30 June 2011

A Lesson from Kendo

Tsukahara Bokuden founded the school of Kashima Shinto Ryu in the 15th century. He was a well-respected man, known for his swordsmanship. Back then, it was customary for swordsmen to travel across Japan and learn techniques from different dojos. Lessons were learned, techniques were spread. Men who knew the art of the sword were treated well by everyone, and not because they could easily cut off your ears.

Tsukahara traveled with a large entourage of students. One evening, they were on a boat for a party, having a good time. A drunken ruffian walks up to Tsukahara and asks what style of sword he uses.

"I use the style of no sword," Tsukahara told him.

The ruffian didn't believe him. "I challenge you to a sword fight," he said.

They agreed that a fight could not happen on the boat, so they found an island nearby. The ruffian was the first to disembark, and Tsukahara ordered the boat to cast off without him. And so Tsukahara tricked the ruffian into spending the night on an island in the middle of the lake, without a fight.

In Kendo, you do not seek out fights. You only fight when you have to. Tsukahara didn't have to fight the drunk ruffian, so he didn't.

29 June 2011

My Thoughts on Super 8

Super 8 takes place in a small town in Ohio. It features a small band of friends in middle school as they film a movie for a local film festival. While filming one night, they witness a massive train crash which releases an alien being transported from Area 51. The alien then starts disrupting the town, but less so than the military who want to keep the alien a secret. When Alice, the leading female in the film, goes missing, the young friends investigate into her disappearance.

I loved this movie. I loved the small town setting and the relationship between the characters. What I loved most was how the science fiction element didn't detract from the character relations. Instead, the alien story seemed to boost the tension between the characters. I also like how you can remove the alien and military elements and you still have a movie. Granted, one not as exciting, but a movie nonetheless.

I also loved the quirks of the kids. My favorite was Cary, who carried explosives and firecrackers with him at all times.

I have two complaints. Only one I partially excuse.

The first is the kids' recovery time after huge explosions. They witness a giant train crash, no one is hurt, but no one is remarkably shocked or trembling or traumatized by the fact that the giant train just careened right by them. Of course, they have one in their numbers obsessed with things that go boom, so I can forgive that. Especially when they have to consistently witness giant Booms against their will. I do believe there was another escapade towards the end that I thought they recovered remarkably quickly. Spoilers.

The second is the car that crashed into the train. For all intents and purposes, that truck and its driver should not have made it out alive and in one piece. That was very unbelievable to me, especially aforementioned size of said train explosion. I have no excuse for this one. This is just plain unrealistic.

Overall, you should go see this movie. Because it's awesome.

27 June 2011

Service Announcement

I just read this article here and thought I should remind you all that if you mistreat the people who feed you, you're not going to have a good night.

Because they have the power over your food when you choose to dine with them. And they're kinda merciless.

So be nice, treat them like a person making their way in the world, and tip well.

That is all.

26 June 2011

Checking In

Well, hai thar. Long time no chat. How's it going?

The weather's been beautiful this weekend, so I decided to take a study break and go for a walk around the zoo. I live less than five blocks from a small, free zoo, and because it's so warm and sunny out, I decided to go for a walk. The idea actually came from a phone conversation this morning with an old friend. He mentioned going for a walk before the rain hits, and I thought "Yeah, that's a good idea. I think I'll go to the zoo."

So when my study guide was half done, I lathered on some sunscreen, put on my shades, and unfolded my umbrella. If I had a lolita costume, I would have totally worn it.

I went through the back way because there's a small lake with a pavilion that offers boat rentals and junk food. It's a hang out spot for people who want to go to a small beach area and hang out. The first animal I observed was the peacock.

A small group of girls crowded around next to me and loudly wondered if the peacock was a he or she.  I said the colorful birds are always male for mating reasons. They looked like they didn't get it, and their mother said that was interesting. I told her other birds do that too, like the cardinal. Red cardinals are always male, and females are actually brown.

I got a drumstick ice cream, but threw half of it away because it lost its taste. I wandered through the bird house and took a picture of the kookaburra because I like them. Said hi to the blue Macaws. Then I went outside and saw some more animals. The tiger was hiding in some high grass, no doubt doing what most cats do and taking a nap. "Get away from me, humans, I'm napping." I'd totally do that too.

Then I went out the front way.

I'm currently halfway done with one class, have another month for my second class, and split my time between work, watching movies, homework, and hanging out with friends. But this post is to let y'all know that I'm still here and really don't have anything interesting to say. So I'll see you again when I do.

11 June 2011

(don't) do it for the children

During my sophomore year, I had a lecturer tell the class "Never believe anyone who claims something is 'for the children'."

This sounded exactly like some of his other crazy sayings like "Koalas are my third least favorite animal ever" and "My life goal is to punch a manatee." He also went through a blow-by-blow on how to disarm a guy wielding a grenade. So I knew he was only reliable when it came to lectures (my homework was graded by someone else so I was safe not worrying about his sanity).

Anyway, the third paragraph on this article in the Guardian mentions something about saving the children. So now I have one piece of evidence for his side.