Archive for August, 2011

Going on Vacation Soon

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Plans are made and ready. Next month, Akane and I will be voyaging to a sunny island, south of far-off Kyūshū. It will be restful and relaxing.

Of course, there will be no enemies to spy on or slay there. No castles to infiltrate, no need for combat on the rooftops. So I shall have little — probably nothing at all — to write about while I am away.

I will post at least one farewell message before I leave, and then another when I return. I should be gone for about ten days, starting ten days from now.

A Few Things To Do Today

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Finally, I have more to do! I must kill a couple of targets in a town called Futokōhō, very close by Kinyūiki. Then I have to do some scouting in the nearby town of Keisai. It shouldn’t be very hard, but at least it’s something to do.

Also, there may be a bit of rooftop work awaiting me in Kinyūiki. That will be most satisfying, after spending the morning and early afternoon doing scouting and perhaps a little 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. work.

Off I go. Wish me luck!

Working On My Own Kata

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

This morning, I have been doing a bit of work on my Nango kataA sequence of moves in martial arts, performed as a practice exercise to train the fighter’s muscle memory and reflexes in preparation for real combat. May be anywhere from a brief, 15-second movement to a full sequence that takes five minutes or more to complete. Usually solitary, but there are some two-person kata.

You may wish to see some videos of standard karate katas.A sequence of fighting moves used as a practice technique in martial arts.. It’s simply a little “hobby” form that I’m playing with for my own purposes, not something I’d really use in combat (except perhaps in some very odd circumstances). It reminds me, sharply, of some of the differences between 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”. and 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.)
 — and it helps keep me in touch with the Living Stone styles.

(I do not completely hate the Living Stone ryūA school, tradition, or style in martial arts.A school, tradition, or style in martial arts.. I voluntarily decided to make Nango a Living Stone form.)

Soon, Akane and I will go to the capital to do some shopping, and enjoy their fine restaurants… and we will also do some scouting for next year’s wedding ceremony. For this, I will be leaving my weapons at home.

Dealing With Three Things At Once

Friday, August 19th, 2011

I am no longer dealing with only one campaign. I had thought that my association with the Teitōken campaign was done, having pacified the city of Ichimen. Now I find that there is one final push happening this weekend. They may need a ninja on call, just in case they encounter any resistance that requires assassination or city operation.

Hence, I must hold myself in readiness, prepared at any moment to rush to the battlefield. I will serve, but I hope I am not called.

In the meantime, the Shiemesu Raisei campaign is becoming contentious. Ryōsuke wants to have everything complete within six weeks. The other warriors have all just pointed out that we are trying to learn an entirely new ryūA school, tradition, or style in martial arts.A school, tradition, or style in martial arts., and we have no idea how long anything will take. We certainly do not wish to commit to an untried, unfamiliar strategy and claim that we will have such-and-so accomplished, and then discover that we can only accomplish half of it in the time allotted.

Ryōsuke is adamant about the six-week deadline. We will see what we can commit to — if anything.

Aside from that, there is a problem occurring in Settsu Province. I need to deliver a message and some small supplies to one of our operatives there. It will be an interesting case of courier duty, combined with some reconnaissance — when I am done, I should report back to Tsukimi on what I saw while delivering the message.

It will be a busy day.

Beginning the Shiemesu Raisei Campaign

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

This campaign is unlike most others. Instead of trying to capture territory and hold it, our true objective is to test out the Chiri-dō ryūA school, tradition, or style in martial arts.A school, tradition, or style in martial arts., and see if we want to adopt it as one of our main strategies. To that end, we will be attempting to capture some towns and small cities in Yamato Province… but exactly which ones and how many is still a mystery, and we might not bother to hold them. It seems we will, at the very least, use a place called Kinyūiku as one of our targets. I have been performing preliminary scouting on it this week.

I seem to be the junior warrior in this operation. I will be reporting to Makishi (who I have mentioned before, a friendly fellow-ninja) until Kento returns from visiting his family, near the end of the month. There are a few samurai working in the plains and the wilderness; I know of Atsuhiko, but I am sure he is not alone. Above us all is Ryōsuke, who I believe is a major.

