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Snow Country
Snow Country
by Yasunari Kawabata
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.98
54 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Based on a real Onsen Geisha, June 15 2011
This review is from: Snow Country (Paperback)
I started reading this book because it was based on an onsen geisha by the name of Matsuei. You can see her picture on Wikipedia. I like his writing style but because there is no plot the book comes across as very boring.
When the book is taken into Japanese context it becomes a piece of art.
Modern geishas are motivated by art and culture. The geishas in the early 1900's were motivated by money. Older married men are attracted to geishas, not young bachelors. If a woman becomes a geisha she would know that she was giving up the prospect of finding a husband. She will always be the number two woman in any mans life. The Japanese readers would know this.
The Japanese consider a wilted flower more beautiful than a flower in bloom. The characters are going in this direction.
The Japanese also have something called Haragei, which is an implicit way of communicating; this book is full of it.
Here are some words to a geisha song:
'Old man let's play together, Better hurry up, You don't have much time, Come let's play' I looks like this novel is following the theme of the geisha song.
I strongly suspect that the book was written out of compassion for the geisha Matsuei, so I would guess that the sadness in the book is a reflection of what was going on in her life.
I had real trouble rating this book. The problem is the book does not come to you. You have to want to look inside the book to feel it.

Harakiri (Criterion Collection)
Harakiri (Criterion Collection)
DVD ~ Tatsuya Nakadai
Price: CDN$ 42.99
19 used & new from CDN$ 19.98

5.0 out of 5 stars One of a kind, June 12 2011
This movie is such a classic it's shocking. Great acting, great script, great story. It shows the hypocrisy of the Samurai clan system and how their world was falling apart.

Japan took a pounding in WWII because they tried bringing back the outdated Bushido Warrior Code. MacArthur pushed for the atomic bomb because the Japanese soldiers refused to surrender. If the soldiers ran out of bullets they were expected to attack with the spirit. This makes good anime but has disastrous results on the battlefield. I look upon this as one of the many Japanese films that reflected on the disaster of WWII.

Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers
Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers
by Marcos Mateu-Mestre
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 29.12
49 used & new from CDN$ 20.83

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for Graphic Novels, June 8 2011
On the very first page he identified a common mistake that I was about to make. This alone saved me hours of work.
Framing Movies and Graphic Novels are very similar. The book tells how to set up the panel/page to give you the best result. He covers many techniques and it is illustrated with samples.

The section in the back is specifically for Graphic Novels but the entire book is excellent and relevant.

Ogilvy on Advertising
Ogilvy on Advertising
by David Ogilvy
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 22.23
25 used & new from CDN$ 12.34

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best business books ever, June 8 2011
This review is from: Ogilvy on Advertising (Paperback)
I heard David Ogilvy interviewed on the radio when this book first came out. He was one tough character. The book is filled with all kinds of knowledge drawn from his experience.
One piece of advice was 'Never hire the children of your best customer, you have everything to loose and nothing to gain'. I worked for a company that did just that, I advised against it and even quoted Ogilvy. The company hired him and it turned into a disaster beyond comprehension.

Shall We Dance? (1996) (Widescreen) (Sous-titres français) [Import]
Shall We Dance? (1996) (Widescreen) (Sous-titres français) [Import]
DVD ~ Kôji Yakusho
Offered by OMydeals
Price: CDN$ 63.44
9 used & new from CDN$ 40.58

5.0 out of 5 stars Far superior to remake, May 23 2011
This is one of my favourite comedies. It shows the drudgery of the Japanese office worker buried under a large mortgage. During the opening narration he states; 'In Japanese culture to show affection for your wife in public is beyond embarrassment'. This sets up the movie as he moves into his fantasy word. This movie can be watched over and over. It can still be purchased on

by Liza Dalby
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 36.57
24 used & new from CDN$ 17.91

5.0 out of 5 stars An outsiders look into the Geisha world, May 19 2011
This review is from: Geisha (Paperback)
This is a top-notch anthological work. It is easy to read and Liza clearly enjoys what she is doing. She has included details that could not be found elsewhere. The pictures are good too. This is the 25th anniversary book and since the original publishing one of the six Geisha districts in Kyoto has disappeared.

