<–May 29                      May 30, 2012                                    May 31–>

Akira Ifukube – THE TALE OF GENJI (1951)

Today’s nihongo class focused on the marketplace as a practice for using numbers and purchasing items.  I bought from Lien an autographed manga of her participation in the Freeman Institute and a bottle of sake, that will be shared this evening at the movie night.  We also started learning Sakura.  Here’s a version –

Our presenter was Van Gessel, who is a humorous speaker and very knowledgeable about Japanese literature.  He outlined an extensive list of Japanese values and how they are reflected in the literature and spoke upon to modern period today, sharing haikus, tonkas, the Tales of Genji and Heike, and many other literary works and figures.

The slides that follow try to represent our daily life here in the Japan Studies Institute with photos from lunch and the participants.

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After class, Debbie and I talked as we have most days since coming here.  It is evening at home and usually a convenient time to talk.  At 6, John Caroll and I met, while Kevin was again practicing with his soccer team in the park below Tokai.  We walked along the canal, passing the high-rise where Tom LaBelle, a past professor in our doctoral program, now has an apartment.  That led to our discussion of preparing for retirement.

It was another movie night starting at 7 pm.  Van Gessell introduced us to Twillight Samurai, about a petty samurai who is called on by his clan to kill one of their own during the confusion at the beginning of the Meiji Restoration, around 1868. For a review of the film, that won 12 Japanese Academy Awards in 2003 for its director, Yoji Yamada, see Roger Ebert’s review at http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040521/REVIEWS/405210302/1023 .  After the film, we discussed the movie’s location in northeast Japan, near Mt Fuji, the freedom of women during that era, and the use of twillight to describe an office man who had to get home to this family – 2 young girls and a senile mother is Seibei’s case, showing more loyalty to the family than the office.

The entire film is available here –

If you have any questions about this website, please contact David Stoloff – stoloffd@easternct.edu .


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