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Makura No Soshi (The Pillow Book)

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New member here! [sun october 16, 2005   2.04a]

Hello everyone!

I'm kaguyahime, a new member, and I just wanted to introduce myself properly. I'm currently in my senior year of college, working on a Liberal Studies degree with an Asian History emphasis. This semester has seen a lot of Japan-based research for me already, between my Ancient Japanese History class, an independent project on kimono, a class about graphic novels (manga, anyone?) and a research paper due in December on the gagaku music and kagura dance of Shinto. I thought joining a few LJ communities that focus on Japanese culture would be a fine idea, giving me the chance to pick up some new information as well as meet some new people. You all seem so nice!

My LJ is mainly about all the research I'm involved in right now. I tend to post my nerdtastic papers and make progress reports about how I'm doing. If you're interested in any of that, please drop by my page, but I can't blame you if you don't want to...even I don't want to read my own papers! *laugh*

As for me, I'm a huge fan of Japanese history and literature, and have had a love affair with everything geisha since my days in high school. I have a soft spot for enka music, and I love the writings of Sei Shonagon and Lady Murasaki. They are truly role models to me.

I look forward to making some new friends and learning a lot from the community. Best wishes to you all; I'm glad to be here!

(Cross-posted like whoa)
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[mon february 28, 2005   7.46p]

Hey, does anyone know where I can get ahold of a copy of the orignal translation by Arthur Waley? I know it's out of print and I haven't been able to find a copy anywhere. Any ideas? Thanks!
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hajimemashite [fri july 23, 2004   10.25p]

(good evening)

hello everybody - i would like to introduce myself:

i am a rising junior at Fordham University - College at Lincoln Center, currently studying to get my B.A. in History and International/Intercultural Studies (thats the official name, but I say Asian Studies b/c i'm just taking all asian classes and for those that are "international" more history classes) and I am minoring in classical civilizations (ancient greek) as well. I grew up in NYC and currently a commuter student.

Although Fordham does not have Japanese, I am taking it for transfer credit at the Toyota Language Center of the Japan Society right now. This fall, I will be studying abroad for the academic year in London at the School of Oriental and African Studies. I hope to go to Japan for graduate study at some point, and aim to get my Ph.D and become a professor/historian. My main (prospective) areas of concentration I would like it to be Heian or early medieval Japan, and I am a bit of a fan of Murasaki Shikibu and other female diarists as well (I've read Makura no Soshi, The Diary of Lady Murasaki and the Gossamer Years) in addition to the Tale of Genji.


(ps: just a forewarning i am a very bad typer, so forgive any spelling mistakes if there are any in the future)
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*GASP* [mon march 29, 2004   9.00a]
[ mood | happy ]

I ran across this community while I was at school and I just had to post here!

Recently, I was in a Japanese Contest, actually last Saturday, and one of the events I had entered was the Poetry section. The poem I chose to memorize was 'Makura no Soshi'. I really like this poem because it's beautiful and difficult to pronounce.

I won first place if any of you were wondering.

A little about myself. My name is Danielle. I'm a 17-year-old female that is in love with the Japanese culture and language. I've been taking Japanese since I started high school and I plan to continue my studies later on in college. I also plan to move to Japan one day. I visited Japan last summer and fell completely in love with the people and the lifestyle. Therefore, I will live there someday.

I'm very excited to be graduating from high school this year. I'm happy to be in this community and it's nice to meet you all. I hope I will be able to contribute and I await reading things you all find interesting.



An assignment for my Intro to Japanese Culture class...twas fun! [mon december 15, 2003   2.13a]

103. Enviable People
One has been attempting to learn the meaning of an Intro to Japanese Culture text; but though one has gone over the same passages again and again, one still does not seem to understand the meaning of the passage, or the purpose of it in the class. Meanwhile, one hears other people, not only classmates (for whom it is natural) but ordinary college men and women, inputting on such passages without the slightest effort, and one wonders when one will ever be able to come up to their standard.
When one is out of bed at night typing up an essay and hears one’s roommate dreaming and snoring loudly because they did not have any homework to care about, how enviable they seem!
Once on the day of my birth in the ninth month I decided to visit my parents. By the time I had packed I was already worn out; yet I kept packing and was finally on my way to my last class when a group of cars passed me. Though they evidently had classes to go to, as I did, the skipped their classes briskly and without the slightest look of discomfort – very enviable.
I had made haste to leave at dawn, but by the hour of breakfast I remembered I had to pick up a take home test. To make matters worse, the morning Chemistry class had been canceled, and I felt very tempted to leave. When I decided to stay, I began to cry from loneliness and wondered why I decided to take this class when there were so many people who had never thought of making the effort. Just then I saw a woman from my floor walking down the hall. She was not carrying books, but a suitcase. “I have gone home several time this year,” she declared to the people she met along the way. She was a dormmate I could have hardly noticed if I had met her anywhere else; but at that moment I wished I could change places with her.

