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23 December 2009 @ 05:12 am
Log: Opening Moves [Diplomatic Developments]  
Location: A Sakusenjo Estate, Japan
Characters: Zaiden Mallory and Kisho Sakusenjo
Purpose: The first meeting of the two characters; Kisho to decide if she wishes to recruit Zaiden to assist her towards her ends.

The courtyard within the Japanese estate was spacious, its layout making it impossible to see clearly across the expanse. It was populated by a minimalistic collection of stones and vegetation, but the trees and rocks had been positioned in a manner that shielded some areas of the garden from the others. Zaiden entered through the north-facing doorway, emerging into the pale sunlight and looking around. It was dreadfully early in the morning, but Zaiden was a punctual man, and had agreed to schedule the meeting at an early hour out of the belief that it would be his host's preference.

Zaiden had been instructed to wait in the courtyard. He spent a few minutes wandering up and down the pebbled paths traversing the area, the sound of water rippling gently over stone audible the entire time. Zaiden attempted to track the source of the sound, but was unable to locate any sort of man-made stream, somewhat to his frustration. He ended up returning to the northward entrance – there were openings onto the courtyard from all four of its sides – and seating himself on a spare stone bench surely placed there for the exact purpose of providing a resting place for guests.

As wonderful as the surroundings were, and as lavish as his personal accommodations at his hotel seemed to be, and as much as Zaiden did enjoy doing business on his father's dollar, the situation wasn't entirely to Zaiden's liking. He hated being relegated to the position of glorified messenger boy. And yet being assigned this job, this task, was in some ways proof that Alexander Mallory trusted his son enough to allow Zaiden to make diplomatic arrangements on his behalf.

The problem was, Zaiden hadn't brushed up on current events in the area of Japanese-American relations during his recent political studies.

Zaiden was a voracious reader, however, and frequently took almost obsessive interest in studying some topic or another. He had investigated Japan to a degree. He remembered something about how social interaction was a delicate balancing act designed to protect the honor of all involved, actions and words veiled in polite demurring when a level of intimacy was not yet established. He had therefore made a point of arriving just slightly earlier than he had agreed to, hoping the gesture would be interpreted as a nod of respect to his host, indicating that he was willing to wait peacefully for the other man's time.

And so when a certain Sakusenjo-san approached, Zaiden rose smoothly from his seat to greet the other man. His father had given him so little advanced warning about this potential piece of real world experience that Zaiden had been left with almost no time to investigate the political climate as it was. It turned out that a large portion of the information he wanted to know about was highly classified, the option of having his contacts work on teasing it free impossible with the time constraints. Zaiden could only deduce that there was something going on in Japan that the United States was not meant to know about at the present time. There was slight bristling between the countries, and this meeting was one of many small attempts to smooth down any ruffled feathers. As a result Zaiden would be cautious, not revealing his knowledge of the few details he had gathered.

"Sakusenjo-san," he said. The honorific felt as strange on his tongue as it had in his head, Zaiden not being used to the nuances of such things seeing as he was a foreigner. Nevertheless, it had felt like the most prudent greeting. "Thank you for having me here. Your garden is lovely."

