Tag Archives: japan

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Cover via Goodreads.

3.5/5 stars.

I had to write a report/review of this book for my AP US History class, so I’ve decided to use that as my review. I apologize for my frequent book reviews and not so frequent posts about everything else – spring break has finally arrived, so I will get right on that!

In Unbroken Laura Hillenbrand narrates the odyssey of Louie Zamperini – from his success as an Olympic athlete to his internment as a prisoner of war under the Japanese. Zamperini started off as an unruly child, but his rebellious nature was reformed into a healthy addiction to running – due to his talent, he was chosen to represent the United States in the Berlin Olympics. Afterward, as World War II began, he changed his career and became a bombardier. When a rescue mission went awry, he ended up alone in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. His fight for survival at this point only surfaced the ocean of his struggles, as he proceeded to be captured by the Japanese, who treated him horribly and inhumanely. However, after suffering from hateful and dehumanizing torture in several camps, Zamperini was able to return home once the war ended. Life was not a basket of peaches then, but eventually, he rose above his trials and tribulations and emerged unbroken from the battles he had faced.

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Filed under 3.5 stars, Book Reviews, Books

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

People were skeptical when Kathryn Stockett wrote in the voice of two black women in The Help. Arthur Golden took it to another level when he, a white, middle-aged man, narrated as an orphaned Japanese girl on her way to becoming a geisha.

It worked, though. Even without knowledge of Golden’s extensive experience studying Japanese culture and history, the reader is led to believe that the protagonist is telling the story herself. Memoirs of a Geisha transported me to a different era, where superficiality and beauty were more important traits for a women than practicality and intelligence.

I enjoyed the writing style Golden utilized with this book, especially the analogies. Here are two I marked:

“For it’s one thing to find your secrets suddenly exposed, but when your own foolishness has exposed them… well, if I was prepared to curse anyone, it was myself… A shopkeeper who leaves his window open can hardly be angry at the rainstorm for ruining his wares.”

“Her skin was waxy-looking, and her features puffy. Or perhaps I was only seeing her that way. A tree may look as beautiful as ever; but when you notice the insects infecting it, and the tips of the branches that are brown from disease, even the trunk seems to lose some of its magnificence.”

A great read – I am so thankful for my friend who bought me this as a birthday present. Recommended to anyone remotely interested in Japanese culture or the life of a geisha.

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Filed under 4 stars, Book Reviews, Books

Spring Break / SNSD Japan Promotions

One more school day until spring break (which lasts a week)! Oh, how I have eagerly awaited this overdue caesura of cruel school assignments. Then again, I will be working throughout the break on schoolwork as well as preparing for my AP World History exam and my SAT… I noticed that I tend to contradict myself when I have a thought that is too positive.

“What a nice day outside!” “Yeah, I wonder how nice it is for those homeless people on the street over there.” Ouch. And no, I don’t talk to myself. Well, maybe.

So to add more meaning (er, detract meaning?) from this post, I’ve decided to include updates on SNSD, aka Girl’s Generation. How much more gender-specific can a group name be? Girl’s Generation? Really? I feel sorry for the males who like this group for more than their bodies – it must be embarrassing.

“What are you listening to?” she asked him.

“Oh, uh, SNSD,” he replied.

“SNSD? Isn’t that Girl’s Generation?”

“NO – er, I mean yes,” he stuttered,” I was listening to their duo with that other group. Uh, 2PM.”

“2PM? You mean the group that has two raging homosexuals and a flamboyant cross-dresser?”

JUST KIDDING – I  have nothing against 2PM at all – they were just the first group that popped into my mind. And I really don’t hold any grudges against guys who listen to SNSD, homosexuals, or cross-dressers, considering that I am one (one of what? I will leave that up to your imagination).

Here’s the Japanese version of “Run Devil Run”:

I love this version – even though it’s the same beat and meaning as the original version of RDR I feel like it’s a new song. It might be because of the language, but either way I don’t know Japanese of Korean. It’s quickly climbing to the top of my IPod’s 25 Most Played List – or should I say, running. I would like to say that pun wasn’t intentional, but it was. Fail…

The video also appears more refined. The girls are stylish as always and their dancing is tighter than the Korean version. Taeyon looks stunning with short hair – surprisingly I recognized her. (:

And here’s the one minute high quality preview of “Mr. Taxi”:

When I told some of my Korean friends that SNSD’s new single would be called “Mr. Taxi” they literally burst out in laughter. A few months ago I probably would have done the same, but now it’s like I’ve assimilated to K-Pop culture. Sort of like how the Indians assimilated to the Aryan caste system and eventually used it as their own… am I right or am I right?

Back to the song – “Mr. Taxi” sounds like Girl’s Generation’s attempt at a techno/pop song, with a few dance beats thrown in. I’ll see how I like it when the full song is released on April 27th. A portion of their revenue from the release of these songs will be donated to the earthquake victims of Japan.

So once spring break starts I’ll try to go back to writing posts that aren’t all about K-Pop and books. Having more time should help, if I don’t waste it ogling Key use it studying diligently for all my upcoming exams.

Did someone say Key? Have a great day everyone! (image via LiveJournal)

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Filed under J-Pop, Personal