This is what I saw in my dream.
It was an ancient time, perhaps as far back as the age of the gods. I had engaged in battle and had the misfortune of defeat. Captured alive, I was led forth and presented before the victorious general.
The people in those times were tall, and all the men had long beards. They wore leather belts, from which hung rod-like swords. Their bows looked like thick lengths of unworked wisteria vine, neither lacquered nor polished, extremely simple in appearance.
The general's right hand gripped the middle of his bow, one end of which was thrust against the grass. He sat on what looked like a saké jug laid sideways. His face was distinguished by thick eyebrows that joined in the middle above his nose. There were, of course, no razors in existence.
As his captive, I was not offered a chair. I seated myself on the grass, legs crossed. On my feet were straw boots. Straw boots in that age were cut high, coming almost to the knee caps. The straw was left unwoven at the top edges and turned down like tassels. The loose ends rustled as one walked, providing an ornamental effect.
The general scrutinized my face in the firelight and asked if I would live or die. It was a formality of the time to ask this question of any captive. To answer 'live' meant capitulation. To answer 'die' meant refusal to submit. I answered directly that I would die. The general cast aside the bow he'd been resting on the grass and drew out the rod-like sword that hung from his waist. The campfire, buffeted by the wind, blew against the shaft. I opened my hand like a maple leaf, palm out toward the general, and raised it above my eyes. This meant 'wait.' The general snapped his heavy sword back into its scabbard.