Gaijin Jiraiya


2006 has seen me hunt up new Jiraiya icons. The 2005 J icon has a little too many miles on it, and a bit of psychological scathing to boot.

Jiraiya, my namesake, was a fascinating fellow – a mythical ninja famed for his outlandish use of toad magic. I’ve always suspected (in fact more than suspected) the reason I was ritually ‘ennamed’ Jiraiya was so that my rather evil-minded sensei could call me ‘spotty toad’. It was certainly one way of bringing a black belt into line: “Hey, spotty toad! [insert amusing Ninjutsu-related command here]” Little wonder then that I moved to Perth when I did. Now I have the honour of being the highest ranked jiraiya in google. Go on, give it a try … See? There are millions of jiraiyas. It’s a Japanese word/name for goodness sake. It’s even the name of a Capcom computer game. But there’s me, at the very top of the heap, soaking into the online consciousness like some net-borne plague. Not bad for a spotty Australian toad.

I’m rather fond of my white boy ninja heritage (even though, to use a movie analogy, it leans more towards ‘Beverly Hills Ninja’ than Sho Kosugi’s ‘Pray for Death’ – actually, maybe ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ is more apt). I pull the Chanbara weapons out for the occasional swing, even bring out my ninja-to or (if I feel mediaeval) Vesperae when I’m feeling sentimental. Such heady days were those of my competitive years. At the risk of overt sentimentality, as I know those days are gone (or, as Stephen King’s Gunslinger says, the world’s “moved on”), I do miss Chanbara tournaments. Damien and I would terrorize the opposition, he with his outlandishness, me with my perfectly still fighting stance (“daijodan no kamae”), sword poised, practically daring the opponent to strike, to steal the proverbial pebble.

I wonder if I should join one of those new-fangled sword club-type things.



The last 24 hours have been a whirl of shelving brackets, measurements, near-misses with the soldering iron, and general fun about the house. Soldering in particular was harrowing. I’d be good at it if there wasn’t so much fear in me.

The place still feels weird with Hayley gone. Now it’s just the two of us, Sahma is looking particularly at peace. I never knew the dog and the daughter were such competitors.


Less than a fortnight into 2006 and I’m still feeling like a writer. So much so I had a late shower last night (around midnight) and couldn’t go to bed because I had the perfect opener for the next section in the novella. I thank the powers that be that I’m prolific, as I was able to knock out a decent quality 500 words in half an hour. My confidence in writing in snatches is sky high after the heights of the two Yamabushi Kaidan stories completed at Clarion South in two heady nights in successive weeks. A quarter of my Clarion output (about 15k words) in two sleepless nights.

I’ve also written up my Hellnotes column for December/January, which is another 1k. Now I just have to tackle a couple of reviews for HorrorScope, and my non-fiction duties are fulfilled for a while.


*cough* Black Box *cough*