Category Archives: Books

Nagoya Castletown Trivia 1: The Lost Purple River and the Phantom White River

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       “Nowadays, eels are one of the endangered species, but there were many broiled eel restaurants around there for lumber dealers in the Edo period. That was why the area used to be called Kabayaki-cho, which means broiled eel street. Actually, some of them seemed to serve catfish or snakehead fish instead of eels,” said Mr. Masao Fukada, the owner of a historic Japanese-style restaurant, Tsutamo, which celebrates its 100th year in business this year.

     I took part in an interesting class for learning the history of Nagoya last Saturday with some of my friends. The class included the restaurant’s boxed lunch and a walking tour. The presenter was Chris Glenn, who is a popular DJ of ZIP-FM, one of Nagoya’s local radio stations, and is the deputy director of NITA (Nagoya International Tourism Association), the organizer of the class. Kyoji Kikuchi, a TV personality in Nagoya, was also in the class. The participants learned many historical trivia about Nagoya’s downtown, Sakae, and had delicious lunch and an interesting walking tour. I had a great time! 20140920_121020-b

     The history of Nagoya City started with the castellation of Nagoya Castle in 1612. The center of this area was Kiyosu located in the north of Nagoya until then. There was a massive movement of people from Kiyosu to Nagoya to make a new town. Not only people but also almost all temples and shrines were redeployed. The exodus is called Kiyosu-goshi. The street where Tsutamo stands became an entertainment area at that time. 20140920_121536

     According to Mr. Fukada, the name of his restaurant derives from the protagonists’ names of a drama called Ippon-matsu-dohyo-iri, which is a touching-human story of (O) Tsuta, a waitress, who helps Mohei, who has been fired a sumo-wrestler. It was popular when his grandfather started business.

     Nagoya’s downtown was a water-rich area which was a reservoir of the Kiso River in the Edo period. There used to be a river called “The Murasaki” and many springs around there. Tsutamo still has three wells, and the water, which is always 17 degrees, is used for their ponds inside. The Murasaki River had been a fresh stream in the Edo period, but it had stagnated by the Meiji period. So, somewhere down the line, people started to call it “The Shirakawa” to wish its restoration. Shirakawa means white river literally, and its name remains still now, such as Shirakawa Koen Park. 20140920_103212

     Speaking of Shirakawa Koen Park, it is an urban oasis which houses Nagoya City Science Museum and Art Museum now. But the place was an enclave called Amerika-mura, or the American Village, for the families of American soldiers in Nagoya after the war until 1958. Mr. Fukada would often get food or money with his friends by shouting “Give me chocolate!” to them. He was also able to enter the area and was amazed by the difference in the lives of GIs and Japanese people those days. “Their futon had four legs!” 20140920_130028-b

     Now, why did the river have the name of the Murasaki? Murasaki means purple in Japanese. Actually, it seemed to have nothing to do with the color. There is an apartment building near Tsutamo, but the place used to be a temple named Denko-in with a stone monument called “Murasaki Shikibu-no-hi” until the end of the war. The temple was moved with the monument to Meito-ku in the east of Nagoya because of the town relocation project in the postwar period. According to a legend, the river’s name was derived from the monument.20140920_133112-a

     Murasaki Shikibu was a Japanese female novelist at the Imperial court in the 11th Century, and is well known as the author of The Tale of Genji. Why did the stone monument with her name exist in the temple? She lived in Kyoto far from Nagoya in her time. Actually, there is an interesting story: 20140920_131609-b

     One day, a noble-looking woman passed by this area and was taken into care by villagers. She told them that her mistress had died in the capital and she was on her way home. But she decided to stay there for a while to mourn her lady because she was moved by their kindness and the purity of water in the village. After three years, she drowned herself in a stream leaving a message: The period of mourning for my mistress is over. I’m going to her place. Villagers built a monument for her by the river and named it Murasaki Shikibu-no-hi because the person whom she had served was Murasaki Shikibu…

Really?

(To be continued…)

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My Travel in London 10 ~ North and South Kensington ~ I’ll be back!

