Posts Tagged ‘ganbarimasu!’

Note: This word is a commonly used Japanese verb. It could be translated as “I'll do my best!”, “I'm trying my hardest”, or even “charge!” Related to the (also frequently used) phrase “ganbatte kudasai”, which is best translated as “good luck” or “may you have success”.

An Important and Dangerous Mission

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Skillful reconnaissance has discovered a new enemy: The sponsors of the Keiten Mokuba army. They are backed by a powerful consortium of merchants and nobles called the Dōga-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.. They are well stocked with chain fighters, including a dangerous group headed by the notorious daimyōA feudal warlord; the leader of a clan and/or army with a significant area of land under its control. Usually also has aims to expand his holdings; many daimyō are trying to become rulers of whole regions, or even of all of Japan. Pronounced “dime-yo”.A feudal warlord; the leader of a clan and/or army with a significant area of land under its control. Usually also has aims to expand his holdings; many daimyō are trying to become rulers of whole regions, or even of all of Japan., Eizō.

As Clan Noriaibasha’s pre-eminent chain fighter, I have been chosen to eliminate this threat. I am honored, and only slightly daunted.

It will be my task to slip through Eizō’s defenses, penetrate his castle, and assure his demise. If I can also discover any of his correspondence with the rest of the Dōga-gumi, so much the better, for I must launch an offensive against that gumi as soon as Eizō falls — while his troops are in the greatest disarray.

I have already started scouting Lord Eizō’s security. It seems he has some sharp-eyed archers as part of his guard staff. I must be quite careful — if I am spotted, there is no hope. If I am well prepared, I can pluck one arrow from the air as it speeds toward me, but two at once would surely leave me quite dead.

Going After the Naihō Cadre

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Sakito is sick today. This means I don’t have to coordinate every move in Sanigata with him. Instead, I can just go after the Naihō Cadre and try to eradicate them. Or at least whittle down their numbers.

They are quite professional and skilled. There is no way I can take on all of them at once. I will have to use the stealth and guile of a ninja, and attack many of them from hiding, when their comrades are not around.

Wish me luck!

Later: I have discovered a terrible thing about the Naihō. They are not only active in Zaiseikyōiku… they may be found throughout Sanigata. I have found a squadron of them in Ogaribamen, and I overheard them mentioning their comrades in Bumon.

Luckily, I think the same tactics may work on nearly all of them… only the ones in Zaiseikyōiku seem to have chain fighters; these others appear to be 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.-only types. Or so I hope.

I’ll have to try it, after the mandatory Keitai Team meeting. For now, I must return to Castle Noriaibasha.

Later Still: I have been tracking this pair of Naihō warriors for nearly an hour now, since finishing my lunch. I think I understand their tactics. It is almost time to strike! All I need to do is make sure there are none of their comrades within calling distance…

Even Later: The battle was long, hard, and grueling. I am glad I spent so long observing these warriors before attacking them; they were quite skilled. But in the end, my kama abilities were greater than theirs. Yatta!A Japanese word that translates loosely as "I did it!" or "Yay, success!"A Japanese word that translates loosely as "I did it!" or "Yay, success!"

I think I understand their style, and I can now be confident of being able to take on any of the kama-only Naihō fighters and defeat them. It’s the guys with 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.)
s that I’ll need to watch out for… but they can wait until tomorrow. Or even Wednesday, because Kento tells me there is still trouble in Masugata.

Even in victory, a ninja’s work is never done.

Preparations for the Journey

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

I wrote, before, that being selected to represent Clan Noriaibasha at the warriors’ gathering in Hiroshima is a great honor. And so it is — but it also means that I must spend some time preparing! Akane is busy packing my luggage for the long journey. Since I will be representing the clan, and will probably have to attend various social functions, I must bring at least one formal kimono. I will also need food for the journey, and tabiThe split-toed boots commonly worn by ninjasthe split-toed boots commonly worn by ninjas that slip off easily for occasions when the Emperor’s guards inspect the carriage at checkpoints… It is quite a lot to prepare, and I have not much time.

Aside from that, I must have all our opposition in Ogaribamen cleared away before I go. Otherwise, Makishi and his team will not be able to do their work in my absence.

Since Amon and the people of Clan Hekoayu are still identifying exactly who our opponents are, this makes my life quite difficult. I have been given very little time to find and kill these people. It seems every day, I receive new orders: “The twin 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.s? They are still targets, but now you must kill them separately, not together!” — “Don’t worry about the enemy ninja who wears the signs of Ten and One; he can wait for later.” — “The two merchants, the fat one in the green kimono and his skinny partner in blue. They must both die as soon as possible!” “Will Friday suffice?” “Can you make sure it’s done tomorrow? Preferably in the morning.”

Amid all this chaos, I persevere.

The Ninja Perseveres, Even Despite Sickness

Monday, February 13th, 2012

This weekend would have been quite pleasant, except that I got sick during it. I tried for some time to tell myself that I was not ill. “It is merely allergies,” I claimed, as I sniffled and blew my nose.

This morning, it was impossible to deny that I have been afflicted by a cold of some sort. But it was also impossible to deny that I must come to Castle Noriaibasha, get 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., and then go off to Ogaribamen and see how many enemies I can kill. It is critical that I make as much progress as I can, for tomorrow, I must return to the Emperor’s court, and operations in Sanigata are about to fall behind schedule.

So I am here today. Despite the rain, I left my home and came here to the castle. I have my kama sharpened, and am ready to depart for Ogaribamen, with my straw cloak pulled tightly about me to try to keep me as warm and dry as possible.

