by Lady Carlton née Katie O’Roarke, heroine of “The Blonde Samurai”
In the autumn of 1874 I learned the way of the samurai.
In a hidden valley amongst the orange blossoms. Full of sunlight and promise. Under the tutelage of Shintaro, a man of fortitude and vitality. A man who lived in a heightened state of perpetual readiness for battle.
And for making love. His silken futon beckoning me with the promise of erotic delights that no occidental woman had ever experienced…
Did your heart beat faster? Is your curiosity piqued? Be aware, ’tis true that I have written the sort of memoir that not even the most audacious lady novelist would dare to pen, but I shall not titillate you in this posting with emotional ramblings of a sensual nature.
No, today I shall acquaint you with the fervent and steadfast ideals of the female samurai.
Such brave women do exist, I assure you.
While aristocratic ladies surround themselves in frothy veils of mystery, the samurai woman proudly displays her fortitude and strength when called upon to defend both hearth and her person.
Shocking? Perhaps. After all, a lady of quality strolling along Regent Street would have no means except a delicate parasol with which to pound a ruffian upon the head should he attempt to abscond with her reticule.
On the other hand, a samurai woman carries a dirk or dagger close to her bosom in her obi or sash and knows how to wield a curved spear known as a naginata.
I also learned how to use a sword (a samurai carries two swords–the long and the short sword and yes, the one between his legs as well) and I invite to read about my adventures in my memoir.
But as promised, today I shall regale you with historical accounts of samurai women. Like Tomoe, known for her courage and good seat upon a mount. She rode into battle on horseback and fought alongside her husband. Another brave female samurai, Lady Masa, was the wife of a shogun and, after his death, ruled his lands and empire with a strong hand.
And I cannot forget the samurai women of Aizu Province who, but a few years ago in 1868, defended their lord’s castle against invaders with spears and other weapons when their men were away.
How can I attain the way of the warrior? you wish to inquire, curious as you are though you would never admit it. I shall impart the code to you in hopes it will resonate with your spirit as it does with mine.
The way of the warrior is based on a code of personal honor. Loyalty, courage, self-sacrifice, frugality, rigorous physical and mental discipline and total allegiance to your lord.
As I wrote in “The Blonde Samurai:
” The way of the warrior is not about the sword, Shintaro taught me, but about the woman holding the sword, her mental strength, discipline, compassion… experience it as you would a drop of pure, fine oil from a flower, a perfume, if you will, so you may apply it to your life as you would scent to your skin and make it yours alone.”
‘Tis a noble idea, is it not? And one I pray you shall take with you from today’s posting and carry it with you the next time you are confronted with a difficult situation.
You are stronger than you think…believe and it shall be so.
February 2010: meet The Blonde Samurai
“She embraced the way of the warrior. Two swords. Two loves.”