This week, I made a few small changes to the sidebar. I realised that this blog was missing something I use so frequently on other blogs- the in-blog search bar! Ack!
Also, I talk about books, music, etc. as often as possible, and often include in-line links to the books I review, but now I've included a link directly to Amazon for you to look at those books! Please use it. It isn't much, but I think the way it works is that every time you go to make a purchase using that Amazon box on my blog, I might get a few pennies... and those few pennies help me immensely. And I hope it will make it more convenient for you, too, to find cool stuff about Japan that you'll love!
The last thing, and perhaps the most important thing, is the addition of a poll about what you'd like to see on my blog next year. The poll ends on Nov. 30th, so please vote! Categories are Holidays + Seasons, Kitsuke Info + Pics, Social Issues, Poetry + Art, Recipes + How To, and Spirituality + Superstition.
- Holidays + Seasons covers the stuff I try to talk about every week or so- seasonal changes (there are 72 of them, technically), holidays (traditional ones and national ones), and their meanings, origins, and associated stuff like artwork themed with those holidays.
- Kitsuke Info + Pics, of course, is about kimono! How to wear, various outfits, types of fabrics, seasonal attributes (echoed in Seasons), and more photos. I don't wear kimono as often as I used to, and I'd like to get back to doing that! Even when I wear them, I usually don't take photos. Should I take/post more of them?
- Social Issues. I've created a tag for this one this year, since I'm tired of reading about the issues prevalent in Japan but glossing over them. The fact is, Japan is a lovely country... but just like every country, the Japanese are real people with real stuff that happens in every human society. Human rights, in all of their forms (gay rights, women's rights, non-Japanese rights, etc.), should be discussed in the open. It does a disservice to the Japanese who live with oppression to glorify their oppressors (whether a specific person, or societal attitudes as a whole) as a paragon of virtue. The blanket of social issues is something I'm very passionate about, and I hope that posting about it will give folks a more balanced view of Japan. But... do you want to know?
- Poetry + Art: art of all kinds! Japan has a long history of various types of art. Textile arts, written arts (Japan boasts the first novel in the world- written by a woman, no less!), martial arts, culinary arts... do you want to know more about them? Ukiyo-e one day, swords and bushido the next, sado (tea ceremony) after that? Let me know!
- Spirituality + Superstition. Japan has 2000 years of various forms of religion coming and going and changing according to cultural whims! Many of the plethora of demons are actually Hindu gods/goddesses and monsters adopted from Indian travellers, morphed into new forms of Buddhism. Shinto and Buddhism of various forms are the two dominant religions in Japan, yet most people claim to be irreligious, attending functions the way some atheists still celebrate Christmas- not because we believe in Christ, but because it's a traditional family holiday with cultural roots. Superstitions about plants, yokai, directions, and astrology fall under this category, too.
- Recipes + How To. Tutorials on things Japanese, whether written by myself, or found elsewhere, such as Youtube. Food, sewing, making waraji (straw sandals), anything I can think of!
So vote for your favourite, and tell me if I've missed anything!