The Boys Have Bokken


…also called bokuto, which are beautiful wooden Japanese training swords. Theirs are $15 internet versions, probably the kind which cause people who know what they are doing to wince at American ignorance. The boys love them, and last night I went up to say goodnight to the Maker, and found him sleeping with his.

The boys are rarely without their bokuto, obsessively carrying them everywhere they go in our suburban neighborhood, using them to pose and slash against imaginary foes or whack weeds as the mood takes them. The posing is especially favored.

This morning the Maker was wandering aimlessly around the kitchen with his bokuto, continually forgetting, as is the way of a six year old, what he’s supposed to be doing. So I ask him very helpfully, as is the way of a mom, “Which of your chores are you working on now?”

He strikes a pose with his bokuto. Ancient Japanese warrior spirits wince. The Maker glares fiercely at the the Cheerios on the kitchen table until I am almost sure that he’s forgotten my question, if not my entire presence. Finally: “I have to vacuum the rug,” he replies, and shifts his pose.

“Great,” I affirm. “Get to it.” And off I go to finish getting ready for work.

While I’m sitting on the edge of my bed putting on my shoes, I hear a series of grunts, and eventually the vacuum starts. My audio monitor continues to scan. Why do I not hear the vacuum gliding smoothly back and forth? I am patient. More grunts, loud enough to be heard over the obviously stationary, running vacuum. I sigh, abandon my task, and go back into the den.

When I walk in, I see instantly what the problem is. It’s really hard to pose with the bokuto AND vacuum the rug. Impossible, perhaps. I’m guessing ancient Japanese warriors did not vacuum for this very reason.

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