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     Trees were swaying in the heavy rain and the strong wind. I was having breakfast at the hotel, looking out of the window. Has my luck run out finally? I had not needed to use an umbrella until the previous day since I arrived at London on March 18 in spite of the chance of precipitation being more than 90 % during the week. (The former episodes on my trip are here: My Travel in London 1, My Travel in London 2, My Travel in London 3, My Travel in London 4, My Travel in London 5, My Travel in London 6, My Travel in London 7, My Travel in London 8, and My Travel in London 9) That was my last morning in London. I was supposed to leave for Japan that evening on March 22. The weather forecaster was warning of the worsening weather repeatedly on TV on the wall. London 2013 303

     After finishing my last breakfast at the hotel, I dragged myself back to my room to do my packing. I had nearly four hours until the check-out. I did not want to hang around in the heavy rain, but I decided to go out. I wanted to shop in a local supermarket. I would be able to come back to my room and to put the things I bought in the store in my pack in four hours.

     My luck was still lasting! Amazingly, it was just drizzling when I went out. It was only necessary to pull up the hood of my jacket. Before going shopping, I decided to drop by an old house of George Orwell, the author famous for Animal Farm and 1984. I walked to West Brompton Station and took the underground to Notting Hill Gate. Nathan, an English teacher in Japan, had mentioned the place before I left Japan. Notting Hill Gate is just the third station from West Brompton. London 2013 306

     It was snowing when I came out from the North Exit of Notting Hill Gate Station. But it was not so bad. I pulled over the hood and began walking in the powdery snow. I walked along Pembridge Road and then turned left at the second corner to Portbello Road. Then soon I found on the right side the round-shaped blue plaque, which is a historical marker set up at the places of famous people in U.K. Young George Orwell lived there in 1927 after coming back from Burma to become a writer after resigning as an officer of the Indian Imperial Police. London 2013 307

     I was able to locate the old house easily but I could not find “The Travel Book Shop” or “The Blue Door” eventually because I had not researched beforehand. But I was happy to be in Notting Hill as if I were in a filmic scene. All of the shops and most of the stalls had not opened yet. I walked back to the tube station. London 2013 308

     I got off the underground at Gloucester Road station. It had stopped raining and snowing. I walked toward the north and turned left at the first crossing. It was about a 10-minute walk along Cromwell Road to Sainsbury’s, the supermarket. When I was browsing through the shop, an elderly woman spoke to me, “Excuse me, but could you read this for me? I forgot my glasses!” She pointed at the bottom of a box of tea. London 2013 309

    

“Um…it says 10 sachets.”  

“10 sachets?”

“Yes, 10 sachets.”

“Oh, thank you very much.”

“You’re welcome.”

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     It was just a small interaction, but I was happy because it was my first time to communicate with a local person apart from clerks in London. I enjoyed the slow and peaceful atmosphere in the store on a weekday morning. I bought some snacks, sweets, and bread there, and went back to my hotel.

     When I turned on the TV, a reporter was talking about the terrible snow storm in the northern part of U.K. I worried about Yuko, who was going to Wales that day, and was about to text her, when I noticed a message from her had arrived in my phone. She was concerned about my condition and prayed for my safe return. Yes, I had to leave this room. I also wished her a safe and enjoyable trip, and then hoisted my pack with lots of souvenirs. Ugh! Heavy!London 2013 317

     After checking out, I asked a clerk to keep my baggage for a while. It was only at 10:30. My travel agent was supposed to pick me up at 5:00. I had much time left. I went to West Brompton Station again and took the underground to South Kensington Station. Walking through the underground passage, I entered the Victoria and Albert Museum.

     More than 100 people were queuing inside. I wondered what exhibit was ahead. I passed them walking along the line and went to the room. It was an exhibition of David Bowie! Unfortunately it would start next day. Those people were supporting members of the museum and were able to see the exhibition the previous day. I might be able to see it if I became a member on the spot. But I would have to wait in the line for more than two hours. So, I gave up seeing David Bowie’s costumes, and went to see other treasures. London 2013 328

     Ah…I should have decided what to see ahead…I got tired soon because I walked around at random. Actually, I had already been exhausted before coming to the museum. I had been occupying a bench before one of Raphael’s big paintings for a long time, but I was not only appreciating it but also having a rest. Raphael’s works were indeed therapeutic, but not enough for me. So, I went to the café on the ground floor. London 2013 321

