Honestly, who doesn’t want to be a ninja?! I mean even teenage turtles want to be ninjas. So, if this is your thing and you happen to be visiting Tokyo soon, know that you can be a ninja for a day with Go Voyagin (link below).
In case you didn’t know, ninjas were secret agents during the feudal time Japan. They were hired to gather information, infiltrate, and assassinate. Basically, ninjas were hired help of noble samurais to do their dirty work. Our knowledge of ninjas from Hollywood movies are quite accurate according to the Ninja Training class I attended.
I met with Shibata Vanessa in Tabata Station of JR Yamanote Line who brought me to her “Dojo” (training class) where I was to learn about ninjas, their traditions and combat techniques, and wear a ninja outfit.
Shibata Vanessa comes from a Ninja-Samurai clan named Musashi Ichizoku. Their ancestors worked for the Tokugawa Shogunate Government for 265 years. They have kept their traditions to this date.
Shibata Vanessa in her dojo
The exterior of the “dojo” is inconspicuous. You would probably walk past it if you weren’t looking for it. Before we entered, she tapped her metal cane on the floor in a rhythmic sequence, which was then replied to with 3 knocks on the wooden floor. She then asked me to open the door to enter, but not before I bowed and gave respect to the “dojo”.
It was very intimidating at first. The place was pitch dark and only lit by lanterns. The ninja teacher sat in the middle, meditating. It was very quiet; I was afraid to make a sound. The teacher started to speak and Shibata-san simultaneously interpreted everything he said: his lessons and his commands.
He first asked me to kneel and meditate with him for a few minutes. Then the teacher started performing with his “Katana” (Japanese Sword) as Shibata-san introduced the culture of Samurais and Ninjas. She mentioned that her great grandfather was one of the Samurais that worked with Jules Brunet, the French officer whose life was based upon Tom Cruise’s movie, The Last Samurai.
Be A Ninja For A Day: That’s me (red socks) & my ninja teacher
The key to being a ninja is to be quiet. They are always on stealth mode, so that no one can tell that they are actually snooping around. All the skills that the ninja learns are for survival and to escape to safety.
I learned the different weapons of the samurai and ninjas, the difference between their swords and their culture. Apparently, the “shuriken” or ninja stars are different for each ninja depending on where they are from. I also learned the 5 elements and their corresponding techniques: Earth, Wind, Fire, Water and Space.
One of the more interesting facts that I learned is that ninjas would all walk with their knees bent, almost like a half squat. This made them less dependent on their feet, yet still enabled them to move their whole bodies. The teacher told us that this was how the Japanese people used to walk. You can see it in old traditional Japanese dances, as well. I asked why the Japanese stopped walking like that. She replied that it was because of the influence of Western marching!
All the activities that I did were all very fun! Like throwing ninja stars, ninja darts, how to use a blow gun among others. Check out my silly videos that they took of me during my training at the dojo!
Be a Ninja: Video 1
This video is of me using the blowgun. The one speaking in the video is Shibata-san and the guy on the left is the teacher. The premise of it was, Shibata san’s husband, the balloon, was cheating on her and she has hired me, the ninja, to kill him. When I successfully killed the guy, the guard in their house unsuccessfully tried to hit me with ninjas stars as I got away.
Be a Ninja: Video 2
This is the Katana fight:
Be a Ninja: Video 3
This is me using a real ninja star and hitting the target! In the background, my teacher applauding my ability, haha.
Travel to Japan
With the Japanese government becoming more lenient with the issuance of tourist visas to Filipinos, and with the weak Japanese yen, there’s no better time than now to visit Japan!
Japan is a country that enchants every kind of traveler. I still haven’t met anyone who has been to Japan and wasn’t totally enamoured by the place. Regardless if you’re into culture, technology, fashion, animation or food, there is something for everyone. When in Tokyo, experience the Shibuya Crossing and other Tokyo highlights.
And if ninjas areyour thing, book your tour with Go Voyagin. Go Voyagin offers unique activities around Asia.