mjj (flemmings) wrote,

August stats and Shan Hai Jing


Ze 1, 2, 5-8

Komatta toki hoshi ni kike 1-6
--Maybe I don't read enough gakuen manga. This one seems to pull all the tropes I'm familiar with, only yanno different. Big taciturn abrasive-teasing guy and sweet-faced little guy who clings to him-- except that ur-seme has a thing for his *sister*; little guy sexually preyed on by upperclassmen-- except that little guy knocks the stuffing out of them. And then throws in stuff I've never seen anywhere, like cutting. Maybe it succeeds because it's a series instead of a BL one-off short, maybe because Abe develops the characters instead of presenting them as stock types, and maybe because for once a mangaka has her sense of time always in mind, keeps us firmly rooted in the seasonal procession, and in case we don't notice the ramifications of that, reminds us that in fact these guys have known each other for only six weeks or two and a half months and that indeed Takara's grandmother has only been dead a few months and indeed he's still experiencing the fall-out of that.

It's still a romantic fantasy where somehow Takara can go back to his untenanted house on occasion (and not find it trashed, but indeed Japan is different) and second years are dorm heads responsible for the maintenance and needs of 150 guys including third years, and indeed the students break curfew with a singular lack of interference from what few authorities there are. (One adult who seems more the desk clerk than anything else.) The Rika mindset, that makes me wonder (westernly) not merely where are these guys' parents but where are the staff. Though comparisons with 19th century English public schools are in order, I wouldn't have thought modern Japanese would abandon their precious darlings to their own devices quite like that. But indeed, Kiyomine's family house seems remarkably untenanted as well: eight year old kids left to their own devices with no sign of their parents or big brothers anywhere, or even a house keeper. Fantasy, or the way the world looks to a lonely child.

Akushumi na bigaku


The Fall of the Kings
Francis, Driving Force

Yep, The Tiger's Apprentice
--So it's a kid's book so it's not going to do what I'd like it to do, but still. Nesbit and Lewis wrote kids' books and *they* had style. This is the sort of thing I've been looking for but so distressingly flat-footed in its narrative voice I find it painful to read. Mining the Classic of Mountains and Seas for devices is fine, but they come and then they go and abide but a few paragraphs in this tale.

And *about* 山海經/ The Classic of Mountains and Seas, or rather, Anne Birrell's translation of it--

I suppose it's a good corrective to have Chinese names translated literally in something as early and primeval as this. The Yellow Emperor is called simply Yellow, which mh does make one see him differently. She includes an appendix in which she gives the Chinese for the name, which is good, and the bare details of the story. But. BUT.

She uses Wade-Giles.
She doesn't give hanzi.
She doesn't tell you *where* the named characters are mentioned within the book itself, so it's not a proper index. Just a list of fascinating tales that you have to wade through the book itself to find in context.

And-- most damnably for my uses-- while the book list fifteen million mountains, she doesn't give you the Chinese names for any of them. 'Fifty leagues further south-west is a mountain called Mount Girthgaudy. Its trees are mostly hardwood oak and holmoak Its plants are mostly buckthorn. Twenty leagues further southwest is a mountan called Mount Darestone. It has no plants or trees but abundant white gold. Twenty leagues further west is a mountain called Mount Againsource. Brilliant green malachite is abundant on its south face.'

Fun reading but useless for finding places where mountain dragons might live. (Unless I wnat to look at simplified text, which of course I don't.)
Tags: china, chinese, manga_09, reading_09, ze

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