Zaiden was calm, controlled, but he had the feeling that they were not alone.
perpetualchkmte on December 23rd, 2009 11:52 am (UTC)
Opening Moves [Diplomatic Developments II]
“Oh God. Oh God, oh God, oh God... What the heck is he doing!?”
The young girl slapped a hand to her forehead, letting out her exasperation in a sound between a snarl and a moan.
“You are not supposed to be that forward! I’m sure that Uncle Yamoto understands, because you are from America and they really don’t teach you proper manners there, but that’s beside the point! Kid, what are you thinking?”
It was ironic that the speaker was only fifteen, a good seven years younger than the ‘kid’ she was referring to.
Miss Kisho Rin Sakusenjo, age fifteen. Coal-black hair with a shine like a raven’s feathers, thin and pale fingers that rapped the tabletop, deep grey eyes that glared at the man on the monitor. The daughter of the most politically powerful family in all of Japan was cussing out an American diplomat’s son as his form flickered on the screen before him.
Of course she was spying. That was what Kisho did. It was “beyond her place as a Japanese girl” to be so forward with people she didn’t know, and she wasn’t sure just quite how her Uncle would take it if she decided to show up in the gardens with an “important” political guest. Important isn’t the word for it. Foolish, rather. The Americans sent us the son instead of the diplomat? No wonder relations are standing on quaking ground!
But she had to know what was going on. It was more than curiosity, and more than her future role as a politician that compelled her to monitor her family’s actions. It was... a science, to her. The way you handled a situation could tell a well-versed politician a million things about you, and Kisho certainly fit the bill.
The young Miss Sakusenjo was too sly and too skilled at playing her cards to openly criticize the American. She was in her private study, on a supercomputer that she’d contracted behind her guardians’ backs, tucked away in a miniscule corner of the house that had conveniently been left off of the original schematics. The Sakusenjo estate was a mansion, and even if someone bothered to look they probably would’ve looked over Kisho’s claustrophobic little corner. No one knew what existed behind the wall of bookshelves, if anything at all, and back there she could do just about anything and conceal it from the public eye.
LCD screens surrounded her, other holograms to the left and right running through news tickers and cycling through statistics. Blatantly she ignored them, leaning back a bit in her chair and staring at the live feed streaming before her.
There was a bit of silence before her Uncle’s voice began.
Oh dear Lord! He doesn’t even have the courtesy to bow before his elders, especially since the kid addressed Uncle first! What in the world do the Americans teach their kids about foreign culture?
Kisho started rubbing her temples with her right hand, wishing that she could strangle Zaiden and force some manners into him.
“Kids these days...”
“Thank you... for coming.” Yamoto-san replied, half-bowing to Zaiden. He had also noticed the lack of the bow, though he had at least used an honorific. He’s young, he probably just doesn’t know, the elder Sakusenjo thought to himself. I’ll forgive him this time. Both our countries have to give some leeway in order to sort things out.
“Please forgive... my English,” Yamoto-san stated, having to pause in the middle of the phrase. His voice was naturally rather soft, but he was the family member more renowned for his wit and skill with words than his actual speaking ability. “I am still learning how to speak.”
“Please, come inside.” Mr.Sakusenjo looked towards the archway, whose path lead inside the house. He was sure that one of the helpers had been instructed to make some tea, which he hoped was ready by now. It was always easier to discuss such stressful topics, like strained foreign relations, over a steaming cup of Gyokuro green.
He assumed that Zaiden would take his invitation and lead the way.
Zaiden Mallory: Suspiciousunluckycharisma on December 23rd, 2009 08:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Opening Moves [Diplomatic Developments II]
Oh, the curse of the limitations of the American education system. It was partially because of those failings that Alexander Mallory had chosen to send his son to prestigious private schools instead of allowing him to founder in the inferior public institutions. It was also because of Zaiden's heiress mother, who would permit nothing less for her only son and future heir to the family. Both parents valued appearance and presentation in all things.

The point was, even fairly esteemed colleges didn't value the importance of Japan in their political science programs. Despite the country's current standing as a major world power, the programs were more geared towards churning out local, American politicians than they were towards creating successful diplomats. Zaiden himself had barely entertained the idea of becoming a diplomat of some sort before this little "assignment" had been dropped in his lap. He had done his best to brush up in the short time alloted to him. He hadn't done enough.

Realizing his mistake a minute too late, Zaiden did offer a belated bow, deeper than his host's, but his American pride would not allow him to spout off any sort of verbal apology. He would definitely have to be more careful. The foreign culture was stifling in some ways, for all that it intrigued him.

"I'm pleased to come," he demurred, the only slightly awkward bow being the single sign that he was not one-hundred-percent calm. In his usual company, he might have made a polite joke about the "I am still learning how to speak" comment, seeing as the ability for public speech was a vital tool to a successful politician. In present company, he wasn't entirely certain it would be prudent, and he therefore bit his tongue.

"There's nothing to forgive," he murmured. "Thank you."

