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!

Rude People

Sep. 5th, 2015 03:07 pm
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
I hate rude people. The thing is, rude people in real life usually think they're being nice.

Some random woman came up to me the other day and said, "Did you know it takes less muscles to smile?" So in her defense, she was trying to get me to smile. She just in the process implied that there's something wrong with my normal face. Rude people are always like that -- they're socially retarded.

I took a beginning poetry writing class last year in college and we had what is called workshop. In workshop, all your classmates would read your poem and then sit around and tell you all the things that were wrong with it to your face. You weren't allowed to speak till the end. So, sensitivity in criticism was a must, especially because poems are usually so personal and first-person.

Well, one pretentious asshole had no idea what sensitivity even was. I had done a poem on my favorite childhood stuffed animal, a little yellow rabbit I carried around with me everywhere. In the poem, I called the rabbit "my best friend." One guy said, "So she didn't have any other friends besides her rabbit? That seems kind of sad and pathetic."

The thing is, I hadn't intended it like that. I'd had friends in elementary school; I just wanted to emphasize that the rabbit had been my BEST friend. So I could see what he was trying to say -- that that hadn't come across. It's just in the process he majorly insulted me.

Here's what a socially savvy person would have said: "What I'm getting from this is that the rabbit was her only friend in school. Is that what she was trying to say here?"

But rude people aren't socially savvy -- they are, in fact, what a normal person would call "socially retarded."

I encountered another rude person today in fiction writing class. She critiqued my story by calling it "boring", "meager", and "cliched" and by telling me she hated the entire plot.

Here's what she should have said: "I'd have liked more detailed description and a few nice surprises in this story. Perhaps you could try this __?"

And honestly, if she'd put it like that, I'd have been a lot more willing to listen to her.

This is why we need lessons on how to critique politely in K-12. Because no one fucking knows how to do it. I think it would eliminate a lot of rudeness and unintentionally offended people.

Now, don't get me wrong. On none of those occasions did I get really angry, or go home and cry. I'm an artist who's been bullied and I'm used to being criticized. I've learned through hard times to be proud of my flaws, and to keep my feelings and my feelings about myself in separate places. When I'm criticized these days, my NT side kicks in and gets really clinical and "fuck you" about the whole thing.

But I still find rudeness kind of annoying. And I wish people would just learn to be polite. It's not that hard.

You see this in celebrities all the time. Just recently, Keith Richards began in interviews to criticize all sorts of bands, from Black Sabbath to Metallica to The Beatles to rap, calling them things like "a joke" and "a pile of rubbish" and "music for tone deaf people." And I get that he gets to get away with a lot because everyone thinks his shit comes wrapped in gold foil, and I get that by this point he probably thinks his shit comes wrapped in gold foil too, but that's still really rude.

I'm not saying he can't criticize those bands. I'm just saying he shouldn't have made blanket comments about music so many people like -- he should instead have explained specific technicalities, the parts of the music being made that he didn't like. I mean, I get that that takes more words, but I'm pretty sure everyone's okay with hearing Keith Richards talk about music.

For God's sake.

I dunno, though, maybe this is just me. I've never had any time for angry immaturity. I was always taught to wait till my anger simmered down into a cold, vindictive thing, and then to use that to sophisticatedly and politely shut down whoever tried to hurt me. And I have no patience for people who can't meet me at that level.

Needless to say, I have no patience for a lot of people.
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
Our "new friend" texted us and wanted to hang out tonight. That didn't go well.

First, she wanted to go to her favorite restaurant, not to ours. She only went to the restaurant we wanted to go to after her restaurant had an hour-long wait list.

At the restaurant, things seemed okay. We revealed to her about my bipolar disorder and my sister's stutter and learning disabilities; she, in turn, revealed that she'd had a learning disorder and a speech impediment when she was younger. She also liked astrology, sci-fi, video games, and anime, and so did we.

But then she took us shopping. I kind of felt like she wanted to give us a whole new makeover. Like she thought we were these fashionably challenged, socially retarded poor people who needed help. She kept inviting guys over to meet us, telling us about huge parties, pushing us to try more expensive and girlier clothes, and asking us to tell our parents "we were making friends!"

