Posts Tagged ‘misfortunes’

Why I Am So Busy Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

I arrived at the castle yesterday morning, collected my weapons, and went out to Zaiseikyōiku to see how things were progressing. Imagine my dismay when I discovered that Sakito had killed the wrong targets. I gave him very precise instructions, but he apparently did not understand them.

Luckily, the people he killed will not be missed… or at least, their deaths will not be traceable back to Clan Noriaibasha. He has at least that much competence at his ninja skills.

But the people we do need killed are still very much alive. Snarling curses upon Sakito and his ancestors, I set about finding and slaying them…

…only to be visited by Makishi, who asked me to return to the castle for a meeting with Sakito, Kento and him, to discuss our progress in Ogaribamen and Zaiseikyōiku.

I was very good. I did not state, “Sakito is incapable of following simple instructions.” Instead, I simply reported that we still have people to kill, and I am taking care of that today, and I had been doing so before I was pulled back to the castle. After the meeting was done, I spent the rest of the day in Zaiseikyōiku, frantically hunting down and killing enemies.

I have more to kill today. Then tomorrow there is another of those strategy-planning meetings which will occupy the entire afternoon. Before it starts, I have sworn I will have all our opposition in Zaiseikyōiku cleared away.

That is why I am very busy.

A Beautiful Day, About to be Wasted

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Today is a beautiful spring day in Kansai. The sky is blue, the weather is warm, birds are singing, and there are still a few cherry blossom petals on the grass. I suspect the rooftops are dry from last week’s rains by now — they certainly look inviting.

Accordingly, I must spend all day inside Castle Noriaibasha, stuck in two many-hour-long meetings to plan our strategies (and review our progress) on the Saitekika campaign.

I can only assume that Amon and Makishi will not ask me tomorrow why I have not finished killing our enemies in Ogaribamen today. After all, they will be in the same meetings.

Why I Am So Busy Lately

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Last week, I was assigned to recon — and eventually kill — a mercenary unit called the Naihō Cadre. They are operating in various places within Zaiseikyōiku. It turns out they are also well-organized, well-equipped, and professional.

It will take some slick 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, and all of my skill 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 order to defeat these fighters. Also, I must be cunning and use careful tactics. It will be quite an adventure!

In the meantime, there are other things going on outside the Saitekika campaign and the region of Sanigata. There is the ongoing Pagoda Bearer project, which requires a shrine to Bishamonten. We have a scroll that describes a ryūA school, tradition, or style in martial arts.A school, tradition, or style in martial arts. called the Tsuiseki-Dō, which we wish to experiment with. Sadly, it turns out that the Tsuiseki-Dō requires that the shrine be equipped with sandalwoodthis codebase assumes it’ll be installed in the DOCUMENT_ROOT directory of the web server it’s on, not a subdirectorythis codebase assumes it’ll be installed in the DOCUMENT_ROOT directory of the web server it’s on, not a subdirectory incense.

Ours has camphor and camellia incense. And the priests of the Jōdō Shū branch, who oversee such things, tell us we may not use sandalwood incense here.

So we will have to modify every step of the entire ryū to work the way we need it to. This will be quite an arduous task.

We have a mercenary helping us, a man named Shinju. He has been assigned to read through every move, looking for the cuts, parries, and attacks that will need to be modified. I am acting mostly in a supervisory capacity, alongside the priest, Riki who is in charge of this project.

As much as I enjoy the Pagoda Bearer ryū, this Tsuiseki project becomes less enjoyable every day, as I keep having to come back to Castle Noriaibasha instead of scouting the Naihō Cadre or other enemies in the field.

If Only There Were Three Of Me

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Tomorrow morning, there will be a regular meeting of the Kokakumanzoku division. Daichi and Satonori and I must give a presentation on the things we learned about fighting Mōjin at the warriors’ gathering at the beginning of the month. And this presentation must be understandable by priests and nobles, not just fighters.

We are all woefully unprepared for this.

In the meantime, I still must deal with the huge, tireless bruiser in Masugata. And Makishi is clamoring at me about some problems in Ogaribamen… I thought I’d finished everything there? No?

I foresee a long, hard day ahead of me.

Ginsaku Is Leaving Soon

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

A week after I arrived at Clan Noriaibasha’s headquarters, my fellow ninja Ginsaku arrived. Since then, we have been comrades in battle, fighting for the clan’s interests. But unlike me, Ginsaku was never formally inducted into Clan Noriaibasha.