It turns out that Sakito is not here today — he is sick. So is Ginsaku. And Kento says he is working elsewhere, at his own home. I can only wonder if perhaps he is afflicted, as well?

No matter. To Ogaribamen I go, and when the day is over, I will go home and Akane says she will make soup for me.

An Assignment Full of Blood

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

There is a small city in Sanigata called Ogaribamen, which we must soon take control of as part of the Saitekika campaign. For the past few days, I have been tasked with trying to devise a way for my fellow-ninja, Sakito, and I to collaborate on this task.

Today I have new orders: I am to go there myself. Alone. Once there, I should scout around enough to find all our opposition — then, slay them all! It seems Sakito is busy at the moment, and Kento is confident in my ability to kill our enemies without needing assistance.

Just the sort of assignment I enjoy. The only way it could be any better is if Ogaribamen were a large enough city to make rooftop fighting practical. But, as it stands, there are a fair number of enemies there. Soon, I will have them all identified. And shortly after that — most likely, tomorrow — the carnage will begin.

Added a little later: I have arrived in Ogaribamen, found a good sushi restaurant, and gotten myelf lunch. (One of the most tragic things about winter’s coldness is that it makes it too cold to really enjoy sushi. But now spring is on the rise, and we are having the first, early, warm days!)

Now I am sitting at a table outside the restaurant, calmly eating my sushi… and watching the town’s activity around me. I have spotted a few Ayamari already, as well as members of the Shōgakukin and Taishoku clans, who we often have to battle against. This is the art of hiding in plain sight, scouting the enemy while being unseen.

But now my sushi is done, so I must go.

Trying the Katana, One Last Time

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

Back when I was a 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 met a woman named Kaoru, who also followed the Way of ShugendōThe mystical path or religion practiced by the yamabushi.The mystical path or religion practiced by the yamabushi.. She is from the Kōga region, just north of Iga Province. She and I were never of the same band of yamabushi, but we got along well, and have occasionally stayed in touch.

Recently, I heard that she was to begin teaching some basic classes in the use of the katana. I once tried to learn to use that noble blade, back when I first began my path as a warrior. I have since discovered that my own natural inclinations lean much more toward other weapons, such as 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”., sansetsukonA three-sectional staff. Looks vaguely like a nunchaku with an extra section. Famously used as an intimidation technique by one of the bad guys in Raiders of the Lost Ark, who smiled evilly and then folded it up into a coat-hanger.

Three-sectional staff; weapon that looks like a nunchaku with three sticks instead of two., and 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.)
. But I still feel that I failed by not learning the katana.

Today she started her course, and I have decided I will give it one more try. But if my life becomes too busy, I will give myself permission to leave the class, and not consider it dishonor. After all, I have so many other things I must do, as well!

(Such as my Kongōshu style. I must continue working on that…)

The Black Star Gang Is No More

Friday, January 20th, 2012

I have slain all the Black Star fighters in the village of Iraisho, as Kento told me to do. This morning, there was a meeting of the priests in charge of the operation, and I told them of my achievement. I was afraid they’d tell me, “No, you fool! The Red Star gang!”

I need have no such worries. Kaimei, the leading priest, says this is fine.

Unfortunately, it seems the message has not gotten to the samurai, who reports that there are still Red Star personnel in the area, and can something be done about them, please? There are several other details which have changed since she received her most recent instructions; since she has been out in the field, it is sometimes hard to keep her posted.

But I have confidence that the Iraisho operation will come to a successful close soon.

In the meantime, there is much to be done regarding the shrine to Bishamonten. I am likely to spend the rest of today bowing, praying, making the requisite, ceremonial motions with my 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 examining the omens and oracles that the priest casts.

Fighting a Rōnin

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Yesterday, I got a rush assignment from Seijun. It seems 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. loose within Sakai, causing much consternation. He is skilled with 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 good at hiding amid the city’s alleyways and back-streets.

I tracked him to the Merchants’ Quarter, near our own castle. I tried to ambush him, but he was fast and wily. We spent an hour dueling each other, chains whirling in the late-afternoon sunlight, darting to and fro amid the frightened onlookers…

I finally disengaged from combat with him and snarled, “We’ll meet again!” before going home. It was not the sort of victorious experience I usually have.

Today, I am seeking him again. My skills must prevail!

This Technique Should Be Easy…

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

I have been sick for the past few days. On Monday afternoon, I was in Yokuaru Shitsumon, scouting out the opposition. It is clear that I will need to master a particular technique to have any hope of prevailing here. It is called the hikichigaido attack — a 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. 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. that should really be quite simple.

Still, it eludes me.

I do not know if this is because of my illness, or if there is something I am misunderstanding. But now I am in the courtyard of Castle Noriaibasha, practicing this technique. I must hone it until I can go back to Yokuaru Shitsumon and eradicate a pair of enemies who will otherwise cause us trouble there.

Practice, practice…

A Busy Day Ahead of Me

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Today promises to be very busy. In the afternoon, Seijun and I must meet with some representatives from Clan Seija, our allies who are assisting with some operations outside of Ichimen. I know they have encountered difficulties; I don’t know if we will go out to try to slay the enemies at once, or merely plan.

Also, we have determined that the 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 Mikawa Province has obtained some enemy battle plans. By lunch time tomorrow, I must kill him and deliver those plans to Seijun and Rajan, so they can effectively counter the enemy’s strategies. But the rōnin from Mikawa will be no easy opponent. He is skilled on rooftops, and a powerful fighter with 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.)
.

In the meantime, I also have a nest of Mōjin fighters to deal with… but they could wait until Friday, if necessary. (I think it will be necessary. Even a ninja can only handle so many foes at once.)