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I'll try to follow the read but I usually read during commute and I'm forced to mostly use the car for a few weeks (maybe months) due to daily rehearsals at night. (nightly rehearsals?)
* and only now I realise this is actually not entirely off-topic.
edit. 馬恒矻? With thanks to chinese-tools.com and google translate.
Back from a bit of wandering and will dive in this weekend.
Could Iinuma be our Inoue?
Ordure for the emperor
Blood for Al Suzyu
Al Suzyu (from unpublished works, most from the period 1931-1945)
The horses are still in their stalls.
The Shinpū part (神風) also happens to be pronouncable as Kamikaze, which should give some indication of the meanings this word evokes for a Japanese.
From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamikaze :
Shinpū is the on-reading (on'yomi or Chinese-derived pronunciation) of the same characters that form the word kamikaze in Japanese.
So how is the book? Readable?
I feel this also getting thicker, and am starting to understand the Proust comparisons in the second book. Yes, there is much here about time and memory.
I'm now a few chapters on and there's an interesting glimpse of Iinuma's feelings for Kiyo. The poor sod still doesn't realise that he is simply in love with the young master.
Don't despair. We will resume. One problem is Martin suggesting Earthly Powers in the best authors England/US post. A friend from England brought me the book and I couldn't get out of it yesterday.
Today I resume At the Races.
yes, but isn't it Honda's conventionality that makes him such a great observer and vehicle for conveying the story to us?....
Robert, my horse is passed out at the trough, so I think you have time a plenty.
The first book seems better for the existence of the second.
Kendo, by the way, is definitely among the cooler of the martial arts. I am enjoying the Kendo scenses.
I didn't mean to offend, but if it leads to a match between your Kendo and my sheer unfairness in battle, then it's all to the good.
Now, I pride myself a child of the northern Appalachia, and thought I knew of natural things that sprouted from those hills, but what, pray tell, is a nannyberry? I assume this is a berry I'd know by some other more yankeefied name?
Nannyberries fall into one of two categories: those that are the fruit of viburnums, which includes elderberries; and those that come out of the rear end of goats and look like blueberries. Both can be made into tea. If someone offers you the former, drink some. It is quite delicious. If offered the latter, water your rose bushes with it. I have both here.
You are an attorney, so I feel assured you can extricate yourself from any untoward behavior on your part.
Oh, Umeko, my last love
How can that be tea?
I can hear the people now: "But you are a writer and for a writer the most important thing is to accomplish good work. You speak of becoming a 'hero' - if you complete your work successfully you may become a literary hero."
But as far as I am concerned it is an abuse of language to speak of a literary hero. A hero is a concept only to be found at the opposite pole of literature. ... As always, the glory that draws me is the glory of the hero, not the writer.
I can hear the people day: "But you are dwelling in the past. Attempts to become the kind of active hero you speak of are futile after thirty at the latest and you are forty-five. Why not stop playing the old maid who hides behind thick make-up, give up life and action and concentrate on literature?"
Yet I am still as strong and energetic as a young man, at forty-two, still just young enough to become a hero. Takamori Saigo (a nineteenth century fanatic who committed seppuku) died a hero's death at fifty. ... If I act now I am still in time. On the other hand there is still important work. ...
About the aforementioned book recommendation. I blame you for my reading Mishima, so I think you owe me a good recommendation. And you have to keep recommending until you come up with a book that suits me; otherwise I shall keep all my thoughts about The Sea of Fertility to myself.
or, say, Coin Locker Babies?
(up to page 200 or so)
'Once again he (Honda) found himself believing that, just as he had never contracted venereal disease, neiher had he ever experienced emotional arousal.'
pure Mishima, but...comments?
But Martin, where have you been? Are you ready to mount your slavering steed?
I forgot my steed in Victoria. Have been making efforts to get it back. (I miss the slavering.) As for poor confused Honda, it makes sense that he'd conflate emotional arousal with venereal disease. Perhaps if he'd gone out and got syphilis he'd have felt too sullied to take an interest in Kiyoisao and everyone's have been better off (?).
