Archive for April, 2011

A Great and Deadly Battle Awaits Me

Friday, April 29th, 2011

I knew I’d have to fight this guy some day. The Sōtō Zen monks have now identified him as a major obstacle to our Path. The day is today.

He is a rōninA masterless samurai, effectively an independent sword-for-hire. A samurai could become a rōnin if his lord died, or if his lord became displeased with him and effectively fired him. During the Sengoku Jidai, things were very loose, and some samurai voluntarily left their lords and went in search of other opportunities, becoming rōnin temporarily until they could find new lords. Some peasants even declared themselves to be samurai, and then went in search of lords to take them in — for them, being a rōnin was a step in their personal advancement plans.

The word rōnin literally means “wave-man”: the image is of a man who wanders endlessly, without direction, like a wave on the ocean. At the end of Pulp Fiction, when Jules Winnfield says his plan is to “walk the earth… like Caine from Kung Fu”, he’s effectively saying he’s going to become a modern rōnin after leaving Marsellus Wallace’s service.A masterless samurai; a wandering warrior whose sword was for hire. from Hikone, skilled in rooftop fighting, and a master of the Bright Square tactic. I know I should be worried but… honestly, I’m kind of looking forward to the challenge.

This is the late part of the campaign, where all our careful planningthe code we’ve written over the past few monthsthe code we’ve written over the past few months turns to chaosgets put on the QA servers, and the bug reports come flooding backgets put on the QA servers, and the bug reports come flooding back. All military campaigns go this way eventually. And any conflict that you avoided in the beginning eventually becomes inevitable. The toughest foes become the only ones left.

And defeat them you must, or you will never achieve victory.

My kusarigamaA common ninja weapon: a one-handed scythe/sickle with a length of chain attached to the handle. The chain has either a hook or weight on the end of it.A common ninja weapon: a one-handed scythe/sickle with a length of chain attached to the handle. The chain has either a grappling hook or a weight attached to the end.

The scythe/sickle part alone is a kama, and is a common farming tool. With the chain attached, it’s pretty obviously a weapon, and would be treated as such by any authorities one might encounter.
is sharp and my tabiThe split-toed boots commonly worn by ninjasthe split-toed boots commonly worn by ninjas laced up tight. I’m off to the rooftops of Ichimen, to find this enemy who lurks — according to the monks — in the Shiryō-no-Hako district. It may take until Monday before I find him, but when I do… one of us will fall.

Foul Weather and Foul Circumstances

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Rain drenches Ichimen. The Ayamari are everywhere, 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. blade is dull, and half the links in my 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.)
are about to break. I need new weapons, but the armory lock is jammedmy development environment is hosed, and all Seijun’s help has proved insufficient to get it working againmy development environment is hosed, and all Seijun’s help has proved insufficient to get it working again, and there is no way to get replacements.

I am reduced to my ninja skills and ingenuity. I must do all I can, with no blade.

It is easy to say, “Ganbarimasu!A Japanese expression meaning, "I will do my best" or "I will persevere"A Japanese expression meaning, "I will do my best" or "I will persevere"” It is harder to have the spirit that one can actually achieve victory.

Good News for the Teitōken Campaign

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Good news this morning! I arrived at the castle to find a message from one of the Nichiren priestesses in charge of the Teitōken campaign, to all campaign personnel. It says that the campaign is no longer considered “red status” by the nobles; it is now yellow. And if we continue with successful operations over the next week or two, it may even become green.

This is very good news, for the status has been red ever since the planning meetings stretched on and failed to be finished before their deadline.

This is also good news for me personally (as well as for the other fighters like Seijun and his team), because this message acknowledges our hard work and dedication. There is still much to be done, but it is beginning to seem that this campaign might succeed.

On My Own in Kotobasatsuki

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

Today, I am pursuing a mission of my own. Clan Noriaibasha knows nothing of this — nor should they have any reason to care.

