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Penguin, of all people, have started putting out manga. Specifically, they've started putting out socially-relevant-to-leftists manga biographies. They've got one of Che Guevara and one of the Dalai Lama. Our household obtained the one about the Dalai Lama, called, straightforwardly enough, The 14th Dalai Lama: A Manga Biography, by Tetsu Saiwai. Saiwai apparently specializes in educational and environmental manga. His art is clean, if generic in a fairly obviously Tezuka-influenced sort of way, and his people are recognizable as themselves internally but might not be able to be matched to their photos. The book begins at the death of the 13th Dalai Lama, covers the search for the new lama, his upbringing, the political unrest in his adolescence, and the Chinese invasion and subjugation of Tibet which led to the Dalai Lama's fifty-year-and-ongoing exile. It's an authorized biography and behaves like one: solid on names and dates and facts and politics and things people said in public record, but if you want to get a sense of the person and not the religious leader this is not your book. It also skips oh about forty years of his later life in the interests of time. So I would call this a useful elementary text, in an entertaining format, the sort of thing I would in fact cheerfully assign to sixth-graders for a history unit, but, you know, it does not exceed my expectations in any particular direction and I will look elsewhere for my deep analyses.

There also turned up in our house recently a book on how to take a Japanese bath, called, straightforwardly enough, How to Take a Japanese Bath. I am not entirely sure why it turned up-- I certainly had nothing to do with it-- but there is this thing where Thrud buys things that seem relevant to her, even if they do not seem relevant to anyone else, so I am going to assume it had something to do with that. At any rate, I mostly wanted to compare it to my experience, as I have in fact been to an onsen more than once. It turned out to be mostly about bathing in private houses, which I did find interesting as I have never done that, and the etiquette of leaving the water hot for other people and so on. And it does cover onsen and public baths thoroughly. If you need bathing etiquette, and if you are going to Japan you do, this is a handy little book which matched what I saw done. It did not answer my personal Japanese-bath-etiquette question, which is whether I now have a sufficient number of tattoos to be asked to leave a respectable bathing establishment or whether the We Expect Nothing Of Gaijin card covers that, but, you know, that's very specific. (I only had one tattoo when I went to Japan, and nobody batted an eye.) Man, I wish we had onsen in this country, though if you live in Boston/Cambridge/Somerville you have Inman Oasis which is pretty much the same thing and I envy your continued geographic proximity. Sigh. There totally are not public baths in Texas. At least, not our part of it. We have some similar equipment in our house now, but it isn't the same.

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rushthatspeaks: (Default)
Penguin, of all people, have started putting out manga. Specifically, they've started putting out socially-relevant-to-leftists manga biographies. They've got one of Che Guevara and one of the Dalai Lama. Our household obtained the one about the Dalai Lama, called, straightforwardly enough, The 14th Dalai Lama: A Manga Biography, by Tetsu Saiwai. Saiwai apparently specializes in educational and environmental manga. His art is clean, if generic in a fairly obviously Tezuka-influenced sort of way, and his people are recognizable as themselves internally but might not be able to be matched to their photos. The book begins at the death of the 13th Dalai Lama, covers the search for the new lama, his upbringing, the political unrest in his adolescence, and the Chinese invasion and subjugation of Tibet which led to the Dalai Lama's fifty-year-and-ongoing exile. It's an authorized biography and behaves like one: solid on names and dates and facts and politics and things people said in public record, but if you want to get a sense of the person and not the religious leader this is not your book. It also skips oh about forty years of his later life in the interests of time. So I would call this a useful elementary text, in an entertaining format, the sort of thing I would in fact cheerfully assign to sixth-graders for a history unit, but, you know, it does not exceed my expectations in any particular direction and I will look elsewhere for my deep analyses.

There also turned up in our house recently a book on how to take a Japanese bath, called, straightforwardly enough, How to Take a Japanese Bath. I am not entirely sure why it turned up-- I certainly had nothing to do with it-- but there is this thing where Thrud buys things that seem relevant to her, even if they do not seem relevant to anyone else, so I am going to assume it had something to do with that. At any rate, I mostly wanted to compare it to my experience, as I have in fact been to an onsen more than once. It turned out to be mostly about bathing in private houses, which I did find interesting as I have never done that, and the etiquette of leaving the water hot for other people and so on. And it does cover onsen and public baths thoroughly. If you need bathing etiquette, and if you are going to Japan you do, this is a handy little book which matched what I saw done. It did not answer my personal Japanese-bath-etiquette question, which is whether I now have a sufficient number of tattoos to be asked to leave a respectable bathing establishment or whether the We Expect Nothing Of Gaijin card covers that, but, you know, that's very specific. (I only had one tattoo when I went to Japan, and nobody batted an eye.) Man, I wish we had onsen in this country, though if you live in Boston/Cambridge/Somerville you have Inman Oasis which is pretty much the same thing and I envy your continued geographic proximity. Sigh. There totally are not public baths in Texas. At least, not our part of it. We have some similar equipment in our house now, but it isn't the same.

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