The Ancient Ninja Art Of Taunting

Our story begins in the month of April when our hero went to Nagai Park (where the 2002 World Cup Games in Osaka were held) and inhaled too much pollen [left] and then set out on a vision quest to Takedao [right].

Takedao has a hiking path that use to be a train line. Even in the day time the tunnels one hikes through are pitch black. The one on the [left] was probably the shortest and least spookiest of them all, up until the end anyway when our hero ran across a black snake. He used his already burgeoning shinobi skills though and stared the animal into retreat. He then went on to enjoy the scenery and warm weather. But in his heart he knew there was a much darker path than the tunnels that he would eventually have to tread.

That darkest of paths led him to the city of Iga (which along with Koga) is one of the two most famous ninja villages in the world. Our hero boarded the bright green ninja train [left] and headed off to master all the mystical arts the Iga Clan had to offer.

As soon as he got there, our hero knew that the way of the ninja would not be easy to follow. The guy who swung miniature scythes around [right] assured him of that. None the less the great fighter was determined to persevere.

He practiced for long grueling minutes and eventually was able to transform [below].

After transforming and then teaming up with the kunoichi known as "The Crimson Dagger" [left] our hero began to focus wholeheartedly on his grueling hour and a half training. He learned lots of facts at the ninja museum, watched other ninja's perform ninja tricks, threw some shiruken's, and even played around (at risk to his own life of course) in a ninja house that had all sorts of hidden doors.

And all of this hard work paid off. For at the end of the day the master of the ninja village pulled the black clad crusader aside and taught him "The Deadly Art Of Ninja Taunting". And with that knowledge, the black masked figure set off to koshien stadium to ply his dubious trade.

A little background now for the uninitiated. Phill (aka, Our Hero) is a big Hanshin Tigers fan and likes them quite a bit. And his love of the Tigers is almost equaled by his loathing of the Yakult Swallows. The Tigers rivals are actually the Yomuri Giants (the New York Yankees of Japanese baseball). However, it's always been the Yakult Swallows that have got under Phill's skin the most. Especially their fans who do some ridiculous umbrella dance at every game (I can't really describe the umbrella dance here, but just trust me, it's ridiculous and involves an umbrella).

So it was with malicious intent that our hero set out for koshien (the Tigers home stadium) to see his Tigers take on the Yakult Swallows. He had gotten great tickets from a season ticket holder and so he was able to sit incredibly close to the Swallows bench and to be within a mere 3 feet of them while they warmed up.

And so our hero gathered his courage and wit and made a sign to taunt the stupid Swallows and their stupid fans [left]. He then proceeded to hold the sign in front of the only American player on the Swallows team (Mounds, who was the starting pitcher that day) and wave it around while chanting his name. "Moooouuunds, Moooouuuunds...."

Mounds was a strong adversary with a willpower of cast iron. He didn't even flinch at our hero's ninja-tacular jaunts and jibes. His face remained stone cold and his pitching form never faltered. Or so he'd have you believe....

But deep down Phill's rigorous ninja training failed him not. His Secret Ninja Taunting Technique slowly ate away at Mounds confidence and the powerless pitcher went on to give up 8 runs and the Tigers roared on to victory and shortly there after claimed first place as their rightful home [at the time of this posting the Tigers are in first].

Believe it or not, Phill was never formally thanked by the Hanshin Tigers for all of his painstaking efforts to help them win. But that fact doesn't bother him. Phill knows that in their heart of hearts they thank him every night before they go to sleep and that if they were braver men they'd do their best to put into words their indescribable gratitude. And that knowledge is all the thanks our hero will ever need.


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