A Friendly Post

Well, dear readers, I have recently discovered the difficulty of writing while having a full time job.  Some nights I come home almost too tired to eat my dinner before going to sleep.  This weekend, I had vowed to write several great articles for the blog.  Instead, I found myself sadly indisposed.  I spent most of the weekend reading A History of Japan: From Stone Age to Superpower by Kenneth Henshall and Battles of the Samurai by Stephen Turnbull.  I am rather glad that I read both of these around the same time.  The former is indeed a great history, but the focus on the big picture and the incidents of excessive cruelty by the Japanese during various epochs might lead one to believe that the Japanese are the most savage and soulless people to have ever lived!  Turnbull’s work, on the other hand, focuses more on the examples of heroism and personal qualities of the samurai involved, which makes Henshall’s assertion that the image of a gallant and loyal samurai to have been an invention of the Meiji and Pre-war Japan rather untenable.  Sure, the daimyo were rather self-interested, but the samurai serving them were more interested in honor than power.

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Anyway, you shall read about that in a later article.  I also dropped The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley from my reading list after 95 pages of anti-Christian and anti-Medieval rhetoric surrounding a very long story about marital problems and prophecy.  (Yes, this book’s philosophy thoroughly vexed me and did not provide a fun story.  I can endure the former, but not without the latter also being present.)  Instead, I shall concentrate on Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonflight and Gene Wolfe’s Latro in the Mist in order to satisfy my love of fantasy.  Both have very high pedigrees and have been very intriguing thus far.

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But, this is an anime and religion blog, right?  So, let me talk a little about my use of leisure on that front.  I’m reading some manga which are worth reviewing and at some point I ought to be able to write the articles which I have promised last month.  I am especially keen on writing about Noir and the series related to it.  In Coppelion, Naruse’s lack of prudence and overindulgence to people who want to kill her and her friends is beginning to bug me.  So, you might see an article soon on this and the Catholic Church’s teaching on how there exists an order of obligation in our relationships with people.

I've lost count of how many times Naruse should have been killed.

I’ve lost count of how many times Naruse should have been killed.

Anyway, here’s to a happy Advent season for you all!

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13 comments on “A Friendly Post

  1. Foxfier says:

    Happy Advent to you, too!

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  2. Genki Jason says:

    I feel your pain on being too tired to do much of anything. Just got to keep on keeping on.

    Those history books do sound interesting. My knowledge of ancient Japan and it’s myths and power structures is non-existent. I might purchase Turnbull’s work.

    Happy Advent Season to you. Take it easy.

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    • My after work fatigue is quite vexing. I might have to take to drinking coffee at night: something I have been afraid to do since coffee gave me insomnia until 6 am on one evening! At least it was very tasty coffee!

      And Stephen Turnbull is a great author to read. Even just looking at his list of works gives one the impression that he truly loves medieval history and warfare. He has written a ton on the samurai and quite a few books on the Mongols and Western knights. I also found out that he was a consultant for Shogun: Total War, its sequel, and the upcoming movie on the 47 Ronin.

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      • Foxfier says:

        You might try a fast walk or half-hour workout after work before resorting to coffee– I find that it soothes my mind, and ups my energy level plus makes it easier to fall asleep…well, if it’s long enough after the workout….

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      • That’s good advice; however, as a delivery man, I happen to be walking the entire time I work! xD Most physical activities are highly undesirable at the end of my day.

        But, I shall certainly remember your advice for when my work becomes more sedentary.

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      • Genki Jason says:

        It’s tough to balance your energy. Personally I won’t drink coffee after 11:00 AM because I’m worried it will keep me up all night. Perhaps worrying so much is also as bad!

        I’m looking forward to 47 Ronin!

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      • Well, times for drinking coffee is one of the safer things to worry about. I’m usually a tea drinker myself, but I can’t imagine even Assam keeping me up at the end of the day.

        I can’t wait for the 47 Ronin also. It looks like a fun and possibly great film.

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  3. zeonista says:

    I am glad you have gotten to read a book by Stephen Turnbull! I consider him a definitive author on Japanese martial history, and I own several of his books. I could readily a few other volumes if you are interested.

