🎧 Bedtime Story Podcast #21
Chapter 2 – Ninja Dreams
“Mum, mum I really want to be a ninja.”
Martin, the other boy who lived in England, came into the kitchen dressed in his ninja uniform. He was throwing kicks and punches in the air and making noises with his voice.
“Ninjas are silent, dear.”
“Well how do you know that? Have you ever met one?”
“Yes. I used to know one.”
“What?” Martin ran up to his mum who was standing by the sink, and he grabbed her by the arm. “What do you mean you used to know one? Why didn’t you ever tell me?”
“You never asked, dear,” she said. “I spent time living with one once in Japan when I went travelling. He gave me a place to stay, and in return I helped him build his dojo.”
“Wow, did you ever do any training?”
“No dear. I wasn’t very interested, to be honest. When I saw him training, and training others, I never wanted to do it.”
“Because it’s so hard, it’s so intense. It is a complete way of life. They teach you to ignore pain.”
“Do you know the only way to train yourself to ignore pain?”
“You have to experience lots of it.”
Martin kept jumping around the room, and a letter came in through the letterbox.
“I’ll get it mum!” he yelled, and he stomped and jumped and kicked his way to the front door, and then rolled back and jumped up and gave the letter back to her. She began to open the letter and read it.
“Mum, I really don’t want to just be like a normal kid anymore. I want to be different. I want to do ninja training in Japan like you could have done, I don’t want to just run around and play games with Harry and all that lot, I want to learn how to fight, I want to learn how to use weapons and move silently and be just like those ninjas in the films.”
“Darling,” she said, putting down the letter. “Are you sure?”
She spent a while admiring the letter, the beautiful writing, the attention to detail, the absolute unhurriedness that was oozing out of it. The letter was like a piece of art. She wanted to frame it.
“Martin, I have a letter here from that very same man from Japan. I haven’t heard from him in years. He knows that I have a young son, and he says his son has had enough with ninja training. He says he wants someone who he can trust to come to his home and train with him in exchange for his own son. For two weeks.”
“Mum! Are you serious!?” Martin ran round and looked at the letter. It was so beautiful that he stared for a while. He wanted to meet whoever had written it. “Mum let me, let me, let me, let me!” Martin was jumping around her, up and down, until she tried to calm him down.
“You do realise, dear, that Japan is nothing like here. The food is different, the people are different, the culture…I mean, you’re extremely loud dear, the Japanese aren’t so…well…boisterous. You won’t be allowed to jump around so freely in a dojo.”
“Mum,” Martin said, sounding very sure. “I’ve wanted to be a ninja all of my life.”
His mother smirked.
“Let me go. It’s only two weeks, just so I can try it.”
“Alright dear, at least I’ll know you’ll be safe where you’re going. I’ll write back to him. I don’t think he has a computer.”
“Cool!” Martin yelled. “Thanks mum!” he said as he ran up the stairs, going to grab his foam-covered nunchuks.
Back in Japan, Myasako was practicing his kicks. He was kicking a punch bag in the same way for the hundredth time. Four hundred to go, then he could switch legs.
“Myasako!” his father called. “How many more?”
“Four hundred on this leg,” he called back.
“Well, finish on that leg, and then on the other leg, and then come to see me.”
Myasako kept kicking, painfully, for what felt like hours.
When he had finished his legs were wobbly, and he made his way out of the dojo to see his father in his office.
His father was sitting there, reading a letter.
“My son, you have been invited to go to England. An old friend who helped build this dojo is sending her son here, and she will take care of you for two weeks. You will need to go to school, but you will not need to do any training. You leave tomorrow. Go and pack your things.”
Myasako bowed. The thought of no training made him feel light and relieved. Perhaps going to a different country would not be so bad if it meant a good rest. With his aching, wobbly legs, he felt a deep sense of gratitude and excitement for the upcoming break from training that was now on the horizon, and he staggered slowly out of his father’s office, with a very slight smile on his face.