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(x-posted elsewhere blah blah blah)

May 10, 1863, the Choshu began bombarding foreign ships at Shimonoseki according to both court and Bakufu instructions to expel westerners.  The French retaliate, and on 6/5/1863, Choshu decided to restore Takasugi to an official capacity to Shimonoseki, where he was supposed to lead military countermeasures.

PS:  The descriptions of Noyama prison are interesting.  Also, note that the Choshu were still largely cooperating in 1863 with various Bakufu and court directives.  Quite possibly, the events in 1863 arose out ofwhat I refer to as "male stupidity."  The sentiments of those marching on Kyoto were that of "rescuing the Emperor" and likely came about because a> the Emperor was wishy-washy (various texts indicate no reasons for his sudden dismissal of the Choshu, often pinning it on various court intrigue) and b> the Choshu corps were   hot-headed, headstrong and sometimes impatient.  The march on Kyoto was not advised by many prominent liberals/reformists, but unfortunately, the cooler heads could not prevail. Whether Ikedaya has any bearing on reasons for or against the march, I can't determine.  If anything, Kido (having survived) continued to urge against this march. 

PPS: found a funny reference indicating that the person who later informed the other Choshu of Kido's whereabouts once he went into hiding after these events was Matsu.  .  

Late 1864 or Early 1865, Matsu apparently showed up one day in Hagi (I believe) after the conservatives had been overthrown (pushed out of power or whatever nice euphemism you want to use)  and informed the others that a> he was alive and b> in Osaka (at that point).  Kido was rapidly summoned and put into power.  

Mind you - this woman was traveling alone on his behalf.  Rather spunky, I think.
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I somehow missed this post on the conclusion of volume four of PMK which may never be released by ADV .

This touches briefly on Akesato and Suzu as well as poor Ryoma's fate.

(And now I remembered something I need to get started on.)

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This is to help out our entering Shinsengumi character

The background we are working with (agreed upon both players of Susumu and Ayu) is that their father was a doctor (but he is the person with the link to their clan), and their mother wasn't exactly specified.
(This is still to be resolved in game. Part of development thread here.)

For the sake of refreshing folks memories, Ayu disappeared from the compound for unknown reasons late spring, well before the events of Ikedaya. To date, we have been playing that Saitou and Okita don't know why, although they may have various suspicions. (See these journals for a partial explanation.)

What the Shinsengumi should know about Ayu are the basics: she cooked for them, and her food was generally considered very good :D. Den-mother describes her fairly well.

What I could not gather from PMK is how well people understood her "real job." I think most did, although it was never discussed openly as Tetsunosuke was not clued in until much later. (Tatsunosuke did realize it fairly early on, when Ayu dressed Tetsu's scratches.)

Hobbies and interests:
Her hobbies and likes: Less so from PMK, but just things that I think most observant Shinsengumi would have noticed.

She likes loves children, likes animals, flowers, artistic artifacts, asking questions, looking at things, and is generally inquisitive, although sometimes won't express her questions.

Enjoys stories, being taught various things, tends towards medicinal applications sometimes (although that might have been more due to the fact that she was one of the few women around).

Ask away, Miburo-players, if there is anything else you need or want to know.
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The week count isn't wholly accurate, as I think it doesn't quite know what to do about community vs. journal posts, but for those who got the nudges, consider yourself nudged.

You can get back at Ayu later.
Current Music:
Ayumi Hamasaki - HEAVEN "original mix" - Shinobi OST
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This version from "We Japanese" Combined edition.

"Which do you love better, your brother or your husband?" Prince Sahohiko asked his sister, Sahohime, in 26 B.C. She was the consort of the Emperor Suinin (the 11th) and had a baby-prince. She had little idea what her brother had in mind, and so innocently expressed her preference for her brother.

"Love is often replaced by love, sister," Prince Sahohiko went on. "You enjoy the exclusive love of the Emperor but he has many other ladies with him. You little know that some day you will entirely lose his love and affection. If therefore you will kill your husband on my behalf and help me to the Throne, you shall enjoy peace and happiness during the rest of your life."

When, soon after this, the Emperor visited the Empress at the Kume Palace, he took a nap with his head resting on her lap. This was a good chance for her, but she felt that she could not commit regicide, yet neither could she disobey her brother. A tear trembled upon her eye-lids, and dropped upon the cheek of the sleeping Emperor.

"I had a queer dream," the Emperor said, waking up. "I had a small snake of brocade-colour about my neck and I was caught in a shower coming from the direction of Mt. Saho (after which Sahohiko and Sahohime were named.) I wonder what this dream portends."

"The small snake of brocade-colour, my lord, is the cords of the dagger I have , hidden here," the Empress replied, taking out the dagger her brother had handed her. "And the shower was my own tears." Then she went on to tell the Emperor all about the dark plot hatched by her brother, asking the Emperor to forgive him.

"You are innocent, so do not worry," the kind Emperor said to the Empress, but soon after he sent a punitive force against Sadohiko, who built a fort of rice-straw, which withstood the siege of the Imperial army for over a year.

"I shall be held responsible for the death of my brother," the Empress said to herself. "If my brother is killed, how can I avoid criticism and remain as Empress?"

Taking therefore her baby-prince, Sahohime ran into the straw-fort where her brother had entrenched himself, and no words of the Emperor could bring her out of it. At last the straw-fort was set on fire. Then the Empress, carrying the young prince in her arms, came out to the gate of the fort.

