(view spoiler)[ Look, if you're going to incorporate rape into your story, don't make it a flimsy plot device. It has to be pStarted reading, and then…
(view spoiler)[ Look, if you're going to incorporate rape into your story, don't make it a flimsy plot device. It has to be purposeful. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but Gideon's first illustrated victim is never discussed as a person. What's her name? Who is she? How does this impact her as an individual? What was the purpose of the scene? What was the purpose of her being made to forget, but her family remembers? Could Gideon's insidious nature have just as easily been illustrated through different means?
And why, WHY is Bess still attracted to him despite the fact that he friggin' raped someone before her very eyes and then admitted to being a habitual sexual predator!? Jeez, come on.
Looking at other reviews, there's also demon sex? And that's what turns Bess off? Not the dehumanization of other women, but, literal actual demon sex.
So I accidentally read this one first, and will now go back to the very first volume (oops). But, regardless, what Western readers should realize is tSo I accidentally read this one first, and will now go back to the very first volume (oops). But, regardless, what Western readers should realize is that Oishinbo was an incredibly popular comic in Japan, only recently going on an indefinite hiatus. We're talking a run from 1983 to 2014, with each volume selling about 1.2 million copies. According to ye olde Wikipedia, that's more than 130 million copies. Culturally, in America, we can't imagine something centering around food having this kind of popularity.
So, think of these volumes as a greatest-hits of this series, with some plot gaps you'll have to fill in yourself or with the notes. (From what I'm seeing of other reviews, the fact that this is pieced together becomes very apparent in this volume compared to others.)
My first impression, after dropping myself into the middle of things, is that Yamaoka is definitely an anti-hero, and a royal jerk at times. I don't care much for his character, or understand why Kurita goes for this dude. But, plot aside, the food is really eye-opening. What we may consider ramen is an outright sin compared to what's in this volume, with even the quality of flour coming under scrutiny. I'm looking at my PB&J sandwich as an affront knowing how little care was put into its parts.
So, I think if you're looking for some insight into Japan's cuisine, and are looking for a good cultural read, this will be fun to go through. Read it for the food, not for the plot. ...more
I started off my review of the third volume with this insight, which I think is even more important for the first volume: what Western readers shouldI started off my review of the third volume with this insight, which I think is even more important for the first volume: what Western readers should realize is that Oishinbo was an incredibly popular comic in Japan, only recently going on an indefinite hiatus. We're talking a run from 1983 to 2014, with each volume selling about 1.2 million copies. According to ye olde Wikipedia, that's more than 130 million copies! Can you imagine a Western comic centered around food selling that well?
With that being said, these volumes are more of a greatest hits compilations than a piece-by-piece collection.
I feel like this series is best enjoyed when you're focused on cooking, and not on story. Yamaoka's father is a pretty handy plot device that almost always results in a didactic lesson being taught on Japanese cuisine and culture. For someone who has wholeheartedly left his home, Yamaoka's conveniently seeing his father a lot. And, for someone who prizes etiquette and the heart of things so very much, Kaibara behaves terribly in the presence of his hosts and guests. If the plot doesn't rest on their dynamic, things usually get heated after Yamaoka offends someone important, then engages in a cooking contest to prove his point, or shows people why he was right in offending the aforementioned Important Person, to then have everyone going "gosh, yeah, you're right!" I mean, our business contacts are probably shot and there's more than likely a web of people who will never open their doors to us ever again, but you're right!
Neither of them are very likable, which I've seen set off some reviewers. So again, read it for the food, and you'll have a pretty enjoyable experience.
An interesting look at the more spiritual, sacred side of gardening. I appreciated the specific plant recommendations and cultural information, and wiAn interesting look at the more spiritual, sacred side of gardening. I appreciated the specific plant recommendations and cultural information, and will definitely carry over some of her insights into my garden next year....more
So, let me begin by saying that I give this five fab stars for its spirit and value to young people (saying that makes me feel old!), especially thoseSo, let me begin by saying that I give this five fab stars for its spirit and value to young people (saying that makes me feel old!), especially those figuring themselves out. To people who feel pretty confident about themselves, you're going to walk away with something, I promise, even if it's the overall experience of getting to know the author. That's what's important here: that Jeffrey Marsh, through their own life experiences and personal advice, validates and uplifts those who are desperately trying to find their way in the world.
