ranuel: (English Is)
According to Geoffrey Pullum, head of linguistics and English language at the University of Edinburgh, The Elements of Style, the classic Strunk and White grammar guide, is filled with errors and he is happy to list them for you.


Reality just warped a little for me. If you can't trust Elements of Style what can you trust? 
ranuel: (Reference Library)

Latin Quotes and Phrases

Some are classic quotes, some are silly, and a lot of them would make great sig lines.

Cave canem, te necet lingendo - Beware of the dog, he may lick you to death
Estne tibi forte magna feles fulva et planissima? - Do you by chance happen to own a large, yellowish, very flat cat?
Estne volumen in toga, an solum tibi libet me videre? - Is that a scroll in your toga, or are you just happy to see me?

ranuel: (Reference Library)
I've been trying to figure out which sect of Buddhism Miroku belongs to for nearly as long as I've been reading the series so that would be something like four years. My best guess was some variety of Jodo (Pure Land) but we don't get a lot of details in canon and repeated attempts to find clues based on the design of his clothing via Google were just confusing.

I should have known that [profile] scribefigaro, author of THE guide to what the clothes in IY are would have figured out the answer.


If you go to the main page of her recently updated Hagakure Productions site you will find the clothing guide, the article on Miroku's faith, and the two articles that he recently posted to her Live Journal that I've previously recommended as well as several other really informative and helpful articles. You'll also find links to his excellent fan videos and fanfiction.


Edited 3/31/08 to fix gender.

ranuel: (Reference Library)
This is a fun little tool that will do a search on any key word you want and show you a graph of how often it's been mentioned in blogs for up to the last 90 days. For instance:


Doctor Who:

That silly Photobucket meme that it seemed like everyone is doing right now but apparently aren't:

The drawback is that there is no way to freeze the data so no matter when you click on this the results you see will be for the last 90 days, not the last 90 from when I'm posting. You would have to do a screen print if you wanted to preserve the data at a particular point.

ranuel: (Reference Library)
[profile] scribefigaro has written two extremely excellent articles on things Japanese.

Japanese Castles gives us an overview of the history and architecture before giving us her first person impressions from her tours of some of the remaining castles. From explaining what a honmaru is to pointers about rest rooms and gift shops at the modern sites this is filled with useful information.

Sengoku Jidai Primer gives a great overview of the period for the non-historian. Special emphasis is given to people and events with an impact on the Inuyasha storyline.

These are indispensable to anyone writing anything set in feudal Japan.
ranuel: (Reference Library)

If you need to read a book for fun or research that is old enough to be in the common domain then your first stop should be Project Gutenberg, not the library or bookstore. Here you will find electronic additions of 20,000 books available for free download and links to other sites with a total of approximately 3,000,000 books available and you never have to worry if it's been checked out or is out of print.

Save a tree, read an e-book!

Plus you can search an e-book much more easily than you can a paper one. You can read the books on your computer or laptop using Word or Open Office or you can transfer most of their titles easily to your PDA (if it supports text files) or specialized e-book reader (such as the Kindle). I regularly download titles to my Palm Zaire.

Books are available in over 40 languages and there are even some audio books for your IPod. You can search by author, subject, or title.

To give you a sense of the variety here are the top 25 downloads for yesterday:

  1. The Outline of Science, Vol. 1 (of 4) by J. Arthur Thomson (1417)
  2. Manual of Surgery Volume First: General Surgery. Sixth Edition. by Miles and Thomson (918)
  3. Manners, Custom and Dress During the Middle Ages and During the Renaissance Period by Paul Lacroix (837)
  4. The Art of War by Sun Tzu (729)
  5. Searchlights on Health by B. G. Jefferis and J. L. Nichols (565)
  6. History of the United States by Charles A. Beard and Mary Ritter Beard (560)
  7. Our Day by William Ambrose Spicer (523)
  8. Illustrated History of Furniture by Frederick Litchfield (478)
  9. Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great - Volume 01 by Elbert Hubbard (452)
  10. The People's Common Sense Medical Adviser in Plain English by Ray Vaughn Pierce (423)
  11. Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great - Volume 03 by Elbert Hubbard (367)
  12. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (365)
  13. A Text-Book of the History of Painting by John Charles Van Dyke (364)
  14. Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome by E.M. Berens (355)
  15. The Practice and Science of Drawing by Harold Speed (323)
  16. The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India—Volume I (of IV) by Robert Vane Russell (312)
  17. Across Unknown South America by A. Henry Savage Landor (303)
  18. The Mafulu by Robert Wood Williamson (264)
  19. Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, Complete by Various (263)
  20. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (256)
  21. Amusements in Mathematics by Henry Ernest Dudeney (256)
  22. The Marvelous Land Of Oz by L. Frank Baum (252)
  23. General Science by Bertha M. Clark (240)
  24. Custom and Myth by Andrew Lang (237)
  25. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (236)

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ranuel: (Reference Library)

Sake World Newsletter Issue #75
Sake Brewing in Shrines and Temples


There is a reason Mushin has a constant supply, he probably makes it himself.