"I came into the fort," she said "in the hope that I might save my brother. But all is over now. I cannot outlive him, for I hold myself responsible for his death. The prince belongs to the Emperor, to whom he must be taken." "When I am gone," the Empress added after delivering the Prince, "I should like the Emperor to marry one of the five daughters of the governor of Tamba Province, who are all reputed for fidelity and truthfulness."

The fort was burned down and Sahohime , with her brother was burned to death. That was in the year of 24 B.C.

The Emperor Suinin, respecting the wish of his faithful lamented wife, married Princess Hisasuhime, daughter of the governor of Tamba Province. She was the mother of the Emperor Keiko (the 12th).

Alternate versions appear Here and here.
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Adapted from Kateigaho International Edition, Winter 2006 issue, "Cha-kaiseki Winter cuisine - Appealing to the Five Senses" by Machico Yorozu

During the winter season, a hearth is set up in each teahouse, and seasonal tea presentations are performed. Yobanashi (tea ceremony conducted by candlelight from early evening until late at night) is a special ceremony conducted only at the coldest time of the year.

The ceremony proceeds as follows
-shoiri (the first tea ritual)
-zencha (starting tea)
-shozumi (the first of two procedures to add charcoal to the fire)
-kaiseki (the tea-ceremony meal)
-nakadachi (the recess between the kaiseki meal and the koicha service)
-koicha (thick tea)
-usucha (thin tea)
-nochizumi (the second of two procedures to add charcoal to the fire)

Careful planning goes into the planning of the kaiseki meal. The dishes served during the ceremony are set on individual trays used for the occassion. Food is light and easy on the stomach (such as simmered or grilled items), and the plates are often warmed out of consideration for the guests.

Kaiseki originally meant "breast stones," referring to the stones that Zen monks concelaed inside their robes to save off hunger pangs during their ascetic training. A special form of banquet cuisine, also called kaiseki but written with different characters, is served on auspicious occassions. Kaiseki-rori (kaiseki cuisine) is part of the formal tea ceremony, so it is sometimes called cha-kaiseki.

The meal is intended to satisfy the appetite of guests adequately so that they can appreciate the ensuing tea ceremony. It is a light meal consisting of basically of one kind of soup and three kinds of dishes. (Morning tea ceremonies features one soup and only two other dishes.)
Included in the meal are hashiarai ("rinsing the chopsticks") -- a clear soup to cleanse the palate - and hassun (two ingredients - one from teh sea, and one from the mountains), yuto (slightly salty hot water), and pickles. When selecting the menu, care is given to not serve food with strong smells or tastes.

On particularly auspicious occassions (i.e., the kuchikiri - ceremony for first tea of season), another side dish preceds the hassun -- the azuke-bachi or shiizakana and consists of pickled food or food with Japanese dressing.

Sample menu (contemporary menu-- for more ideas, consult list of links that go to other kaiseki pages at red-bird):
1. Rice, uzumi-dofu soup with miso and butterbur garnish. Side dish : Japanese scorpionfish and baby leek served with soy sauce flavored by Japanese hot peppers
2. Steam baked yuba
3. Salt-broiled yellowtail with pickles and mustard-flavored soysauce. Side dish of daikon radish with meat. Another side dish of crab, natto, and yam.
4. Salmon smoked, mushroom seasoned with soy sauce. Course of Hashiarai and peeled, pickled plum
5. Yuto in pitcher accompanies pickles of radish, red turnip and turnip leaves
6. The confection served at the end of the meal is called uzumibi. The reddish paste covers a ball of sweetened, mashed black bean paste.

For other notes, refer to http://int.kateigaho.com/aut04/kyoto-tea-ceremony.html and also http://red-bird.org/himuragumiplus/culture/index.html . More info hopefully available soon.
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Ne, ne. Shinsaku, Susumu...can I have one of these?

That's Binchou-tan. Charcoal girl. Don't ask .


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Why is Ken-san's favorite color that sort of red/pink color?

I always thought he wore blue and black during the old days. Is this a Hiten-Mitsurugi thing? Hiko-san and his cloak are red.

If that is so, then does that mean any person who wants to train in that style must wear red too? Or pink? I wonder if that spikey-haired boy will start wearing red or pink too.


Current Mood:
curious curious
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From "We Japanese" Book 1, Written by Frederic de Garis, for H.S.K. Yamaguchi, Managing Direcotr, Fujiya Hotel, Ltd. Japan

Each month of the year has its favorite flower or tree, their blooming seasons varying a little according to latitude and location in Japan's long stretch from north to south.

January, the pine; February, plum; March, the peach and pear; April, cherry; May, azalea, the peony, and wistaria (sic); June, iris; July, morning-glory; August, lotus; September has the "seven grasses of Autumn"; October, the chrysanthemum; November, the maples; and December, the camellia. The "seven grasses" are the hagi (bush, or Japanese clover), susuki (pampas grass), kuzu (arrow-root), nadeshiko (wild carnation), ominaeshi (maiden-flower), fujibakama (Chinese agrimony), and hirugao (convolvulvus -- wild morning-glory).

At Miyanoshita the seasonal blossoms appear as follows:

Plum (ume), February and March. Peach (momo) and Pear (Nashi), March and April. Cherry (sakura) from April 10 to 30. Azalea (Tsutsuji), May and early June. Wisteria (Fuji), last half of May. Peony (Shakuyaku) and Tree-Peony (Botan), first half of May. Iris (Shobu), late May and early June. Morning-glory (Asagao), July to mid-September. Lotus (Hasu), late July to mid-August. Chrysanthemum (Kiku), October and November. Maples (Momiji), in full color from mid-October to the end of November.

The orchids and other flowers in our greenhouses, heated by natural hot-spring water, are worth seeing."
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