Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Book of Five Rings

All my friends think I've gone nuts. Yup that's right - nuts. It must have something to do with all the books on Japan I just bought. (Yeah... maybe that's it.) Anyhoo, I've been having a grand old time reading all about Japan. I call it RESEARCH. It is, but it's more of a hobby. So what book have I read that is so good that I must blog about it.

Well, it's this book.

The Book of Five Rings (The Way of the Warrior Series)
This book, 'The Book of Five Rings' was what I can say is a very interesting book. It was written by none other then Miyamoto Musashi, from my last blog. Yeah, I read the book he wrote and surprisingly it was very insightful into the way of the samurai. It is made up of five scrolls, Earth, Fire, Water, Wind, and Void.

It has interesting ideas of the 'tools of one's trade' as Musashi brings out, and strategy in war, being sure to make up your mind, to understand your enemy, and a lot of other things. It's a very quick read. (Big surprise!)

Though I would only suggest this to people doing research for college or out of enjoyment of history it was very good. Well, until next time...


The Egg Wolfing, Exhausted Librarian

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Greatest

Alright, so friends have been reading my blog and want my opinion on who is the greatest samurai who ever lived? Uh... I have no clue, most didn't live past their early twenties during the feudal wars. (Nice little fact there, *sorry guys*)

The greatest swordsman who ever lived, who happened to live past his twenties was Miyamoto Musashi, he started learning swordplay when he was very young, and beat his Sensei (teacher, or master) at the age of thirteen. (You see in that culture most don't go through a ceremonial christening of manhood until they are at the age of fifteen with their master or teacher.) So for him to beat his master is phenomenal. After which he started traveling from dojo to dojo, learning different Ryu's *look at last blog for references*, after learning the technique he would fight the master of the dojo. (Most fights would end in death, so he didn't die against masters of the Ryu's *pretty cool by my books*)   The very idea of a student challenging and defeating a Sensei was unthinkable, and the challenge often went into a real “life or death” battle on numerous occasions. Musashi never lost. He continued his training most of his life.

All together he fought 60 changelings over his life time and never lost one. (Pure Awesomeness in my book!) In one fight he even beat a Sensei with a blade with nothing more but a wood blade. Not an easy thing to do considering a katana can cut a block of wood in half. (I'm not kidding here, you can watch it on You-tube.) Not just that but by the end of his lifetime he had learned how to beat people without even using a sword!

In the last years of training, he developed a method of disarming his opponent by attacking with an imaginary sword and knocking the real sword out of the grip of the other swordsman. He had defeated every able bodied challenger in his nation without even the need of a sword. (Oh my word! *slapping hands on cheeks in amazement*) After that point he retired from sword play and even wrote a book. (It's called, The Book of Five Rings, which is still used today.)

In the end he came up with distinctive style of sword play called, Hyoto Niten Ichi-Ryu. (Don't ask me to say how to pronounce it.) Although he lived just beyond the feudal era, he was a man to be reckoned with, and lived to the ripe old age of sixty. (A feat back then.) He ended up being quite a philosopher in his old age, and I can't wait to start reading his book.

What is also an interesting fact about him is that there is a lot of confusion about his birth and death, according to his tomb stone, he dead in 1580, but according to his birth record he was born in 1584, and according to his family lineage he was born in 1582. So you figure it out?

So next time to you see a quiet person, don't assume to0 much, he might be a skilled fighter.


The Egg Wolfing, Exhausted Librarian.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Kingdom of the Rising Sun

Okay, why the title? Well, if you don't know, this is what in the 1930's was most often known as Japan. Yup, I'm back to my Japanese talk. As you've noticed in my blog about kimono's and the like that I have a great interest in all things Japanese. (No duh, just look at my blog.)

Anyhoo, I am in the process of writing a rather long *rather boring* historical fiction. In my studies (and believe me when I say, I've actually been reading those three thousand page history books about Japan) have found some very interesting things about the Japanese culture. Especially about the samurai way of life. (That's what my books about people.)

In the Samurai way of life, best known as Bushido, means 'Way of the Warrior'. You can actually Google it if you don't believe me. In the culture of this amazing group of people, Bushido, stressed honor, duty, self-sacrifice, and obedience. Most *clearing throat* American's have a pretty strange idea about this way of life, and I've been astonished in my readings about this. (Some of it's pretty blood and guts when you get into the feudal era, *time of my story*) Even during times of war, the samurai respected even their enemies. Most samurai were in fact just farmers, but some were born into dojo's, (house of sword play) to learn some of the most extraordinary things.

One of the best know sword styles (or Reu's) was called Soshu Reu. What is also an interesting fact is that children from the age of three started to learn swordplay. (Now known as Kendo.) Of course in the past sword play was much more dangerous, and in fact some of the greatest samurai were known to engage up to three hundred men, ALONE.

And the last fact of the day, is that samurai didn't allow foreigners to learn these styles. In fact, foreigners were called, akuma, or another word for Demon, or Devil. But! If there was a child found by a samurai and was adopted into the family, it was often found that they would be taught the Reu (sword style) of the family. And so, they embodied the Japanese people.

So have Sonkei (respect) for your elders kids. They might take a Katana (samurai sword) to you!


The Egg Wolfing, Exhausted Librarian

Friday, May 7, 2010

These Crazy Librarians

Long time...

So what's been happening y'all? Well, for me I've been so busy I haven't been able to blog. (Go figure.) So my last blog was about kimono's and none to mention but mens kimonos. Well this week lets get back on a subject I'm familiar with, (not that Japanese culture isn't one of them) and talk about libraries. Yup that's right, libraries. As some of you might already know, and could have guessed because of my ADD, and constant jabbering about books that I'm a librarian. (I'm not the old granny here people.)

So what have I found so interesting that I must blog the whole world about it. Awe nothing much, other than this hilarious blog called: *drum roll please*

The Ranting Librarians

Yup that's right, these are three crazy, and sometimes rather hilarious librarians that give you a glimpse into the life of everyday librarians. They rant sometimes and rave others, but they aren't your typical glasses wearing, tight bun, smells-like-burnt-coffee ladies. They are hilarious, and funny to no end. So I highly recommend checking it out. As for books, that's next time, promise... ^_^