Posts Tagged ‘disharmony’

A Chance Meeting With a Face From the Past

Monday, April 30th, 2012

An interesting thing happened to me a few days ago. As I was returning home from Castle Noriaibasha, I was passing by an inn. A wagon had stopped in front of it, and some happy young people were disembarking from it and collecting their luggage from the back. Other people had just come out of the inn. I don’t know if the travelers were their relatives, or close friends, but they were all obviously very happy to see each other.

They were hugging each other hello, smiling and laughing. Their good cheer was infectious; I felt my own mouth turn up into a huge smile, and I was glad of it.

Then Yutaka, the head of Clan Tenya, came strolling by.

I nodded in silent greeting to him, and he to me. I was happy enough that my smile did not falter. And shortly afterward, I realized that I was very glad that Yutaka had seen me in such a happy state. I want to be sure he does not have the option of wondering if I am forlorn or miserable since leaving Clan Tenya. I want to be sure he knows I have no regrets whatsoever about my departure, and that everything about my life is better now.

This desire is petty, I know. Caring even one bit about what Yutaka thinks is an attachment, of the kind that monks sensibly counsel us all to avoid. Nonetheless, I am human, not a Bodhisattva or saint. I know what I felt, and I will not deny it.

The Woes of Dealing With Clan Hekoayu

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

The Shiemesu Raisei campaign proceeds, slowly. Sakito and I have subdued the opposition we found in the three towns in Sanigata — truly, there was very little opposition to be found. Nearly all we did was 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; I hardly even had a chance to get out 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.)
at all.

Since then, we have been slowly expanding out grasp to include a few other towns in the area. I have just eradicated a few enemies in a place called Keisai. Our next target is another small town called Yokuaru Shitsumon, where Sakito will take the east side and I the west side. (I have some hope that I might get a chance to use my manrikigusari there.)

In the meantime, Clan Hekoayu is becoming a greater and greater annoyance. We have met with them a few more times. More and more of my clanmates in our division are becoming quite disturbed at the way the Saitekika campaign is unfolding, under Hekoayu’s guidance.

Our branch of the clan is the Kokakumanzoku division. We are tasked with ensuring that the peasants in our clan’s territories are fed, sheltered, and not badly treated. We have noted problems with the long-range effects of Clan Hekoayu’s plans. They do not lay out any specific plans to oppress the peasants, but if we follow their plans, we can see that the peasants will suffer.

And we have raised these concerns, and Hekoayu seems disinclined to listen. Now one of our Nichiren priestesses, named Suzuha, is becoming a focal point for our unrest. She has written a letter to explain that this plan is disharmonious, and we must adjust our Way. Riki is trying to manage things as well, but he needs support.

There is little I can do. Stabbing or poisoning our allies would bring dishonor upon us. When I can, I speak up in meetings on behalf of the peasants, and of Harmony.

Thoughts on Tokugawa’s Kabō Campaign

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Recently, Clan Tokugawa opened a new front in its war: A direct attack on the Kao-no-Hon 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.. This is not the first time they’ve tried to invade Hikone; there was their Būn attack last year, and their Nami initiative. But Būn was a disharmonious and ill-considered plan that aroused even the Emperorthe US government, specifically the Federal Trade Commission, who hit them with some heavy penaltiesthe US government, specifically the Federal Trade Commission, who hit them with some heavy penalties — see http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2011/03/google.shtm’s displeasure, and Nami more of a curiosity than anything else. I’m sure Lord Satōyama, who rules the Kao-no-Hon, was laughing at both of those failures.

I do not think he is laughing now. The new Kabō Campaign promises to cause major trouble for the Kao-no-Hon gumi. Practically everyone in Kansai is talking about it; at least everyone who cares about the eternal war.

I am wondering… should I join this fray? I already ensure that these messages of mine are sent to Yumehaba; perhaps there might be some way to also send dispatches to the front lines of this new battle in Hikone? But I fear there is no way I could include the explanatory text that is so useful to so many people. Without those explanations, I think most people would be too confused by the life of a ninja.

The Frustrations of Saturday and Monday

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

After defeating the Hakkā in the morning, the rest of Saturday was an exercise in frustration. I arrived at Ichimen only to have my chain break almost immediately. I went back to Castle Noriaibasha for a new one… but of course, Satonori wasn’t there to get me into the armory, so I could do nothing.

