Posts Tagged ‘carousing’

After the Wedding

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

I promise, I am not dead.

Far from it, in fact. Two weekends ago, Akane and I were married in a joyous ceremony in Ueno, the capital of Iga Province. We were surrounded by friends and family, and everyone was happy. Akane wore a beautiful white uchikakea type of highly formal, ceremonial kimono, generally only worn at court functions or weddingsa type of highly formal, ceremonial kimono, generally only worn at court functions or weddings kimono with silver embroidery, and everyone remarked on how lovely it was.

A week before the wedding itself, I went out with many friends for an evening of dedicated carousingbachelor partybachelor party. (Akane, meanwhile, did much the same with many of her friends.) Since my venture involved some travel along the Tōkaidō, we naturally stopped in at the town of Kusatsu, and I gave my Kongōshu style a try. My friend Rikio, something of a mix of 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. and 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., immediately found a problem with it, and I had to make some changes. Still, it was enjoyable to give my nascent fighting a style a real test!

After the wedding, Akane and I spent a week relaxing at some hot springs in the mountains before returning home. Now I am back at Castle Noriaibasha, where my clanmates are pleased to have me back.

I will report more when I have time.

Breaking My Silence

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

I must once again apologize for my long silence. The Saitekika campaign is a long and complicated one, and fighting it leaves me with little time to chronicle the happenings of each day.

There have been many, interminable meetings with Amon, Kento, Sakito, Makishi, and some of the representatives from Clan Hekoayu. Makishi and I, at the very least, continue to be unimpressed with Hekoayu’s plans. Last night, Sakito and I were at an inn with one of the clan’s Nichiren priestesses, and both of them also had criticisms of Hekoayu — and also of the overall planning of the entire campaign.

Clan Hekoayu has a reputation for being sage advisors and skilled artists. I have no idea how they have maintained this.

In between meetings, I have managed to perform some missions in the field. I have discovered that the Naihō Cadre is not an independent group. It is actually an offshoot of a large army called the Keiten Mokuba. Soon I will have to find ways to eliminate the Keiten Mokuba; with them gone, the Naihō will be demoralized, easy prey.

In the meantime, I have been battling a group called the Kakunenbo, and have cut them down to a shadow of their former might. Kento is pleased with my performance.

Tonight, there is a farewell enkaiA ceremonial drinking party, generally organized by a company or other organization. Though an enkai is done by and for the members of a given company, it’s not held in the company offices; envision a company-sponsored pub-crawl.

See more detailed descriptions of enkai.A ceremonial drinking party, generally organized by a company or other organization. Though an enkai is done by and for the members of a given company, it’s not held in the company offices; envision a company-sponsored pub-crawl. to commemorate the departure of Tamae, one of the Nichiren priestesses who is friendly and outgoing, and hence quite well loved here. She is going to join one of the larger clans of medics and healers in Kawachi, and she says she already has some ideas for how to help guide them in the paths of Righteousness. Later on, I understand Mitsubachi is sponsoring a nijikaiEnkais don’t always stay put. Sometimes they have a second, third, or even fourth phase. Something like an afterparty. A "nijikai" is the second phase of an enkai.Enkais don’t always stay put. Sometimes they have a second, third, or even fourth phase. Something like an afterparty. A "nijikai" is the second phase of an enkai. at an inn where everyone is expected to singkaraoke barkaraoke bar; the experience should be quite entertaining.

Taka Is Leaving Us

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

I have written before about Taka, the servant woman who works with the clan’s supplies and organization division. By her efforts, the Kokakumanzoku division has been effective, efficient and well-organized.

Also, she is a friendly presence at the castle — true, she is not from Iga Province, but she is from the nearby Kōga region. Having her around makes me feel like there is someone here who understands me.

But all good things come to an end. Taka is now leaving the clan, going to seek her fortune with a school in the capital city, one which teaches the daughters of noble families and rich merchants. I am not the only one saddened by this news; the entire division is sorry to see her go. Lord Mayoku, the noble in charge of the Kokakumanzoku division, issued a proclamation yesterday thanking her for her service, and expressing our deep regrets at her departure.

Tonight, there will be a tearful farewell enkaiA ceremonial drinking party, generally organized by a company or other organization. Though an enkai is done by and for the members of a given company, it’s not held in the company offices; envision a company-sponsored pub-crawl.

See more detailed descriptions of enkai.A ceremonial drinking party, generally organized by a company or other organization. Though an enkai is done by and for the members of a given company, it’s not held in the company offices; envision a company-sponsored pub-crawl.. I suspect many of the clan will have headaches tomorrow morning.