     Wow! There were many kinds of food, sweets, and drinks in the cafe! It was around 11:30. Many people were enjoying their breakfast, brunch, or lunch. I decided to have early lunch there. I ordered smoke salmon and cream cheese sandwiches. The clerk asked me smilingly, “Would you like salad?” So, I replied, “Oh, yes. Well…some green salad and that carrot’s one, please.” Then I was very surprised at the amounts of the salads she served. In addition, I was astonished at the weight when I received the tray from her. I wobbled to an empty table. London 2013 319

     The sandwiches and the salads were excellent! If I had a much bigger stomach, I could eat them up…I enjoyed my lunch, reading a book. I had dropped by a book shop in the museum before coming to the café and had bought a copy of Walk London. It is a guide book for walking tours with beautiful illustrated maps. It may sound strange to buy a travel guide book several hours before leaving the place. But I had sworn to myself to come back to London! So, I was planning my next visit…CAM00931

     Actually it is tiring to keep sitting at the same place for a long time. So, I explored in the museum again, and then went out for some fresh air. It had completely stopped raining and snowing. I decided to go to see Royal Albert Hall and Kensington Palace. I walked on Exhibition Road and came to Kensington Road, when I felt really exhausted. I did not have that stamina to keep walking. So, I turned back and went to the Science Museum, across from the Victoria and Albert Museum. It was not for seeing the exhibits, but for taking a rest at a café. London 2013 329

     The Science Museum was filled with little kids! More than 100 pupils were lining up to buy souvenirs at the shop. They were holding something small such as erasers and excited. How noisy! And how cute! I got a pot of tea and was seated against the wall on the first floor. I was able to see the ground floor because the walls were made of clear acrylic boards. There was a big wheel in the air, and it responded to the sound when an attendant clapped her hands and flashed red lights. She was trying to attract children’s attentions. I was watching her and school kids absent-mindedly for a while. It was time to leave…London 2013 332

     I went back to the hotel and talked to the clerk who I had asked to keep my bag in the morning. He looked at me coldly and said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” “What?! Wh, where should I…?” I was surprised and stammered. Then he produced a big smile and slapped my back saying, “Ha ha! Don’t worry! Follow me!” He was just pulling my leg! Oh, London! I did not want to leave…In the back seat of the car where I was committing myself to come back to this wonderful city, hearing the driver talking to my travel agent in the passenger seat that he really liked to see planes. Heathrow Airport loomed in front of us…

An Old Japanese Fetish Story…: Her poop smells and tastes sweet…

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     “Speaking of “golden poop”, there’s an interesting story on poop in one of the old folk tales of Japan.” Masa said that during an English class and he introduced the story. It was really interesting! I would like to tell you about it. Before that, I suppose many of you must be wondering what the “golden poop” is. The topic of the English class was a toilet theme park in Korea that day. It was from Breaking English News, which is an English learning site (http://www.breakingnewsenglish.com/index.html). I’ll show you the news first.

“Toilet Theme Park” Opens in S. Korea http://www.breakingnewsenglish.com/1211/121111-theme_park.html

     A city in South Korea has added a new attraction to its cultural landscape – the world’s first “Toilet Theme Park”. The Restroom Cultural Park in the city of Suwon is proving a huge hit with locals and tourists alike. The latest tourist site is dedicated to the memory of former city mayor Sim Jae-duck, affectionately known as “Mr Toilet”. He believed the toilet is a very important and under-appreciated aspect of world culture. Visitors to the park can admire its toilet-bowl-shaped exhibition hall as well as dozens of bronze statues in various toilet positions. They can even sit on Mr Kim’s original toilet, which includes a full-length glass door that mists up when it is being used. poop 3

     Suwon has become well known for the promotion of toilet culture. The city attracts toilet-related artwork from around the world to its galleries. It famously hosts the Golden Poop Art Festival – a celebration of one of the calls of nature. The city also lists dozens of its own public toilets as tourist attractions on its website. Sim Jae-duck’s own giant, toilet-shaped house, now a museum, should be the must-see for enthusiasts. Mr Sim’s fascination with toilets supposedly began because he was born in the smallest room of his mother’s house. He said in 2007: “The toilet…can save humankind from diseases [and is] a place for introspection. The toilet is also a central living place that possesses culture.”

     Hmm…interesting! The news made all of us in the class, especially our teacher, feel like going to the theme park. Well, I’ll introduce the Japanese old story of “the golden poop” then…It is in “Uji Shui Monogatari” which is a collection of Japanese tales written around the beginning of the 13th century. The author is unknown.

