Anime Rec: Chihayafuru

Chihayafuru follows a girl, Chihaya Arase, who becomes obsessed with competitive karuta (a unique Japanese card game) after her childhood friend, Arata Wataya, teaches her how to play. The two of them team up with Taichi Mashima and play team karuta. Then they get separated when Wataya moves away, but the love of karuta draws the three of them back together.

While I’m not typically a fan of anime where the lead character is female, as most female leads are portrayed as weak and needy, this anime has a very strong female lead. All the characters in this anime are solidly developed, and I recommend it to everyone.

Book Rec: The Te of Piglet

“The Te of Piglet” is a view of Taoist principles explored through the view of Piglet. It’s not necessary to read “The Tao of Pooh” in order to read “The Te of Piglet,” as they can both be read as stand-alone novels.

Here are three of the more interesting quotes from “The Te of Piglet.”

“Without difficulties, life would be like a stream without rocks and curves – about as interesting as concrete. Without problems, there can be no personal growth, no group achievement, no progress of humanity. But what mattes about problems is what one does with them.”

“There is something in each of us that wants us to be Unhappy. It creates in our imagination problems that don’t yet exist – quite often casing them to come true. It exaggerates problems that already there. It reinforces low self-esteem and lack of respect for others. It destroys pride in workmanship, order, and cleanliness. It turns meetings into Confrontations, expectations into Dread, opportunities into Danger, stepping stones into Stumbling Blocks. It can be seen at work in grimaces and frowns, which pull the muscles of the face forward and down, speeding the aging process. It contaminates the mind behind the face with its negative energy and spreads outward, like a disease. And then it comes back, projected and reflected by other unhappy minds and faces. And on it goes.”

“Today, thanks to the Negative News Media, we are overinformed about problems we can do little or nothing about. Despite the great fanfare made about these problems, few of them have much of anything to do with our lives. When it comes to those that do – such as the matter of what the local Nuclear Power Plant is doing to our health – the media are quite often silent. Strange. The Negative News Media rarely tell us of problems we can do something about, and never tell us what we can do about them. That would give us an unfair advantage, we suppose.”