but I’ve got to write a whole bunch of JavaScript to make that HTML actually do useful things. to do before things are finished. I look forward to it.

In the meantime, I’m starting to scout out the Denyūmado district. I’d forgotten about that one, because it’s so small. It should be fairly easy to handle any street-level problems there… but our initial reconnaissance suggests there may be some gangs who know their way around rooftops.

I ache to show them my Jeikyū grappling-hook skills.

The campaign’s strategic plans are nearly done (now that the campaign is well under way!), and so I have hopes that there will be fewer meetings in my future soon. But I need to have at least one or two meetings with Rajan to discuss what sorts of signalsReally, we should be using RESTful HTTP response codes. Rajan’s idea of having the server just send back a “404 File Not Found”, no matter what kind of error occurs? *Not* the right way to do things.Really, we should be using RESTful HTTP response codes. Rajan’s idea of having the server just send back a "404 File Not Found", no matter what kind of error occurs? *Not* the right way to do things. we’ll be sending each other to coordinate our operations.

Also, there are two new warriors this week, who need to be evaluated to see if their skills are sufficient to join our clan. There will always be distractions from fieldwork and combat.

More Change in the Shomei-gumi

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

On Friday morning, I was lacing up my tabithe split-toed boots commonly worn by ninjasthe split-toed boots commonly worn by ninjas and getting ready to journey to Castle Noriaibasha when I received a message from the Shomei-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.. It seems my contact there, Kaisei, has left the group to pursue other ventures.

Luckily, with heralds’ groups like Shomei, “he has left to pursue other ventures” is not a code phrase for “he has gone to join his ancestors”. I am sure that Kaisei — who I found to be intelligent and pleasant, and with good taste in shōchūA strong, clear, distilled liquor that’s often described as “Japanese vodka”. May be made from rice, wheat, barley, sweet potatoes, or any combination of them. Also known in Korea as “soju”.A strong, clear, distilled liquor that Westerners often describe as “Japanese vodka”. Also known in Korea as “soju”. — is still in fine health.

But it does make me wonder about the health of the Shomei-gumi. When I first joined them, my contact was Megumi, who placed me with Clan Noriaibasha. Then she left and was replaced by Kaisei. Now I have an entirely new contact. Such rapid changes do not bode well.

Still, Noriaibasha is pleased with me, and will likely take me in as a full clan-member when my contract is complete. All I need to do is wait.

Early Victory Atop the Roofs

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

This Monday, Nayumi told me that there had been an incursion of mercenaries into Ichibanyōshi. They apparently hail from Hikone, and are adept at rooftop fighting techniques. She needed me to clear them out, so she and her samurai team could be secure in their operations there.

Of course, there is little time for me to battle mercenaries when I am required in meetings to plan our campaign strategies. But I told her I could neutralize these mercenaries by lunchtime on Wednesday.

That’s today. And an hour before lunch, I finally vanquished the last of the Hikone mercenaries, and sent word to Nayumi that the Ichibanyōshi district is safe for samurai again.

Now it’s time for me to go find some yakisobastir-fried noodles with meat and veggies; a tasty mealstir-fried noodles with meat and veggies; a tasty meal. (And, thankfully, this afternoon is clear of meetings too, so I can tackle our enemies in Kurabero-no-Hako. They are numerous, and I have to slay them all by the end of the week.)

The Winds of Change Sweep Through Our Campaign

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

The Teitōken campaign proceeds. Every day, there is at least one meeting to discuss our plans. Sometimes, I simply meet with Seijun, Rajan and Nayumi to coordinate our tactics, but other times, Seijun and I must meet with the priests of the Nichiren and Tendai orders, and with some of the nobles, to discuss the overall campaign strategy.

That strategy continues to grow and evolve. We have captured perhaps half the territory of Ichimen, and already we are finding difficulties in holding onto what we have taken. Even though I eradicated our opposition in Ichibanyōshi and Keishutsu, we have found that now a group called the Norikaeru are moving into those districts —and expanding into the rest of Ichimen, no doubt.

I am still busy in Migaku and Shiryō-no-Haku. And I am bedeviled by the need to constantly go back and forth from battling in Ichimen to attend meetings in Castle Noriaibasha.

Seijun and I have warned the priests that we must take account for the Norikaeru. We can only hope they see how inharmonious this campaign is becoming.

Just after lunch today, we will test another warrior to see if he is skilled enough to join our clan. We need more ninjas and mercenaries, but I do not dare to have much hope.

Now Grandmother Is Dead and Buried

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

I have been away from Kansai for a few days. Last week, I received a message from my brother saying that Grandmother had died. So I traveled to the south, to the city where Grandmother lived, along with my brother and Uncle-san. Father also went there, all the way from Edo, to pay his last respects to his mother.

Of course, there was no sneaking or combat to be done there. The weather on the shores of the Seto Inland Sea is balmy and warm, even in the midst of winter. The sun shone as we buried Grandmother and Father and Uncle told stories of her life. Also, I finally got to see Grandfather’s grave and pay my respects.

But now I have returned to Iga, and am back in Castle Noriaibasha in Sakai. There is much to do. The Teitōken campaign has not faltered in my absence, and I must meet with Seijun and Nayumi today, to discuss how we will coordinate our strategies.

And I understand there things I can be doing in Migaku with my kamaTechnically, a kama is simply a farming tool. It’s like a sickle, or a small, one-handed scythe. Since farmers make up a huge segment of feudal Japan’s population, there’s nothing suspicious about carrying one around. And ninjas like to avoid suspicion.

If you take a chain with a weight or hook on its end and attach that to a kama, you’ve got a kusarigama… much more useful as a weapon, but also obviously a ninja weapon, instead of a farming tool.
A farming tool, like a sickle or a small, one-handed scythe. Commonly used by ninjas because they arouse no suspicion – farmers are everywhere, after all.
… It will be good to be active again!