Another person might have enjoyed that, I don't know. But I was kind of annoyed, I felt condescended down to, and my sister was uncomfortable. We were fine the way we were. We had a few good friends instead of lots of distant ones, dressed casually, didn't spend much money, and preferred relaxing in front of the TV on Friday nights, and we were happy like that. It's not the first time people have told me my retiring preferences are wrong, but it never gets any less infuriating.

Eventually, I put my foot down. We couldn't spend more than forty dollars per person, I didn't do well at parties, and I wanted to go home after this because I was tired. It was the end of my first week back at school, a Friday night, and I was tired. She seemed really unenthusiastic after that. She took us to a cheap clothing store, stopped trying to dress us up, and just let us pick out a couple of five dollar shirts. She agreed to drive me home.

When my sister said she wanted to go home too, however, the really uncomfortable thing happened. "Well, I need a girl with me at this hang-out I'm going to," she said. "My ex boyfriend will be there and I don't want to be alone."

"Your guy friend will be there," I said. (We'd met him earlier. He was nice.)

"I need a girl there," she insisted.

So, what? She was just going to shove that on two girls she'd only met three days ago and make us feel guilty? After we'd already told her we were exhausted?

"I think my sister's really not feeling well," I said firmly, "and she needs to go home." My sister wanted to say that, she'd told me so earlier, but my sister's never been good with verbal confrontation.

In the end, she drove us home. It was basically a complete fiasco.
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.


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.


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.


Jul. 22nd, 2015 07:25 pm
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
In personality psychology terms, I'm an INFJ bordering on INTJ. I can't find any really good articles about either type, so I'm writing one. Let's break the terms down into letters:


This means I am an introvert. What is an introvert? An introvert is a person who expends energy on socializing, rather than gaining energy from socializing. From this simple difference springs a whole host of others. Introverts are more likely to enjoy spending time alone, can be seen as homebodies, prefer small gatherings, and would often rather listen than talk.


This means I am an Intuitive. Intuitives are often caught up in their own heads. This is in contrast to Sensory types, who are better at outward actions and observations. Sensory types live in the world outside of them. Intuitives, however, prefer to live in the world within them. They are excellent at philosophizing, moralizing, daydreaming, and idea-generation. They are attracted to visionaries and aspire to be such themselves.


This is where I'm caught between two types. F types are Feeling types -- they are moved by emotional pleas, follow their heart rather than their head, and interact with others in a sensitive way. T types are Thinking types -- they are moved by rational arguments, follow their head rather than their heart, and tend to be rather tough-skinned, stick-to-the-facts sorts of people. I am on a cusp between these two areas, head and heart.


J types are the organized types. This also means that they do not do well with spontaneity and sudden changes in plans. They prefer things planned to the letter, their calendars filled out neatly, and they tend to be very organized.


Since INFJs and INTJs are considered separate areas of personality, it's worth noting some salient traits for each of them.

INFJs, having the F to soften their introverted, head-based, highly organized personality, can be very likable. They are romantic, daydreamy, sensitive both to criticism and in their interactions with others; they try hard to get along with absolutely everybody. They tend to be very good writers with an excellent penchant for imagery, and often express themselves better through writing (poetry, for example) than in conversation. It tends to take them awhile to make both friends and lovers, since they're reserved and prize depth in relationships and conversation. They are called The Counselors, having an instinctive sense of what is going on both inside other people and within themselves. They can attempt to repress their feelings, however, until an impending explosion is inevitable. INFJs are more likely than any other type to experience prescient dreams, strange emotional connections, visions, and other unexplainable phenomena.

INTJs, by contrast, have no F to soften their introverted, head-based, highly organized personality. Instead, they have a hard T -- a head-based, to-the-facts sort of person. As a result, INTJs can be disliked and easily misunderstood. They are not good at expressing their emotions, and do not try to be polite, be agreeable, and mince their words the way others do. INTJs can be witheringly blunt, and they drive others almost as hard as they drive themselves. However, INTJs have feelings, a need for friends, and even a romantic side just as much as others do -- even if they don't particularly like admitting it. INTJs aspire to be magicians of sorts, to be able to create things out of thin air -- only, through science or a craft or business rather than through magic or religion. They make good leaders, being natural strategists, but do not aspire to leadership positions except when they feel it's necessary. INTJs, being introverts, prefer to work behind the scenes -- and because of this, they are known as Masterminds.


