I share this quote from Ivan Morris' The World of the Shining Prince for two reasons: first, I thought it was funny, and second, it irresistibly brought to mind Konzen in Saiyuki Gaiden.

The procedure for issuing Imperial Decrees provides an example of Heian bureaucracy rampant. When the Great Council of State have decided on a proposal, they submit it to the emperor, whose secretaries rewrite it as a State dcoument, drafted of course in Chinese. After the emperor has read it, he automatically approves and signifies this by writing the day of the month in his own hand (the year and the month having already been filled in by the secretaries). The draft is then sent to the Ministry of Central Affairs. The minister makes a Report of Acknowledgement to the emperor. He then examines the document and (approval again being automatic) inscribes the Chinese character for "Proclaim" under his official title. The next stop is the office of the Senior Assistant Minister, who, after the usual delays, writes the character for "Received." The same procedure is followed by the Junior Assistant Minister, except that he writes the character "Perform." Now the draft goes to the Scribes' Office, where it is copied. The document is then sent back to the Great Council of State, where the Major Counsellor makes a Report of Acknowledgement. Next the emperor sees the document; this time he writes the character "Approved" and returns it to the Great Council. Here the document is thoroughly scrutinized and, if no stylistic mistakes are found, it is sent back to the Scribes' Office for multi-copying. Each copy is signed jointly by the Prime Minister and all other officials who are concerned with the matter in hand, and then sent to the palace for the ceremony of affixing the Great Imperial Seal (Seiin no Gi). Now finally the decree can be promulgated. Since, as often as not, it is concerned with some such question as the type of head-dress that an official of the Third Rank may wear at court, we can judge the prodigious waste of time and effort involved in government procedure.

(The forms of bureaucracy were imported from China, but China, being somewhat larger, had more to occupy its bureaucrats.)

Cross-posted to [livejournal.com profile] reading_genji.

Because, reallly, my life has been boring lately. A summary: blah blah work-work-work-work blah blah acid reflux blah blah holiday prep blah blah work-work-work-work. See? I told you.

So have some links instead:

And now, back to work (-work-work-work).

It's been a year since I did volume 8? That's really not so good. But at last, here it is. And now that I've finished the art posts, I've written up the series for the booklog too.

Spoilers behind the cut, of course. Spoil me for Reload and die.

Saiyuki's art, volume 9. About 450 KB of images. )

I cheat at International Saiyuki week by making other people write posts for me!

[livejournal.com profile] desdenova talks about the overall structure of the series for me, with particular reference to the placement of the "Be There" arc. Like all the great discussions this week, including those I haven't had time to comment on, it's a "Oh! Of course I knew that, I just never articulated it," kind of moment, and I mean that in a good way.

(Especial thanks to all who commented yesterday and who I didn't have time to respond to personally. I hope to be able to do so, but all the same, thanks en masse.)

Hasty morning thought on Saiyuki, volumes 1-9. No Reload spoilers, please.

two sets of four )

A quickie Saiyuki question in honor of the week. Spoilers through volume 3 only (please try and keep it that way in comments).

Does anyone really grok Kougaiji's vol. 2-3 dilemma? )

Hey, [livejournal.com profile] desdenova—I know you're swamped, but I think you had A Theory on the placement of the "Be There" arc, and if you had time to post about this week (not here, please, since spoilers past vol. 3), that would be really cool. Or whenever.

[Edit: vague spoilers for vols. 1-9 in the comments, as it really can't be helped. Sorry.]

[livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija has declared it International Saiyuki Week (which actually started last week). I will not be changing my default icon, because when I change it back it'll go poof, but I'll try to remember to post this week with this icon. I hope very much to have time to do an art post on volume 9 later in the week, but right now I have lots of work to do, so I'll just post a link to some more art book pictures to show willing.

Too tired for an actual post, so have icons and links instead. The Samurai Champloo ones are dead simple, but I'm pleased with the Saiyuki Gaiden butterfly ones; they aren't fancy either, but I did a fair bit of cleanup on the images, since the originals weren't scans but pictures of the book being held open. For public use with credit to me; a comment to say you're taking is nice too.

six new icons )

Link dump:

  • [livejournal.com profile] ajhalluk reviews Brokeback Mountain from a different perspective than any review I've seen:

    . . . the sheep make their first appearance, and very scary this is, too, for anyone who knows anything about sheep. [livejournal.com profile] sollersuk is Welsh, and I grew up on the fringe of the Lake District, so both of us can reasonably be said to have a reasonable familiarity with sheep - in fact, there's probably ewe in our mitochondrial DNA, and both of us concluded that them there sheep were not natural (and, in parathesis, I think a director whose pacing is such as to leave members of the audience discussing whether the sheep are OOC is getting something seriously wrong).

    (I haven't seen it; I don't like downer movies, basically.)

  • Slate cooks the NYT's no-white-sauce macaroni and cheese and concludes it's not all that; I'm pleased to hear it, because I thought it sounded weird when I read the article. (My baked mac & cheese uses [livejournal.com profile] papersky's non-roux method for cheese sauce, though with different proportions (1/4 cup each of flour and butter; 2 cups each of milk, cheese, pasta (before cooking).)
  • Scientist jokes at Uncertain Principles: physicist, engineer, and mathematician variants in comments, and mostly physicist in another post.