(with Stone Bridge Press, publisher of Persona: A Biography of Yukio Mishima)
Kendo, bah. Shouty rustic slap-happy nonsense. Not a patch on l'escrime.
I felt for Sawa. He's like the balding art space owner who goes to all the hipster parties and hits on the young girls. You're older and smarter and by most measures much more interesting and impressive, and yet somehow they have all the power. And he doesn't even have some death of the ego thing to fall back on, because that's way too Buddhist and he chose to be an extreme Shinto nationalist and obsessed with his beautiful parabola.
But, in Chapter 28:
'His friends had been eating peanuts and shells were scattered over spread-out newspapers. Lying there in the lamplight, the shells seemed dull and pale, contorted with tension.'
Later in the same chapter, again I laughed: '...but chewing interfered with his calculations.'
Nonetheless in Chapter 29 Yukio is back on track...
And yeah, the bit at the end of 25 was interesting. Like, if he's being metaphorical, it's old news that Isao is Kiyoaki reborn, so is he being ... literal? Did Iinuma dig up Kiyo's body and have him stuffed?
As for the trees, I remember pines on the cliff where Isao intends to kill his body, and sakaki branches that they carried out to purify him with. What else?
Is there anything I ought to do as a prerequisite to reading The Sea of Fertility? Can a reasonably literate person come to it without any special preparation? I have read other Japanese literature and currently happen to be on the path of self-education in Japanese cinema, which necessarily takes in aspects of the wider culture.
I lurk on your reading thread, Meredy, and I think you're eminently capable of tackling Mishima without any special preparation. I suppose there's any number of ways of enriching the experience for any reader--beefing up on Japanese history of the period, for instance--but nothing absolutely essential. Obviously one could refine endlessly, adding aesthetics, Mishima's bio and philosophy etc.--which is sort of what the thread is for (although we don't seem to have any hardcore Mishimian exegetes among us).
Speaking of single volume novels, I haven't read the Sailor, but I can recommend Confessions of a mask to a first-time reader of Mishima.
I did see the Mishima film with the Glass score, though.
That scene with Sawa wrapping the group around his little finger like it was nothing was amazing! And that "first and last kiss" stuff was so cheesy and yet chilling. And Chapter 30!! I once again find this book riveting.
You are correct about the peanuts and the chewing, Rick, but in Mishima's defence here is this thing from the same chapter that I thought was very good:
"'We'll do it! We'll do it!' (Serikawa) shouted, kicking about and scattering the shells that littered the floor. He gripped Isao's hand firmly and shook it. As usual, he was on the verge of tears. This young man affected Isao like a match girl who uses blatant emotional appeal to force a sale. It was a manifestation he had little need for at the moment."
Non-Kurosawa Japanese movies I think are great (warning! some are animes!): Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro, Ponyo, Nausicäa (Hayao Miyazaki), Nobody Knows (Hirokazu Koreeda)Paprika, Perfect Blue (Satoshi Kon), Tampopo (Juzo Itami), In the Realm of the Senses, Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence (Nagisa Oshima), Battle Royale (Kinji Fukasaku), The Wings of Honnêamise (Hiroyuki Yamaga), 13 Assassins (Takashi Miike), Tetsuo: The Iron Man (Shinya Tsukamoto). And one Kurosawa film that is SO AMAZING that not everyone has seen (probably you guys have) is called Dreams--whatever art sneakily snuck in, the idea of filming your dreams as close as you can to how you remember them is a great one that every famous director should be forced to do.
but, more interestingly, i underlined: "This young man affected Isao like a match girl who uses blatant emotional appeal to force a sale. It was a manifestation he had little need for at the moment."
That's the good Mishima, and the bad Mishima is rare--it's just that damn peanut moment all writers fear...
"As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous peanut."
"Lolita, light of my life, peanut of my loins."
