Thursday, August 18, 2011

Female Noodle Power!!

I have a friend named Janelle here, and she is super awesome. She moved here with her husband when we lived here 3 years ago, and they are still living here, in the capitol of Kagawa, Takamatsu. Here is why she is super awesome: she taught herself Japanese while living here! And she knows over 1500 of the standard 2000 kanji you need to know to read Japanese. And she rocks Japanese cooking like no other gaijin* out there.

Plus, she works at an udon shop, but not just any udon shop--the first "josei" or only female udon shop in Kagawa. Udon making is traditionally a man's job, as it takes strong muscles to roll and cut the stiff dough. So, this restaurant where only women make the noodles is a huge deal, and they feature it on the news. Check out Janelle--after about 1 minute, she comes on:

I had to laugh at the reporter. He is basically saying, "Eh? A foreigner?! From Canada?! This is the first time I have ever seen a white person working in a noodle shop!"

Janelle loves her job, and they sent her to noodle making school this summer, too.
Go Janelle!

*Gaijin is the slang term for "foreigner". You'll notice the reporter says "gaikokujin", which is still kind of slang-y but a bit more polite. There is another polite term for foreigner, but no one uses it. Every person from America or Canada here even refers to himself and his friends as "gaijin" and the English classifieds here are called "Gaijin Pot". I don't know what I would do without my gaijin friends!
Monday, August 8, 2011

Books Vs. Movies--Gone With the Wind

Last week, I finished reading Gone With the Wind. Last night, I finished watching the movie for the first time. It took me about 3 days. I love watching the movie version of books that I have just read--it is so interesting to me what makes it into the movie and how other people interpret the story.
The film version of GWTW was actually pretty well done, and almost every line was directly from the book. Being that the movie was made in 1939, they left out some stronger words that are used in the book. However, they also left out some extremely important facts!

Continue reading if you don't mind plot revelations...

--Scarlett has 2 children from her first 2 marriages, but they completely leave this out! In the book, she is bothered by her son and thinks her daughter is ugly. So, I can see why her bad mothering would have been left out of the movie, but I think it's revealing of her character.

--Scarlett's 2nd husband is the local leader of the KKK and ends up being killed while setting negro homes on fire. I'd say that was a pretty important detail, but once again, that topic is probably too upsetting.

--Rhett Butler never says that he loves Scarlett. He refuses to tell her anything that would give her power over him. In the movie, he is saying it left and right and even asking for forgiveness. I guess this it to make him more likeable.

--And hello--the movie completely left out that the Yankees lit Tara on fire while there were woman and children in the home!!! Why was this left out?

So, I guess you can say I liked the book much better than the movie. I loved the book, even though it was really disturbing and has made me sad all week. Just thinking about it, I want to cry.

There is a quote I copied down years ago that talks about these kinds of books:

"We need books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. That is my belief."
— Franz Kafka

I don't think reading these kinds of books all the time is healthy, but sometimes you read them and a purpose is served or a lesson is taught or it just makes you think. The only other book that has had this affect on me was "The Dive from Clausen's Pier" by Ann Packer, and interestingly, the main character in that book is very similar to Scarlett O'Hara. I think the draw for me is drama, but the sadness is the resulting trainwreck of the character when you were hoping to read about redemption, which never occurs.

Now I need something really fun to get over this :)

And P.S. Has anyone read and watched Water for Elephants? Thoughts?

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