He offered what, in the United States, would be a polite nod, before leading the way back to the interior. He was marginally uncomfortable leading the way in a stranger's home, even though he had come this way when he was brought to the courtyard in the first place. He hadn't lingered over long in the house before, anyway, lest his wanderings be interpreted as rude. He moved slowly as he traversed the halls, hoping his host would allow him to save face if he made a wrong turning by subtly indicating the mistake. He couldn't afford a serious breech of etiquette.
perpetualchkmte on December 25th, 2009 10:33 pm (UTC)
Re: Opening Moves [Diplomatic Developments III]
I could’ve sworn I specifically asked Uncle not to bother me...! Her forehead slammed against the wooden desk yet again, sighing and grumbling in her native tongue of Japanese.
“Switch to remote wireless cameras two, six, thirteen... er...”
Kisho released an exasperated sigh.
Miss Sakusenjo shut her eyes, then reclined into her high-backed chair. Two fingers on her right hand returned to massaging her temple.
With a rapid but solid rhythm, she snapped with her left hand, trying to think through her next command. Without opening her eyes, Kisho pointed in the direction of one of the half-transparent hologram monitors.
“Display camera directory.”
The girl swiveled ninety degrees to her left, and crossed her legs. She was facing a semi-translucent screen whose light gave off a blue tint. Locations and specs on all of the Sakusenjo security cameras were filling in before her eyes, line by line.
“Show only—ah.”
She lost the high-definition quality, but both Zaiden and her uncle appeared on the main monitor. Curious, yet rather agitated, Kisho crossed her arms.
“Took long enough...”
Yamoto-san had allowed Zaiden to leave the way, figuring that he’d want to take the initiative. After all, the Americans had been the first to offer to suffer the jet lag involved with flying over for face-to-face meetings. Their lifestyle, all about asserting yourself and taking charge, was something the Sakusenjo knew from experience. It differed greatly from traditional Japanese values, which Yamoto-san did not wish to infringe upon. Despite Zaiden’s mistakes, he hadn’t done anything particularly unkind thus far. He was trying, and knowing that he was a stand-in just for the time being, Yamoto-san tried to make his guest as comfortable as possible.
He noticed the unease in Zaiden’s voice, posture, and his reluctance to walk too hastily.
“If you would like, I could show you the way?”
Yamoto-san said this gently, not wanting to offend the American either. This problem would not exist with the usual diplomat, but this is a special circumstance. He constantly reminded himself of this fact, hoping it’d help eventually ease the atmosphere.
The two, after going through the somewhat awkward ordeal, finally arrived at the tearoom. It was a rather large room, but the usual full-length table had been swapped out for smaller square one of the same cherry wood. Already on the table, two places were set. Pale white curtains were drawn, but that didn’t darken the room any. Soft green paint and a cream-colored carpet gave the room a tranquil feel.
He hoped that a little serenity would help ease the young American into conversation. Yamoto-san could sure use some peace of his own.
Zaiden Malloryunluckycharisma on December 25th, 2009 11:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Opening Moves [Diplomatic Developments III]
Zaiden had prepared himself for a little subtle leading within a domain that he considered to be other. Therefore, he took no offense at his host electing to lead the way in his place. He wished to be open to the foreign culture, but the idea of grasping control and dominating someone else's home as if he belonged more than they did was still far too alien to him.

"Please," he agreed, seeing no need for excess discussion of what should be a simple matter.

With the burden of navigating a strange building, and the implication that he should have knowledge of a wholly unfamiliar floor plan removed, Zaiden straightened his back and followed at a much brisker place. This was now a familiar situation, almost, as Zaiden was accustomed to visiting with dignitaries at his father's bequest. Within the United States, of course. Zaiden flicked his gaze around the new location, assessing automatically. He saw a lot of entertaining rooms, enough that they started to blur together unless he noted the distinct differences. The fact that the tea room could easily belong to one of his father's friends back in the US was indeed a comfort.

He didn't know what custom would dictate now, but he could parse it. He was used to his mother's background and the assumption that in certain persons' company, one did not sit until the host had done so, and only then when one had been invited. However, Yamoto-san seemed to want him to dictate the meeting, so he seated himself graciously and glanced down at his place setting. He considered such niceties to be a formality, and would not partake more than necessary to remain within the realm of politeness.

"Thank you for meeting with me," he began, another automatic formality. "I am under the impression that we are meeting to discuss the implications of the current political climate."

Zaiden paused a moment, wondering how much empty blather was required in this culture. He was too used to insubstantial words that said nothing, the conversation carried by the fact that all parties were already aware of the other's views. That these sorts of discussions often devolved into near-slanderous accusations and barbs buried in every sentence was not cheering. And Zaiden was not aware of Yamoto-san's personal views, nor of the exact front the man was supposed to display towards him.

"I am also under the impression," he continued, deciding that fuck it, he was surely expected to be an ignorant, abrasive American. He might as well play the part and adjust his position as necessary based upon the reaction. "That I am perceived as a stand-in for a far more esteemed political figure. I am perceived as an inexperienced charlatan whose grasp of the situation is insufficient to the point of being useless. And perhaps in some ways I am. Perhaps I should be making insincere small talk and nodding along with any platitudes offered back to me. Or perhaps you can offer me the barest snippet of personal opinion, and we can discuss whatever matters concern you, on the off-chance that my position is sufficient to assist you in some maddeningly small way. Perhaps then we will both believe that something has been established, even if your country – and mine – doesn't like it."