    The Mists of Avalon is definitely a mixed blessing for me. Bradley is an excellent fantasy author, but the conflict between Arthur’s court & Morgaine based on religion seems overly antagonistic for the time. Her view of the Catholic Church is very much that of the self-consciously authoritarian superpower, not the young and happily expanding Church of the 5th-6th centuries. But then, in the Liberal view of the Catholic Church, it is always AD 1500, unless the priests are cheering on Third World communists. Oddly enough, Bradley also turned about in the story and savaged Morgaine’s own “Druidic” religion for its own rather cold-blooded manipulation of others. (I put “Druidic” in quotes because very little of the orally-transmitted Old Religion survived to be documented by modern history. Most of the current writing on it is by the hippy-like Wiccans, who display much imagination but little scholarship.)

    I lost interest in Coppelion early on due to the lack of concern in both story and heroines that you have mentioned, plus the fact it was taking too long to get fully started, unlike many other shows on the “watch” list. OTOH Samurai Flamenco really turned out to be a keeper! It was a delightful story about heroism in the current age. 🙂

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    • By all means recommend more of Turnbull’s work’s to me! I also noticed that he wrote several books on the medieval knight and at least one on the Mongols. I suppose that makes him an authority on the medieval warrior classes of both east and west? I just took out a book by him titled The Samurai and The Spiritual. I’m particularly interested in the chapter on Christian samurai–a very under-represented group.

      What you say about The Mists of Avalon was very true, though the early Church could become forceful at certain points. St. Patrick in particular moved as fast as he could to squash paganism in Ireland, but he accomplished this through preaching and tearing down pagan idols rather than military conquest. In England, however, the transition from paganism to Christianity was very rapid and peaceful, perhaps more so than in any other European nation. So, if the people of those times were so eager to doff their pagan religion, why should moderns be so depressed at its loss?

      For some reason, I haven’t watched Samurai Flamenco in a while, though I loved the episodes I saw. I’ll have to place that on my list of things to do tonight. Coppelion is an average show so far, but the conflict is certainly building, and I expect that it will end on a high note.

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      • zeonista says:

        Samurai Flamenco really got interesting halfway through, when the story embraced its origins with a vengeance! It is definitely worth catching up on over the winter.

        The depression of the triumph of Christianity has much to do with the “it is always AD 1500” mindset above. Plus some improbably relevant modernist attitudes about freedom of ideas & religion that were pretty radical in 1776, never mind 476! That and a bunch of Catholic & Baptist-raised youths who finally went over the wall and are running wild & free. Lots of Baptist & Catholic-raised people running about as Renfaire Wiccans. 😀

        Well, you already got hold of The Samurai and the Spiritual, so that’s one off the list! I have tried to keep to the ones I know most likely will be available. There is some overlap with information & illustrations, but it is acceptable. (And Turnbull has the best collection of authorized-for-publication images collections on the subject!)
        Samurai Warfare: This is his best overview on the subject, with an emphasis on strategy and the deployment of armies.
        The Lone Samurai and the Martial Arts: This is Turnbull’s discourse on the samurai as an individual warrior, and how history became legend (and then cinema). Very informative, and you will get a new perspective on anime protagonists & antagonists.
        The Ninja: After casually mentioning the ninja in previous works, Turnbull finally dedicated an entire book to the historical ninja. This is not the definitive work on the subject, but it will do! 🙂 You will never look at anime ninja the same afterwards, but at the same time you will appreciate them nonetheless.
        Warriors of Medieval Japan: This is a collection of 4 abridged short books he did for Osprey press’s “Warriors” series. More interested in nuts & bolts of the warrior’s life than the other ones.

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      • That’s a great list of works! Thanks! I’ll be sure to keep your recommendations in mind. So many books, so little time!

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  4. NA says:

    Physical work is more tiring then mental work from I’ve discovered truthfully. Also drink lots water while your delivering, it helps me to fell less tired after doing physical work all day. But my day job is mostly mental so. I’m not all that tired to around 10 to 11 pm.

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