From Round to Square (and back)

For The Emperor's Teacher, scroll down (↓) to "Topics." It's the management book that will rock the world (and break the vase, as you will see). Click or paste the following link for a recent profile of the project:

A new post appears every day at 12:05* (CDT). There's more, though. Take a look at the right-hand side of the page for over four years of material (2,000 posts and growing) from Seinfeld and country music to every single day of the Chinese lunar calendar...translated. Look here ↓ and explore a little. It will take you all the way down the page...from round to square (and back again).
*Occasionally I will leave a long post up for thirty-six hours, and post a shorter entry at noon the next day.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Asian Miscellany—Introduction

[a] Miscellany (within a topic)  RF
This Round and Square series is a hodge-podge, a catch-all, and other things that cannot be represented by two words separated by a hyphen. I will not even try to hide the fact that it originates of necessity. I have a whole passel of "entries" to prepare for half a dozen encyclopedias and journals, and have been looking for a way to present the various topics here in a way that goes beyond the publishers' requirements (word limit, photographs, opinion, and so forth).

That may sound like a drag, but I regard it as anything but that. It seems to me to be an opportunity to use Round and Square's "platform" to explore some interesting aspects (and occasionally deeply-hidden recesses) of life in "Asia," past and present. Yes, there is a reason why I put "Asia" between quotation marks. What the hell is it, anyway? Good question. No one has ever answered it satisfactorily.

I can only "answer" it in terms of these posts. I have studied China and Japan closely (with particular attention to language issues). I lived in Taiwan for two years, and have an abiding interest in the island. I have spent a good deal of time working on Korean topics, reading as much Korean historical material (in a strange—for me—kind of classical Chinese employed by scholars and officials before 1900). I have spent as much time as I have been able (which is precious little, when compared to the Big Three of East Asia) thinking about south, southeast, west, and north Asia. You can probably guess the direction of most of these posts, but I have chosen to use the term "Asia," partly because of its vagueness and (potential) possibilities.

I will begin by posting a good deal of material from several different sources. Nothing posted here will be "the same" as the published form "down the road." That is not the point. This is meant to be a first...and sometimes "better"...draft. Let me give an example. One of my first posts is for a web page that requires that I limit my text to a thousand words. No problem. Here, though, I "spend" a few more words, for better or worse. I will also experiment a little bit with images, to the extent that I can do so under the law.

This series of posts, then, is both "the same" and a little bit different from others on Round and Square. All of these will eventually appear in publications; only some of my other posts are meant to work that way. On the other hand, these posts keep the tone of Round and Square in the sense that they remain experimental and will not (for better or worse, again) be edited to the extent published pieces will be.

Come along for a trip through East Asian ethnic groups, Chinese historical periods (especially the Northern Song dynasty, 960-1127), and key terms such as "ancestor worship," "filial piety," and "ethnicity."

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