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"The Last Samurai"
December 23, 2003
1:39 pm
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arwen
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Has anyone seen this movie? If so, what did you think of it?

I went to see it last night with my mom, sister, and daughter. It was something that I took in with a certain intense interest because of my Japanese heritage, and the knowledge that my Grandmother was descended from Samurai.

Shamefully I became aware of just how little knowlege I have about my own heritage. I know there are many here who have studied Oriental philosophies and history. I would appreciate any information you would share.

Sincerely,

Arwen

December 23, 2003
2:02 pm
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Cici
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I saw the movie. It was pretty good. I would own it, anyways. My older sister knows a lot about the samurai culture and the Bushido code. I'm half vietnamese, I know about the culture through exposure. My mom brought her family to the states - sponsored all 4 of them, which is a lot of dough - in '87, and 9 of us lived in a 3 bedroom house for 3 years. Wheeee!

Anyways, hmmm...there is a big difference between japan and the continential asian countries, culturally speaking, in terms of cuisine and that kinda thing. Japan is notorious for being separatist, culturally elitist, and culturally are as fanatic about racial purity as any redneck can be.

The empire, during the time of the movie, was made up of shogunates (ruled by the shogun). The samurai served the shoguns, the emperor, the empire - not necessarily in that order. I think this lasted a few hundred years, and during the end of the shogun era there were a lot of samurai wandering around with no one to serve.

There's a great old movie directed by the legendary Akira Kurosawa called "sichinin no samurai" - the seven samurai - it's really good, I highly recommend it.

I have a personal fetish for anime movies and japanese horror films - any tokyo shock movie. I have a friend who has dual citizenship who gets me my movies, ha ha ha.

Oh, and the bushido is based in buddhism. The ability to accept death at any moment, without hesitation, comes from cultivation of mindfulness, equanimity and the awareness of emptiness! yay!

December 23, 2003
2:08 pm
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Cici
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Oh yeah, another thing, there is a great book called "Catfish and Mandala" - it's an autobiography of a viet-kieu (the viet who escaped from communist vietnam) but part of his bike tour goes through japan.

It is the weird result of being bi-racial, bi-cultural - I feel completely rootless, attached to no particular culture, but not repulsed by the strangeness of the other, either. fish sauce, tet - the new year in february, au dai's. Huh. I like being bi cultural though. It's liberating.

Then again holidays are confusing. Like we don't really celebrate christmas, never have, accept for gifts, none of that fancy stuff you see on TV. hahhhaha.

December 23, 2003
2:14 pm
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arwen
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True, I sadly admit, the Japanese culturally can certainly be defined as one of the most racist cultures ever! I have seen this side of it. In fact, because I am bi-racial, I have experienced that feeling of simply not belonging anywhere, with any culture. Don't know if that makes sense or not.

The other aspect of the Japanese culture is that suicide is considered an honorable gesture under certain circumstances--thus my "twisted" views on this matter as well--though right now I don't feel suicidal.

The respectable thing about the ancient Japanese culture, for me, is the strength of honor, the duality of humbleness with dignity that is grandiose in many ways, the love of life in the moment, the attention to detail in any task one undertakes because to do any less than your best is simply not an option.

There is a lot of pressure placed on a person, I think, when you are raised with only some aspects of the cultural philosophy, rather than within all of the culture in its richest state.

December 23, 2003
2:49 pm
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Cici
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I dunno. I recommend, if you can find it, the movie "Visitor Q" - it details modern, suburban Japanese life in all it's horrific, quiet, turbulence. It's easy, I guess, to idealize something that is so distant. That movie really opened my eyes.

My good friend, who is full-blood japanese, had such a f*cked up childhood, and his mom was a freak and his sister a heroine addict. I thought that they were abberations of the culture, but that's pretty common now in the bigger cities.

I dunno, I have a slight dislike of my roots. It comes from having part of your family come from a third world country. it offends my genteel western sensibilities, har har har. But I will continue to make relentless fun of Minute Rice because rice was not meant to stay separated with individual grains.

December 23, 2003
2:58 pm
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arwen
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I don't think it was meant to be prepared in a "Minute" either...

December 25, 2003
5:27 am
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silence
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I saw it. Not enough titties.

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