I greatly envy people who have easy classes, whether they are long class periods or ordinary ones.
People who have umbrellas with a large span that protect them from rain that would otherwise fall on their shoulders.
People who have a life and are always surrounded by fun friends are most enviable.
People who have a good hand, who are skillful at playing Super Smash Brothers, and who always end up first whenever there is a competition.
On first watching anime, one is extremely envious of experienced otaku and wonders when one will be able to watch so many anime episodes.
The students in the university who are privileged to see the Florida vs. Florida State game.
People who can afford their own apartment and can stay there during their entire college career.
An alumnus who has really graduated and is currently making a name for himself in the world.
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Hello! [tue november 11, 2003   12.19a]

[ mood | hopeful ]

I just logged my first entry the other day. I think this is a great idea for a community, and I hope you all don't mind me joining. It seems as though there hasn't been too much activity recently, and I'm not sure if anyone is still interested but I thought I'd try posting anyway. Here's another list from makura no soshi, and one that I modeled after it (or added to).

Things that Arouse a Fond Memory of the PastCollapse )

Please add anything if you feel so inclined.

I also thought that if there was any interest we could experiment with a particular form of poetry Sei Shonagon mentions. Last year I took a course in Japanese haiku, and other traditional forms of poetry, so that might help a little. She discusses on several occasions writing a poem in a letter and then expecting a reply to the poem, by the receiver writing back to add to the poem. The form this would take would be one person writing a haiku-style poem (5-7-5, with similar themes), and then the respondent(s) is/are to continue the poem with two 7-7 lines. The respondant is supposed to play of one of the themes mentioned in the haiku, expanding the poem. If there's any interest in this sort of thing, please comment, if not, feel free to comment also. Thanks for having this community!


Autumn Haibun (of sorts) [sun november 9, 2003   12.23a]

[ mood | tired ]

and suddenly
reds, browns, golds, and yellows
were the colors of today's leaves.
having only noticed the one crimson tree a day ago
the orange scattered sidewalks were a surprise.
Crinkled, having fallen under our feet, the late
sun lowering, it was easy to miss the coming of fall,
and it was easy to miss its going.

evening sun's glare,
amongst the orange-red leaves,
walking home slowly.


Things That Make One's Heart Beat Faster [thu may 1, 2003   8.38a]
Another entry that could make an interesting writing prompt.

What things make your heart beat faster? Make a list. When you are done, read Sei Shonagon's list for more inspiration. Add to your list. Then post it as a comment.

Things that Make One's Heart Beat FasterCollapse )
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Are you familiar? [fri april 18, 2003   11.59a]
Has anyone else read or heard of this book?

Would anyone be interested in doing a group reading of this next month?

Since I still don't have a working VCR, my watching the movie is on a back burner and I would love to get some activity on this list. Any writers out there interested in doing some haiku, tanka, renga?

Show of hands, how many of you own a copy of the book The Pillow Book and how many of you have seen the movie?

Anyone have any ideas how to get some activity on this list?
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Listing [mon april 7, 2003   12.39a]
Still hoping for more responses!

[wed april 2, 2003   9.54a]

[ mood | happy ]

Hi everyone,

I had an interested in creating a community a while back solely for the purpose of posting lists in the style of Sei Shonagon. For example, you can post observations on passing life, or generate your own pleasant, elegant, hateful, or annoying things lists. The extent of detail to the lists (a few words or longer) is up to the individual.

The address is at monozukushi, if anyone is interested. I would like to also thank satia for her support, I would not have created the community without her approval. ^_^


Different Ways of Speaking [wed april 2, 2003   8.27a]
One of the things for which Sei Shonagon is known for is her "lists." Recently I have read numerous books on journaling which encourage writers to make lists as a way of journaling so I thought it would be fun for us to add to this very short list. I will begin and everyone add a comment. Let's see how long we can keep this one going. Have fun with it!

