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Bugyotsuji last won the day on May 18

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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. Huh? Try this Stephen: https://www.google.com/search?q=短刀掛台&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjOmujyho_yAhXUc94KHQ5bB4gQ_AUoAXoECAEQAw&biw=1366&bih=625
  2. 短刀掛台 Try that Stephen.
  3. If 'sword' means Tachi or Katana, then sadly no, but I am grateful for what she taught me.
  4. For one? What kind of Tanto Kake, Thomas?
  5. Have we done this in a previous lifetime?
  6. Back in the 1950s my aunt gave me her stamp collection books from elderly relatives from the 1930s. Too young to appreciate properly, sadly. No idea what happened to them. Since then I went through time-of-life phases of collecting old weapons, then coins, and then Japanese things such as Andon/Shokudai lamps, coins again, Netsuke, Tosogu, matchlocks and matchlock accessories (powder flasks and fire-lighting kits). Nothing really seriously, of course. It was more like these things sought a temporary home and collected themselves.
  7. A (spare?) tsuba was sometimes used as a Netsuke, i.e. it could anchor anything you might want to hang from your obi. The holes were useful that way. Recently offered at auction I found a tsuba in an old drawer of bits and bobs. It had a braided string tied in a complicated series of knots encompassing the nakago and both hitsu ana, hiding the surface features. No-one really bothered to bid. I won, took it home and removed the hardened stringing. Not a bad tsuba underneath, iron, takabori design, and fairly large! "Used, but never abused." 8.5 x 8.0 cm
  8. As to the the blades themselves, someone whispered that we (from outside the prefecture) were invited ‘staff’ and not participants per se. For this reason we were not entering slips with attributions. The long blade in first position was a Nagamitsu, and later in the car I was asked if I remembered it from a viewing late last year. Some of our members seem to have photographic memories! A problematic blade was a lovely Katsumitsu with Kin Zōgan Mei that few were able to guess correctly. But the real trick was blades four and five. As different as two blades could be, they were both actually by Inoué Shinkai of Ōsaka. “Most people got one or the other, but no-one got both!” said the commentator. One blade was a ‘young’ example by Izumi no Kami Kunisada, three years before he took the name Shinkai. The Tanto in fifth position from towards the end of his life, looked nothing special to me, just a straight suguha, and I put it down rather quickly after a perfunctory examination. But in my mind it stayed bright and shining; mentally I could not put it down. Like purest cream, or butterscotch, the jihada and smooth hamon line continued to call me, blotting out all else.
  9. It has taken me some time to work out what I did wrong. I think I got there in the end. The timer was set for 90 seconds. Sitting on the tatami, we shuffled forwards to reach each of the five blades. I bowed and picked up a blade and started to examine it. Suddenly there was a tap on my shoulder and a voice saying “Put it down!” I looked up in surprise for surely no longer than 30 seconds to a minute had passed. The gentleman who was standing and leaning over me pointed and said, “Time out! Put down the blade!” Puzzled, I rather reluctantly complied, somehow also aware that my reaction was probably rudely slow. I stood up, stepped back and watched the whole proceeding, consulting with another member. It became clear that the (very quiet) 90 second signal in Hyōgo was an absolute rule for all, regardless of how long was left. All of them were putting down their blades at the same time, in waves, no longer and no shorter than 90 seconds. My ears suddenly became finely attuned to the first buzz each time. Later I went back for the second half of that blade examination! When in Rome, do as the Romans do. 入っては郷に従うGō ni Shitagau. “Gō ni ireba, Gō ni Shitagaé!” 郷に入れば郷に従え。
  10. As to the actual Hyōgo NBTHK meeting, Michael, what most impressed me was their dedication. 90% elderly gentlemen (as we were some years ago when I first joined), they were all seated on the tatami around low tables, holding handouts and listening to a lecture. The room was not very well ventilated, and all were wearing plague masks. We were given zabuton, the only acknowledgement of our presence. A long narrow concertina book was being passed around, called Také Oshigata Shū. It seemed to be an Utsushi copy of a 文政 Bunsei work, a beautifully illustrated introduction to the blade characteristics of perhaps 100 top smiths through history. The variations and details of the hamon and hataraki, achieved with fine points of bamboo, were almost unbelievable. Many of the oshigata were labelled with arrowheads and fine notations. A Muramasa Tanto blade example was covered with twenty or thirty such indications/notes. During this time our delegation set out the swords for their consideration, on a long white cloth under a hanging row of naked bulbs.
  11. 忠義 Chūgi Introductory video here shows some of the swords and armour on display in their museum.
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