The Nichiren priest who is trying to coordinate all our actions is named Junsuke. So far, he seems pleasant enough. Assisting him is Amon, a friend of Kento’s. Another warrior named Eiki will also be involved, though I know not in precisely what capacity.

Ryōsuke is the major in charge of the warriors in this operation. He ranks above Kento, who is currently away visiting his family. Kento will not return until nearly the end of the month. Then, I understand, he will have the very interesting experience of being trained the Chiri-dō techniques.

I think Makishi and I will look forward to seeing how he feels at the end of that week.

In the meantime, we have advisors from Clan Eshidieru, the originators of the Chiri-dō style, who are continuing to teach us about its strategies. I keep receiving messages from Makishi as I scout Kinyūiku, asking me to join him and the advisors on the plains of Yamato as we observe how the Eshidieru advisors use Chiri-dō to organize large-scale battle movements. This makes scouting somewhat difficult.

Between Campaigns This Week

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Between Campaigns This Week

The Shiemesu Raisei campaign is starting off with activity in the forests and mountains, so my skills are not needed… yet. Both I and my fellow ninja, Makishi, are instructed to practice the Chiri-dō style and be ready for next week.

However, there is a limit to what we can practice, for we have none of the strange mainland swords that are useful in the Chiri-dō’s odd style. In the meantime, I have caught up on reading certain training scrolls. I should now be qualified to battle armored enemies without being caughtI’m all checked out on "secure coding"I’m all checked out on "secure coding" in the back by surprise.

Also, one of the clan’s ikebanaThe Zen art of flower arrangement.The Zen art of flower arrangement. masters, a woman named Sachi, came to ask for my help in dispatching a 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.-wielding enemy in Ise Province. Ise is quiet, restful, and very pretty, but also some distance to travel.

After the chaos and stress of the previous month, it was nice to see the countryside as I went to find my target.

The Last Day of Chiri-Dō Training

Friday, August 5th, 2011

Today is the last day of training about the Chiri-dō ryūA school, tradition, or style in martial arts.. The previous days have covered the sorts of urban operations that Makishi and I will have to perform, along with the forest and plains strategies the samurai will be doing alongside us.

But today, the training is about how one would integrate Chiri-dō fighting styles with ShugendōThe mystical path or religion practiced by the yamabushi.The mystical path or religion practiced by the yamabushi.. Though I once followed the way of the yamabushiThe yamabushi were (and still are) a group of mystical ascetics who live high in the mountains, practicing a nature-based spiritual path called Shugendō. In the world of the ninja coder, they’re invaluable to any clan that aims to conquer more than a tiny territory, because their knowledge of the trails and mountain passes is critical for moving troops and supplies from place to place. The word “yamabushi” is both singular and plural; it can mean the group or a single mountain man.Mystical mountain warriors who know the trails and passes in the mountains, and can help clans move troops and supplies around. The word “yamabushi” is both singular and plural; it can mean the group or a single mountain man., I have forgotten much… and I certainly do not perform any yamabushi duties for Clan Noriaibasha. Hence, Makishi and I have little to do here today.

We are writing scrolls of what we have learned so far. Next week, we must meet with some of the samurai and start planning out our strategies. This campaign will be long and hard, and it will involve a great many things we have never done before.

Luckily, it seems unlikely that I will have to use the strange, double-edged, straight sword from the mainland. That distasteful type of combat will mostly fall to the samurai.

A Week Full of Training

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

This week, I am assigned to learn about the Chiri-dō ryūA school, tradition, or style in martial arts., which is a strange and complicated fighting style that we will be using in the Shiemesu Raisei campaign. Every morning, I must arrive bright and early at a castle owned by one of our allies, where they train us in the courtyard for hours. It is grueling and unpleasant training, but my orders are to learn. If we do not understand this fighting style, we will not be able to even begin our campaign, much less succeed.

Makishi is with me, and we occasionally amuse ourselves with comments and criticisms of the Chiri-dō’s failings. Truly, it also has many powerful moves and promotes many excellent strategies. But we see some ways in which we wish it could be improved.

I am very busy this week, and the training gives me little time to write any of these tales. Perhaps I may manage to send a few short messages soon, but I cannot guarantee it.