A priest's language
The speech of men and women
The common people always tend to add extra syllables to their words

And my addition:

A parent talking to an infant
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hello everyone [sat march 29, 2003   12.01a]

[ mood | happy ]

I have yet to read the pillow book but I am currently reading lady murasaki shikibo's tale of genji I've been interested in Japanese culture for a while and I'm currently studying to become a cultural anthropologist specializing in Japanese culture, and since I have yet to read the book I hope it will be all right to write of other things pertaining to this fascinating culture


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[sun march 16, 2003   1.09p]

[ mood | mellow ]

Hi everyone,

What an interesting community this is! My name is Saj and I attend Emerson College, majoring in Film. I'm actually currently working on a 30-pg research paper for my Honors class this semester about Greenaway's The Pillow Book. It's basically going to be a post-structuralist, feminist reading of Greenaway's film.

What may be interesting to note is that the post-structuralist, feminist theorist Helene Cixous has a lot of ideas that are celebrated in The Pillow Book. She believes that women can break out a male-dominated society through subversive writing - feminine writing, or, the writing of pleasurable sensations. It's amazing how many ideas I've been able to find in the film and in the original text.

After I've completed the paper, I plan on publishing it on the web for others to use in the future (this should happen sometime around May/June). I'll let everyone know.

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I am definitely renting the movie this weekend! [wed march 5, 2003   10.37p]
If the early reaction is any indication, Greenaway's latest movie, "The Pillow Book," is likely to be his most popular ever and just might win over some of his detractors. It's an adaptation of an erotic 10th century Japanese literary classic called "The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon," which Greenaway sets in contemporary Japan and Hong Kong. In the film, a model and aspiring writer named Nagiko (Vivian Wu) attempts to win over her publisher by sending to his offices a series of men whose bodies she has covered from head to toe with exquisite calligraphy -- a kind of sexually-charged, high-concept book proposal. The male lead, played by Ewan McGregor ("Trainspotting"), is a bisexual translator named Jerome who spends most of the film with his uncircumcised penis flapping in the wind. Despite occasional flashes of morbidity, "Pillow Book" is Greenaway's warmest film. It uses a lush and remarkably innovative visual style, which the director says he partly cribbed from television.
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another post. look out, i'm on a roll!!! [wed march 5, 2003   6.56p]

I am certain that there are two things in life which are dependable -- the delights of the flesh and the delights of literature. I have had the good fortune to bring them together and enjoy them together in full quantity.

Sei Shonagon feels modern, almost a proto-feminist in such a paternalistic age that women at court stayed, for the most part, silent and still and available indoors all their lives. She said much, and she said two electrifying things from the still darkness of her domestic prisons. She said them of course very much in her own way, but she said there were two things in life that were absolutely essential, and life would be unbearable without them: the sensuous body and literature. My crude summation would be sex and text. Both have the X factor. She said them with longing and her longing stayed with me. How can we arrange to have these two desirable items, and how can we arrange to have them always together?

(greenaway, who else?)

Pssst . . . [wed march 5, 2003   6.51p]
It looks like I am the only one who responded to the poll and I was hoping that maybe someone besides me would post.

This is a wonderful idea for a community but a community, by definition, is a group of people and so far most of the posts have been from me. (Specifically, 10 of the posts are from me and only 18 posts total for the community since its creation.)

If you didn't love the movie and/or the book you wouldn't be here so please don't let this community die a quiet death. C'mon and jump in with some comments or thoughts.

The water is fine.

I swear.
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A Poll! [wed march 5, 2003   9.40a]
Poll #109135 Sei Shonogan

Do you own a copy of The Pillow Book by Sei Shonogan?


Have you ever read the book?

I am reading it now

Have you ever seen the movie The Pillow Book


Do you want to see the movie The Pillow Book

Not sure

What do you think would help make this community more active and interesting?


Anyone care to have a movie night? [tue march 4, 2003   8.15a]
I was thinking that some of the members of this community haven't seen the movie The Pillow Book and sood's enthusiasm made me think that it might be fun to plan a particular weekend as the one where we will all try to watch the movie and come here on Monday to discuss our thoughts about it.

Anyone else think this sounds like it might be fun?
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[mon march 3, 2003   11.08a]
In How Delightful Everything Is!, Sei Shoagon writes about the festival and preparing for this annual event.

Read more...Collapse )Next: Different Ways of Speaking

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