I'm lucky to have been raised in a thoughtful, respectful household where I learned to value myself and others. It wasn't a perfect upbringing, you know, but Jeffrey asks readers to consider that our parents were doing the best they could with what they knew. My parents absolutely did and keep doing their best. I'm blessed.
Looking back, I have what many referred to as an "old soul," where I knew who I was from a young age. Which isn't to say I didn't struggle with people or myself; rather, because I knew who I was, I ended up being a beacon of sorts for kids who were trying to find their way. I gathered those people around me, helping them through abusive family relationships, bad friendships, poor self-esteem. The issue eventually became that those people wanted to keep me at a certain level so they wouldn't lose me--keeping me in my place, so to speak, which spiraled into toxic friendships that eventually had to be broken.
(If this sounds like I'm insufferably tooting my own horn of martyrdom, I apologize. Middle school was rough, and even my teachers saw what was going on.)
I knew who I was, and I knew I didn't deserve the kind of "friendships" these people were offering. I went into high school alone, and started completely anew, gathering friends that I still have today. They're confident, kind, flawed, absolutely wonderful people, and I am so thankful for them.
So, with all that being said, I could relate to Jeffrey's discussion on feeling like a bit of an outsider, or broken, but for different reasons. I needed so much time to push through school so I could finally get to college and be. It was like arriving at the point I'd always been at in some way, if that makes sense.
When Jeffrey talks about understanding the futility of perfection and using our quirky traits as strengths, I knew exactly what they were getting at. I felt we could have an awesome conversation. And, really, they make me want to be a kinder person in my every-day life. Thinking about those people who have moved on to who knows where, they needed kindness and love more than anything.
With that being said, while reading, I couldn't agree with many assumptions being made about my personal experiences. There's focus on how we're told to be less-than, to tone down, to be something else, and perhaps I encountered these issues to some degree? But, if you're going to write a self-help, self-discovery book about How to Be You, it's safe to assume your audience is coming to you with those insecurities. I suppose I was looking for something more in-depth, or just something else entirely.
And again, none of that is a downfall! It'll be great for a kid or young adult, especially with its repetitive affirmations and accessible, personal anecdotes. This is especially valuable for lgbtq+ kids who need to hear that, hey, there's nothing wrong with you and you're okay. (I just picture Jeffrey with their gorgeous eyes gazing lovingly out from a Vine sending confidence. If you don't know who they are, seek them out!)
So, yes, while I had trouble connecting to the whole of this text, as I'm not really learning How to Be Me, someone else absolutely will....more
Extremely useful for up-and-coming teachers-- I admit, I found myself going "Oh sh--, I totally do this to my students." Well, that's changing, thanksExtremely useful for up-and-coming teachers-- I admit, I found myself going "Oh sh--, I totally do this to my students." Well, that's changing, thanks to this gem. The book is very brief, though, so it's more of a collection of suggestions that set you in a certain direction, but still very valuable. Absolutely read if you're beginning composition courses, or giving student feedback in any way....more
Very cute and sweet, but hopefully there are no more super inappropriate teacher-student relationships in the upcoming volumes. A 10/11 year old and sVery cute and sweet, but hopefully there are no more super inappropriate teacher-student relationships in the upcoming volumes. A 10/11 year old and someone in their (presumably) 30s? Hell. No. Even with cultural differences, that's just too much of a gap in age and maturity, even if CLAMP does harp on how mature the student is. Still weird, still wrong!
That aside, though, Sakura's adventures are fun to read and appreciate from an artistic standpoint. Just watch out for these strangely-justified pairings....more