Month: July 2007

  • Japanese Elections

    Yesterday were the elections for the Upper House of the Japanese Diet. They were rather more exciting than usual, because the ruling Liberal Democratic Party did not win. The largest party in the upper house is now the Democratic Party (formed by a merger of the Liberal Party and the Democratic Party a few years […]

  • The Origins of Human Society

    The Origins of Human Society is part of the Blackwell History of the World. It covers human prehistory from the first emergence of the genus Homo to the first emergence of history. Thus, the end of its discussion varies depending on the part of the world concerned; in the Middle East it ends around 3000BC, […]

  • Ash: A Secret History

    Mary Gentle’s Ash is a really big book. It’s probably pushing half a million words. It is also very good. The most useful way to describe it is “historical fantasy”, although it’s probably technically science fiction. But if you think you’re going to read a historical fantasy, you’ll have a pretty good idea of the […]

  • Ultrasound Pictures

    We had another trip to the obstetrician today. Fortunately, there don’t seem to be any serious problems. Yuriko just has to get more exercise, and walk quickly. So I should probably go walking with her. This, of course, is to build up her endurance ready for giving birth. The doctor would like her to walk […]

  • The Last Harry Potter

    So, the last Harry Potter is released tomorrow. I have it on order, and Amazon Japan have apparently already shipped it, so I should get it tomorrow. I will read it fairly quickly, for a couple of reasons. First, it’s a pretty good series, and I’d like to know how it finishes. I’d like to […]

  • Skinchangers

    This book is a supplement for the World of Darkness, and covers shapechangers of various kinds, as you might guess from the title. The WoD contains a whole game about werewolves, so this book is about other shapechangers. The first chapter is about humans who steal the shapes of animals, generally by killing animals and […]

  • Earthquake not here again

    At about a quarter past ten this morning, there was a major earthquake in Niigata Prefecture. Niigata Prefecture is some way north of here, on the Japan Sea coast of Japan, and we didn’t even feel it; I found out from the new headlines on my cell phone. It was an upper 6 on the […]

  • Rain

    Today, it rained all day. Quite heavily. None of this “rain before seven, fine by eleven” rubbish. Now, it is true that we are currently in the middle of rainy season, but that’s not the reason. The reason is typhoon number 4. This is the first major typhoon of this season (which, I think, is […]

  • The Analects

    I finally got around to reading the Analects of Confucius, in Arthur Waley’s translation. The introduction claims that this is actually a good, fairly literal, translation, which would make it different from his translation of, say, the Tale of Genji, which gets called a paraphrase. I imagine that’s an exaggeration born of scholarly outrage, but […]

  • Camera-Shy Foetuses

    We went to the clinic again yesterday, for the regular checkup on Yudetamago’s progress. There don’t seem to be any problems; she’s getting bigger at an appropriate speed, and Yuriko seems to be doing well. The longest discussion was over the sorts of exercise that Yuriko should do, which boiled down to “it’s difficult”. She […]