Because I have both types inside me, a lot of things about me make more sense. For example, I am studying both Creative Writing and Marketing. Each calling fulfills one of the aspects of my personality. INFJs are natural Creative Writers, while INTJs are excellent business strategists who enjoy the process of idea creation.

Or take my romantic life, for example. I have a strong desire for romance, but I also have trouble making close friends and expressing myself. It's a double-edged sword.

All I know is that I do struggle with the T-F part of myself. Every time I follow my heart, my head protests, and vice versa. Having two such strong personality types can be problematic.
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
This article is about how introverts process relationships. I thought it was very good:

Being an introvert myself, here are a few things that often trip people up about introverts:

- We're homebodies. (Though that doesn't necessarily mean we don't like traveling.)

We have our little space, and it's safe and quiet there. Introverts are easily overstimulated by unfamiliar or excitable sensory environments. Those give extroverts a great rush of enthusiasm, but for introverts the feeling is not as pleasant. We need lots of time at home to recuperate from dealing with the world.

I've felt like telling this to so many people in my life. Mostly roommates, who assumed that because I was spending time alone in my room I was miserable and pathetic. Just because we're spending time alone at home, doesn't necessarily mean we "need help socializing" or "are not having fun." On that note...

- Socializing is also overstimulating and exhausting for us.

So just because we're sitting alone, in the cafeteria for example, doesn't mean we want a whole host of pitying but well-meaning popular people to gather around us and overstimulate us with lots of chatter and loud noise.

- We genuinely enjoy solitary activities.

I love curling up with a book. Or writing in my journal. Or listening to music quietly with my headphones in. Even during walks with other people, my favorite thing to do is trail behind the rest of the group and silently take in the scenery.

- We take in sensory information at a higher rate than extroverts. This is what exhausts us, at parties for example, but it also means we notice more than anyone else.

I'm an expert at doing things like listening to two different conversations at once, or watching what everyone in the room is doing. I've picked up on things no one else has noticed, because of this.

- Sometimes, the reason why we're so quiet is not necessarily because we're shy. It's because we have a greater filter than extroverts.

We think of things to say, but then we mercilessly vet each thing through the filter of, "Does anyone really want to listen to me say this?" If the answer is no, we shut the hell up. This, combined with our sensitivity to overstimulation, is often why we're so reticent at parties.

- We're great one on one.

I have one particular friend. She's a great person and I've known her since I was six. But she always invites tons of other people whenever she asks me to go somewhere. And it is INFURIATING. I sometimes want to tell her, "Why can't it just be us?! I do so much better when it's just us!"

The less people, the less overstimulated we are, and the more we feel we have to contribute. One on one conversations are also great for plumbing deeper topics, which introverts are big fans of. And the more we get to know you, the more comfortable we become with saying the things that are on our minds -- the less merciless the filter becomes.

- We can be overstimulated pleasantly as well.

Introverts tend to be highly sensitive people. This means that we're more prone than others to be deeply touched by a delicious dish of cuisine, a ballet performance, an emotional entreaty, a beautiful poem, a good glass of wine.

- We don't like bragging.

This can make looking for jobs deeply uncomfortable. Employers expect you to be able to confidently sell yourself, but when introverts do this, we often just feel silly.

- We express ourselves better through writing and art than through conversation.

In writing, we control our world. There are no people or environments to overstimulate us, no watching face to intimidate us, so we feel more free to say what is on our minds. If you really want to get to know an introvert, look at their writing.

- It's not that we hate people.

Introverts are not more prone to hating people than extroverts. We like people -- just in small and limited quantities. Introverts need friends and family just as much as anyone else, but because America is such an extroverted society, sometimes we have trouble finding that.

For more information on introverts, a very good book is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. She talks about psychological research, interpersonal relations between introverts and extroverts, and famous people and inventors who have been introverts, among other things.


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