     Long time ago, there was a man named Sadafumi. He was called Heiju. Being noble, good-looking, and a charming talker, he was very popular at that time. Because he was confident in himself, he made sexual advances toward all women he liked.

     There was a maid of honor called Jijyu at the residence of another noble man named Tokihira at the time. She was young, very beautiful and clever. Heiju tried to relate her with zeal, but Jijyu ignored him and had never even written back to him. Heiju was heartbroken and wrote to her, “Could you please at least write back to me ‘I saw this letter’? I think of you all the time.” Then, a servant brought Jijyu’s letter to him. Heiju was very glad to take it and opened it immediately. However, there were no words from her, but a small piece of torn paper was pasted on a sheet of tissue. She tore the part of his message “I saw this letter” from his letter and pasted it on the tissue as her reply.poop 1

     Heiju was chagrined. That was at the end of February. He decided to give up Jijyu and stopped writing love letters to her. But one night around May 20 when it was raining, he thought, “If I visit her on such a dark rainy day, she might see me even if she is cold-hearted.” So, he went to Tokihira’s residence at midnight in the pouring rain. He let a servant give his message to Jijyu: I can’t bear my loneliness and have come to see you. The servant came back to him and whispered, “My lord hasn’t gone to bed yet. So she can’t make her exit. Would you please wait for a while? I’ll tell you after she left for her room.” Heiju was delighted to hear that. He was hiding in the darkness and waiting for the servant.

     About two hours later, it seemed everyone had gone to bed. Heiju heard of someone’s footstep coming toward him and then a click when the lock of the door opened. He was excited and opened the door with his shaking hands quietly. A sweet fragrance of incense was filled in the room. He grouped around the bed and felt a body in soft kimono lying there. He touched her hair. It was long and smooth. He was too thrilled to say anything. Then the lady said, “Oh, I’ve forgotten to lock a door. I’ll go to lock it.” She shrugged her kimono out and left it there, and walked to the door.

    Heijyu got naked and waited for her coming back. He heard of the sound she locked the door, but she didn’t come back. Time passed by. He thought there was something wrong and got up, and then walked to the door. There, he found out that the door was locked from the outside the room. He got shocked. He was deceived. He was angry and thought about staying there until morning. But he had second thoughts when he heard servants awaking at the dawn, “I might be in hot water if I’m witnessed…” So, he left there before the morning.poop 2

     After that, Heijyu tried to gather bad rumors about Jijyu to come to hate her. But his attempt failed. His love for her was just growing. But one day he came up with a way of taking a dislike of her. “She is very beautiful, but her feces must be as the same as others’. I might fall into disgust of her naturally if I squish her feces!” he thought. Therefore, he went to Tokihira’s residence again and peered around. Then, a 17 or 18 – year-old beautiful girl came out from Jijyu’s room. She was holding a chamber pot covered by a thin cloth, hiding it with a red fan. Heijyu got excited and followed her. He snatched the chamber pot from the girl’s hands when they were out of public sight, and dashed away leaving the crying girl behind.

     Heijyu entered an abandoned house and locked the door from the inside. The chamber pot was a gorgeous box covered by golden lacquer with a lid. He was hesitant to open it because the box was extremely beautiful. But finally he nervously opened the box. Then he smelt the smell of cloves. He peered into the box with wonder, and then saw three pieces of two or three-inch brown lumps in yellowish water. He thought, “Oh, that’s it…” and stuck a piece with a chunk of wood and sniffed it. It smelt like a solid perfume called Kurobo made from cloves, agarwood, sandalwood, and musks and so on. He licked the liquid and the lump like a person possessed. It tasted a bit bitter and sweet.

     Because Heijyu was a fast thinker, he noticed that the urine-looking liquid was made by boiling cloves and those lumps were boiled yams with some solid perfume and sweetening. He thought, “What a wonderful lady she is! Who else can come to think of me trying to get her chamber pot? I would kill for her!” He was obsessed with her and got sick, and then died at last…

     It is amazing that this interesting story was written 800 years ago! The episode of feces or urine is extreme and unusual, but our feelings on amorous things have not changed so much since such an ancient time. Too much spoils…especially regarding love affair…

Eat Healthy, Live Healthy! : I’ve become a "mimic" vegetarian.

