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30 January 2006 @ 10:04 pm

Of all the days Dumb and Dumber had to get into a homerotic splish-splash waterfight and I had to get all wet, it had to be the day of Okita's Genpuku....

I was ready to go---- okay, well that's a bit of an exaggeration, I was kinda sorta ready to go...oh fuck me, so I was totally unprepared. But what do you expect, I just got my heart stabbed by a woman with a razor sharp katana....but it's not my fault, I was planning to go home at some point and get dressed.

I race past Kondou's gate and into the house and not having been in his house that often, I was a little lost. Upon asking for some help, I start racing to the courtyard not realizing that the kitchen is on the way to the courtyard.
Current Mood: bitchyDamn it, I'm Late!!!
I'm glad when we enter the gates of the Shieikan. It was such a long way from Tama! But of course none of us would miss Souji-chan's genpuku!

I wonder if my younger brother is already here? I glance around, but of course I don't see him anywhere. He's probably inside, warming himself by the fire and drinking up all the Kondo family's tea!

I glance around to the other people who have journeyed here for the day's event. My husband is here of course, as is my brothers. All three of them - Tamejiro, Kiroku, and Daisaku. Oh, I suppose I mean "Kasuya-sensei" instead of "Daisaku". Even after all this time, I can't get used to his being adopted into another family!

A very distant relative of ours and, like my husband, Hikogoro, another supporter of the Shieikan, Kojima-san is also with us. He's mentioned to us that he might have some big news soon. I can't help but feel a bit apprenhensive about it though. For some reason, it seems to involve Kiroku. And it seems that whenever Kiroku is involved in something these days, it invariably has something to do with our youngest brother.

I sigh, knowing they won't tell me until they're good and ready. Instead I go to the door of the main house and announce our presense...
Damn it! Could my luck be any worse today?! First I almost drown myself in a bathtub and then I have to run across the courtyard in the freezing cold in nothing but my fundoshi, and now Fude-san is reorganizing the shelf in the corridor outside my room! I hide around the corner to prevent her from seeing me in my current state of undress.

It seems to take forever, but finally she moves on off down the hallway. I give it a few seconds to make sure she's good and gone before slinking out of my hiding place and heading for my door. I get there without further incident and slid it open. Yet just as I'm about to set foot inside, a shrill shriek rings out.

Great! Busted...
08 January 2006 @ 03:27 pm
I change into new clothes as I busy my mind thinking of the things I need to do for today. First is to pay my morning visit to Shusuke-sensei like the good little samurai child that I am. Oh! Soujirou forgot the offering he will give to Kondo-san for being his genpuku sponsor! Tsk tsk...I am not yet officialy fifteen and my memory is already like crumbling rocks. Perhaps Soujirou will be allowed to slip away for just a moment to pick it up at the shop?

Second is to make sure my sister doesn't get anywhere near the shears or anything remotely as sharp. Her terrorizing me like some morbid oni is enough, but she is not going anywhere near my hair. I still want her to go to the temple with me, though, so I must be extra careful. I hate to admit it, but I'd look like a fool today if she weren't around. Aside of course from the fact that she'll beat me to a pulp with one hand if I left her behind...

Third, raid the kitchen for sweets. Can't go a day without those, can I? If I am correct, Fude-san still keeps a stash inside the cabinet behind the water jar...

Fourth is to NOT let my sister AND Fude-san know I'm planning to stuff myself with obscene amounts of sugar today. They're no fun when it comes to that. Poo.

And fifth...apologize to Toshi-senpai for that incident in the bathhouse. Again. I still feel guilty for knocking him unconscious; I had no idea that would happen, I swear it! But if I didn't play that prank on him.....Nevertheless, grovelling will definitely be involved; if not a lot, then at least a little. I'm never going to hear the end of this...Kami-sama, if my sister knew...

Sigh. So much to do, so little time. I thought today would have been like a celebration. I'm beginning to seriously think otherwise after that mishap in the bathhouse. Shame shame shame.


Murr...this isn't exactly the time to catch a cold. Can't get any better than this, ne Soujirou?
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
After grabbing a clean kimono and fundoshi, I head for the bath-house. Gen-san it seems has already been here this morning sometime and made sure that the tub has plenty of hot water. I strip out of my dirty garments, scrub myself clean, then slip into the cedar tub for a nice, long soak.

I must still be tired from my trip. Leaning back and closing my eyes, I soon begin to drift off to sleep...
After taking Kondo-sensei and Fude-san their breakfast trays, I go and post myself near the front entrance to the house. With today being the first day of the new year, it would normally be a busy time for the dojo anyway. We'll have students dropping by all morning to pay their respects to Sensei and to the Young Master. But today will be even busier than that since this is also the day we'll be having Souji's genpuku. There will be lots of folks coming to drop off small gifts and extend their congradulations on his entrance into manhood.

Obviously Sensei is going to be very busy preparing for the ceremony and can't greet the guests himself. So I've volunteered to do it. It's the least I can do to help I figure...
07 December 2005 @ 12:31 pm
I stare at myself in the mirror and what do I see? A boy. Not a far cry from the scrawny little child of nine: ruddy cheeked, wide-eyed and all too eager. A child. I do not see the man that I'm supposed to become. Yet?