In addition to the history of Sake brewing there are some interesting tidbits about the interaction between Buddhist monks and Shinto priests. At one point they happily shared temples as well as the results of their brewing. 

ranuel: (OMG Magic)


I can almost guarantee that if you haven't read the rest of this post your first reaction upon clicking that link will be to think I've lost my mind. The big ads for hot Japanese girls and hotels give it a particularly tabloid trashy look. What could be of interest here?

Quite a lot actually once your eyes adjust and you can focus on the text. Here you will find links to dozens of articles on just about everything Japanese, many of which are illustrated. Some are better than others, and most are drawn from other sources, but there is a lot of good information here.

Do you want to know how the Japanese celebrate Christmas? What a wedding kimono looks like? What is the climate like? Need a map of the country or of a particular city?

Here you go.

ranuel: (Default)

Kit LaHaise has written a nice introduction to kitsune mythology. He draws heavily from the book, Kitsune: Japan's Fox of Mystery, Romance, and Humour  by Kiyoshi Nozaki tsune.

He covers  the various types of kitsune, famous kitsune from legends, kitsune magic, and stories of possession and spiritual vampirism. An effort is made to separate the real folk beliefs from modern interpretations.
ranuel: (Default)

Confrontation II: Trials and Tribulations by Simonkal of Inuy http://www.mediaminer.org/fanfic/view_st.php/130285

The action takes place in Japan in the mid-sixteenth century. In chapter 12 she describes the wall around a fortress made of "thick robust cinderblocks" A pretty neat trick since they won't be invented for a few hundred years. Closest I could narrow it down was some time between the late 19th and early 20th century.

Then in chapter 14 she has a character wear "a halberd on one hip, a sword at the other". Okay, so it's a bear youkai who is about eight feet tall, but even so, wearing a weapon that is at least six feet long on your hip has to be awkward. I suspect that the word does not mean what she thinks it does.

A halberd is a kind of European polearm with an axe and a spike at the end. The term has been used by Viz in it's translations of Inuyasha to refer to Banryuu, Bankotsu's polearm, which is a fantasy variant on the zanbatou, or horse killing blade. While the article at Wikipedia says that these are not known to be used except as temple displays I have seen an article that has a reference to these huge blades as being used experimentally at one point. I have lost the link and can't locate it at this time though.




ranuel: (Default)
Oops is a thread I started at WASIF a long while back in which we post, okay it's mostly been me but others have contributed, factual errors we find in fiction.

Why bother?

Because maybe someone will read it and avoid making the same mistake, or else be made more aware of the importance of research. One glaring error can completely destroy suspension of disbelief and ruin an otherwise great story for a reader. Every single professional writer I've heard speak on the subject has been firm that it is important to do your research and if you have to bend the truth to fit your story then at least you know what you are doing, and why, and can either do it in a subtle way, or warn your readers going in.

Anyway, I'm going to start crossposting these and will add them to the reference library because I think that this will fit in.

In other library news, [profile] iniondia has offered to write up some entries to be included. I'm looking forward to seeing what resources she has gathered being more of an information pack rat than I am. Since I can't cross reference to her journal she's going to post to WASIF and I'm going to copy/paste the entries into posts here so they can be cataloged. Her life is pretty hectic right now so no idea when the "guest posts" will start.
ranuel: (Default)

Simple and straight forward to use. However, it will not give you any guidance as to which of several results is appropriate for the context you need. A good place to find out what that odd bit of fangirl Japanese means but not a replacement for a real dictionary.
ranuel: (Default)

Mark McLelland, writing under the name Dharmachari Jnanavira, examines sex, homosexuality, and attitudes towards women in Japanese Society from the founding of the first Buddhist temple until the end of the 19th century in this article for Western Buddhist Review .

This article is a must read for anyone writing yaoi (anime or manga based slash) since the attitudes toward two men having sex were so very different from Western views that they should influence both plot and characterization. For someone like Miroku, a 19-year-old 16th century monk, to be totally naive about same sex relationships is just about impossible given the culture but I've seen several stories where the fanfic author wants us to believe that is the case. Likewise any product of the Samurai culture that was strongly influenced by these ideas would not be unaware of such things.

The author does throw in some modern gender stuff towards the end about the death of male friendships in our culture that I don't agree with but other works I've read back up the basic historical information he presents.

ranuel: (Default)

A glossary of Japanese words and phrases that have appeared in various English language works.  Posted by Brian Smaller as a reference for the RPG he runs.

I can't guarantee the accuracy of his translations, and frankly ,if I understand where he got them correctly, neither can he. It does seem to be pretty accurate to me. In any case, it makes a good quick reference.


The definition of Tanuki wrongly calls it a badger.

Also bear in mind that although he is focused on the Sengoku Jidai his definitions sometimes incorporate material from different eras. He also fails to provide a context in some definitions relating to culture so be aware that practices that were common for those of one class or geographical area may differ from those of others.

ranuel: (OMG Magic)

Anthony Bryant, A.K.A. Tony, A.K.A. Baron Edward of Effingham of the S.C.A., A.K.A. Eddie Effie, is the closest to a real life Miroku that I've ever met. He's a friend of  friends and I got to talk to him once years ago when he came to visit. It was interesting to put a face to all their stories. Heh. I swear the man has more appendages than Naraku but somehow it's not possible to get mad at him. I found myself wordlessly removing his hand while continuing our discussion without a break.

