08 August 2009 @ 10:34 am
Personal Entry No. 12  
Today is...yard-sale day. The front yard has been filled with complete strangers since 7:30 AM, and I still have to go to work at 3:00. Even so, we've apparently sold a lot of things, which is all the better for us, right? I folded seventeen cranes, four luna moths, and two tigerwing butterflies to sell, both to get some more money for textbooks and to note the anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. (The moths and the butterflies are there as a technical accomplishment, since they were designed by the astounding Michael G. LaFosse. Hopefully I'll be able to take pictures, should they not sell by the end of the day.)

I'm surprised that no one on my friends list brought this up.

I made a placard explaining the symbolism associated with the crane, as well as Sadako's story. I wish that more attention was given to the atomic bombings here in the United States; there was a brief A.P. article in my local newspaper about the memorial service held in Hiroshima on Thursday, but that was about it. Back in grade school, we never read about the fire-bombing of Japanese cities, or the destruction of Dresden, or the rape of Nanking, or the worsening condition of the zeks held in the labor camps in the Soviet Union--none of that. The only atrocity of the Second World War we read about at length was the Holocaust.

Here would be the typical line about how we have to learn from the past in order to not repeat our mistakes, which has been repeated and ignored time and again. Let me repeat it again, because it cannot be repeated enough: we have to learn from the past in order to not repeat our mistakes. It's beyond frustrating to be stuck in a powerless position and watch the same bloodshed happen over and over again, with only the agressors, the victims, and the means changing.

It's a strange thing, but I might not have been born were it not for the atomic bombs. My grandfather was slated to be part of Operation Downfall, and (if the casualties were as high as historians say they would have been) he very likely would have been killed. It's disturbing to think of it in such terms--if X had happened, these people would have lived and these people wouldn't, if Y had happened--since that's beyond human control. I can't change what happened sixty-four years ago; I can't say that my life is worth more or less than that of any other human being. Nobody can. In fact, this whole thing is bordering on arrogance from me.

The lesson here would be that war is senseless and cruel no matter who suffers from it--that, no matter what, someone will be harmed by it.

I apologize if I overstepped my bounds.

I submitted this several days ago, but I've only just gotten enough free time to post it on my journal. Take a look at the whole thing--I'm very pleased with the way it turned out! (I'm thinking of altering it so as to make a new header out of it, but I've had the current one up for only three months.)

I also submitted some sketches of the costume's details, which admittedly aren't all that detailed. (I was going to include a Magical Fan/Magical Man pun with Clow, but I couldn't fit him in.) As I wrote before, the cape and the skirt are supposed to resemble both auspicious mists (which show up frequently in Journey to the West) and banners; the drape of the red cloth on around Sakura's neck is supposed to look like the kerchiefs worn by Song Dynasty soldiers. The calf-length boots are also taken from Song Dynasty armor (in a very vague way), with the exception of the toes and the tassels, which are...just supposed to look cool. Th-that deflated the whole thing. Moving on, the shoulder pads and the headpiece resemble clouds (from which the divine winds blow!); the headpiece itself is derived from the costumes worn by performers in the Beijing opera. It's much more simplified, though--do you think I should have added some rooster feathers, or something equally dramatic?

Finally, Sakura's pose is very similar to the poses of the noble workers in old communist propaganda. Bonus points if you can sing the Internationale from memory!
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[identity profile] la-vie-noire.livejournal.com on August 8th, 2009 06:14 pm (UTC)
we have to learn from the past in order to not repeat our mistakes

So much true. And it's pretty funny how very big parts of history are never taught in a lot of places (let's not even talk about colonization and genocides).

Your drawing is gorgeous.
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[identity profile] outou.livejournal.com on August 10th, 2009 12:39 am (UTC)
It's difficult to make sweeping generalizations of the United States' public education system, since it varies from state to state (and even more so from school to school), but it's safe to say too many aspects of world history are glossed over and ignored. There's been more pressure in recent years to "teach for the test," or to simply prepare students for standardized testing; there hasn't been nearly enough pressure to raise students to be thoughtful, intelligent, and well-informed.