Well, that was surely enough to piss his host off, if there was any pissing off to be had. And if there wasn't, then perhaps this would be interesting after all. If Zaiden never set foot in Japan again because of the horrible mess he'd made of the meeting, at least he could feel that he had learned something.
perpetualchkmte on December 31st, 2009 09:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Opening Moves [Diplomatic Developments IV]
Yamoto-san, or rather Kisho, had set up the meeting in the Western Wing. Kisho’s suggestion to her uncle had been more than just a friendly thought. While he found holding the meeting in the Moss Tearoom to be a comforting offer (it was the closest thing to an American-style meeting room they had) Kisho had selected the room for other reasons.
One, it was the perfect distance from her. Were there any problems, it’d be ten seconds for her to burst in.
Two, she needed to see how this Zaiden Mallory kid acted in his own environment.
“Adaptation isn’t his strongest asset,” Kisho noted to herself. “But that will be no problem. It seems that with a little leading, he’ll take a step in the right direction...”
Kisho was a rather paranoid child, observing the guest for more than a lesson in diplomacy. She was a lucky one, to be able to witness history at work in her own household on a regular basis, and she treated it as a blessing. It was an extreme asset to her—though also a hindrance.
I would not be where I am, who I am, had I been born into any lesser family... The most powerful family in all of Japan shared her blood, and that was the fact. Her mother, without the bloodline, would have never been engaged to her father. Their marriage was clearly a political move, and that’s what started it all...
She shook her head, and focused back on the conversation at hand.
The entire fate of my world, my plan, may hang on what this rookie has to say...
Zaiden, seeming to be a bit more comfortable, sat down. Yamoto-san sat at the same time, figuring that was the easiest way to avoid any issues in formality.
And Yamoto had to admit, the kid seemed to at least have a half-decent idea of what he was doing. He cut all the chit-chat and got straight to the point. He admired that quality, the ability to be serious and get down to business. While Yamoto-san sometimes enjoyed the light conversation, he was generally more comfortable with it in Japanese. In English, he wasn’t so sure.
Zaiden launched into a bit of a monologue as Yamoto-san folded his hands in his lap. It was in his nature to listen, and that he did. Some of the tougher words, particularly Zaiden’s choice of complex nouns, were giving him trouble. It took him a few moments of silence to finish piecing together what Zaiden’s point was and his own reply.
“I admire your... truth. Your... honesty?” Yamoto-san paused, and pondered his choice of words for a moment. “Yes, honesty. A quality good for any man.” The Sakusenjo nodded, pleased that the Americans had at least chosen a stand-in with at least some good qualities.
“Question to answer is... why.” Yamoto-san tapped his finger on the tabletop, not having noticed that the tea still had not been served. “Why does America fight?”
He realized after he spoke that his words could be misinterpreted. “Why does America disagree with Japan?”
Kisho slammed her fist on the table, and screamed at the monitor she watched the discussion from. “Because the Americans are blubbering bakas who always side with their creator country, that’s why! You blundering cretins still think about World War II and completely forget that we were your most useful allies in Nuclear 56! You disagree with us because you’re afraid that we’re becoming better than you!
Having gotten that off her chest, Kisho returned to reclining in her chair. Tightly pressed lips along with a firmly clenched hand showed her silent animosity.
“It’s all right, my dear, we’ll get through this...”
Kisho set the object she’d wrapped her hand around upright on the desk. Light from the monitor made it seem to glow.
It was a black chess piece.
“After all, no mere politician can upstage a queen...”
Zaiden Malloryunluckycharisma on January 6th, 2010 11:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Opening Moves [Diplomatic Developments (number unnecessary)]
Zaiden sat back in his chair, making himself as comfortable as possible when he was about to launch into the most delicate sort of debate. He didn't even notice that refreshments had yet to be served. It was no longer just a question of Japanese culture; he would have to be diplomatic in his speech, and would effect the same manner regardless of what country he was interacting with.

He smiled, personal habit prodding him into some reply when being complimented. "Thank you," he said. "It is my belief that political discourse would go more quickly, if not more smoothly, if those involved valued honesty over their own fine reputations."

Okay, so perhaps his assumed "ignorant abrasive American" personality did not wish to go back in the box.

He hesitated over the question of fighting, for to his knowledge no threats had been made, or even preparations for some sort of war on the part of the United States. But Yamoto-san clarified; he merely wanted an explanation for the source of the disagreement.

