Can a feudal era General and famed military strategist act as a modern day Cupid?
Episode Two: Enter Ushiwakamaru
During late summer of 2013, while driving back from a trip to Kyoto, I visited Tarui for the first time and paid my respects at General Hanbei’s gravesite at Zendouji Temple. I also visited the flatland fortress established by General Hanbei’s son, Shigekado.
Yohsuke was on a business trip at the time, but he did arrange for me to meet Mr. Fuwa, who is related to Yatari Fuwa, one of the most famed of General Hanbei’s retainers. Since I had an hour or two to kill while awaiting Mr. Fuwa to get done with his business as a real estate agent, I decided to have lunch. I couldn’t find an open restaurant (I didn’t know I was on the wrong side of the tracks for that) so I ended up buying readymade entrees at the local supermarket. After selecting some rice balls and croquettes at the deli counter, I looked around for the small packets of Japanese style Worcestershire sauce usually found at such counters, but there were none. Going to the regular groceries section, I looked around the sauce offerings and noticed a brand I had never before seen. The sauce was offered by a local Nagoya company called Komi. This particular Komi brand sauce bottle touted only Japan grown vegetables were used to make the sauce, no artificial flavorings or preservatives added, and the sauce contained none of the 27 common allergens. I bought the sauce, went to the dining area offered by the supermarket, and had my lunch. The sauce was delicious! (This Komi brand sauce is of some critical importance later, so please remember this episode.)
After lunch, I met Mr. Fuwa at the Tarui Tourism Bureau, of which he is a board member. He and I got along famously, and I was invited to come back to Tarui.
In March of 2014, at a party in Tokyo, I met a lovely young lady named Masayo. She was one of about 15 ladies to whom I was introduced that particular day, so I didn’t really think much of the encounter at the time.
In July, I met Masayo for the second time. This time instead of a baker’s dozen of other girls being there, it was just Masayo and one of her friends. We had lunch together, followed by Log Kit’s Sasebo Burgers (very famous in Japan) a few hours later. This was the day I started falling in love with Masayo, but I could tell the feeling was not mutual.
However, I began courting her in earnest. Masayo seemed to be interested in my Benkei activities. There was going to be a parade held in the outskirts of Yokohama in October 2014. Owning a spare suit of armor, I asked Masayo if she would like to come out and join Tonbo Group for the parade. She did. This is when I found out whenever someone in samurai armor is standing beside Benkei, that person is assumed to either be Lord Yoshitsune or Ushiwakamaru (Lord Yoshitsune’s name until formal adulthood.) As my spare suit of armor was rather plain, on this occasion it was Ushiwakamaru. Fortunately for Masayo, Ushiwakamaru was reputedly a very handsome young man, even “as beautiful as a lady.” Lots of men called out “Ushiwakamaru” and vied to take photographs of the beautiful girl in samurai armor.
This is what she looked like on that occasion.
And a classic Beauty and the Beast picture. Yes, that is your humble scribe in Benkei getup. In case anyone is wondering, the kanji characters on my large hammer can be phonetically pronounced as BFH.
This gave me an idea. If people are going to assume Masayo is either Lord Yoshitsune or Ushiwakamaru, then the Tonbo Group should capitalize on it. Lord Yoshitsune and Benkei are very popular historical figures in Kamakura, after all. Plus, this would be an excellent excuse for me to see Masayo more often. Even if we were “just friends” for now.
The key things I would like you to remember are:
Location: Zendouji Temple, Tarui town, Gifu Prefecture. Family temple for the Takenaka family.
General Hanbei Takenaka, famous Sengoku period military strategist.
Benkei, famous Kamakura period warrior monk.
Lord Yoshitsune Minamoto, famous Kamakura period warlord and brilliant military tactician, Benkei’s chosen liege.
Modern day persons:
Yohsuke Takenaka, General Hanbei’s direct descendant
Bill Young, your humble scribe and modern day Benkei character
Masayo, modern day Ushiwakamaru (aka Young Lord Yoshitsune) character