A note from the author:Oh, dear. That was a bit too middle-aged and poignant, wasn't it? Let's cheer us all up.
After dinner (Souta didn't show up, and they forgot to eat the strawberries), they made love like otters on the floor of the bath (That was a pretty good day...) and had a nice if somewhat cramped soak together in the tub. She got out first and helped haul him out--tricky, because they were both slippery, but they both saw the humor in it. (She said, in fact, "Are you really Inuyasha? I go away for twenty years and you develop a sense of humor! Where did that come from?" He said, "Probably somewhere on the walk from Kyoto back to the village." She said, "You walked from Kyoto?" He could see her getting all sad for him, so he said, "Or maybe I'm not really Inuyasha. Maybe you just fucked the wrong guy." "Well," she said, "if you're not Inuyasha, you're pretty damn good, whoever you are, so that's OK.")
Afterward they did it again in her old bed (also cramped, but what are you going to do?), and then she remembered the strawberries, so she raced downstairs naked, grabbed them from the fridge, and ran back upstairs to bed, where they fed them to one another and then napped. When the alarm went off, he walked her down to the car, impressed that she was able to drive such a thing, and then went back upstairs and fell asleep reading Introduction to Political Science. That's where he was at 6 am when a surprised Souta finally showed up to feed the cats, all of whom were piled on top of Inuyasha on Kagome's bed. After a difficult moment--Souta is no hero, and nearly fainted--they reintroduced themselves and Inuyasha was introduced to black coffee with lots of sugar, and, when Kagome got home shortly afterward, to fresh croissants, which he quite liked.
He did have the surgery--several operations, actually, and they did have to do a new knee, and he was predictably bored and grumpy, but he continued educating himself and when he started physical therapy was amused by the fitness facility. ("So," he said, "you have all these machines to do work for you." "Yes," she said. "But because you do no work, you become soft and flabby," he said. "Right," she said. "So you pay money to do pretend work on other machines so you can build up your muscles," he said. "Exactly," she said. "And right now you are driving this car to a place where we can walk around and around in a circle," he said. "If you want," she said, "I can pull over right now and let you out and you can walk the rest of the way there." "No, no," he said. "I wouldn't want to do it wrong.")
On New Year's Day, other festival days, and whenever he just feels the hell like getting a rise out of people--for example, almost anytime they see the Houjou couple socially--he wears the crimson kimono complete with the katana and the prayer beads, which incidentally have no special power over him but which he wears as a sign of his love for her and because he secretly thinks they make him look rather dashing, in an offbeat way, as does his cane, which he doesn't need quite as much as he pretends to. Otherwise he wears jeans with a t-shirt or western-style shirt, a cowboy hat, and a leather jacket. The orthopedic surgeon who has been "doing" his leg threatened to castrate him if he started riding a motorcycle, but he has learned to drive. Surprisingly, he is a much better driver than Kagome, who has Road Rage issues and drives like a maniac. He once grabbed the keys from the ignition and gave her a public lecture about the purposes of the sidewalk. He was in full Sengoku Jidai drag at the time, she was in her emergency room greens, and the audience of bystanders they accumulated, thinking it was some kind of street theater, burst into applause when he sauntered off, carrying her keys and using Tetsusaiga as a cane.
For other special occasions he ties back his still-hip-length hair and wears a charcoal-gray three-piece suit--often accessorized with the sword and prayer beads. Young girls have been known to get the vapors at the sight of him in the suit, particularly when he glares right at them, which he does because it gives them the vapors.
Kagome made up a story about him being an old friend from her girlhood, somebody from a small village in the mountains where she had been sent in the hope that folk medicine would cure her mysterious disease--as indeed it did. Everybody wonders about their relationship. Some acquaintances politely wonder what he...does. Depending on her mood, she tells them, "Pretty much whatever he wants," or, batting her eyelids, "Everything." They all speculate in company that she's lost her mind. Men wonder aloud what the hell she sees in him. Women do not. Even Miyu, who is happy as a clam and breeding like a rabbit, takes little glances at him out of the corner of her misty eye. Whenever they're likely to meet, she makes a little pouty face and says to Houjou, "I suppose that man will be there." But she secretly wishes that just once Inuyasha would be there to catch a peek at her little pouty face, if only to look at her in scorn.
There, is that better?
In 1543, Portuguese sailors shipwrecked off the coast of Kyushu brought the Western world into contact with Japan and introduced firearms to the archipelago. (Which means Inuyasha takes place after 1543: in several battle scenes the participants carry muskets.) The first Christian missionary, Francis Xavier, arrived in 1549. Oda Nobunaga, seeking to break the political power of the Buddhist monasteries, allied himself with the increasingly powerful Christian community. He was an admirer of the West, and of Western warfare and science in particular. Reports of his conversion to Christianity seem likely to be exaggerated, but at least one source claims he accepted the Christian name "Geronimo." Cannon were in use in Japan as early as the 1550s. Nobunaga was known for using waves of musketmen, rather than cannon, but used cannon in at least some castle sieges (which was enough for me to justify throwing that cannonball at poor Inuyasha). Nobunaga's own Azuchi Castle was designed to resist cannon. (The Azuchi Castle archeological dig is not the same one at which one Dr. I. Houjou of Edo University began the second version of his troubled dissertation, but it bears more resemblance to that site than Dr. Houjou does to either Junsei Houjou or the graying Inuyasha of Rebound.)
Nobunaga's ties to the technology of the Christian West revolutionized warfare in the Japanese archipelago and brought an end to the Warring States era. How likely is it that a soldier in the field would have been taken out by cannon fire? Less likely than his falling to musket fire, but not impossible. In fact, the effect of Nobunaga's musketeers was similar to that of the machine gun on trench warfare in the early 20th century. It completely changed the concept of warfare--but not fast enough for the guys with the swords.
Yes, there is a handy peat bog near Kyoto.
Here are a few links:
On Christianity in Japan:
On Oda Nobunaga's ties to Christianity:
Samurai Archives: Nobunaga the Ruler:
On Oda Nobunaga's ties to Christianity and to firearms in warfare:
Washington State University: World Civilizations:
Nobunaga as "Geronimo":
Three Unifiers of Japan:
Cannon in Japan in 1550s:
East of India: The Shogun Collection: