Archive for December, 2005|Monthly archive page

Writing as the art of liberation

In Information on December 29, 2005 at 12:36 am

I love to write. Always have. I can even rmember the first real story I wrote when I was about seven years old, a fantasy tale about a warrior girl trying to save a princess from an evil sorcerer. Yet, I've always been shy about my work, afraid of judgement, or that others will read between the lines of what I have written and see my deep, dark secrets laid bare.

Writing here is liberating. I don't know you, the reader. And you don't know me. It's like sharing secrets with a stranger, and I like it.

While I was at university a few years ago, I became friends with a graffitti artist who let me in on a few of the secrets of his "trade". I found it fascinating. Once I recognised his "tag", I began to see traces of him all over town. Places you couldn't possibly omagine he could reach; amazing pieces of art which probably took no longer than five minutes for fer of being caught. It was like a new form of ninjutsu: he could be walking past a blank wall, and like magic, his tag would appear in his wake, perfectly formed; an assasination of blank canvas in the blink of an eye.

Inevitably, I began to experiment with the medium in my own ways: not merely a "tag", my expressions were crude poetical scribes in a distinctive script, often accompanied by the image of a kunoichi. I saw my scribes travelling around town on buses, or being read my students around campus, And while many did not last long under the watchful eyes of caretakers and cleaners, there was one which stayed put for some six months, written on an A6 sticker which I'd placed on a bin next to the student cafe. I like to think that it stayed because it was meaningful, that it was enjoyed. After all, the bin was cleaned daily, and other graffitti was quickly removed from the spot. And secretly, I was proud. No-one knew that I was the author, not even my graffitist friend.


What does it mean to be “Kunoichi” (Part 2)

In About Kunoichi on December 27, 2005 at 4:09 pm

I call myself "kunoichi" because it best embodies what I do and who I am. But I consider identity as a process of evolution. I will never be complete, and so I continue to learn.

It might be suggested that modern espionage evolved from traditional ninjutsu practices. Contrary to popular belief, ninja were employed to infiltrate the enemy, to discover their secrets and not merely to assasinate. For many reasons in my own life, I have felt it nescesary (and often desirable) to employ my own means of espionage and counter espionage too.

These days, keeping personal information a secret is much harder than it seems. Most people don't realise how their details are used and distributed, and how the average person can find out just about anything they might want to know about you just by looking in the right places.

When I left my abusive ex, I knew he would try to find me. And I had to make sure that he didn't, especially for the sake of my baby son. My ex had threatened all sorts, to kill me, to kidnap our baby, to hurt my family if they didn't tell him where I was… The list goes on. I was beaten up by his family when I tried to collect my belongings from our old home; my mum was repeatedly followed and threatened. Even my friends weren't safe. In the end, we had to live in a safe house monitored by the Police. And even there, I didn't feel safe.

From then, until now, I had to ensure that my details were kept out of any and all registers which could detail my whereabouts. And in doing so, I soon discovered the means to keeping track of where he was, what he was doing, and who with. It was (and to a degree, still is) a nescessary precaution. As you will undoubtedly discover from what I shal write of later, my situation is far different (and much safer) now, but I keep track for my own sanity. I ensure that I am prepared.

My role as an urban kunoichi is a mostly passive one. I am the one my friends and family call upon when they need to find information, for that's probably the thing I am best at: problem solving, sourcing knowledge. My life blood as a modern kunoichi. I try to ensure I am knowledgable in all things which have significance for myself and my family. I know how to protect them, and if I need to find a recipe for that special anniversary dinner with my husband-I look it up!

And yet, I still manage to keep this role under a self imposed veil of secrecy. Most people would be threatened if they knew what I could do or what I know.

But there's power in that, and I like it…

What does it mean to be “Kunoichi”?

In About Kunoichi on December 26, 2005 at 3:42 pm

The term Kunoichi is ninja slang for “female”. Historically, Kunoichi were female ninja, trained in the sui (water) traditions of ninjutsu; typically skilled manipulators and seducers of men. Well, that’s the shortened storybook version. To explain the full concept of the kunoichi in history would require a rather long essay, and that’s not what I want to do here…

No. Instead, I want to explain what it means to be kunoichi in the modern world. Or, at least, what it means to me.

Let me tell you a little story…

Eight years ago, I was a broken woman. Homeless, with a one year old son. We had nothing, except the clothes we wore and a few coins in my pocket that only just covered the bus fare to my mum’s. I can hardly begin to explain how I ended up that way. “Abusive relationship” is the cliche which comes to mind. But that’s another story…

The day we left him was the tenth of February. I remember the date exactly.

It took me a long time to recover, even longer for my son. I was scared of everything: of being alone, becoming a single mum, going back to work. Even of my own shadow. Gradually, things started to get better, but still I felt vulnerable.

Then I met the man who was to help change everything. I can’t truly say he was the love of my life, but for a while, he was my best friend. Fumitsu Shinkai, you know who you are… He introduced me to the concepts of ninjutsu, taught me how to use nunchaku, meditate and fight. In return, I taught him patience, honesty and pride. We taught each other many things, developed our skills, ideas and thoughts. Yet, like all good things which must eventually end, we slowly drifted apart.

Fumitsu became a true ninja, though I don’t think he realised at first. And once I began to realise my own potential: that I was my own woman; that I didn’t need a man to make me complete; that I was truly strong, body and soul; that I could use knowledge to achieve what I wanted of life… Then, I realised that I could become The Urban Kunoichi…

Then, my life truly began…