- Mike started researching the Ninja Women competition online as soon as they returned from the family farm. He found out that the competition was actually called “Kunoichi” (female warrior) in Japan and takes place at “Midoriyama” (Green Mountain) studios in northwest Yokohama.
- Fortunately, Mike had kept in contact with many of his software colleagues around the world. Nobu was delighted to receive Mike’s e-mail and offered to contact the television station to get details on the application process. Nobu e-mailed back in less than a day.
- “It’s a go!” he wrote. Mike could almost hear the excitement in Nobu’s voice. He wasn’t your average IT techie-nerd, that’s for sure. “I told them about your daughter-in-law and they’re hoping she’ll participate, since they’ve got a couple of openings left and they’re looking for diversity in age and ethnicity. I’ll help fill out the attached form. Come next March, Agnes will be on her way to Midoriyama.”
- Mike was thrilled. He didn’t want to appear pushy, especially since it was only reluctantly that Mort and Agnes agreed to accept his funding the monthly “learning experience” trips on behalf of the twins. But that didn’t stop him from finding out as much as he could about the Ninja Women competition. Mort and Agnes both work and don’t have the time, he reasoned. Aggie did seem to be more than simply neutral on the idea and his son approved. What an experience it would be for the twins! Not only cultural, but seeing their mom in a totally new dimension. Even if she lost out early in the competition, it would be no matter. It would be a wonderful adventure for the whole family. Mike wished he might be able to go along too, but he felt that the lengthy trip would be too strenuous for him.
- Mike called with the good news. Agnes was as much as accepted. “All you need to do is fill out the application,” Mike told Agnes.
- “That’s ALL I need to do, Dad? That’s the EASY part. I’ve got to start training, and I don’t even know where to begin!” Her breathless excitement put Mike’s mind at ease. He wasn’t the pushy father-in-law after all. He was opening the door...no, paving the road...to a whole new dimension for his son’s family.
- Mike was glad Agnes didn’t protest about accepting his gift. She didn’t even raise the issue of who was going to pay for the trip. That’s progress, he thought. But if Agnes or Mort did bring up money, he was prepared with a response. The late philanthropist Percy Ross said it best: “He who gives when he lives, gets to know where it goes.” Mike liked that. He wanted to share his family’s joy while he still lived. Not for trivial things, but for experiences that would broaden the minds and spirits of his grandchildren and their parents.
- “Aggie, would you like me to send you the URL listing the course obstacles for all the stages since the series began? Of course, no one knows what next year’s obstacles will be, but I suspect you’ll have a good idea where to start once you see the list.”
- “Oh, Dad. That’d be great! Now that summer’s here, we could put Mal and Mel to work setting up some practice courses. I’ll bet they’d like that.”
- “Good. Let’s see if Mort will be your coach. Then the family can be involved.”
- Mort and Agnes printed out the color-coded grid showing the obstacles and their sequences for each of the four stages that made up the courses each year. The site also provided explanations for all the past obstacles. 20 different obstacles appeared over the years for just the first stage, 11 for stage two. Agnes hoped just to get through the first stage and wanted to concentrate her training efforts on strength, balance and flexibility by practicing with variations of those 20 obstacles.
- “That makes sense, Ag,” Mort agreed. “Shall we start thinking about locations for our ‘explore weekends’ that would help you too?”
- “I was thinking about that too, Mort. How about the Indiana Dunes? Running up and down sand hills would be a great way to start toning my leg muscles, and there are plenty of interesting plants, animals and geology for the twins to explore. They probably have a campground, too. I saw a couple of sales on lightweight tents and camping gear. We’d never have to worry about taking Rufus along during the summer.”
- “Super idea, Ag. Let’s tell the twins so they can start researching the Dunes online and I’ll make the campground reservation.”
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LINK TO MORE INFORMATION
Ninja Women TV Series
- LINKS: BOOK 1 TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION TO THE BIOFABLES SERIES
BioFables 1 Teaching Brief
BioFables 1 & 2: Word Counts, Reading Levels