I've got the day off, how about some Saiyuki art commentary? No theme this time, just a mis-mash of things that caught my eye.

Spoilers for volume 8 of Saiyuki, and possibly volume 9 as well; please don't spoil me for Reload. About 250 KB of images behind the cut.

Saiyuki's art, volume 8. Beer cans, closeups, chains, and dolls. )

Up to volume 7 of Saiyuki, and this time I'm going to focus on characterization, because I noticed a few things about body language that brought the topic to mind, and because I don't want to repeat myself. (There are two page-layout items below the cut, but only two.)

Spoilers, of course, for volume 7. Still haven't read Reload, so no spoilers please; have read Gaiden (hence the gratuitous icon), but a lack of spoilers for that would also be appreciated.

Saiyuki's art, volume 7. About 300 KB of images behind the cut. )

[livejournal.com profile] flemmings has translated the latest Saiyuki Gaiden chapter (which by my count ought to be chapter 19).

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] desdenova for the pointer.

Oh, and just because I posted it over the weekend when some people aren't reading: I did another art post, this time about volume 6.

Mostly fight scenes this time; see also [livejournal.com profile] telophase's post on combat. I have to say that though I'm confused about some of the sequences below the cut, they aren't anywhere near as eye-crossing to me as the Naruto pages [livejournal.com profile] telophase uses; I think Minekura's lines tend to be more linear and more well-defined, and she uses even less in the way of backgrounds during fight scenes.

Spoilers for volume 6 of Saiyuki, of course, though not as bad as the past couple of volumes. I broke down and read the scanlations of Gaiden, but let's try and keep the comments free of spoilers for it (not that I expect it in response to this post); and I haven't read Reload yet, so if you spoil me for it, I will kill you with my brain.

Saiyuki's art, volume 6. About 325 KB of images behind the cut. )

So there are scans of the new Saiyuki Gaiden chapter up, and of course I have downloaded them [*], hoping that the visuals would give me enough of an idea of what was going on to overcome the fact that I don't, you know, speak Japanese. A vain hope, alas; so this is a plea for links to translations whenever they appear.

[*] Yeah, I wasn't going to read it until I was done the re-read of Saiyuki, but one day last week I was really tired and cranky and needed to babysit my computer while not doing anything online, and I was weak.

Why isn't this licensed?

Also, cut for embarassing fangirl stuff )

[Edit 8/22/05: thanks for [livejournal.com profile] desdenova to pointing me to a translation by [livejournal.com profile] flemmings.]

More commentary on Saiyuki's art, volume 5 this time.

A reminder: [livejournal.com profile] coffee_and_ink analyzed six pages from the opening of this volume in three posts: one, two, three.

Also, can anyone out there come up with a reference for the flower symbolism? I've been spotting repeated flowers, but I have no idea what they are or what they mean, and I really, really, really don't want to find myself making a series-wide index of all the flowers and the situations they're used in, because this series has eaten enough of my life already. Please?

Still haven't read Gaiden or Reload, still will kill you with my brain if you spoil me for them.

On to the discussion.

Saiyuki's art, volume 5. About 170 KB of images behind the cut. )

A lot of what I said in the last post still applies here: wide use of varied tones, the occasional fading out of foregrounds (4.19.62, when Sanzo is watching two characters talk and getting suspicious), use of bleeds or borderless panels, and generally-improving depictions of characters. (There are a bunch of great comments in the prior post, which I highly recommend.) I'm going to talk here about four things: one really complex page; two really simple and forceful pages; some parallel page structures; and a couple examples of recurring images.

Still major spoilers for volume four (and a small spoiler for volume seven); and still don't spoil me for Gaiden or Reload.

Saiyuki's art, volume 4. About 335 KB of images behind the cut. )

I was going to have an "art" section in the whopping big Saiyuki post, but decided to break that out into multiple posts so that I could inline the images without killing people's connections. No deep thoughts here, just stuff I noticed in re-reading volumes 1-3, from an incredibly newbie perspective. Spoilers, naturally, particularly for volume 3. Also, I'm trying not to repeat things said by [livejournal.com profile] coffee_and_ink's three posts on Saiyuki, or [livejournal.com profile] telophase's Manga Analysis series post, or [livejournal.com profile] snowyheart's grid structure post, because they said it better and more helpfully.

Finally, I haven't read Reload or Gaiden yet. Do not spoil me for those volumes, or I will kill you with my brain.

Saiyuki's art, volumes 1-3. About 315 KB of images behind the cut. )

9:58: okay, I'm done having better ideas about the images and formatting and such. Sorry if anyone was reading during the edits.

I am so very tempted to buy a very very fine white marker and a very very fine black marker and write page numbers in the Tokyopop editions of Saiyuki. The only things stopping me are (1) my instinctive recoil at writing in books I read for pleasure (it's defacing them, my backbrain insists) and (2) my inability to write page numbers in everyone else's, which limits their usefulness as a shared way to find things.

But still, tempted. (If I went through and numbered the pages once, I find myself thinking, this obsessive re-read with notes would go a lot faster . . . )

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