The man knows his stuff about Samurai culture though. He has published history books as well as a source book for gaming in the feudal Japan.  At this site you will find useful essays on Heian society, arms and armor, clothing, and links to other useful sites. The illustrations can be very detailed.

The site hasn't been updated since 2004 and some pages were only partially done at that time. Some of the entries have a picture and some text but also something like "Place holding text" or "Blah, blah, blah" indicating that he planned to add more to it. I'm hoping that he does, it's good stuff.


Apr. 1st, 2007 12:46 pm
ranuel: (Default)
I put up the first post of the Reference Library project this morning and I've probably spent nearly two hours off and on jiggering around with the tags and what they mean and creating the beginnings of an index and hot linking each subject to the tag. Found three typos along the way too.

I picked the item I did BECAUSE it covered so many areas and I knew it would give me a good start on the index but the reality was nearly overwhelming. I don't think any of the others will give me quite so much trouble.

In other news...

The IYFG Awards nomination period opened today so I also spent time finalizing my nominations. Now, in previous quarters I've mostly held back until towards the end because I've usually had two, or even three, noms in one or more categories that I was having trouble deciding between and I'd pick the one that nobody else did to make sure it made it to the ballot. This time....

Okay, I screwed up.

I have a spreadsheet that I use to track the stories that I want to nominate. I keep up to three for each category and as I find stuff that makes me say "Wow!" I evaluate if it's as good as what I've already got listed and if it is I boot the weakest story and add my new find. Somewhere around mid-February I just forgot to do this. I read lots of good fic through Inuerotica and Forth's challenges and from authors that I have on notify but while I remembered to comment on the really good stuff, I forgot to keep track of it consistently. So when I opened up the list it was looking pretty bare.

I managed to fill in some stuff from memory but I KNOW that there are stories that I would normally have in there that aren't and I can't for the life of me remember them. Like, I have NO noms in the Best Romance Miroku/Sango category and I've read good Miroku/Sango this quarter. Anyway, I went with what I had and went ahead and submitted my nominations in those categories where I had something.

So, you'll never know who you are, 'cause neither will I, but to those authors who may not get nominated because I"m an idiot, I really do apologize and I'll try to do better next time.

And, please don't take this the wrong way if I did nom you. After all, your story stuck in my memory enough to make the list so I'd probably have ended up nominating you anyway. This is mainly directed at those with stories in the empty categories where I know I would have had at least one story if I'd done what I was supposed to.

Oh, well, by getting my noms in early now I can concentrate on reading what everyone else is nominating and get ready for the vote.
ranuel: (OMG Magic)

Mark Schumacher has degrees in Japanese and Chinese studies and has lived in Japan since 1992. His focus is on Japanese Buddhist art and this site is the sister site to his online store. The entries are primarily his notes on the art and the stories behind it and under each heading you will find much repetition of the same information as he copies in things he has learned from new sources. However, the organization of the site with an alphabetical index in the sidebar allows the visitor to quickly find what she is looking for and the information is presented in a way that is understandable to the layman. It is presented in a dry textbook style that can cause a bit of eyelid drooping in longer entries but the huge number of illustrations keep it interesting.  Many of the pictures have been taken by Schumacher or are of things that he has personally viewed.

It's not rare for historians or archaeologists to differ on the interpretation of the known facts about something and I particularly like that when sources differ Schumacher will present both theories and the reasoning behind them. He is also open to input from his readers and updates the site regularly.
ranuel: (Default)

I've been talking about posting the links I've found over the past several years of researching stuff for my game. I've got stuff on Japan that fanfic writers really, really need to read to avoid cultural goofs. I've got stuff on Ancient Egypt. I've got stuff. I'm losing track of the stuff so putting it up in an organized way on my LJ would seem to be a good way to allowing others to benefit from my Google addiction AND keeping track of it for myself.

But actually organizing the posts and how I would present the information had me chasing my tail. Forthright to the rescue! I realized that her Sesshoumaru Syllabus solves a similar problem so I emailed her to find out how she manages it and she graciously helped me out.

So, instead of doing two or three large posts I'm going to be doing a separate post for each link with commentary on the material and just like Forth I'll do a main post with a general introduction and a listing of the sub-categories backdated to a point before the LJ version of my blog started. The “Reference Library” Link to the right will take you to the main directory which is empty at the moment except for some place holding text but which will give you an easy way to find info by subject.

Anybody know how to change the text header for the Blurb box? 

To avoid spaming my friends, and to give those that are interested a chance to check them out, I won't add more than a link a day.

I'm thinking about copying some of my posts from the Oops! thread at WASIF and adding them in somehow. Oops! is a thread I started in which members are encouraged to post factual errors they find in professional and fan fiction along with the correct information. I think it would fit in with this pretty well. We'll see.

Comments and suggestions will be welcome.


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