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Escape. Discipline and Shiratama Milk Tea

Picking up again on the theme of sacrifice / ambition in March Comes in Like a Lion , escape/discipline is another theme that circulates throughout the series and closely mirrors the sacrifice theme. The main character's adoptive brother and sister failed to become high-level  shogi  players because of their lack of discipline. Instead they play video games and run away from home. Another main character, Hinata, becomes the target of bullies, lead by a girl named Takagi, who victimizes "losers" because she's afraid to work hard and test her own abilities. Some minor characters make fun of Shimada, the  shogi  player with stomach ulcers, taking cheap shots because they know they might never get to his level. These characters all provide the foil against which the main character and his friends' discipline and perseverance shine. All of this sounds trite when described in words here, but for some reason the illustration/animation make the story so dramatic and re
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The theme of sacrifice in Japanese pop culture / lit

7/24/18 Very quickly, while Ichiro is sleeping... I'm currently following Umino Chika's super-popular manga/anime 「 三月のライオン 」( March Comes In Like a Lion ) which has been such a huge hit despite some very heavy themes. During the first season, I was drawn to the main character's struggle with his status as both an orphan and a genius shogi player, who makes more money than his high school teacher as a professional player. This season though I am more interested in the work's theme of sacrifice. The show's more drab characters most clearly illustrate this theme. Particularly, Shimada Kai and Yanagihara Sakutaro. Kai is in his thirties and Sakutaro is in his sixties, and both have given up a lot to play shogi on their level. Kai has stomach ulcers, a failed relationship, early signs of aging. Sakutaro has many physical ailments, seems to be single, is the oldest active A-class player. As they square off, both have flashbacks to what they have lost in order t

Postpartum Depression Blogs

Amazing good stories out there, reminds me for the thousandth time the power of a good story. I wish I had read these stories earlier, when my friend was going through PPD and before I went into labor myself. I think I was trying too hard to only read and hear stories about easy childbirth and easy motherhood, so as not to "scare" myself. But in the end I went through a desperate labor, delivery, and 2 weeks of first-time-motherhood with no playbook and a sneaking suspicion that it would never get better. Everyone said the words I hated most: "It gets better," and every time I heard that I would hear a voice in my head say, "Only if you survive that long." But here I am on the other side of those promises, just like I made it to the other side of infertility treatments, and probably the only way I made it, like most of the women whose stories I read, is by asking for and sometimes demanding help. Yeah, I pretty much made people help me, except for those

Baby Language

In the heavily Sanskrit-influenced Japanese alphabet the first letter is 「あ」A, and the last letter is「ん」N. There is an idiom, [阿吽の呼吸」 , which means A-to-Z, or "From the beginning to the end," or baby's first cry to the last breath on his deathbed. Baby R's first cry was about 4 months ago, and already he has a growing vocabulary: Gyuu, U-kuuu, Urk, Aiya, Errr, etc. Sometimes when I say, "Helloooo" slowly, he looks me deep in the eyes and says, "Ye-llow!" and I flatter myself to think that he is some kind of genius 4-month old. These little baby sounds and involuntary noises are part of what I am now privileged to experience, a waking-dream I had only hoped for and almost given up even one year ago. But I digress...


I'm starting to try to run away again, but for the first time in my life it's not an option anymore. Using this blog again after almost a decade is my feeble attempt to document the progress I want to believe I've made since then. It may be delusional, but who's looking anyway? He's getting heavier...

My questions of the summer

Here are some questions I have personally or I have come across and have been unable to answer very well: Why am I having such a hard time identifying new people who are open to fighting for real change? Why is it so hard for me to plan ahead? Why does it feel like I'm just living day by day? And some BIG questions: - How do we know that what we are doing is fundamentally changing the system or is it just reform? - How do I know if I am going in the right direction? - Why is it every time I find myself doing things by myself; how can I change this concretely?

Dinner conversation

Had dinner tonight with a few people in Chinatown. A few things KB said made us kind of nod in recognition: You're not organizing if at the end of it, you're burnt out. If you don't have education, if you don't have a right hand, you can find people who do. They can fill that role. If you're too smart, it shuts everyone out. There are two models: one is to "empower" people you think are stupid or incapable, play god. Give them "power." The other is to "unleash" people's true power. To organize the undocumented, women, un-educated. The ones everyone looks down on. Which is organizing? Things to think about...