"It is a not so secret fact," he began, keeping with Yamoto-san's praised honesty, "that the American people as a whole can be swayed towards distrusting that which they do not understand. You ask why America itself disagrees with Japan. The general population is fearful, as populations of any country are fearful when their leaders filter the information passed down to the masses in such a way as to artificially manufacture trends. You don't worry about the general population. You worry about the leaders who are lodging the disagreement they've fostered on a national level. Which is wise, because the disagreement as you put it is surely a front to force some negotiation. Which is why we're both here."

Zaiden paused, because he did tend towards spouting off when he was building his position, especially when his opponent was the sort who wouldn't dare interrupt. But he was making a point, and knew it needed to be stated flat-out.

"The real question is what admissions does America hope to earn from Japan? Or better yet, what mutually beneficial arrangements could be made, to strengthen the positions of both countries?"
perpetualchkmte on January 20th, 2010 04:12 pm (UTC)
Opening Moves [Diplomatic Developments (VI)]
“Honesty my arse, you’re politicians for cryin’ out loud!”

A rather animated yet one-sided conversation was unfolding in the back room, comprised of the supercomputer and the not-so-honest daughter of the Sakusenjo diplomats. Kisho was continually brushing aside a longer bang, which she was beginning to contemplate cutting off. Not much— at least nothing interesting— had happened between Uncle Yamoto and the Mallory kid.

Not yet.

She was listening to Zaiden go on about this “political discourse” and she scoffed. Kid’s got a point, though. He understands masking and unmasking truths, at least. Kisho made mental note of that. It could potentially be a very strong asset of this young man, but could also be the tear that caused her carefully woven tapestry to dissolve.

“Is not reputation that makes politicians, politicians? Those with honesty do not become successful?”

Kisho found her Uncle’s question interesting. She noticed his grammatical mistakes, particularly with his lack of demonstrative and direct object pronouns, but that the Mallory kid would still be able to comprehend. Both Sakusenjos knew that his response would be a definition that would determine how Japan would handle the American public.

“Is a frightening thought.” Yamoto-san replied, sitting up straighter.

“Terribly frightening,” Kisho told herself. “An honest politician is an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one.”

Zaiden continued on a roll, talking about fear. Fear is a powerful thing, Kisho had to agree. But how can you be honest when fear bars you back? Honesty is disregarded when the mind is in danger.

“Negotiations are the reason, yes. Japan and America must both open to change and teamwork. To be honest, trust. Trust is made in small steps.”

Economic bolsters were the items mainly on Yamoto-san’s mind. Exports, imports, free trade... that meant money. Every country liked money. Military aid from Japan would be practically nonexistent, and no other particular issue seemed to be at the forefront of America’s agenda. If Japan helped America make money, America would likely do the same. It was purely business there, but nevertheless was an effective start.

“Trust between honest politicians. Ha, that’s a laugh.” Kisho reclined again in her chair, glad to finally be getting to the meat of the conversation.
Zaiden Malloryunluckycharisma on January 20th, 2010 11:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Opening Moves [Diplomatic Developments (I ate your numbers)]
"A good reputation makes a politician, yes," Zaiden agreed. He didn't even have to think on that one, because his beliefs were very well laid out on the subject. Or at least, they were in his head. "But dishonesty is the exact thing that often destroys those same politicians. Trying to hide one's deviance, lying about who you're not sleeping with and lying about where you're not spending money... Once your dirty secrets are unearthed, that pretty reputation, that reputation your career depends on, it's tarnished beyond repair."

Another unsolicited spewing of personal opinion. But it was relevant, and therefore mostly justified.

He wasn't saying politicians should be honest to the point of foolishness. It was merely a skill, to know when to politely obfuscate and when to state the facts as they were.

Zaiden didn't comment on that "frightening thought." There was nothing else to be said.

"Small steps," he echoed, after a short pause. His little smile then was only part artifice. "Here is another question – which is more important, change or teamwork?"

It was historically true that both of their countries could be resistant towards change. It could be forced on them, yes, but why change things when, on the surface, they did not even appear to be broken? He did believe that teamwork was possible without vast changes. Vast changes the American public would not easily accept. Cattle they might be, in some regards, but that also meant they trampled things disastrously when spooked.

Zaiden didn't actually think one was more important than the other. He just wanted to know what Yamoto-san's reaction would be. His personal opinion was that such changes to the country's workings had to be integrated delicately, for the American public often didn't know what was good for it. Beyond the facade of teamwork and progress, behind the propaganda that would surely surface, true change could be spoon-fed to the people in measured mouthfuls.
perpetualchkmte on January 22nd, 2010 01:10 am (UTC)
Re: Opening Moves [Diplomatic Developments (VIII, I noticed)
“People will do anything for their reputation,” Kisho said to herself, rubbing the body of her black chess queen between her thumb and index finger. That even includes myself, to an extent...