Thank you! Here's hoping it wins the contest (or at least a consolation prize).
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[identity profile] laury-kos.livejournal.com on August 8th, 2009 11:13 pm (UTC)
oh! glad your yard sale worked!...mines never did X'D

-"The lesson here would be that war is senseless and cruel no matter who suffers from it--that, no matter what, someone will be harmed by it."

Exactly, war is no good, that's why I don't support any kind of war, troops , or soldiers, or the army. In fact I hate all that stuff, and no, I don't need to be hippie to have some sense of how bad war is, no matter in where side you are standing. U_U

That drawing is gorgeous!!! love your style 8'D
aaawww the sketches are so cute :3
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[identity profile] outou.livejournal.com on August 10th, 2009 01:00 am (UTC)
What a shame. ;_; In our case, we had several other families helping out, and we made sure to advertise, so that likely contributed to the sale's success.

Soldiers are more often than not in little control of when and why they're deployed, so it's not entirely right to say that I would never support them. On one hand, we have soldiers who attempt to rebuild the communities that are destroyed or otherwise harmed by war; on the other, we have soldiers who engage in torture and mass killings, as they did in the My Lai massacre, the ongoing war in Sudan, and too many other incidents. We have high-ranking officers with full capacity of mind who chose to do horrible things; we have child soldiers who are drugged, threatened, and beaten into fighting.

As such, all I can say is that war is hideous no matter what.

Thank you so much! The sketches still look kind of strange to me, to be honest.
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[identity profile] lavender88.livejournal.com on August 9th, 2009 03:41 am (UTC)
I find it disturbing that nuclear weapons still remain in possession of several countries(take Korea for example). All the surviving victims were right, the abolition of these weapons are necessary for as long as they are not destroyed, others will always seek them out and we can't risk them using them either by accident, miscalculation or intent. The world cannot suffer another incident like this again.

I love going to yard sales! I never held one of my own, but I enjoy going to other people's :D
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[identity profile] outou.livejournal.com on August 10th, 2009 01:10 am (UTC)
President Obama has been attempting to broker a deal in which the United States and Russia will reduce their stockpiles of nuclear weapons (it's apparently a very dear subject to him), but I'm worried that the treaty won't come to anything. If we can't cut back on our own atomic weapons, then how in the world can we expect smaller nations--especially those overseen by paranoid governments (e.g., North Korea and Iran)--to remain devoted to the cause of arms reduction?

I do like going to antique stores (usually to look at old books), but I can't remember going to someone else's yard sale for years. :/
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[identity profile] mairenn-k.livejournal.com on August 9th, 2009 10:19 am (UTC)
Well, like someone said, while our ability to forget can be considered a blessing, it's also extremely dangerous. I like history, but looking back and seeing how many times we've repeated the same things over and over again is rather depressing. It's easy to become cynical when thinking about it that way (or perhaps that's just me), but I think it's very important that we don't, and that we do our best to prevent these things from happening again even though it might seem hopeless at times.

I wish we would have read more about conflicts that have taken place during the last 100 years or so during our history classes too. We did study WW1 and WW2 relatively well (not well enough though, imo - we talked very little about the things that happened outside of Europe) but that was it, more or less.

The picture looks amazing. ♥ I love that red cloth and the way it folds, it's very pretty.
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[identity profile] outou.livejournal.com on August 10th, 2009 01:23 am (UTC)
The United States is renowned for its ability to conveniently forget the past.

But you're right about not getting too cynical about it. It's better to try and do something--to protest, to educate, anything--rather than do nothing and leave the status quo untouched. I would do well to heed my own words. ¬_¬

Global history in general was horribly neglected in both my elementary school and my high school. Actually, American history was fairly lousy in elementary school, too--we spent far too much time on the Algonquins, the men who "discovered" the Americas, and the Revolutionary War. (The Algonquins were the Native American tribe indigenous to our area. For all the time we spent studying them, we never did learn that much about their history and culture.) Fortunately, we were able to study both the evolution of the political system and American history after the eighteenth century in depth later in high school.

Thank you--I'm glad you liked it. I-I actually wish I could have submitted this instead of the Clow illustration, since I don't care for how that one turned out. (I never did post the finished version on my journal. Everyone will be seeing it along with the Yuuko drawing when the Fanbook is finished, though.)
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