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At last, I have gotten hold of some of geiko-related books. I’ve been wanting them to read so that I could learn more about their culture and tradition, and besides, it’s fun reading something you’re really interested at. It started when I first read “Memoirs of a Geisha”, and then I became interested in the karyukai – the flower and willow world of traditional Japan, where geiko and maiko entertain with their arts and heartfelt hospitality.

“Memoirs of a Geisha” is not really entirely wrong. It’s a well-researched book, however, if it wanted to show and prove that geiko are not prostitutes, then the plot should have just focused on that. But I do no like the way geiko were portrayed in the movie; as much as possible, they should have followed the traditional image (including hairstyle, makeup, etc.). Sayuri’s hairstyle, kimono and makeup were also off.

“Geisha” by Liza Dalby is a must read book for those who wanted to learn more about geiko history and tradition, not only in Kyoto but also from other hanamachi or flower districts. It is also partly narrative of what she experienced during her stay in Japan, especially when she became Ichigiku, a geiko of Pontocho for a short period of time.

On the other hand, “Geisha, A Life” by Iwasaki Mineko, a former popular geiko of Gion Kobu, is about her autobiography. Mineko used this book to counteract “Memoirs of a Geisha”, where she partly helped for the information. I like this book a lot because of the plot, and also, because of Mrs. Iwasaki’s interesting personality. It also contains some old pictures of herself during her maiko and geiko time.

I have also read “Geisha in Rivalry” by Nagai Kafu. It’s generally about rivalry in Shimbashi district, with the novel revolving around Komayo, a geisha. The setting is more or less around  World War II, so it’s interesting to know more about the geisha lifestyle during that time.

I hope I could read more books about them, especially Komomo’s autobiography (geiko of Miyagawa-cho).

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The Giver, Messenger and Gathering Blue are some of the best books I’ve ever read. They are really fantastically and nicely-written; I would never get tired rereading them, especially crying at the end of  Messenger. They are a trilogy by the way, so all of them is a must-read!

The Giver is about a perfect community where all ways of life is controlled. Everything is in harmony. Jobs, food, family unit, everything are all decided by the Elders. Pain is removed by subjecting all emotions away, and giving all the painful memories to the Receiver. Jonas, a boy of 12, would be chosen as the next Receiver and will learn a lot from the memories he would receive from the Giver (the current Receiver).

It’s also sad that colors doesn’t exist in this community. Jonas and the Giver are the only people who can see the colors. Jonas first perceived the color red from an apple. Later, he will save a boy named Gabe who share the same characteristics as with him. They will eventually escape from the community with the help of the sled. The next book after this would be the Messenger.

Gathering Blue on the other hand, focuses on Kira, a young woman who lives in another community which is quite different to Jonas’. Her community is more savage-looking, all in disorder. People hurt others and they don’t care much. It’s really a messy place to live in. People with imperfections are also not allowed to live. However, Kira was allowed to live even though she has a useless horrible leg that she usually drags along as she walks.

The community is governed by The Council. But more than that, The Council is very interested with the artists – those who have special skills and talents that would be useful in the future. Kira would be chosen as the Weaver because of her amazing weaving skills. And she will also learn more about the death of her parents and her position in the community, as she would be the appointed Weaver of the Future.

The two books will now merge in the Messenger. It’s about Matty, Kira’s friend in Gathering Blue. He’s currently living with Kira’s father in a community where imperfections are blessed. People are also appointed with their proper title when they enter the right age. Kira’s father, who became blind when he was attacked by his comrades, is known as the Seer. Matty is hoping that he would get the title Messenger since he’s the only one who can go into the forest bravely and travel to other communities to send messages.

At first, people are cheerful, always generous to those who are in need – travelers and outcasts from other communities who have nowhere else to live. But with the Trade Market, people’s good characteristics were traded away for something else that they wanted. People became selfish, and now they wanted to close the village. The Leader, or Jonas, is deeply saddened but he can do nothing about it. (Jonas and Gabe came accidentally in the Village during their escape)

Now, the Seer wishes to fetch her daughter from the other community so that they could live together in the Village before it closes. So he sends Matty, who is also in charge of distributing the messages to other communities about the closing, to bring her through the Forest.

As Matty embarks his adventure, he notices that the Forest looks worse and dreary than before. Moreover as he accompanies Kira, they will end up greatly injured, almost near to death because of the Forest’s attacks to them. Later then, Matty uses his hidden gift to heal the Earth of all illnesses and sadness… and he dies. (He has this special gift of healing which he discovers at the beginning of the story, but he’s afraid of using it.) He becomes the Healer.

I was an avid reader of Funny Komiks since  when I was in Kindergarten. Every Sunday morning, I used to wake up early so that I could read first the freshly-delivered issue before my younger sister. Sometimes, I used to wait for the delivery man to pass by in our house, or in school if he missed giving the comic in Sunday.

It was P8 before, pretty cheap. But the latest price I saw was P15.  But we stopped buying the later issues when we transferred to our new house. I was also terribly disappointed that my mother gave away the thick mass of old issues. So that left us with nothing, but luckily, I found one in our old house. Here are some of the sections.

The front partThey’re Matsutsu and Bardagol from “Planet Op Di Eyps”. They’re trying to catch the tarsier because there is a reward cash for those who would give it alive. Matsutsu actually caught it using his old socks, so the tarsier died. The issue was published in 1999.

EklokI really like this series. Eklok is somewhat “bulol” which adds an additional humor to the story. It has some moral lessons too.

DSC00052One of my favorites; it’s not very Pinoy-style but thanks to this series, I learned to draw anime-style human figures. There was also AX II, an epilogue of this series. I think I could still remember the names of the characters: Maiden, Hikaru, Belle, Hazel, Reinjinna and their daughters and sons in the second series.

