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Hello Japan! November mini-challenge: Five Questions (a Japan meme)

Mini Challenge hosted by Tanabata of In Spring it is the Dawn always got me excited with all things Japan along with Tanabata’s exciting assignments and meme. This month I will be answering some of the questions about Japan. Here goes:

My favourite Japanese author is Yukio Mishima because he had 6-packed abdominal muscles and he is so good looking! Ok short of appearing shallow, I must say despite the packaging, Mishima possessed superior literary talent. He created characters that are haunting and unconventional. Even if you don’t always like the characters he had created, you ended up empathising with them. He delved into the deepest recesses of heart and mind that no other authors could. Moreover, he studied law, been in the army, a bodybuilder, practices boxing, an actor etc. His private life is as interesting as his novels.

The best Japanese festival I’ve read about this year is Omizutori (お水取り), or the annual, sacred Water-Drawing festival which I hope to witness it in person one day.

We must have at least one dedicated book question:

What Japanese author(s) or book(s) have you enjoyed that you would highly recommend to others?

What is something Japanese that you’d like to try but haven’t yet had the chance?

Cultivate and landscape a Japanese garden, with pebbles and miniature stone temple, pavilion and bridges, complete with Koi fishes and flowing water. 😉

You’re planning to visit Japan next year. Money is not a concern. What is on the top of your list of things you most want to do?

Without checking out ideas from the Internet, I would like to stay in Gion district, Kyoto for a couple of days, check out the Golden Pavilion which provide the inspiration for Mishima’s novel The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, ride the bullet train, see Tokyo, have the experience of maneuvering around one of the world’s most complicated underground trains network I have ever seen, soak in hot spring and bathhouses, visit Tokyo’s imperial palace, Hiroshima and watch a live sumo match.


Can you find your way in this metro map?

Bonus question:

What was your favourite Hello Japan! mini-challenge topic?

I loved the assignment of comparing two works of Japanese literature. It is one of the most analytical post or reviews I have to write! 😉

About JoV

A bookaholic that went out of control.... I eat, sleep and breathe books. Well, lately I do other stuff.


19 thoughts on “Hello Japan! November mini-challenge: Five Questions (a Japan meme)

  1. I’m glad to hear you like Mishima so much; i’ve not read anything by him yet. I know! How stupid of me is that! I’m remedying the situation by reading The Temple of The Golden Pavilion for Tanabata’s read along starting this November 29th. I hope we can talk about it then. I loved your answers!

    Posted by Bellezza | November 9, 2010, 2:15 am
  2. Nice post, Jo! Your description of Yukio Mishima, makes me want to read his books now 🙂 I always thought that Albert Camus was the most handsome and stylish of writers, but your description of Mishima makes me think that Mishima might run Camus close!

    I enjoyed reading the list of things you would like to do when you go to Japan. I would also like to go to Kyoto to meet a Geisha and see a Sumo wrestling match. In addition to that, I would like to go to the Cherry Blossom festival and see the winter festival in Sapporo. Going by the bullet train also sounds like wonderful idea 🙂

    Posted by Vishy | November 9, 2010, 1:23 pm
    • Vishy, did you see Mishima’s 6-pack abs???!! Mishima is definitely most good looking overall. Mishima is not a close runner behind Camus, he comes out on top! 😀 I hope your Japan dreams come true!

      Posted by JoV | November 9, 2010, 4:03 pm
      • I saw the picture of Mishima that you had posted – his 6-pack-abs are definitely impressive! It is sad that he committed ‘harakiri’.

        Posted by Vishy | November 9, 2010, 4:33 pm
        • Vishy, you know at first when I looked at the picture, I thought it was a computer trick of superimposing (you know like someone is trying to make fun of him etc…) but when I read from the official source of his short biography I began to believe it that it was his body!! LOL 😀 “harakiri” was the word that came into my mind, but actually in every document I referred to, the act Mishima committed is “Seppuku (切腹)”, written in same kanji as harakiri, but a term reserves for a samurai, because Mishima is a Samurai. See? Mishima is also a Samurai, how cool is he? 😀

          Posted by JoV | November 10, 2010, 8:22 am
    • Vishy, I have tried the Shanghai bullet train before. max speed = 431 km/hr. Shanghai Maglev Train from Pudong to the airport, but it is on shorter distance. So the ride is finished before you get to truly enjoy it. Hopefully Japanese bullet train can sustain that joy of speed a little longer. 🙂

      Posted by JoV | November 9, 2010, 4:07 pm
      • That is interesting, Jo! I have been on the Shanghai Maglev too, when I lived in Shanghai – actually my home was next to the Maglev station (Longyang Road) 🙂 We might have bumped into each other, without realizing it! When did you travel by the Shanghai Maglev? I recently heard that there is a new Maglev line which runs between Shanghai and Hangzhou (which is a beautiful city in Zhejiang province) and another Maglev line planned between Shanghai and Beijing.