As a result, there is only so long he can stay here. His time with the clan is now growing short. Soon, if there is time, I hope he and I can go out to an inn and chathave some after-work drinks togetherhave some after-work drinks together for a while before he leaves us.

I understand he has secured a temporary position with the armies of Clan Toyotomi, which is quite prestigious. I am glad for his success and continued good fortune, but I will miss him.

Sakito and Satonori will remain, as will Kento of course. But we will need to find more ninjas to take care of all the urban fighting that needs to be done. (Yes, this means you may look forward to some tales of how we test our applicants, and whether any of them can complete a Three-and-Five Strike.)

Do Not Make a Ninja Angry. You Wouldn’t Like Him When He’s Angry.

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Someone in Clan Hekoayu needs to die. Possibly multiple someones.

For some weeks now, they have been providing us maps outlining the territories we’re supposed to be capturing and subduing. In many places, these maps are extremely detailed. This is no coincidence: It is because we specifically required them to give us very detailed maps. After all, we are the ones who will have to operate in these territories, waging life-or-death battles.

Yesterday, I was in Zaiseikyōiku, following the map I had been given. It claimed that the little alley past the marketplace was an excellent shortcut to the back window of the Iron Monkey inn, one of the more important taverns in town. Being able to sneak in the back could be quite important.

Imagine my surprise and dismay, then, when I went down the alley and found a small building up against the back wall of the inn — completely covering the window. Imagine also that it was nothing compared to my surprise and annoyance at finding that the building housed a group of thugs affiliated with one of the gangs of the town center.

Luckily, they were also startled by appearance. Luckily, I have much practice in quick-draw techniques, and was able to pull out 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 defend myself before the first one’s attack could strike me. And luckily, I was able to escape unharmed.

Whoever produced this map should not be so lucky.

I spent the rest of the afternoon checking other details. There is a place where the map says the gap between two buildings is eight feet wide. It is actually ten feet. If I had attempted to leap that gap unprepared, I could easily have fallen to the street below, risking broken bones or even death.

I have reported the problem to Amon, Makishi, Kento — and of course, to Sakito, who is the only other actual ninja in the field, and who is hence relying on these maps just as much as I am. I have urged them to escalate matters to the priests and the nobles, and to ensure that someone has harsh words with Hekoayu.

For now, we cannot trust anything in these maps. It seems that at least nine parts out of any ten are correct. In any ten claims that the map makes, only one is incorrect. But which one?

Too Much to Do

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

There is far too much to do. Sakito and I are busy clearing out opposition in Zaiseikyōiku. In the meantime, there was a project a few months ago to set upinstall a LAMP codebase on a test serverinstall a LAMP codebase on a test server a shrine to Bishamonten and do some Pagoda Bearer fighting… This project was delayed for some months, but it has now been resurrected. This is wonderful news!

Of course, it needs to be done almost immediately. This is not surprising, but it does mean that I am quite busy, rushing back and forth from Zaiseikyōiku to Castle Noriaibasha.

And in the meantime, I have been invited to a large meeting which I must attend. It seems unrelated to any of the other projects that I am involved in. I can only hope that I am not too unprepared to understand what is going on.

Addendum: I arrived at the meeting to find that every other person present was a noble, or a priest of the prestigious Tendai order. “Surely this cannot be the right meeting for me,” I thought. I received a copy of the scroll that everyone else was reading from, and it spoke of all sorts of religious matters and the nobles’ plans.

Obviously, someone made a mistake by inviting me to that meeting. Luckily, as a ninja, it was easy for me to slip out without disrupting the proceedings. Now I can return to the shrine and continue the duties that are proper for me.

The Changing Time

Monday, March 12th, 2012

The Emperor, in his great wisdom, has decreed that the sun shall rise (and set) one hour later every day. Since the Emperor is divine, and descended from the Sun Goddess Amaterasu, his decree has actually come true, and the sun has been altered in its course.

This is very confusing to everyone in Kansai. It is difficult to get up in the morning, and difficult to get to sleep in the evening.

For a ninja such as myself, who often dwells in darkness and often has trouble waking early in the morning, this is doubly troubling. I barely managed to drag myself from my bed this morning, and of course, I arrived at Castle Noriaibasha even later than usual. I am very lucky there were no appointments or meetings that I needed to attend.

Akane is also greatly displeased by this. I have heard from many others of my friends, bemoaning the change. Surely, the Emperor must have a good reason for such a strange decree, but it is beyond my limited, mortal comprehension.

In the meantime, the animals go on, unaffected. I see why the sages seek to emulate their wisdom.

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.