However much I paw or claw it, there's no perceptible response. The real attraction of cicada capture lies in that moment of surprise, when through patience and stealth I've zeroed in on my quarry to find it twitching its tail in and out for all its worth, sending up cries of "oshii" and "tsuku-tsuku." I pin it down with my front paw. Its "tsuku-tsuku" transforms to a death shriek, and its thin, transparent wings flail in all directions. The speed and splendor of this panic defies description. Indeed, in the world of cicadas there's no finer spectacle. Each time I pin down another "tsuku-tsuku" crier, it's the beauty of this artistic flourish I cherish. When I've finally had my fill of it, I take the liberty of stuffing my cheeks with the performer. In some cases, the flourish continues, even as I'm clamping my jaws.
After cicada capture, another form of physical training is pine sliding. It doesn't warrant a lengthy description, so I'll just touch on the basics. The term "pine sliding" may evoke visions of sliding down pine trees, but such is not the case. On the contrary, it's another form of tree climbing. However, while the objective of tree climbing in cicada capture is to capture a cicada, the objective in pine sliding is the climb in and of itself. This is the key differentiator. The pine tree, from days of yore, since fueling the fire to warm Saimyōji in Tokiwa, up to this present day, is scraggy to a fault. As a consequence, there's nothing less slippery than the trunk of a pine. And there's nothing with better handholds or footholds. -- in other words, there's nothing with better clawholds. With such good clawholds, I can race up those trunks in a flash. Having raced up, I hurry back down. There are two methods of hurrying down. One is inverted descent, or descending with head toward the ground. The other is reverse descent, or descending tail first, maintaining the same orientation through climb and descent. A question for humans - which do you imagine is easiest? Most humans, having never thought deeply on the matter, likely reckon that given one's heading downward, descending head first is easiest. This is not correct. In your minds, no doubt, is the image of Yoshitsune charging down from Hiyodorigoe Pass on horseback, and if Yoshitsune can charge down head first then a cat, of course, can well enough follow suit. It's by no means so simple. In which direction do you imagine cats' claws grow? They all curve toward the rear. Like firemen's hooks, they're good for grasping and pulling, but poor for pushing off.