I looked through the lists of specifically identified enemies and determined a few that could be assigned to Satonori and Haruna. And I did some major work on the revised version of our Bright Square technique, which would be useful on Monday.

That took until sundown. Then I left the castle, wondering if anyone would contact me on Sunday to say, “We can get you into the armory now!”

Sunday passed uneventfully.

Then I went in yesterday morning and showed Kento the new Bright Square techniques, and he passed them on to Seijun. And Satonori got me into the armory, and I picked up fresh weapons and went to Ichimen and slew two fierce enemies before meetings took over my day.

And as I was getting ready to leave, there was an urgent call from Seijun. It seems his team was trying to use the new Bright Square technique, but they were getting carved into sashimithe kind of sushi that is nothing but raw meat, with no rice involvedthe kind of sushi that is nothing but raw meat, with no rice involved by the opposition. They needed help, urgently, and perhaps it was all my fault? I raced to Ichimen to see what was happening…

…and it turned out that only half of Seijun’s troops had been briefed on the new tactics! No wonder they couldn’t coordinate with each other! This was most definitely not a flaw in 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 had devised.

This is one of the things that drives me most insane about working with Clan Noriaibasha. The moment anything goes wrong, urgent messages are sent hither and yon, and everyone must drop everything they’re doing, even if it means abandoning the pursuit of another enemy that we’re just about to kill.

They say that I might have access to the armory today. I pray that I can make progress against the unending tide of bureaucracy.

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.

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!

Devising a New Tactic

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

I’m going to have to use a Bright Square 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. to handle the Mitsugao gang. Clan Noriaibasha has a standard Bright Square tactic for use in urban fighting… but it was only intended for use against small groups, of no more than 5 opponents.

The Mitsugao gang has at least 15 members, maybe 20 or so.

I will have to improvise. I will have to extend the clan’s standard technique, and make it much more powerful. Sadly, I doubt my improvements will become part of the clan’s regular ryūA school, tradition, or style in martial arts.A school, tradition, or style in martial arts.; really, we should not have ever tried to use Bright Square in this situation at all. And we should not do so again. (If we ever do try it again, we should do it my way, but really, we should tell the nobles: “No. We may only use Bright Square under certain specific conditions, and these are not on the list!”)

I am still quite busy with handling Seijun’s team’s sudden crises. This is the part of a combined operationan AJAXified web appan AJAXified web app where we must all work together, in perfect coordination, to achieve victoryensure that my client-side code and their server-side code all integrate properlyensure that my client-side code and their server-side code all integrate properly. I just wish I could coordinate with Seijun’s team as well as I once did with Teruyoshi, back when we both fought with the Yaneuragumi“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..

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.

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.

Inconveniences and Obstacles

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

It seems there has been a problem with the steel in 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-t$#333; was straight rather than curved. Also known as a “ninja-ken”.s forged by a particular smith. Under certain conditions — very rare conditions, but still possible — the steel will shatter into ten thousand pieces, leaving the sword’s wielder with a bare hilt in his hand (and a very surprised and dismayed expression on his face — though probably not for very long).

I will need to go buy myself a new ninja-tō, as soon as I can.

Luckily, my duties for Clan Noriaibasha only involve using the 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., 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 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.
. I can wait a few days before I need to replace my sword.

Yesterday, we tested a potential new warrior. The Keitai Team is running low on fighters lately. Young Akinori has left the clan to seek his fortune among the upstarts of Ōmi Province. This is a normal course for a young, motivated warrior like him. Just as it made sense for me to move to a larger, older clan like Noriaibasha, it makes sense for him to have gone to a small, new upstart. But we were low on fighters even before he left, and so it would be nice to acquire new ones. Sadly, yesterday’s prospect wasn’t skilled enough.

I’ve been slaying Mōjin fighters in Keishutsu as fast as I can, but there are a huge number of them. I think I’ve got them almost all destroyed by now; later today, I hope to have Jun-ichirō the scout do another pass to make sure they’re all gone. But I just got a message from Kīchi, one of the Tendai monks in charge of the Teitōken campaign. It seems the generals and nobles have noted some potential problems with our strategies in Kurabero-no-Hako and even in Keishutsu. He would like to meet with me and go over our plans.

*sigh* If only they’d noticed these problems before I was nearly done in Keishutsu…