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ohmori      When I felt something wrong was that morning. I noticed the inside of cheek in my right side swelling when I was washing my face. It was a little bit painful to get touched from outside. A few hours later while I was doing Tai Chi, the sole of my right foot got cramped suddenly. Something was going wrong in my body, I thought.

     Next day, my right cheek had still a swelling inside and the back of my right thigh got cramped. Two days later, the swelling in my cheek wasn’t going down and my right neck stiffened badly and it caused terrible headache, especially to my right side. Three days later, I was almost groggy with my poor physical condition, when Midori, a friend of mine, said that “Symptoms in your right side are caused by overeating of “yang” food, right?”

     That’s it! I forgot about it! The theory of Yin and Yang for food! I pulled out this book “Karada-no-shizen-chiyu-ryoku-wo-hikidasu-shokuji-to-teate” when I got home. The title means diet and treatments with health-promoting benefits. The writer is Kazue Ohmori, the expert of macrobiotics and nutritionist in Japan. She’s classified most of the foods from yin to yang, and thinks all food we eat make our body both healthier and weaker.

     According to the book, people should eat balanced middle food not to eat too much both of yin and yang food. Our bodies’ healthy balance is like a seesaw. The end of the one side is yin and another end is yang on the seesaw. If you ate only yin food, you would go down to the yin side. It means you might get sick. Interestingly, if you had a physical disorder on the left side of your body, you might have eaten too much yin food; while you had a problem on the right, you might have had too much yang food. In my case, all disorders were on the right side of my body this time. That is, I must have eaten too much yang food.

     What are yin foods and yang foods, then? According to the writer, yin foods are potassium-rich: tropical fruits, spices, summer vegetables, fat and processed food; on the contrary, yang foods are sodium-rich: salty things, meats, poultries, and fish. You see that most of yin foods are green things in hot countries. So, cake and coffee are also yin food because sugar is made from sugarcanes and coffee is seeds of coffee beans which also grow in hot areas. In the meantime, yang foods are animal products and salt. TS3N1059

     Now, all of my symptoms were on the right side of my body. It seemed I had eaten animal proteins too much. The book suggests stopping or avoiding having yang food for a while and some remedies for egesting extra proteins. I made shitake mushroom soup as soon as I found the recipe in the book and had it once. Oh! I couldn’t believe it. A few hours later having the soup, the swellings in my cheek and right soul started going down and my headache had gone.

     I’ve become a “mimic” vegetarian and tried having “middle” food since then because I still have problems on my both knees and a pollen allergy. According to the book, allergies are triggered by eating both extreme yin and yang food too muc: Having sweet rolls with coffee in the morning, hamburgers with coke for lunch, steak for dinner, ice cream and cake for dessert and ramen for late-evening snack…I wrote “mimic” vegetarian above because it’s difficult to avoid animal food if you eat out here in Japan. Japanese basic seasoning is made from dried bonitoes (fish), and if you ordered green salad in the restaurant, you’d find bacon chips sprinkled atop.

     That’s why I’m now trying to be a vegetarian at least home. Look at the photo! I made these! Rice (I should eat brown rice), miso soup with tofu and Japanese radish, fried tofu with sweet miso dip, boiled dried tofu and wheat gluten, fried various of mushrooms with shiso mint leaves, boiled hijiki seaweed with carrots and fried tofu, vinegared wakame seaweed, and boiled field mustard with sesame dressing. They look healthy, don’t they? But it’s really hard for me to be a “real” vegetarian. I had a big bowl of loco moco – white rice topped with a hamburger patty and a fried egg with gravy sauce - for lunch yesterday…Hmm…That was delicious…

からだの自然治癒力をひきだす食事と手当て

A Middle Class Samurai Warrier’s Diary in Edo Period

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4121007409      How much do you think I paid for this book? I bought it for only one yen through Amazon! It’s Genroku Otatami Bugyo No Nikki, written by Jiro Kosaka in 1984. This book is based on a diary written by a samurai warrier in the middle management position in Edo period. I bought this book because the lecturer had mentioned it in a lecture about Shirakabe area in Higashi-ku, the eastern place from Nagoya Castle, the other day.

