In the Kaiju we trust

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Godzilla is quite old testament. Super grouchy and unrelenting… laying waste to Sodom/Gomorrah/Tokyo whatever. Personally I never really understood what seemed like quite a personal vendetta against Japan. Although to be fair, I’m not entirely sure what Yahweh had against the Egyptians either… maybe it had to do with accepting assistance from extraterrestrials to build pointy, deity sized caltrops in the desert…. which may not have endeared them to anyone of a certain size and/or disposition. I imagine it’s like stepping on a lego, only their reaction is not limited to unusual adjectives paired with expressive cuss words.

Now that I think about it… why did the Egyptians get an extra dose of smite and the Romans got a free pass? I can’t seem to remember if they cover that specifically in the codex of two parts… not that its important to this meandering thought pattern. If you can even call it a pattern.

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In any event, at least Godzilla has a clearly defined endgame which can be communicated without allegory, metaphor and unnecessary punctuation. The other guy not so much. Personally I feel a fair amount of blame can be placed at the feet of Mary and Joseph who (in my opinion) spent too much pushing the hippie carpentry aspect when maybe they should have been been punting a little more marketing and business management 101. In the very least one semester of effective communication. No mustard seeds, fig trees or good samaritans need apply. Also Jesuses hiring process was abysmal. Seriously, its almost like he picked his disciples at random… trust me on this when I say this is not a great way to build a team of core competency that you can trust to spread the dogma once you ascend skyward (without the aid of a fiery chariot I might add).

Godzilla has no doctrine. Except laying down the smack. Clear, concise and effective. Also one of his iterations is mecha-godzilla.

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Which is basically the coolest thing ever. Vaguely I wonder if I’d like the pope more if he strode about in mechsuit instead of a pope-mobile.

Yes.

I think I would.

MechaPope would have shown those protestants the error of their ways…

 

Honor bound

‘Dishonor is like a scar on a tree, which with time, instead of effacing, only helps to enlarge’ – Bushido maxim

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Truth be told I am a fetishist when it comes to scar tissue. I’m inclined to believe that they are indicative of either a life well lived, or challenging circumstances that has been overcome (since you are still here). Both are worthy of respect and admiration and I’m drawn to damaged dermis and cracked people in a very profound and liminal way. The proverbial moth towards the flame. Although, now that I think about it, doesn’t the moth die in this analogy? (explains a lot of my relationships actually) In any event, I often find they are the best sort. Those with the rent skin I mean, not the Lepidoptera. And are (for the most part) pure, unadulterated sex appeal.

Although this particular maxim isn’t about physicality, it’s about the things we do alone (in the dark) when nobody is watching. Which is an entirely different kettle of fish.

I suppose I should say that I find most discussions about honor to be problematic. Isn’t honor one of those concepts that is supposed to be exhibited through action and deed, as opposed to discourse and confabulation? (Trying to remember the Paladin entry in my Dungeons and Dragons Players Handbook) Any person claiming to be honorable, after all, is almost undoubtedly met with, at best skepticism, but more likely, derision. (Unless they’re super scary looking in which case you might be better off rolling your eyes in secret… and then only slandering them once you’ve put some measure of safe distance between you and your overly principled adversary)

If you do think you are the honorable sort, best to keep that sort of thing to yourself, lest you grind up against the benchmark of your fellows. They are unlikely to appreciate your keen sense of… eh… moral and ethical superiority. 

Sometimes, of course,  I like to pretend to be some sort of upright, deciduous broad-leaf… but I am likely one of the more knobbly, gnarled and crooked conifers in the forest.

I tend to think of myself as having lots of non-negotiable statues in my life… which I constantly seem to be breaking. Of course I keep these failings strictly to myself, but moralize and gossip over others failing my own rule set.

‘that mother fucker, driving like a maniac down my quiet suburban street’. Of course when I’m in a foul mood and do it, it’s totally fine. Justifiable even.

-Insert further examples of hypocrisy here-

Maybe honor is a percentile game? Given the choice between an ‘honorable’ and the ‘dishonorable’ action you take the achievement award if you choose correctly 51% of the time? (I basically passed my degree like this).

I feel the spirit of the game is more akin to a single instance of wavering on any of the non-negotiables equals immediate disqualification. No take backs, quick saves or starting over.

That is quite serious.

Fortunately the Japanese have another concept I find potentially more appealing than samurai aphorisms. That of Wabi-sabi.

In traditional Japanese aesthetics, wabi-sabi is a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.