<img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cc/Aoba-dori_Ave_2.JPG" width="600">
This syntax preserves the data in the picture. If you reduce a very large picture it will still make the demands on the system of a very big picture and take time to load. It is better to edit a very big picture to a smaller one before linking to it.
PS I hope someday to resume reading Runaway Horses. I am happily, but small piece by small piece, reading Vanished Kingdoms.
p. 307: "Dreams somehow turn one into a slovenly figure. A soiled collar, the back of the shirt wrinkled as though slept in, trousers baggy--something similar overtakes the garment of the spirit." Isao starts dreaming soon after, of course.
p. 308: "She did not grumble. She did not wear a sad expression. Nor did she punish him by putting on a brave cheerfulness."
And on 310 the whole scene with Iinuma and Honda laughing at their wives. And on 316, the father being unable to restrain his jealousy. And even, on 328, "Since (Toin's) hatred had its root in fear, it kept growing."
122, 123: I won't derail this thread with further comments about Japanese cinema, but thank you for your remarks. I'll follow up elsewhere.
There's a movie thread somewhere here, if you'd like to revive it...
Done with the Horses. Pret-ty exciting. Dug out Reflections on the way to the gallows by way of shedding more light on the opposition politics pre-WWII; extra points for the feminist angle.
Which reminds me that in the Japanese sex manual I read recently (Manuel de l'oreiller pour posséder les femmes), the anus is called "chrysanthemum". Could affect not a few kiku-haiku...
She's a girl and it's in Thailand and it's already way more louche than the first two.
(I haven't yet opened the third vol.)
So, who wants to bet there's finally gonna be some saxxiness involving THE THREE MOLES? Honda had an eye on them since forever.
菊と刀 takes on a whole new weird meaning as well. And the Chrysanthemum Throne.
One thing I remember about the whole tetralogy is the way each book encapsulates a particular biographical mood: the first volume has a mood of youth, first love all that stuff, book two a mood of rebellious and idealistic young adulthood. in book 3, Honda is in middle age, and the book is really a spiritual quest now, while the last book has the mood of an exhausted and bleak old age. Honda's spiritual biography is mapped out in terms of artistic moods, but he is always recognisable as the same character despite these changes in mood.
Rick, love the observation on the fauna. The naming adds to the lushness, no?
I have a passage or two marked, but again the horse is out of its stall. I am not done quite yet either, Sam. Nearly.
Then I charge on to the...lassitude.
An important thing that I got from this novel is a sense of the imperialistic attitude, how it might be aspired to, that I probably could not get from non-fiction. Related to that, and I don't know whether it is the smaller or the bigger issue, is the notion of purity. A single mindedness, a kwatz, is a commonality in looking at the Japanese mindset. Can we make a masterstroke?
Meanwhile there are human relations in this work, and that is what novels are supposed to be about. So I suppose I ought to try to tease some of them out, but I think that I will let The Temple of Dawn take the first steps in that direction for me.
"Contrary to this, Mahayana Buddhsm, especially the Yuishiki school, interpreted the world as a torrential and swift rapids or a great white cascade which never pauses. Since the world presented the form of a waterfall, both the basic cause of that world and the basis of man's perception of it were waterfalls. It is a world that lives and dies at every moment. There is no definite proof of existence in either past or future, and only the present instant which one can touch with one's hands and see with one's eyes is real. Such a world concept is unique to Mahayana Buddhism ...."
From my talks with a Thai Buddhist I understand or misunderstand more likely that Buddha is very much like a Christian god to her, without all the fury, of course.
Honda in India. Trippy descriptions of life-into-death everywhere. The translation, btw, seems to have gone off--change of translators? (Vintage)
On the tale overall so far--it is an interesting but oddly one-sided view of Japan of the times. One whole book went on fringe right-wing nationalist terrorists because, apparently, only extremes are authentic. "Unadulterated".
The notion bothers me no end. For one thing, it is immensely stupid. For another, applied publicly or in personal life, obviously it can only end up in destruction.