Dalby attended parties and played the shamisen. She also wore a kimono, a geiko wig and makeup. It is a bit of a marketing scam to call her a Geisha. She never went through the formal processes of becoming a Geisha, which would take several years. She was not associated any okiya and clients were not billed for her attendance. A sports reporter does not become a professional ball player by conducting interviews in the locker room.

Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland
DVD ~ Johnny Depp
Price: CDN$ 8.00
41 used & new from CDN$ 3.11

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Heroes Journey, May 11 2011
This review is from: Alice in Wonderland (DVD)
Very clever copywriting. Good acting across the board. Production costs on a movie like this would be $1,000,000 a minute. Unfortunately the depth is missing from this version. In the original Alice says, 'It means whatever I want it to mean' This is a false statement; Lewis Carroll would have put this into his story for a reason.
Instead the movie follows a mythological structure.
Alice is unhappy with her situation and the world around her. She runs away, (like Dorothy in Wizard of Oz).
Her father was a unique man with vision; this suggests that Alice has a special birth.
Falling down the rabbit hole is clearly crossing the threshold into the new world, (like the tornado in the Wizard of Oz)
The rabbit and the mouse are threshold guardians, very often threshold guardians with discourage crossing the threshold .In this case they questioned her authenticity.
She is given her mission to kill the Jabberwocky, but rejects it.
She meets the wise blue caterpillar. (like Yoda in Star Wars)
She meets the Cheshire cat, he guides her (like Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star Wars)
She meets Tweedledee/Tweedledum (like C-3P0 and R2-D2 from Star Wars)
She meets the Mad Hatter, he helps her and is captured by the Red Queen, and later joins final battle.(Like Hans Solo in Star Wars)
She meets the Knave of Hearts, he is not the primary evil person he is number two. (like Darth Vader in Star Wars)
She meets the White Queen (like Princess Leia in Star Wars and The Good Witch in Oz).
She passes a simple test when she crosses the mote going into the castle.
She passes her second test when she gives the eyeball back to the Bandersnatch (She converts evil with kindness)
She kills the Jabberwocky
The evil one the Red Queen is defeated (like the Wicked Witch of the West and the Emperor in Star Wars)
She is now free to leave as a new person.
She crosses the threshold again when going up the rabbit hole.
She rejects the marriage to Hamish. She is now like her father and can follow in his footsteps.
The last scene she gets on a boat for China. She cannot stay to her old world. (Frodo Baggins was not allowed to return home in Lord of the Rings)

DVD ~ Masahiro Motoki
Price: CDN$ 29.99
6 used & new from CDN$ 29.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful movie, May 1 2011
This review is from: Departures (DVD)
This is a story about a cello player that returns to his hometown with his wife after his orchestra is dissolved. It starts off a little slow but finishes off very nicely. The subject is serious; it deals with life, death and self discovery but there are some very funny scenes here and there. There are no bad people in this movie. It's a great movie if you're interested in Japanese culture.

Memoirs of a Geisha (Single Disc Version) (Sous-titres français) [Import]
Memoirs of a Geisha (Single Disc Version) (Sous-titres français) [Import]
DVD ~ Ziyi Zhang
Price: CDN$ 12.90
37 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Visually attractive, April 28 2011
Excellent cinematography, but the story could have been a little more exciting. Why did they use Chinese in the lead roles and not Japanese? The Geishas hair, makeup and costumes are not correct. It shows the practice of selling young girls to the Geisha houses, fortunately that practice ended after WWII. Reputable Geisha houses did not buy girls; very often the position was handed down from mother to daughter.

45 Master Characters
45 Master Characters
by Victoria Schmidt
Edition: Paperback
17 used & new from CDN$ 17.04

5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book on writing, April 21 2011
This review is from: 45 Master Characters (Paperback)
This is the book that I use the most when working on characters. It explains the archetypes in detail but I especially like the way it shows which archetypes are compatible. I have come to the conclusion that writers know more about personality traits than psychologists.

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