Kisho cut the introspection short and cracked a cynical smile. “Admirable ideas. You make valid point— to the extent that you’ve probably experienced this first hand...”

Yamoto-san slowly nodded, trying to comprehend the superfluous additions to Zaiden’s rather straightforward message. Obviously the American actually valued honesty and wasn’t just spewing fluff to be politically correct. This the Sakusenjo realized when he was asked yet another good question.

“Others say change,” Yamoto-san replied. “I am here for teamwork. Teamwork will make all change we need.”

Kisho had been listening to only the audio for a bit, reclining again with her eyes shut, when her uncle gave his response.

T-t-teamwork!?” A-are you...!?”

While it was her family that she was dealing with, Kisho had been raised to form and defend her own opinions.

“You... you... Yamoto-san! How could you!?”

Kisho spun around halfway, her back now to the screen. The voices of the two became fuzzy in her mind as she clawed at her scalp.

“Dear God, this useless jabber!” Kisho leapt up from the chair and pressed her hand forcefully against the opposing wall. With a rather frustrated grumble, she felt around for a handle. Grasping it, Kisho threw the makeshift door open. What appeared to be a bookcase in a rather small and simple room—her room— was shoved tightly back into its place after she paced through. She made her way over to a set of sliding double-doors, still on her rant.

“And now, talking to a country about ‘world peace’ and ‘teamwork’ who has wanted to rip our guts out over...”

Kisho rested her head on the door of her closet and muttered. Her speech was in Japanese, but was laced with curse words and other derogatory things in English. She flung the panels aside and violently combed through the hangers.

“... Over a little scuttle with Britain.”

Kisho yanked out a red knee-length skirt, pleated like a schoolgirl’s uniform would be. She tossed it on a tatami mat that served as her bed, and went straight to her chest of drawers. Hidden in the pocket of a perfectly folded and awfully buried dress shirt were a lipstick case and a small red headband. Emergencies only, she told herself, absolutely hating the moments when she had to use them.

She fluffed her dark bangs after setting the hair band in place, and ruffled her skirt after she’d put the lipstick on. She smiled at her reflection. Paired with her height and overall small build, Kisho felt like she was a twelve-year-old trying to be seventeen. She hated the skirt she’d put on now, hated this whole idea of looking like a little lady and being cute and keeping her mouth shut—but it was effective.

Americans are suckers for cute.
Zaiden Mallory: Intriguedunluckycharisma on February 1st, 2010 10:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Opening Moves [Diplomatic Developments (LJ has its own numbers)
Yamoto-san's answer was more or less what Zaiden had expected to hear. He could tell by that point that Yamoto-san did not share his love for euphemism and metaphor. The man's speech was simple, direct, although that might be in part his limited command of the English language. And a simple, direct message could be easy to respond to – or it could be very, very difficult.

Zaiden didn't feel this was a latter case. It sounded as if they had, in fact, made some sort of progress.

"I agree," he said crisply, keeping his reservations to himself. He remembered enough from his studies to know that the Japanese were classified as a collectivist culture. As a whole, the people were willing to put the needs of the many before the needs of the few. Socially, at least. It was a good mindset for teamwork. He only wished the American viewpoint was similarly compatible.

"The important question now," he continued. "Is what effort we should put our combined resources towards."

As forward as he had been, up to that point, he had no desire to put himself out there with this. It was bolstering to the economy that America needed, a market the Japanese had cornered. Zaiden could see the exchange, a historical trade. Economic assistance for military protection. The difficult part was pitching it to the people. Hell, even pitching it to the politicians, the lawmakers or negotiators, would be a sizable struggle.

"What is worth the benefit of our teamwork?"
perpetualchkmte on February 16th, 2010 12:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Opening Moves [Diplomatic Developments X] (It's for my organization)
Miss Sakusenjo had been wondering what the best way to deal with the American was. His personality when it came to politics was already evident. But she needed to figure out what made him tick—and without any direct way to butt into the conversation, doing so was difficult.

She had to poke and prod. But if she pushed him the wrong way, Kisho had to make sure that she’d be protected. She couldn’t rely on her status as a Sakusenjo to protect her entirely— later in the game; even her family could switch over and become her opposition.