     It was snowing so hard that day that I hesitated to go outside. But I went to the lecture and had a wonderful time. The lecturer talked about many interesting things, especially, about people who used to live in Shirakabe area, such as Sakichi Toyota, the founder of Toyota Motor, and Akio Morita, the founder of Sony. But who I got interested in the best was the writer of the diary: Bunzaemon Asahi. TS3N0012

     Bunzaemon was a samurai warrier in the middle class and a kind of facilities department chief in Owari, now Nagoya, in Edo period. He loved going to the theater, gambling, and poems, indulged sex and alcohol, and suffered from hysterical his wife and lover. He was interested in martial arts and became a disciple of many of them, but he had no physical and mental power and no sense for them.

     Such a worthless samurai had written journals for 26 years and eight months until he died! They’re 37 books and called Omu Rochuki. He was an ordinary samurai. He didn’t do anything special in his time, except for writing his own diary. He recorded the social situation, prices of commodities, the weather, astronomical observation, from small to big affairs, theater criticism, gambling info, even indictment against the government and the lord.

     After the lecture, I ordered this book at Amazon. There are many interesting descriptions in it as follows: TS3N10310001

“July third. I went shooting. I fired 13 shots, but no hit.”

“At the wedding, many people drank too much and threw up at the table.”

“I drank too much last night. I have a stomachache and feel sick. I threw up twice this morning. I shouldn’t drink too much from now on.”

“It’s fine today. I drank too much and threw up terribly last night. I really feel sick. I mustn’t drink much from now on. I’ll stop drink for a while from tonight.”

     He ended up dying from liver ailment.

     What I’m surprised at his diaries is how much people committed suicide. Japan is notorious for large numbers of suicide and I’d thought it was just a present problem. But it seems a kind of tradition and habit for Japanese. There are lots of descriptions of variety of suicide in Bunzaemon’s diaries.

“May 31. Juzaemon Arakawa died. He had opened a gambling house in secret for many years because he was very poor. This time, because many of his customers had been arrested, he killed himself by eating lots of cold noodles and jellies and 500 plums. He had a lover and a 13-year-old boy.”

“A wife in Dekimachi took a part time job at a liqueur shop. The wife and the brewer had a love affair. The wife’s husband noticed it and killed the wife and brewer, and then killed himself by the sword today.”

“Gohei Tori’s wife died on August 29. During Gohei’s absence on business in Edo (now Tokyo), she had a love affair. She killed herself at the toilet before her husband’s return.”

“An old woman cut her throat with a razor in the daytime. She was very poor. She had no relatives and places to go.”

“A farmer in Nozaki, killed himself because he had no rice for tax. He went out of his house, became naked, sit on a straw mat, and cut his neck with a knife.”TS3N10330001

     Most of the suicide people chose their death because of poverty in the era. Couldn’t they live truly? They didn’t die from starvation. They killed themselves. Many of them did for fear of revelation of their secrets. Did they really need to die? Why did they choose to try to solve their problems without killing themselves? Japanese people tend to choose suicide easily. Nothing has changed on people’s life and thinking way, I thought when I was reading the book. It’s not only about suicide but also many things.

     Why don’t you read the book? You can buy a second handed one for only one yen through Amazon!

元禄御畳奉行の日記―尾張藩士の見た浮世

Charles and Emma: Darwins’ Leap of Faith

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charles and Emma      So different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner…

 

     Charles Darwin, well-known for his masterpiece The Origin of Species, wrote that on creatures, but might express about his marriage, too.

     Look at the book cover of Charles and Emma: Darwins’ Leap of Faith. You see silhouettes of an ape, a man with his arms crossed a woman with a cross in her hand. In the 19th century, it meant a kind of rebellion on Christianity to put up evolution theory because it challenged Genesis. His wife Emma was a religious person. The cover depicts a confrontation between Charles as a scientist and Emma as a believer in Christianity.

     This book, Charles and Emma: Darwins’ Leap of Faith written by Deborah Heiligman in 2008, is a kind of biography, but is not an ordinary one. The author has focused on Darwin’s conflicted feelings among faith, science, society and love, and his personal life.