I have a feeling I will always be like this. I will not have the sharp angles Kondo-nii has, the booming voice of Shusuke-sensei, or the suaveness Toshi-nii is so known for. I will always be of a willowy material--always sinewey, always ambiguous. A child with a blade. Always me of the Now.

A huff blows away the lock of hair that has fallen on my face. Call it a sort of farewell; I will no longer have them by the time the day is through. Becoming a man takes so much work... "Well, this is as good as it's gonna get." I see the boy impishly grin at me.

I inspect my clothes for any misplaced crease. Later on, somebody will help me into my ceremonial garb, or so Shusuke-sensei told me. I can't wait! At least for now, I kind of look presentable enough for a fifteen year old. Tying my hair up in the white ribbon I religiously insist on using, I make my way outside into the cold, snow-peppered morning where more early birds come to greet me with a perfunctory "Ohayou, Okita-san!" and offer congratulations for today's upcoming events. They won't be there when it happens; not many people will. I will probably see them tomorrow at this rate. Will I get any presents? I have to admit, I'm rather excited.

Okay, so I'm more than excited. I'm giddy...and I feel like I've eaten a dozen bags of sugarplums and a hive of bees are invading my insides. I want to run and whoop and...and...dance, for Kami-sama's sake! Anything!

The moment there is no one in sight, I make a dash for Toshi-nii's room.

"Hmm. He's not here..."

Darn. Oh well. Maybe I'll fix myself some tea. Why must Januaries be so cold?

[ exits to here ]

Current Mood: energeticenergetic
06 December 2005 @ 10:11 pm
It's still dark when Hotta-san and I leave the inn at the last village along the road before it winds its way into Edo. The Old Man walks in front with the lantern to light the way. It's so cold I can see my breath and I wrap my red haori a little tighter around me. The wind seems insulted by the gesture and tugs bit more insistently at the edges of my clothing.

Returning to the Shieikan.Collapse )
06 December 2005 @ 05:17 pm
Streets of Edo, Morning

I stand on the roof, looking over the other rooftops of the city. I can't even remember what Neesan called this place...and...it doesn't really matter. I hate moving. I hate it. We always do and I never know why. I want to stay somewhere. Here...anywhere. I sigh and sit down crosslegged, hugging myself. It's cold up here and the wind seems to creep past my clothes. I left before Neesan even woke up this morning--it was still dark. She isn't going to be happy with me, but I don't care. I like to be alone.
06 December 2005 @ 02:15 am
In 1853, Commodore Matthew Perry of the United States of America appeared in Edo Bay with four warships and demanded that Japan open its ports to foreign trade. This event triggered what was to become known as the "Bakumatsu" or "End of the Bakufu".

The people of Japan were instantly divided in their opinions on how to handle this act of foreign aggession. There were some who recognized the technological advantage that the Western countries of the world had over Japan and advised that the country should open to trade immediately. It was only in this way that Japan could become a modern country of the world and defend itself, they warned. However there were others who believed that the traditional spirit of the samurai would be enough to defend their country. They argued that the foreigners should be expelled from the "Land of the Gods" at once and became known as "exclusionists".

Many of those who argued against acceptance of the foreigners also preached "imperial loyalism". Of these, there were many who had a deep and traditional hatred of the shogunate. Others were angered at the Bakufu for having allowed the coutnry to become so weak. Since the emperor, who had no real authority, was known to hate the foreigners and to want them gone from Japan, they began to rally about him and insist tha the government's failure to carry out his will was treason. Their slogan was, "Sonno-joi" or "Revere the Emperor and Expel the Barbarians."

Meanwhile, the crisis sparked a serious debate among those in authority over who the next shogun could be. There were some who pushed for change in the government by supporting a candidate from Mito domain. Others attempted to maintain the status quo by supporting a much younger candidate from Kii. To gain support, both sides pretended "imperial loyalism".

It was not long before the issues of succession and expelling the foreigners began to overlap. This state of affairs continued until December of 1857. During all this time, the American government had been putting more and more pressure on the shogunate to sign a treaty allowing trade between the two countries. The Chairman of the Shogun's Council of Elders, Hotta Masayoshi, made a radical attempt to appease the exclusionists by appealing directly to the imperial court for approval of the treaty. In all of its nearly 300 years, the shogunate had never asked permission from the court for anything and this merely helped to strengthen the idea that the Bakufu had grown too weak to rule Japan.

The eyes of all those in power are now turned toward Kyoto, waiting to find out how the imperial court will respond...

While these things are of concern to all Japanese, for the ordinary folk back in Edo there is the more important task of going through one's daily life to worry about. And one place where ordinary life continues is a small dojo in the Ichigaya area of Edo called the Shieikan, where students come to study the Tennen Rishin Ryu under its master, Kondo Shusuke. Kondo-sensei is getting on in years and is looking forward to the day when he will retire and hand things over to his adopted son, Kondo Isami, who shows great promise as the next master of Tennen Rishin Ryu.

And then there is young Okita Soujirou. Already a very skilled swordsman, an important date has arrived for him. On this day, Jan 1, 1858, Okita will turn 15 and be counted as a man. The preparations for his "genpuku" have already begun...