Kisho told her maid Kazuko that this was an important meeting and she needed to stay out of the way, but she doubted the twelve-year-old would fully understand. Kisho personally only kept her around because she was Aiko’s daughter, and Aiko was an invaluable family secretary. Ninety-five percent of the time Kazuko was incredibly annoying and just got in the way, but the other five percent of the time...

Well, Kisho had plans for her.

That afternoon, the black queen would masquerade as a white... well, Kisho didn’t know just what. Pawn, probably. Letting me borrow her identity and trash her at chess is about all Kazuko is good for.

Kisho flew silently through the hallways, hoping to not been seen. Rather awkward situation that’d be... Kisho thought, shuddering at the impression she must be giving off. She managed to slip through the kitchen and throw on Kazuko’s favorite frilly apron, wincing as she attempted to tie it behind her back. My error, Kazuko is good for tying knots and picking out ridiculous fashions as well...

A tray of European biscuits was the closest thing to an “American” tea meal that the chef could think of, which now rested on the unsteady hand of Miss Sakusenjo. God, now I know why the help can be so cranky, if this is what they do all the time... Kisho lightly trotted down the hallway, poking her head into the tearoom that she’d expected her uncle and the man to be sitting in.


Kisho walked into the room quietly, an action Kazuko had yet to master. As she approached her Uncle and the American, she bit her tongue. They were discussing how America should treat Japan— an issue Kisho took a strong stand on.

The young woman hovered at the side of the table, feeling absolutely ridiculous. The tea set was already out and unfortunately in her way. Awkwardly she stood, listening to her Uncle’s proposition.

“Two options we can take, to benefit America and Japan or help others. Maybe not being personal is way to make progress?”

“Er-ah, um...” Kisho tried to pitch her voice up a bit, and pick up Kazuko’s mannerisms. She figured her Uncle might see through her disguise, but she had a plan for that.

“W-where should I put these, Master...sir?”
Her Uncle was getting old- half blind maybe, and his hearing was starting to go. If she was careful...
Zaiden Mallory: Pleasedunluckycharisma on February 28th, 2010 03:14 pm (UTC)
Re: Opening Moves [Diplomatic Developments X] (It's for my organization)
Zaiden was waiting for an answer from Yamoto-san, and he did know how to be patient. But even before the man chose to speak, a young girl entered the room. She was quiet, and it had been possible for Zaiden to ignore her completely. He had to take a moment to assess her dress, though, gaze flicking towards her even as he attempted to appear as if his attention was still riveted on Yamoto-san.

Was this what servants wore in this household?

The girl looked an awful lot like she was trying to be fashionable, but also only managing to underline her estimated low age. Zaiden wasn't sure how low exactly; it wasn't quite the make-up that confused him. In fact, he wasn't certain what was wrong with the picture, and his mind stopped for a moment to think it over. Yamoto-san was giving him some time. But he supposed he could debate the oddity later.

Zaiden opened his mouth, even though he didn't have an answer on the tip of his tongue this time. He was stopped by the assumed servant-girl speaking up. His parents were not big fans of servants, but Zaiden was used to them, and had thought in Japan a person such as this would not interrupt an important discussion in this way. Couldn't she have waited for the answer to the not-quite-question before trying to offer them snacks? Or was she actually trying not to listen to the conversation. Zaiden was used to servants, but he was rather used to nosy servants.

"Perhaps we should let her," he suggested, tone perfectly bland. It kept him from having to choose an option just yet, at the very least. From talking with Yamoto-san, Zaiden might suspect the man to wish to "help others." But Zaiden was enough of a national to want to help his own country first... And he also didn't want to reduce what esteem he had in Yamoto-san's eyes.

This time, he would do the politico waxing poetic if he could, finding some not-answer that would encompass Yamoto-san's desires while also attaining what Zaiden wanted for his country.
perpetualchkmte on March 27th, 2010 11:51 am (UTC)
Re: Opening Moves [Diplomatic Developments XII]
Kisho noticed the American looking her over for a moment. His expression didn’t state anything directly to her, but he turned back to Yamoto-san without asking any questions. He looked me over, at least. He’s acknowledged I’m here, which is a positive point. I just have to stay long enough to figure out what will spark a controversy between my Uncle’s opinion and my own. Can I sway him to my side?

“Kazuko” bit her lip and nodded eagerly, trying to be as willing a servant girl as her pride would allow. Kisho mentally was cursing herself for this. She wanted to be in and out as quickly as possible, and she wasn’t getting an open window. Zaiden didn’t seem to approve of her (though he didn’t seem to disapprove yet either), but she couldn’t tarnish Kazuko’s reputation too much. Kisho liked to have masquerade options when she could.

