Updated: Jun 2
“Bye darling, take care!”
I take my luggage with me as I get into the carriage with my elder brother, Daichi. We are on our way to our uncle’s place, to give him company, because he is sick, and nobody else is there to take care of him. Mum can't go, because she is still grieving from father's passing, even though it's been 7 years. It’s only a twenty minute walk to Oji San's home, but I love seeing the scenery from an elevated place. It makes the world seem more beautiful. It’s a shame most don’t pay attention to nature, these days. It’s also embarrassing that tourists from around the world come here to see our land and our famous Cherry Blossom trees, but our own citizens don’t admire it as much, and feel no shame at all. As we arrive at Oji San's house, I notice a ray of light being reflected in a dark corner. I have never seen this before, and I am not supposed to touch it. Mum says it's bad manners, but I'm very curious. I'm lost in my thoughts when-
"It's a Samurai Sword."
I turn in an instant, finding Oji San standing right behind me.
"I'm sorry, Oji San, I didn't mean to be disrespectful. Please forgive me," I beg.
"Oh! It's not disrespectful at all! I'm your uncle, and it is my duty to teach you what you don't know. And this sword, right here," he points while saying so, " is part of a very forgotten culture. Our culture."
I sit down, waiting for him to tell me more.
"Tell me more, Oji San."
"Well. Let's see… where to begin?"
"From the start, of course Oji San!" I chuckle, knowing that was a bad joke.
"Haha, of course, dear. Before guns and other firearms, swords were what they fought with. And it is known, that out of all of the swords the Japanese Katana was the most iconic. The razor-sharp sword is easily recognisable, thanks to the popularity of the samurai."
"Ooooh Saamuraiii," I mock.
"Haha. The samurai were fierce warriors, wrapped in menacing iron armor, ready to die honorably on the battlefield. As the years went by, gradually their katanas were made for swift, precise kills and became known as artistic masterpieces of death. We were unstoppable with it. Inevitable. Immortal. The sword is not only sacred, but it has a deep meaning as well. It is a loyal protector. The sword looks elegant, but it's known to kill with one strike. The loyalty and responsibility of the sword is passed down every generation, so that the next samurai can make their family proud and take up another man's blood on the sword his father did."
"But isn't that cruel? Evil? Vile? How can a family be proud after their son has killed another man?"
"It's not about killing another man, dear. He fights off evil. If you are at war, your enemy will not pity you, rather he will take advantage. But you must outsmart him, so that you can defeat him."
"What happens to the Katana after one passes Oji San?" As I ask, I can't help but notice a blue figure on an ancient painting on the wall. I come back to listening to Oji San, focusing completely on his story now.
"As one is in the process of passing, on their deathbed, he makes a wish. One last wish, and it is believed that the wish will come true if the person wishing holds the sword while he does so. After he passes, the Samurai Sword is placed at his side, as if to protect him one last time."
I close my eyes and imagine how grandfather would have looked when he were a samurai. How he fought for our country. Our family. And I smile.