Problems With Clan Hekoayu

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

Yesterday was full of meetings. First, a variety of clan members met with two representatives from Clan Hekoayu, who are trying to provide guidance on the Saitekika campaign. Then, after lunch, we had a very long session with a man from Clan Eshidieru, the architects of the Chiri-dō ryūA school, tradition, or style in martial arts.A school, tradition, or style in martial arts.. We asked him how we might use it to achieve the strategies laid out by Hekoayu, and he was able to give us useful guidance.

Then we went to an enkaiA ceremonial drinking party, generally organized by a company or other organization. Though an enkai is done by and for the members of a given company, it’s not held in the company offices; envision a company-sponsored pub-crawl.

See more detailed descriptions of enkai.A ceremonial drinking party, generally organized by a company or other organization. Though an enkai is done by and for the members of a given company, it’s not held in the company offices; envision a company-sponsored pub-crawl. for a clan-member who will soon be having a baby. Much sake was drunk and people were happy. Eventually, most others had left, and Makishi, Amon, and I were able to discuss some of our feelings about the way one of the Hekoayu representatives comports herself.

This woman, named Kimiko, seems very easily flustered by even the simplest questions about the Hekoayu plans. It is as if she expects us to simply accept all their plans with smiles and awed gratitude. But the fate of the entire Saitekika campaign hangs on the soundness, both the harmony and the righteousness, of these plans. If we see flaws, we must point them out.

So far, we have not done so. We have simply asked for clarification, and even that has resulted in her making sour faces and acting disturbed. Yet there are serious flaws we can see, and we are pondering how to diplomatically point them out. Makishi, Amon, and I are warriors; we do not have the silver tongues of Tendai priests.

Perhaps I will discuss my concerns with one of our priests, and see if they can relay the problems to the Hekoayu.

The Reconsecration of the Shrine, and the Last Days of the Teitōken Campaign

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Akane and I have successfully reconsecrated the shrine of Inari. We have even strung a new shimenawaA consecrated rope used to wrap and delimit holy ground in Shintoism. Usually hung with holy paper streamers.

As usual, Wikipedia has more information, including some pictures.A consecrated rope used to wrap and delimit holy ground in Shintoism. around the premises.

Happily, we were done in time to visit the wonderful local restaurant, which makes some of the best okonomiyakiSomething like a cross between a pancake, an omelet, and a pizza. Flat, fried batter with meat and vegetables mixed in, and sauces on top.Something like a cross between a pancake, an omelet, and a pizza. Flat, fried batter with meat and vegetables mixed in, and sauces on top. in all of Kansai. It was quite delicious!

The following day — yesterday — I went back to Castle Noriaibasha. Nobody seems to have noticed my absence the previous afternoon, or if they did, they didn’t mind. Over the past two days, the Teitōken campaign has been slowly and painfully winding down. Every time I think things are done, they find one more pocket of resistance. These are rarely in the city; Seijun’s team has been quite busy rousting out foes in the forest. But occasionally, a message of great and terrible urgency tells me to proceed to Ichimen and find such-and-so target.

Tonight should be the end of this. We are already a day past deadline. I have spent part of the day reading the scrolls and maps pertaining to the upcoming Shiemesu Raisei campaign; that should occupy much more of my time tomorrow.

For now, I have an appointment to meet an old friend in the capital for a sushi dinner.

The Late May Festival in Iga

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

The last weekend in May is always a major festival weekend in Iga Province. Akane and I journeyed to Ueno and stayed there in an inn to enjoy the multi-day celebrations. The festivities were delightful, and we got to see some friends of ours.

The inn was not delightful; on the first night, we returned from a late night of drinking and dancing only to discover the tatamiThe thin, flat mats traditionally used as flooring in Japan. Stuffed with rice straw, they were also used for sleeping on in olden days. See Wikipedia for more information.The thin, flat mats traditionally used as flooring in Japan. Stuffed with rice straw, they were also used for sleeping on in olden days. mats were soiled. We had to roust the innkeeper out out in the middle of the night to fix the situation. Of course, I could not kill him during a festival ceremony; it would have brought uncleanliness. However, we made our displeasure very plain.

We have some plans to return to Ueno, but never again to that inn.

This week will be very busy as I resume my battles in the Teitōken campaign. I will write more of that when I have the time.

Distressing Dreams Remind Me of the Past

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

I dreamed of work last night.

Back when I was a member of Clan Tenya, such dreams were a common occurrence. Nothing ever seemed good enough for them, and there was never enough time. My overly-busy days began to haunt my nights. I dreamed of rooftop battles in Kotobasatsuki, and of tangling with the city guard of Nagoya.

It was not pleasant.