“I like to help!” Kisho replied, setting the tray down. It was at that point that she slapped her hand over her mouth and put on her best face of surprise, which quickly blurred into a head hanging in shame. “Ah, um, gomen nasai, Yamoto-sama...” Kisho-as-Kazuko replied, bowing as far as she possibly could while wearing the skirt. Kazuko’s English wasn’t as good as Kisho’s was, Kisho knew, so she’d be limited in her vocabulary options. She settled on a formal apology in only slightly formal Japanese, which Kisho knew was a mistake Kazuko frequently made. “My lessons have been about diplomacy lately, and I think it is so cool that it is happening in my own house! I know this may not be okay, but could I stay and watch? I find this amazing!” Kisho felt like she was going to be sick on the inside, the way she was sugarcoating things. But it had to be done. She couldn’t show opposition as herself, not yet. But she had to make sure the agreement left her room to maneuver in the future.

The tipping point here would be whether her uncle would allow her to stay and comment. He, of course, would wait for an agreement from his guest before doing so. Yamoto-san liked to have a well-educated staff, and what way to learn was more effective than by doing? Even an American had to acknowledge that...
Zaiden Mallory: Suspiciousunluckycharisma on March 30th, 2010 04:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Opening Moves [Diplomatic Developments XII]
Yamoto-san did not object to letting "Kazuko" serve them, so indeed Zaiden was allowed time without answering a question he found just the slightest bit loaded. He was a little bit surprised to hear the servant girl addressing them in English; he did know that Japanese schools taught the language, but servant girls often weren't supposed to speak, period. Let alone in a second language. As she continued, Zaiden quickly found her enthusiasm to be grating. He was prone to suspicion on a good day, and immediately wondered why a servant girl would be so excited about observing this sort of thing.

She said she found diplomacy amazing, but Zaiden thought maybe someone else wanted her in the room for another reason entirely.

Yamoto-san didn't say anything at all, and Zaiden wondered if perhaps she was asking him. "Whether or not you could stay and watch?" he echoed, the neutral musing a confirmation of her intent and a chance for Yamoto-san to give his opinion on her presence. But if Zaiden was being asked, of course the decision would be left completely to him, with no influence from his host.

"In my opinion, it depends," he said, affecting a bored air. "Do you believe your studies sufficient background to allow you to participate in this event? And do you think you could restrain yourself from blurting anything else out out of turn?" He paused a moment. "I don't really believe in passive observers. If you're in the room, you're part of things, in at least some sense, and I hope we would both like--" He glanced over at Yamoto-san for a moment. "—everyone involved to contribute instead of taking away."

It was an awful lot, but he was still supposed to be the brash American, and he was hoping this way he could figure out her real reason for wanting to observe.
perpetualchkmte on June 26th, 2010 05:11 pm (UTC)
Re: Opening Moves [Diplomatic Developments XII]
"Oh, thank you so much sir, I-" Kisho-as-Kazuko began to lean towards him, in an attempted hug, but caught herself. Not only would that be rude on so many levels, it was starting to make Kisho sick. There was a horrible taste in her mouth, not all that different from the copper of old-time Soris. Miss Sakusenjo had a feeling she'd actually throw up if she had to be so sickly sweet for too long.

She placed a hand over her mouth, and paused for a moment to swallow. As she did this, she stepped backwards, an indication that she respected Zaiden's space. She tried to pass it off as an instance in which she realized a mistake, while she was really buying herself a moment.

Kisho promptly gave the most formal apology she could muster, bowing so low that she almost fell over. As her hair hung in her face, she practically started to cry. These American idiots! They've done nothing but cause myself and my family trouble. Unforgivable heathens! Never, never in my life, will I ever bow to an American...

"Errrrr..." Kisho began, pretending that she had difficulty getting the right words out in English. The sooner Kisho was out of here, the better for her well-being, but she needed to test this Zaiden character. Doing it as herself may have been a better option, she now decided, but if her opinions didn't sit well with him Miss Sakusenjo would have regretted it greatly.

"No. I am sorry... speaking out of turn is not good. Forgive me." She bowed again, deciding to scurry out of the room as quickly as possible. It was evident that Zaiden did not like "Kazuko's" demeanor. Kisho would watch him for a bit, she decided, and then make a decision from there.

Yamoto-san nodded his head deeply in the direction of the American. "Not usually does she behave that way," he replied, still looking at the doorway from which the girl had exited. "Politics to her is not very interesting."

Despite the skepticism, Kisho had not been identified. That was the object of this move.