        Hope you enjoy the bullet train ride whenever you visit Japan! I love that map you have posted of the Japanese metro 🙂 I remember one of my friends saying that Japanese has three types of characters – Hirkana, Katakana and Kanji. Kanji is supposed to be like Chinese characters and the most difficult to learn. In the map I see only Kanji characters 🙂

        Posted by Vishy | November 9, 2010, 4:38 pm
        • Vishy, it’s interesting. thanks for letting me know there are 3 types of characters. As for me when I read a Japanese sentence, I hunt down for Kanji, because those are the only ones I truly understand, and then try to guess the meaning!! 😀

          I rode the Maglev train (you mean near the Louyang road is it?) in September 2005. There are several new ones that will be running in China, but I’m not keeping track, so not quite sure about it! I am still thinking about Japan. When I go to back to the East again I want to stop by in Moscow, Japan and then Malaysia. But I’m still counting the costs of potential expenses in Japan, and it could be astronomical!! 😦

          Posted by JoV | November 10, 2010, 8:27 am
          • It was Longyong Road. Wow – you were there in 2005! We might have bumped into each other, without realizing it 🙂

            Yes, I have heard that Japan is expensive! Moscow is a wonderful place – even the metro train stations are like art galleries 🙂 Hope you can visit
            St.Petersburg too – it is even more beautiful!

            Posted by Vishy | November 11, 2010, 3:59 am
          • oh Ya Vishy, I think I saw you, you were asking for road instruction and then when you were seated on the bullet train you had to grasp the arms of the seat very tightly, but manage to snap a picture of the maximum speed on display when it hit 410! 😉

            I heard about that metro-cum-gallery-cum art museum underground train station in Moscow. I have to see it for myself! 😉

            Posted by JoV | November 11, 2010, 8:55 am
  3. This is such a cool challenge. I’ve just uploaded my one too and I’d glad to see we both mentioned Murakami as favourite authors.

    How could I forget Sumo wrestling?!?! Gah… There is just so much I’d like to do when I finally get there. I’d probably end up permanatly living there. Mishima sounds awsome… I’m going to check out his photos *winkwink*

    Posted by mywordlyobsessions | November 13, 2010, 10:01 pm
  4. Although Murakami is my favorite Japanese Author, I didn’t mention him in my post because I knew a lot of people will recommend him 😉

    Why do you want to watch Sumo?

    I have Mishima on my shelf but unfortunately it is the 4 book of his tetralogy 😦 I need to find the first 3 books before reading it.

    Posted by Novroz | November 14, 2010, 4:42 am
    • Hi Novroz, you can start with his stand-alone novels, like titles that I have read. The only way for me to get all 4 books of the tetralogy is buy it off Amazon. I have got the first 2 from the library, but would have to buy the last 2.

      Why do I want to watch sumo? Well, Sumo, baseball and akido are just the few Japanese national sports that I could think of. I have seen a baseball match in action, but a sumo match is something else. There is the rice ritual, the prayer and blessing and the many tradition one has to go through before the match opens. The crowd, the intimacy of a small ring. It is profoundly Japanese.

      Posted by JoV | November 15, 2010, 3:25 pm
  5. Sorry I’m so late to stop by and comment. I’m finally reading my first book by Mishima, The Temple of the Golden Pavilion for the discussion. BTW, the discussion has been slightly delayed but the post will be up soon. I’d love to chat with you about it if you have time.
    I love Japanese gardens too. They’re so calm and peaceful. Oh, and the Tokyo subway isn’t so hard when you get the hang of it. 🙂

    Posted by tanabata | December 3, 2010, 2:30 pm
    • Tanabata, thanks for stopping by. The Tokyo subway network do appears like a web of deceit, the more you weaved (go around it), the more you are not able to untangle yourself!.. ha ha. 😀

      Yes, I like to hop over to your place and do The Temple of the Golden Pavilion discussion when your post is up!

      Posted by JoV | December 3, 2010, 10:38 pm

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Ratings Defined

0 = Abandon the book after first chapter

1 = Waste of paper, we will see what the environmentalist say about this!

2 = Skip it, read the book if you have got nothing better to do

2.5 = An average book, easily forgettable.

3 = A good read.

3.5 = A good entertaining read, a page-turner

4 = So glad that I read the book, a book with substance and invaluable for future reference

4.5 = So glad that I read the book, would pester everyone to read it, invaluable, I would want to own it and wouldn't mind a second read (something that I seldom do)

5 = The book is so good that I feel like I am on scale 4 and 4.5, and more, it blew me away and lingers on my head for weeks!

Books Read

JoV's bookshelf: read
Hold Tight
The Fault in Our Stars
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
The Thief
Catching Fire
A Tale for the Time Being
Into the Darkest Corner
The Liars' Gospel
Goat Mountain
Strange Weather In Tokyo
Strange Shores
And the Mountains Echoed
Ten White Geese
One Step Too Far
The Innocents
The General: The ordinary man who became one of the bravest prisoners in Guantanamo
White Dog Fell from the Sky
A Virtual Love
The Fall of the Stone City

JoV's favorite books »
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Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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