Thunder CatI also liked reading this. It was still starting in this part. Katkat is the the main character while the lightning guy is Little Kid who gave the Super Thunder Power to Katkat that made him a hero.

Tinay PinayI think the maker of AX was also the person behind the goodness of the illustration here.

Tomas En KulasOkay, this is also one of my faves. Tomas is really a bad singer… but still he likes singing. Kulas on the other hand, has more sense than Tomas. They’re really a great buddy pair.

Mr. & Mrs.Definitely the best part! Nothing more to say.

It was truly saddening that the Filipino comic industry declined, if not died My mother used to say that comics were even rented during her times. Well, things change I guess.

I only started reading novel books when I was first year and I think I’m beginning to enjoy it more. Reading novels is particularly a major requirement in our English subject because they make up our periodical exams. But I also read because it’s simply fun and addicting.

I have only read a few books so far because I rarely have enough money to buy those I wanted. My wish list are books about geisha, Amy Tan’s novels, and many more.

1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (J.K. Rowling)
2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (J.K. Rowling)
3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (J.K. Rowling)
4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (J.K. Rowling)
5. Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (C.S. Lewis)
6. Bamboo in the Wind (Azucena Grajo Uranza)
7. The Alchemist (Paolo Coelho)
8. Lord of the Flies (William Golding)
9. Without Seeing the Dawn (Stevan Javellana)
10. The Giver (Lois Lowry)
11. Gathering Blue (Lois Lowry)
12. Messenger (Lois Lowry)
13. Cry, the Beloved Country (Alan Paton)
14. Things Fall Apart (Chinua Achebe)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
17. Kitchen God’s Wife (Amy Tan)
18. The Deadwood Beetle (Mylene Dressler)
19. The Prophet (Kahlil Gibran)
20. The Other Boleyn Girl (Philippa Gregory)
21. The Last Time I saw Mother (Arlene Chai)
22. Mythology (Edith Hamilton)
23. Ang Mag-anak na Cruz (Liwayway Arceo)
24. Geisha (Liza Dalby)
25. Geisha, A Life (Mineko Iwasaki)
26. Luha ng Buwaya (Amado Hernandez)
27. Les Miserables (Victor Hugo)
28. El Filibusterismo (Jose Rizal)
29. Noli Me Tangere (Jose Rizal)
30. Geisha in Rivalry (Kafu Nagai)
31. A Thousand Splendid Suns (Khaled Hosseini)
32. Friends of God (Saint Josemaria Escriva)
33. Christ is Passing By (Saint Josemaria Escriva)
34. YOUCAT (Christoph Schönborn)
35. The Faith Explained (Leo Trese)
36. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (John Boyne)
37. Suikoden III Volume 2 (Aki Shimizu)
38. Suikoden III Volume 3 (Aki Shimizu)
39. Suikoden III Volume 4 (Aki Shimizu)
40. Suikoden III Volume 7 (Aki Shimizu)
41. Suikoden III Volume 9 (Aki Shimizu)
42. Suikoden III Volume 11 (Aki Shimizu)
43. Obasan (Joy Kogawa)
44. The House of Djinn (Suzanne Fisher Staples)
45. Suikoden III Volume 5 (Aki Shimizu)
46. Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles Volume 12 (CLAMP)
47. The Binding Chair (Kathryn Harrison)
48. By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept (Paolo Coekho)
49. The Fattening Hut (Pat Lowery Collins)
50. Stormbreaker (Anthony Horowitz)
51. Eagle Strike (Anthony Horowitz)
52. Ark Angel (Anthony Horowitz)
53. Scorpia (Anthony Horowitz)

I had read it twice not for the purpose of getting a high score in the exam, but because I appreciate my position in my life.

Weiwei, the main character of the story, is depicted to be the Kitchen God’s Wife; the one who had to carry the burden and the sufferings for his husband. As if she was born to suffer and meant to taste the bitterness of life. And yet she was strong-willed; so strong that she managed to pull herself altogether despite the worst things that happened to her. I admire her in that way, though she’s a little stubborn.

First Bad Fate: She was born with a mother called Double Second, meaning that her mother replaced the dead second wife.

Second Bad Fate: Her mother left her, leaving all the disgrace for her to carry.

Third Bad Fate: Her Old Aunt and New Aunt did not treat her nicely; they threatened her over her mother’s tragedy.

Fourth Bad Fate: She was married to Wen Fu, which made her life so miserable and devastated. This was probably the worst fate that happened to her in the whole story.

Fifth Bad Fate: She lost a lot of her babies: Mochou, Yuki and even her beloved son Danru.

Sixth Bad Fate: She was thrown in the prison for being accused of adultery.

Seventh Bad Fate: Pearl was born and Wen Fu was the father.

Eight Bad Fate: Jimmy Louie died recently.

Ninth Bad Fate: Pearl was now suffering with a disease called “Multiple Sclerosis”. And her daughter haven’t told her yet.

I think these are all her bad fates in her life, but of course, there are some good times too. The thing is, she was able to survive this kind of life, not even traumatized in the fact that Wen Fu made her a plaything. She is one of those few women who really has this strong will in life to go on.

After reading this story, I contemplated myself. If I were in Weiwei’s position, I might’ve cried all day and blamed others for giving me this bitter life. I might’ve even consider running away, far far away where no one would chase me out, where no one will know my past.

I also realize how lucky I was, having the full support of my family: basic necessities, education, love, happiness, etc. And I am very grateful for it. As for Weiwei, I wish her all the happiness for the rest of her life, at least.

Photo by mobileddl