I’m sure it probably only applies to physical objects… but I’m going to pretend that it doesn’t. This makes my barky exterior much more cheerful.

 

Sasaki Ganryu

Miyamoto Musashi continued to travel around Japan looking for suitable adversaries against which to test his skill. Eventually he heard about an undefeated warrior named Sasaki Ganryu who fought with a very long sword (possibly a No-dachi) and won his duels through a combination of skill and a distance advantage (having several more inches of blade than a normal katana)

Musashi challenged Ganryu who eagerly accepted his challenge, the two agreed that the duel would take place on a small island at 8am the next day.

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Ganryu arrived on time but Musashi, as usual, was very, very late. Ganryu was furious. Eventually a boat was spotted approaching the island drifting with the current. The passenger was lazily slouched in the boat, seemingly half asleep and whittling at a long wooden oar. It was Musashi.

When Musashi eventually came ashore he tired a dirty towel around his head and brandished the the long oar that he intended to use as a weapon in the duel. Ganryu was enraged. Musashi had come to fight him, with a dirty towel as a headband and an oar for a sword! How dare he disrespect him so.

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Shishido Baiken

After his duels with the Yoshioka family Miyamoto Musashi began travelling the length and breadth of Japan looking for warriors against which to test his skill. He soon heard of an undefeated warrior called Shishido Baiken who wielded a kusarigama in duels.

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A kusarigama is a Sickle with a long chain attached to it. A steel ball is then attached to the end of the chain. Baiken would swing his ball and chain in an arc building up speed and momentum forcing his opponent onto the back foot by increasing the circumference of the spinning steel ball. He would then hurl the ball at the mans face. His opponent would have to fend off the ball and chain with this sword arm and at that precise moment Baiken would close the distance and use the sickle against his opponents throat. Baiken relied on the weapons ‘exotic-ness’ insofar as a swordsman would struggle to formulate a strategy against this weapon in so short a time, especially when he was already back pedaling.

Musashi was intrigued and wanted to see this weapons in action, but Baiken refused saying the only way he could see the weapon was in a duel, to which Musashi agreed.

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Yoshioka Matashichiro

After Miyamoto Musashi had killed Yoshioka Denshichiro leadership of the Yoshioka house and sword school fell to the 12 year old Yoshioka Matashichiro.

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Shortly after the demise of his brother, the new scion of house Yoshioka challenged Musashi to a duel to the death to reclaim the honor of his house and to avenge his brothers. In the terms of the duel it was requested that the duel take place outside of Kyoto and at night. Musashi suspected duplicity on the part of Matashichiro but agreed anyway.

Unlike his previous duels Musashi arrived very early for this duel and hid in the trees and waited. Matashichiro suspected that Musashi, as usual, would be late and arrived at dusk with a cohort of retainers.

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Yoshioka Denshichiro

After the defeat of his brother Yoshioka Seijuro, by Miyamoto Musashi, the Yoshioka family and sword school was taken over by Yoshioka Denschichiro, a formidable warrior in his own right. Feeling aggrieved that Miyamoto Musashi had so easily bested his brother and brought dishonor upon his school and family, Denschichiro challanged Musashi to a duel. Only this time, it would be to death. Musashi agreed.

The two combatants agreed that the duel would take place outside the Buddhist temple of Sanjusangendo in Kyoto.  The temple is famous for its thousand statues of Kannon, the Shinto goddess of compassion.

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Again Miyamoto Musashi arrived hours later than the agreed upon time to fight Denshichiro. When he did eventually saunter in, he was again armed with a wooden sword or bokken which enraged Denshichiro. This was, after all, supposed to be a duel to death, clearly Musashi was not taking this seriously. Denshichiro himself was armed with a wooden staff that had been banded with iron rings.

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Yoshioka Seijuro

This was likely Miyamoto Musashi’s first official duel

Yoshioka Seijuro was the head of the Yoshioka Dojo (a school specializing in swordsmanship) as well as the patriarch of the Yoshioka family.

It was decided that the fight would take place outside the Jobon-Rendai-ji Temple in  Kyoto. They also decided that the duel would be non-lethal and would be fought with bokken (wooden swords) and that the winner would be declared by the first blow.

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Miyamoto Musashi arrived hours late on the day of the fight. Musashi believed in a total warfare and eking out any potential advantage which included any psychological edge. Musashi eventually sauntered up to the temple, Seijuro was irritated and angry by this point, judging Musashi’s behavior to be completely irreverent and unacceptable.

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