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Bugyotsuji last won the day on April 9

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    Japanese history, Tanegashima, Nihonto, Netsuke, Katchu, fast cars, J-E-J translation

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    Piers D

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  1. Oliver, there were still plenty of battles to come, at that time!
  2. Iron, with very faint traces of gold (?) zogan. Mumei. Not maru-gata, so... Aori-gata? 8.5 cm x 8.0 cm, any central thickness being lost towards the mimi. Picked this up hidden in a box of bits and pieces, with a length of dark indigo armour lacing tightly wound into the three central openings. The design seems to be... Kishobu yellow iris, 黄菖蒲 Kishobu, (水菖蒲 Mizu-Shobu?) or アヤメ Ayame? with 八つ橋 Yatsuhashi, in some kind of Takabori relief. Questions for our learned scholars. Can anyone elucidate the relief carving process? Do the symmetrical 擬宝珠 Giboshi-shaped Hitsu-ana indicate anything in particular, like ability to date? Further constructive comments always welcome. (And no, I do not think you can crush my enthusiasm!) Photos to follow...
  3. Bugyotsuji

    Any guesses?

    If that’s Table Mountain in the Hamon, and you are not too heavily attached to your knife, then trade is surely a no-brainer. Besides, you will still have hours of sleuthing fun ahead of you.
  4. In the evening was the branch NBTHK sword appreciation masked meeting. Great place to pick up rumours of this and that, but a little chilly with all the windows open. One blade had a distracting Habaki which kept drawing my eye so I decided to shoot it.
  5. Nothing in particular but yesterday morning I went to Kurashiki to see the local NBTHK sword exhibition of members’ blades. It was a beautiful day with deep blues skies, and I was happy to wander around the narrow streets of the old town, with very few tourists around. How long has it been since I last visited? I used to live here about 45 years ago. Here is a Twitter feed with shots from the exhibition. The venue behind Ohara Art Museum
  6. Some short videos by bloodcrosslove0106 from 4th April at Tsuyama Castle; you can hear the rain even if you can’t see it. And the final volley!
  7. Hi Chuck, it's an exhortation/prayer at the top and a few signatories and comments underneath. 武運長久 'Bu-un Cho-kyu' is a wish for good luck, protection and long life on the battlefield. The material itself should tell you as much as or more than what's written on it.
  8. Kind of you to read this, Jan. In the meantime, here are some teaser shots!
  9. A good question, Roger, with many possible answers. Recently I have been thinking that there may have been at least two facets to this, an earlier and a later stage. One, establishing that Christianity somehow fits into established background traditions, during a time of proselytizing. Two, later, on the backfoot under persecution, furtively revealed to fellow converts to establish fraternity/credibility. if ever it became too dangerous, as you say, then said tsuba might well have been removed from the blade and hidden somewhere.
  10. Jan Pettersson has been pushing me to write something about our latest defense at Tsuyama Castle. Therefore. Early on Sunday 4th April, our various baggage trains set out for magnificent Tsuyama in the pouring rain. We all arrived around 8:30 am to offload tons of kit as the rain grew more persistent. Perhaps 100 boxes and bags. "No point in putting on the armour and strapping on our swords", I thought as we lugged everything to the changing rooms. My back has been suddenly letting go recently, (since Tottori Castle above in mid-March) and I had brought a 'new' complicated set of Kote greaves that needed trying out for size, strength and fit, so I was not feeling entirely confident anyway, in body or outfit. At the back of my mind was also the worry that they might just push this thing through regardless. I should add that one of the characteristics of our troop is that we use genuine antique armour, sword fittings and matchlocks. If we do compromise, it is mostly in the footwear, although some members will insist on wearing genuine straw waraji, with their toes hanging off the front. One mark of a true leader is the ability to get people to do things they would not normally contemplate. Bento lunches appeared, gunpowder was handed out, and our marching and firing orders were given. Still the rain fell outside. Everyone started loading the guns, and donning armour, piece by piece, in time-honored fashion, as if they had not noticed the weather. A message came through that we had been summoned up the flights of steps to the second level of the castle, where the main Sakura Festival was being held. We gathered outside in the street, the banners were raised, the drums and gongs were beaten, and we formed into a snaking column, ready to march off to the castle gates. I tried to find somewhere dry for my powder and matchcord. There were very few people around, although rows of foodstalls had been set up in forlorn hopes. Again I counted the massive stone steps under my feet. "Step by step one gets to Rome", I muttered. Exactly seventy of these later we were up at the staging area. Luckily there were some small tents where we waited to be called. I managed to grab one of the few chairs, hoping age might come before beauty. Rain poured off the edge of the tent roof. Now I have a confession. The wife had made me promise to make the right decision over me back and the heavy gun. "I trust you", she added, (although I have never heard her say that before). All the way to the venue I had debated in my mind. Eventually I went to our leader and begged out of the 50 Monme part of the display. He reached down and picked up a sealed bag. He had prepared a special short section of hammered match for me with my name on it, so I felt both ashamed and guilty. He accepted, but took the opportunity to make loud comments over my shirking of duty, even over the microphone during the live display. Luckily I am old enough to laugh and shrug it off, and the spectators enjoyed the little tidbit. So there you have it. Suddenly all was movement as we stood up and formed outside, carrying guns and equipment to the main steps to the upper levels, forming the backdrop to our display. I lit my now shortened matchcord before leaving the safety of the tent, and kept it burning inside my cupped fist. All of our gun/cannon boxes and cases were kept closed until the last second, and then we began. The muzzle reports were strangely muted in the rain, and clouds of wadding landed wetly like Sakura petals. A knot of spectators, perhaps fifty or so, gathered under their umbrellas in front of us. I think they had come to see the famous newly-repatriated 100 Monme, advertised recently by the lovely DJ Misuzu San on Tsuyama FM radio. The highlight of the show was when Mr K lifted and fired the 100 Monme. This time it was loaded properly and the boom was most satisfactory. The kick knocked him over onto the sopping ground, but he managed to pull himself upright and recover. Finally it was time for our last full broadside. "Tama-gomé", came the shouted order. I poured a tube of blackpowder down the now slippery gun and tried to remove the wet ramrod. Impossible. For a second I thought of using my teeth, but gave up. As I leant over to insert priming powder, a trickle of drops fell from my kabuto into the firing pan, so I jerked my head right. Lifting up the slimy gun, I blew on the match one last time, fitted it, and cocked the serpentine. In the general roar of twenty matchlocks, she went off better than I was expecting. I am now more certain than ever that six shots in the rain is probably close to the limit for a matchlock, relying as it does on dry powder and cord. Awaiting photos...
  11. Agreed. Great comprehensive sleuthing. A most enjoyable read.
  12. Yes, true, maybe part of an onna-naginata?
  13. These seem to be modern prints, from the description below, Dale. Wouldn't mind an original print though at that price. As to the set, well, in another lifetime!!!
  14. Lovely illustration of Ko-hone' as it's called today. (Kawahone') https://www.aoyamahanamohonten.jp/blog/2019/07/04/河骨(こうほね)の花は絶滅危惧種/#:~:text=河骨(こうほね)という,の花を咲かせます。
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