Tag Archives: story

Good Art Is like a Good Haiku

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Yangshuo, Guanxi

A summer river being crossed
how pleasing
with sandals in my hands!
– Yosa Buson

Haiku poems are short, orderly pieces created in the Japanese tradition. The most common form has 5 syllables on the first line, seven on the second, and five again on the last.

Haikus are very closely related to Japanese culture and Zen Buddhism.

The goal of a haiku is to capture a moment. It does not seek to explain or analyze, but simply strives to present the moment clearly. If the composer is very good, then a certain shade of emotion will also be present in the words.

Good art is often like a good haiku. It clearly presents a moment and emotion without explanation.

 

Ghost in the Shell- Review

This past weekend I watched the remake of Ghost in the Shell with my girlfriend. IMDB gave it a rating of 6.8 out of 10. Fair enough, but I would probably give it at least a point higher, maybe even two.

(Full disclosure- I have been an anime fan since forever. I grew up watching Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon, Gundam Wing, etc.. So, I am partial to stories being told in this format.)

Why did I like it?

Well, visually it was phenomenal. You can really see how far Hollywood has come these days with movies like GITS. It’s setting was portrayed very tastefully. (But caution- I am not sure it would be as cool in your living room. Definitely recommend going to see it.)

Acting wise, it was pretty good. The lead, Scarlet Johansson, did a good job of playing a stoic, if not slightly psychotic Major. None of the supporting roles stole the show, but they certainly didn’t hinder it either.

Story wise it worked. Good sci-fi themes of technology, evolution, A.I., etc. The growth of Major was strong enough to carry the viewers interest, although it wasn’t the coolest part. As I have said, that was it’s setting.

The villain, Kuze, was very evil and I loved it.

If you like action, sci-fi, or anime, definitely check it out. If you are reading this and you saw it, what did you think? Unfortunately there appears to be some hate going around the internet about this movie. I think it deserves a least over a 7 on the IMDB.

The Importance of Stories

sihui_sunnyday

Sihui parking garage.

This past week I have been reading the classic A Hero With A Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell. Although it is quite academic, it is also an incredibly powerful book. (Hey- people are still reading it past the turn of the century- do you need more proof?)

The book is all about heroes and mythology. The journey a hero must go through, and how these patterns are played out time and time again.

The forward to the 2004 edition (I couldn’t find the author- sorry! – I believe it was Phil Cousineau) talks about how children in the Hungarian countryside were traditionally expected to learn 12 stories by the time they were twelve years old.

Here is the quote-

There was a serious piece of advice given by the very old people in our family. It was that every child ought to know twelve complete stories before that child was twelve years old. Those twelve tales were to be a group of heroic stories that covered a spectrum—of both the beautiful and the hellacious—from lifelong loves and loyalties, to descents, threats, and deaths, with rebirth ever affirmed. No matter how much “much” a person might otherwise possess, they were seen as poor—and worse, as imperiled—if they did not know stories they could turn to for advice, throughout and till the very end of life.

What are we without our stories? How can we live a decent live without this knowledge?