My dreams last night had a different cause. Today, I must show Kento and Seijun and Rajan the 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. I have developed for use in patrolling Ichimen. They will be inspecting my movesThis will be a code review. I’ve written an awful lot of code for this very AJAX-heavy project, and folks will be reviewing it to make sure that there are no horrible catastrophes or security holes witing when we deploy it.This will be a code review. I’ve written an awful lot of code for this very AJAX-heavy project, and folks will be reviewing it to make sure that there are no horrible catastrophes or security holes waiting when we deploy it. and my form carefully, to ensure that all will be well for our final push.

And I am worried, because I have never done such a demonstration with Clan Noriaibasha before. I want to give a good showing of myself.

My mind says I need not worry — that my skills and my kata are sufficient, that I will not bring dishonor upon myself. But my heart is still anxious.

Once I finish the demonstration, all will be better. Chifumi, the junior Tendai priestess, is leaving the clan, so there will be an enkaiA ceremonial drinking party, generally organized by a company or other organization. Though an enkai is done by and for the members of a given company, it’s not held in the company offices; envision a company-sponsored pub-crawl.

See more detailed descriptions of enkai.A ceremonial drinking party, generally organized by a company or other organization. Though an enkai is done by and for the members of a given company, it’s not held in the company offices; envision a company-sponsored pub-crawl. to celebrate her departure. She has long desired to join one of the clans of Settsu Province and leave Izumi behind. In the winter, she thought she had found one to accept her, but then they suffered a crushing defeat when Oda Nobunaga sundered his alliance with them. But Chifumi has persevered in her search, and will now be joining a small clan of Naniwa.

All of us wish her well in her future, and we will toast her at the enkai at day’s end… but I cannot stay for long! I must leave to go meet with Akane at a fine restaurant overlooking the bay. We shall eat fine food and drink fine sake and 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”., and enjoy each other’s companyyup, got a hot date with my sweetheart tonight!yup, got a hot date with my sweetheart tonight!.

All I need to do is make a good impression at the demonstration. Then everything gets better.

What a Real Samurai Can Do

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

A friend has been visiting from Edo for the past few days. Last night, Akane and I had dinner at a fancy restaurant in the capital with him and his childhood friend, a samurai woman named Beniko. During the meal, the conversation turned to the difficulties of recruiting skilled fighters.

Akane said, “Oh, I know! Have her try the Three-and Five Strike,” and so I told Beniko what the requirements are. One of the nice things about it as a warriors’ test is that it doesn’t bother to state what the warrior’s movements, footwork, or other technique should look like. It simply specifies what you must do to the target. This means it will work with any weapon at all — even though I’ve been testing manrikigusariA chain weapon with weights at both ends, which can be used for striking or entangling. Obviously, the movements and style for using it are VERY different from the samurai sword!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.

Obviously, the movements, strikes, and footwork for using a manrikigusari are very different from those that work with a katana!

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.) fighters, I could still ask Beniko to perform it with her katana and have the test make sense. So we briefly stepped out into the restaurant’s ornamental garden…

And she performed it beautifully, with hardly any hesitation. There are a couple of aspects of the Three-and-Five Strike that are a bit trickyThere are a particular couple of bugs that people usually make the first time they try to write FizzBuzz, but they’re the sort of thing a decent programmer should be able to catch and fix when asked a couple of leading questions.There are a particular couple of bugs that people usually make the first time they try to write FizzBuzz, but they’re the sort of thing a decent programmer should be able to catch and fix when asked a couple of leading questions. — the first time you try to do it. But that mistake teaches you how to do it properly, if you have any skill or training at all.

Beniko’s execution, however, was nearly flawless. Each time she was about to make one of the standard mistakes, she spotted the problem ahead of time, and simply worked it into her motions. It was a joy to behold.

Once again, I see that a true warrior can do a Three-and-Five Strike easily, and it is absolutely not too hard to use as a test for Clan Noriaibasha.

Upheaval in the Shomei-gumi

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Two weeks ago, I had a lunch meeting with Megumi, the herald of 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. who secured me my position with Clan Noriaibasha. Her supervisor, a woman named Rīna, was also there. The two of them wanted my advice on some other warriors who might be of use at Noriaibasha… and Rīna also mentioned that they had been in touch with Tsukimi, the commander of the Keitai Team. Apparently they have heard very good things about me from Tsukimi — her instructions to the Shomei-gumi were “Please send us two more of Ichirō”.

I told them their words bring me honor, and I will strive to continue to bring honor to Shomei.

Last week, I received a message from Shomei, telling me that Megumi had left the group to seek her fortune with a new clan in Hikone. My new contact in the group is a man named Kaisei, who reports to Rīna as Megumi once did.

So we recently met at a bar in the capital, to get to know each other. He proves to be a friendly, convivial fellow, but also with a thoughtful side — he has spent time meditating on what it means to be a herald and why he enjoys it, just as I have spent time meditating on what attracts me to the Way of the Ninja.

Also, we have similar tastesWe both like good bourbon.We both like good bourbon. 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”..