Bebe Taian: Christmastime!

December 25, 2013


I'm not really a big celebrator of Christmas. Mostly because I don't really have any particular religion. My favourite part is probably buying new LED lights the day after. >D I also like the smell in the kitchen when I bake cookies and muffins for everyone. Actually, I really like buying presents and such. I just don't like the crush at various stores, so I try to buy all year-round, and just stock them away whenever I have money to spare. This year was much smaller than the last. I should probably get started on making next year's gifts soon. :P
This year I was gifted some pretty awesome things. I didn't expect it at all! One of my very thoughtful friends handed me some money to get whatever (that isn't sarcasm; there's a lot that needs replacing, and how can he know what everyone else got us already?) My mother-in-law gave me her purse from her HS junior-year prom, a pretty silver clutch that you'll definitely see in kimono photos to come. <3 The cats, naturally, gave me fur and loud meows at all hours of the morning for more turkey.

But the fun stuff!

Zelda: Ocarina of Time Blend 2
A replacement cartridge of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for N64. I'm in love with this game, and have been since it first came out. I have another copy, but I lent it out and it came back dead. These things happen, especially since the game is over 10 years old. So a new copy it is! If you've never played any of the Zelda games, you might start with this one or with Twilight Princess. There are adaptations for newer consoles, so if you don't have a Nintendo 64, don't worry.

I also bought three books that I've been looking at for awhile. They aren't available in their entirety on Google Books, but I'll link their summaries anyways. I was looking particularly for books about facets of Japanese society written by Japanese people. Sadly, the vast majority of results for my search on books under the Japan category are written by white men about economic politics, war, and whether Japan is "functional" or not. (No, that's really the subject of a few books- like Americans can really talk about functionality in world politics.) There were books on feminism and women's rights in Japan, but they too were written by white women (not translated by foreign women but written by Japanese; that would have been acceptable), and therefore probably cannot provide an unbiased view of the subject. And yet, I'm limited to books published in English. I'm going to keep looking for books that I can afford online, and hopefully invest in those written by actual Japanese authors soon. So, although there were many I wanted to read, I settled on these three first:

- Modern Passings: Death Rites, Politics, and Social Change in Imperial Japan (Andrew Bernstein)

In Imperial Japan, as elsewhere in the modernizing world, funerals, burials, and other mortuary rites had developed over the centuries with the aim of building continuity in the face of loss. As Japanese coped with the economic, political, and social changes that radically remade their lives in the decades after the Meiji Restoration (1868), they clung to local customs and Buddhist rituals such as sutra readings and incense offerings that for generations had given meaning to death. Yet death, as this highly original study shows, was not impervious to nationalism, capitalism, and the other isms that constituted and still constitute modernity. As Japan changed, so did its handling of the inevitable.

- Permitted and Prohibited Desires: Motherhood, Comics, and Censorship in Japan (Anne Allison)

This provocative study of gender and sexuality in contemporary Japan investigates elements of Japanese popular culture including erotic comic books, stories of mother-son incest, lunchboxes - or obentos - that mothers ritualistically prepare for schoolchildren, and children's cartoons. Anne Allison brings recent feminist psychoanalytic and Marxist theory to bear on representations of sexuality, motherhood, and gender in these and other aspects of Japanese culture. Based on five years of fieldwork in a middle-class Tokyo neighborhood, this theoretically informed, accessible ethnographic study provides a provocative analysis of how sexuality, dominance, and desire are reproduced and enacted in late-capitalistic Japan.

- Rising Suns, Rising Daughters: Gender, Class, and Power (Sachiko Nakajimo, Joanne Liddle)

Surprisingly little is known in the West about Japanese women. Exploring themes of gender and class, this book traces the changing position of women through history and into the present. Repudiating the clicheacute; of the submissive Japanese woman, the authors show women as active agents in both family and public life. The women's liberation movement of recent years resonates with echoes of struggle and resistance from earlier times. The broader movements of history and culture are brought into focus within the experiences of individual women.

Can't wait to start reading. I might even be able to get a scanner in the next few months! What did you do for the holidays?

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