Christmas was incredibly busy this year. I barely slept for a week! Now that all the festivities are over, and I'm cleaning up the place and recovering, I can get back to business as usual. But first, I went on a small shopping spree!
Okay, for me, it isn't small. It was almost funded by my mother and uncle. Seriously, I think I've finally found a gift card that I LIKE. Amazon cards are the way to go, guys. :P I can blow $200 on books without even blinking. And I will devour them all.
I don't like Kindles or Nooks because they are electronic- nice and all, and some stuff is cheaper on them, but 1) I don't buy the eco-friendly thing as compared to harvesting trees when I know where the metals come from and what they cost (think child slavery, rape, and strip-mining in Africa, Afghanistan, and other countries) and 2) they're ELECTRONIC. Which means if the power goes out, or the batteries run down (more metals and chemicals being produced), it won't work. A book, I can just take outside. It will be readable anywhere there is light. I can take it anywhere. TSA will never stop me for a stack of paper (I hope), but they apparently don't know how to handle laptops and Kindles. Books are far superior!
Aside from the stuff I've been meaning to get on and off (for, I don't know, ten years or so), I racked up on Japanese culture books. It's a good thing my husband reminded me, because strangely, I'd forgone those (again) in search of a bunch of YA books that I loved long ago. My youngest sister tends to read my books, even the beginners' stuff on physics, economy, and chemistry, so I tend to think of her when I buy things that are on my back-burner list. So I've put more of those on a list of "One day..." books, and picked up a list of Japanese-themed books! All descriptions are the short summaries from Amazon, since I haven't received any of them yet. Which means... book reviews impending! <3 Here's the list, but oh, there are SO MANY more that I want...
- The World of the Shining Prince: Court Life in Ancient Japan
The World of the Shining Prince, Ivan Morris's widely acclaimed
portrait of the ceremonious, inbred, melancholy world of ancient Japan,
has been a standard in cultural studies for nearly thirty years. Using
as a frame of reference The Tale of Genji and other major
literary works from Japan's Heian period, Morris recreates an era when
woman set the cultural tone. Focusing on the world of the emperor's
court-the world so admired by Virginia Woolf and others-he describes the
politics, society, religious life, and superstitions of the times,
providing detailed portrayals of the daily life of courtiers, the cult
of beauty they espoused, and the intricate relations between the men and
women of this milieu.
- Japanese Etiquette Today: A Guide to Business and Social Customs
Most foreigners know that Japanese etiquette differs from that of other
countries, but few know in what way. In JAPANESE ETIQUETTE TODAY, the
authors look at a variety of formal and informal occasions governed by
subtle rules and tell you what to do, what NOT to do, what to say, what
to wear, and much more.
- Women of the Pleasure Quarters: The Secret History of the Geisha
Ever since Westerners arrived in Japan, they have been intrigued by
Japanese womanhood and, above all, by geisha. This fascination has
spawned a wealth of extraordinary fictional creations, from Puccini’s Madame Butterfly to Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha.
But as denizens of a world defined by silence and mystery, real geisha
are notoriously difficult to meet and even to find. As a result, their
history has long been cloaked in secrecy.
Lesley Downer, an
award-winning writer, Japanese scholar, and consummate storyteller,
gained more access to this world than almost any other Westerner, and
spent several months living in it. In Women of the Pleasure Quarters,
she weaves together intimate portraits of modern geisha with the
romantic legends and colorful historical tales that shape their
fascinating past. Contrary to popular opinion, geisha are not
prostitutes but, literally, "arts people." Accomplished singers,
dancers, and musicians, they are, above all, masters of the art of
conversation, soothing the worries and stroking the egos of wealthy
businessmen who can afford their attentions. Looking into such
traditions as mizuage, the ritual deflowering that was once a
rite of passage for all geisha, and providing colorful descriptions of
their dress, training, and homes, Downer transforms their reality into a
captivating narrative, and reveals an enthralling world unlike any
- The Nightless City: Geisha and Courtesan Life in Old Tokyo
Written over a century ago, this pioneer study was the first to venture
behind the teahouse doors of the Yoshiwara quarter, Tokyo's red-light
district. It remains unsurpassed as the definitive survey of geisha and
courtesan life, with meticulous descriptions of traditional training,
dress, social hierarchy, and erotic practices. 49 black-and-white
illustrations; 2 maps.
- The Kimono of the Geisha-Diva Ichimaru
Ichimaru (1906-1997) combined her experience as a geisha with an
extraordinary talent as a vocalist and musician to become a unique
figure in the social history of twentieth-century Japan. Determined to
distinguish herself, she studied music with the best teachers to be
found in Tokyo's "floating world," or pleasure district. Ichimaru
secured a recording contract in 1931 and never looked back as she won
In keeping with the geisha tradition of
elegant dress, Ichimaru accumulated a striking collection of kimono
over the course of her long career. After her death, the collection
was given to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. In this colorful,
well-informed, and satisfying little book, three members of the
gallery's curatorial staff tell lchimaru's life story and place it in
the context of the floating world and the larger world of Japanese
culture. They also provide detailed information on kimono construction,
materials, dyeing and stitching techniques, styles and the cultural
connotations evoked by those styles, and the secret language of kimono
imagery. Color photographs accompany their descriptions, and Ichimaru's
life is illustrated with color and black-and-white images.
- Yoshiwara: Geishas, Courtesans, and the Pleasure Quarters of Old Tokyo
For centuries, Yoshiwara was the famed pleasure center of Tokyo. An
erotic world unmatched by the West was created by beautiful courtesans,
geishas, dancers, actors and artists. To this "floating world" came the
hedonists and the sensual pleasure hunters of old Japan. A hotbed of art
and creativity, it also saw the enslavement of countless women, sold or
driven into the sex trade.
Yoshiwara traces the rise and
fall of this city within a city, a sanctioned preserve of teahouses and
brothels that was not abolished until 1958, sketching a vivid portrait
of social and sexual mores in Japan's capital.
- The Book of Kimono: Complete Guide to Style and Wear
This practical and attractive book makes available for the first time
the basic knowledge and vocabulary needed to select and put on a kimono
Whether for women or men, all kimono are cut and sewn
essentially from a single pattern, but a number of variations must be
considered, depending on the occasion. Guidelines are given to making
these choices, and the way to dress in a kimono, from the preliminaries
to tieing the bustle sash, is described in detail and fully illustrated.
For women, there are formal kimono, obi and accessories, and the
lightweight summer yukata; for men, the yukata and the ceremonial
ensemble of kimono, haori coat and hakama skirt. Children's kimono for
festive events are also described.
Kimono fashions have evolved
over the centuries in response to varied influences. Today modern
innovations are making the wearing of kimono at home and elsewhere an
attractive alternative to Western garments. These are included here,
along with a discussion of aesthetics, the history of the kimono, and
the meaning that kimono culture can have for wearers and admirers
throughout the world.