666 West End|
Taniko Kishimoto is a 40 year old Japanese national, wife to Hiroshi Kishimoto, who also shares her apartment. He is usually away on business trips; he is working on importing metals and ores to Japan, which is sadly deficient in its own natural resources. Hiroshi is much older than Taniko, and they have one daughter who married a Caucasian, much to Hiroshi’s chagrin. Taniko is merely happy that Kiko is enjoying her sex life! (Something that Taniko hasn’t enjoyed, at least connubially, for the past ten years.) Kiko lives in Maine on Penobscot Bay, with Aaron Fein, who runs a small and unimportant seaside hotel just south of Camden.
Taniko doesn’t really love Hiroshi – he’s a decent provider, but cold and aloof. And theirs was a marriage of convenience… that aforementioned daughter. Taniko spends her time visiting revues and museums and the library, and doing the odd bit of flirting and so forth with gentlemen who find the Orient exotic. When she goes out to impress, she wears a kimono, but she’ll usually be in sedate but attractive Western garb that would befit someone 40 years old. She is taller than most Japanese women, taller, actually, than Hiroshi, who refuses to let her wear heels when he is around. Her hair is black, and worn in a stylish bun, appropriate to her culture. She carries her age well.
She knows four or five languages, and speaks all of them with just a mild accent. She is gracious but acute. The reputation of this building – or at least, the 13th floor, for seances and the like fascinates her. Her faith is Shinto, but all sorts of faiths and practices fascinate her. She has a piano in her suite, and plays both classical and Japanese-styled music, and brings in extra income (not that she needs to) by teaching piano to area children and teens. She enjoys living in 666 West End. The ambiance, the view… the people. She has to give Hiroshi thanks for this much: the chance to see the world, and for her daughter, far away as she might live. Beyond that, she doesn't think she owes him much more.
Thicker than Blood
I hail from the 18th century, and spent my earliest childhood reared by my close-knit family in Japan. It was an era when the Samurai were looked upon as quaint and old-fashioned.
But... mama and dad both believed in the old Samurai values. Dad came from a long line of Samurai, although they'd been officially disbanded well before his time. As I was their only child, poppa found it expedient to train me in the footsteps he might have otherwise expected of a blood relationship-son.
Our family took to sea. While our culture had become very xenophobic, my parents bucked that trend. Father was interested in trade, and even more interested in seeing the world. Trade, in some sense, was merely an excuse to travel.
Shortly after I turned fourteen, my parents caught ill, and died. I was alone, now. We were at sea; their bodies were cast to the waves.
I was taken under the care of an Englishwoman, one Miss Jane Smythe, who taught me to read and write her language. I discussed with her the Samurai code, and the way I'd been raised. She, in turn, gave me glimpses of something called the Sisterhood. Perhaps the two schools were related? Perhaps, only in spirit. I was, to tell the truth, fascinated.
Not many months later, the ship we were passengers upon was captured by the Roaring Lion, captained by one Eleua Lavvie. A signal somehow passed between Miss Jane and the Captain, and the two of us were allowed to remain with the Roaring Lion. I had no particular destination in mind, since my life had been turned upside down with the loss of my parents, and I was willing to continue to explore. And so, I found myself with at least one more person to discuss the Samurai tradition. And situations within which to live it.