I am in Kotobasatsuki, armed with my trusty 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 am trying to track down a rōninA masterless samurai, effectively an independent sword-for-hire. A samurai could become a rōnin if his lord died, or if his lord became displeased with him and effectively fired him. During the Sengoku Jidai, things were very loose, and some samurai voluntarily left their lords and went in search of other opportunities, becoming rōnin temporarily until they could find new lords. Some peasants even declared themselves to be samurai, and then went in search of lords to take them in — for them, being a rōnin was a step in their personal advancement plans.

The word rōnin literally means “wave-man”: the image is of a man who wanders endlessly, without direction, like a wave on the ocean. At the end of Pulp Fiction, when Jules Winnfield says his plan is to “walk the earth… like Caine from Kung Fu”, he’s effectively saying he’s going to become a modern rōnin after leaving Marsellus Wallace’s service.A masterless samurai; a wandering warrior whose sword was for hire. from Kawachi Province, who I understand has plans that would be bad for Iga. He’s been here for some time, and has taken the opportunity to blend in with the populace.

But ninjas are vigilant trackers and spies, as well as skilled fighters. I will find him. I must.

Disguised as a peasant, I too blend in with Kotobasatsuki’s crowds. The buildings here are spaced far apart, and the streets are often wide boulevards or even plazas. There is little useI’m dealing with some server-side tasks this time, so my usual JavaScript/AJAX stuff is pointless here.I’m dealing with some server-side tasks this time, so my usual JavaScript/AJAX stuff is pointless here. in taking to the rooftops. Instead, I must observe in inns and shops, keeping my eyes open for any sign that the rōnin has been here.

Where has he gone, and how will I find him? All I know is that I must. I cannot rest until I do.

How Soon Will This Be Done?

Friday, April 8th, 2011

I have slain the Kanhyū gang — every last one of them. They turned out to be undisciplined rabble, easy prey for my kama. Things are finally coming to completion in Ichimen. They are doing so with great difficulty and struggle, but they are doing so nonetheless.

Seijun has found what I sincerely hope will be the last major problem: Just outside the district of Denyūmado, there is a village called Denshūken, where a strong mercenary and a warrior of the ever-present Shimasu clan are both lurking. I must go there and kill both of them before our plans can succeed.

Later, if I have the time, there is a rōninA masterless samurai, effectively an independent sword-for-hire. A samurai could become a rōnin if his lord died, or if his lord became displeased with him and effectively fired him. During the Sengoku Jidai, things were very loose, and some samurai voluntarily left their lords and went in search of other opportunities, becoming rōnin temporarily until they could find new lords. Some peasants even declared themselves to be samurai, and then went in search of lords to take them in — for them, being a rōnin was a step in their personal advancement plans.

The word rōnin literally means “wave-man”: the image is of a man who wanders endlessly, without direction, like a wave on the ocean. At the end of Pulp Fiction, when Jules Winnfield says his plan is to “walk the earth… like Caine from Kung Fu”, he’s effectively saying he’s going to become a modern rōnin after leaving Marsellus Wallace’s service.A masterless samurai; a wandering warrior whose sword was for hire. from the ancient town of Sakurai who is searching out our operatives. And a pair of mercenaries from Hikone that I must kill.

But that seems to be all. Seems. It is greatly to be hoped.

I will be very active for a little while longer, but I think I can see a time of rest afterward. May Bishamontenthe Shinto God of warriors and fightersthe Shinto God of warriors and fighters grant that it is so.

Not Enough Time, and Too Many Enemies!

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

It turns out there was an entire other gang in Shiryō-no-Hako, whom we had completely overlooked. The Kanhyū gang: They operate in the alleyways and back-streets, but not on the rooftop. I’ll have to get in there in close quarters. My 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.)
will only be in the way; I’ll have to rely on nothing but 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..

Seijun says the entire district should have been cleared already. But he understands how the nobles’ excessive dithering has messed up everything about our schedule.

In the meantime, the final phases of the campaign will be doomed to failure unless I improve our clan-wideOur standard library for doing lightboxes needs some updates so it can handle some new use cases.Our standard library for doing lightboxes needs some updates so it can handle some new use cases. Bright Square tactics. When I have the time, I am trying to combine my own improvements with Ginsaku’s. I have Kento’s blessing for the project, but I still must find the time to actually do it!