     I used the word of “confrontation” above, but Charles and Emma really loved each other. That’s why they were in torment. Emma believed in God and in the after world: heaven and hell. She couldn’t bear of thinking if she would not be able to see his husband in heaven after their death. Charles knew very much about Emma’s religious devotion and her love for him, but couldn’t give up his conviction that the Bible is not true literally: God didn’t create all of creatures as they are. The first human was not Adam…

     Charles Darwin was serious and sober. He studied specimens carefully over the years and tried to avoid his opinions making a big fuss in the world. Interestingly, his habitude reflected not only his books but also his marriage. He made a list of the pros and cons of settling down in his late twenties. He divided into two a line on a piece of paper and wrote Marry on the left side and Not Marry on the right side, and wrote his ideas for both as follows:

Marry: Children, constant companion (& friend in old age) who will feel interested in one, Home & someone to take care of house, Charms of music & female chit-chat, Terrible loss of time, etc

Not Marry: Freedom to go where on liked, choice of Society & little of it, Conversation of clever men at clubs, Not forced to visit relatives & to bend in every trifle, etc

     This book is full of his personal ideas and life with quotes Charles left in his large amount of notes. As like thinking of marriage, it seems that he wrote anything, everything he came up with in his mind on his notebooks. In addition, he wrote so many letters, maybe thousands of. Emma also. Those are important factors for the book, too. This book illustrates the hidden side of famous Charles Darwin and which will spellbind you.

The Mortal Instruments

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city of bones      To love is to destroy…

     Jace, the hero of this series of three novels, The Mortal Instruments trilogy: City of Bones, City of Ashes, and City of Glass written by Cassandra Clare, believed that in his life.

     The Mortal Instruments is a fantasy for young adult. This boy, Jace, is one of main characters, and weaves the story with the heroine Clary. And don’t forget that it has another important character, Simon. Jace is 17, and Clary and Simon are 16 years old.

     Clary and Simon have been friends from childhood and lived in Brooklyn. They spend a lot of time together, and they go to a club together that night, too. In the club, Clary witnesses a murder by a teenage group in for a surprise. But who is surprised is not only her but also those teens. “Mundane” can’t see them. “A mundie girl,” he said, half to himself. “And she can see us.”city of ashes

     They ―Jace, Alec and Isabele― are “Shadowhunters”, which is a kind of secret police in another world. They chase bad “Downworlders”, that is, demons, werewolves, or vampires, and kill them if it’s necessity. They find a demon entering to the club and kill it, when Clary sees the scene by accident. But Simon doesn’t know what’s happening there because he can’t see anything. For him, everything is normal. That is, there’s no murder and no teenage gang in the club for him.

     Next day, Clary meets Jace again at a café, where she and Simon go together. 

    “ So, who is it, then?” Clary asked. She was about to add  that if he were in love with Sheila Barbarino, Eric would kick his ass, when she heard someone cough loudly behind her. It was a derisive sort of cough, the kind of noise someone might make who was trying not to laugh out loud.    
     She turned around.
     
     Sitting on a faded green sofa a few feet away from her was Jace. He was wearing the same dark clothes he’d had on the night before in the club.city of glass

     That is when Simon tries to declare his love for Clary. He has been in love with her since he was five years old, but she hasn’t noticed it at all and has never thought of it because for her he is like a brother.

     “What is it?” Simon had followed her gaze, but it was obvious from the blank expression on his face that he couldn’t see Jace. So, Clary makes excuses to Simon and goes out of the café to talk to Jace outside.  “I was laughing at you because declarations of love amuse me, especially when unrequited,” he said. “And because your Simon is one of the most mundane mundanes I’ve ever encountered. And because Hodge thought you might be dangerous, but if you are, you certainly don’t know it.”

     And then, Clary gets involved in another world about which she has never known its existence and comes to play an important role there…Actually, the story consists of not only paranormal fantasy things but also many kinds of love, such as a love triangle (Oh, maybe, it’s a love hexagonal or a love octagonal…), family love, almost incestuous affair, homosexual love, and of course friendship…

     As for the word of “To love is to destroy”, Jace has believed it for a long time, but he comes to know true love by meeting Clary. “…And even back then, in that stupid coffee shop, when I saw you sitting on that couch with Simon, even then that felt wrong to me ― I should have been the one sitting with you. The one who made you laugh like that….”

     Hey, are you getting interested in what happens to Jace, Clary, and Simon? Actually, Simon also gets involved in that world and now he is not a human…it seems that the fourth book is coming next year, and which focuses on Simon. I can’t wait to read it!

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments)
City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments)
City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments)