grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
I read this book in particular for a writing project I'm doing. I've read one book on astrology, one on personality psychology, and this one. I still have -- wait for it -- NINE more books to read for research before I even start the writing project I have in mind. It's a fanfic, which I contend can be just as cool and meaningful as regular fiction books. I will keep you updated on which books I read for the fanfic I'm researching. See the "fem Naruto story" tag at the bottom.

Anyway, I'm reviewing this book on yokai. It's called "The Book of Yokai: Mysterious Creatures of Japanese Folklore" by Michael Dylan Foster. I read all 244 pages in less than two weeks. It's a really great read. I recommend it.

What is a yokai?

It's a Japanese demon of sorts -- more broadly, a Japanese mythical creature that can perform dark acts. I began my fascination with Japan through watching manga and anime as a kid. From there, I branched off into learning more about the culture behind these fictions I loved so much -- I read up on Japan and took on several Japanese pen pals at one point or another, read and watched blogs and vlogs on Japanese travel, tried cooking Japanese meals, researched various aspects of ancient Japanese culture, read interviews of famous Japanese artists, watched Japanese films and sampled Japanese music. I know at least something of typical Japanese religions and philosophies. I plan on starting Japanese language classes this summer. The more I learn about Japan, the more I love.

Especially given my love of fantasy in Japanese anime, it only made sense for me to buy a book on yokai.

It was a fascinating read. A lot of elements from modern Japanese stories that I had always thought were random or made up -- it turns out? They were actually deliberately referencing ancient Japanese folklore! And I've probably only just scratched the surface. Isn't that great?

Even for people who are skeptical of why ancient Japanese folklore is important should read this book, however. Foster really gets at the importance behind yokai -- their various meanings, their cultural relevance (both ancient and modern, national and international), and how they help us see the world differently. He talks about yokai history and philosophical categorization, and only then does he actually go on to discuss the yokai themselves. He gives you good background reading before diving into the various yokai there are. I really liked that part of the book.

I think this would be a good textbook for a class on Japanese culture. That was one thing that really struck me as I was reading. And it was written in 2012, so it's pretty recent. He references a lot of Japanese scholars and has a native Japanese artist render his yokai drawings, has lived and studied in Japan for a time, yet is Western himself and so can explain Japanese culture to us in a way we would understand it.

That ends the "personality research" section of my writing project. I know how this female Naruto is going to be and how being (spoiler alert) part kitsune fox demon would affect her. Now comes the "experiences research" section. More fun times ahead!
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
I'm going to talk a little bit today about my main astrological signs and what they mean for me.

Let's start with my Sun Sign first. I'm a Sagittarius on the cusp of Scorpio. The Sun Sign represents the main core of one's personality.

Sagittarius

Sagittarians are freedom-loving people. What they want foremost in life is independence; they also love travel. They are wandering souls and are quite happy with that. They wander mentally as well. They can be quite philosophical, and in fact run the risk of thinking they're more intelligent than everyone else. They jump from activity to activity, never staying in one place. They are good for taking in the realism of a situation, and then turning it into a positive message. Sagittarians are sunny optimists who never stay down for long. However, one characteristic thing they need is freedom; they will not stay for long in any place where they feel constrained or trapped, not even for the ones they love.

Scorpio

Scorpios are the sign of hidden depth. They don't express much, but this is all a facade, for they feel very deeply -- their emotions are much more tumultuous, deep, and chaotic than the average person's. They can be moody. They can also be jealous and vindictive. However, they are extremely intelligent and investigative, plumbing the depths of any topic they can get their hands on. They are attracted to the darkness in human psychology, perhaps because of the dark places their emotions can go themselves. They love just as passionately as they hate, and are very sensual, sexual people. They tend to be quite ambitious.

My Rising Sign is Aquarius. The Rising Sign reflects how one interacts with one's outer environment.

Aquarians are very detached people. They make friends better than loves or lovers; everyone, even their lover, is simply their best friend. They can come across as dispassionate. They are attracted to the unusual, unique, and avant garde; they can be very progressive, even well into old age. However, Aquarians possess a stubborn streak, and can have trouble seeing or accepting viewpoints other than their own.

My Moon sign is Aries. The Moon Sign reflects one's emotional reactions to events and people.

Aries people are impatient and full of energy. They can be extremely stubborn, but they also do well under stress. They can be charming and funny under difficult events that would be awful to anyone else. They are very blunt. Aries falls under the sign of a Ram, and this describes them well; think of a horned Ram bulldozing its way through a problem. This very accurately describes anyone with an Aries Moon Sign.

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Hopeless Dreamer

March 2016

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