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Prayers, light, love and all possitive energy to the crew of the Atlantis! I especially hope that they are not the last crew of America's last manned flight. Until we get rid of the current crop of congresscritters we'll be hitching a lift from Russia and how embarassing is THAT?
Sake World Newsletter Issue #75
Sake Brewing in Shrines and Temples
There is a reason Mushin has a constant supply, he probably makes it himself.
In addition to the history of Sake brewing there are some interesting tidbits about the interaction between Buddhist monks and Shinto priests. At one point they happily shared temples as well as the results of their brewing.
I can almost guarantee that if you haven't read the rest of this post your first reaction upon clicking that link will be to think I've lost my mind. The big ads for hot Japanese girls and hotels give it a particularly tabloid trashy look. What could be of interest here?
Quite a lot actually once your eyes adjust and you can focus on the text. Here you will find links to dozens of articles on just about everything Japanese, many of which are illustrated. Some are better than others, and most are drawn from other sources, but there is a lot of good information here.
Do you want to know how the Japanese celebrate Christmas? What a wedding kimono looks like? What is the climate like? Need a map of the country or of a particular city?
Here you go.
Mark McLelland, writing under the name Dharmachari Jnanavira, examines sex, homosexuality, and attitudes towards women in Japanese Society from the founding of the first Buddhist temple until the end of the 19th century in this article for Western Buddhist Review .
This article is a must read for anyone writing yaoi (anime or manga based slash) since the attitudes toward two men having sex were so very different from Western views that they should influence both plot and characterization. For someone like Miroku, a 19-year-old 16th century monk, to be totally naive about same sex relationships is just about impossible given the culture but I've seen several stories where the fanfic author wants us to believe that is the case. Likewise any product of the Samurai culture that was strongly influenced by these ideas would not be unaware of such things.
The author does throw in some modern gender stuff towards the end about the death of male friendships in our culture that I don't agree with but other works I've read back up the basic historical information he presents.
Anthony Bryant, A.K.A. Tony, A.K.A. Baron Edward of Effingham of the S.C.A., A.K.A. Eddie Effie, is the closest to a real life Miroku that I've ever met. He's a friend of friends and I got to talk to him once years ago when he came to visit. It was interesting to put a face to all their stories. Heh. I swear the man has more appendages than Naraku but somehow it's not possible to get mad at him. I found myself wordlessly removing his hand while continuing our discussion without a break.
The man knows his stuff about Samurai culture though. He has published history books as well as a source book for gaming in the feudal Japan. At this site you will find useful essays on Heian society, arms and armor, clothing, and links to other useful sites. The illustrations can be very detailed.
The site hasn't been updated since 2004 and some pages were only partially done at that time. Some of the entries have a picture and some text but also something like "Place holding text" or "Blah, blah, blah" indicating that he planned to add more to it. I'm hoping that he does, it's good stuff.
Mark Schumacher has degrees in Japanese and Chinese studies and has lived in Japan since 1992. His focus is on Japanese Buddhist art and this site is the sister site to his online store. The entries are primarily his notes on the art and the stories behind it and under each heading you will find much repetition of the same information as he copies in things he has learned from new sources. However, the organization of the site with an alphabetical index in the sidebar allows the visitor to quickly find what she is looking for and the information is presented in a way that is understandable to the layman. It is presented in a dry textbook style that can cause a bit of eyelid drooping in longer entries but the huge number of illustrations keep it interesting. Many of the pictures have been taken by Schumacher or are of things that he has personally viewed.
It's not rare for historians or archaeologists to differ on the interpretation of the known facts about something and I particularly like that when sources differ Schumacher will present both theories and the reasoning behind them. He is also open to input from his readers and updates the site regularly.