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: http://magazine.beloit.edu/?story_id=240813&issue_id=240610

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.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

China's Lunar Calendar 2017 10-17

Click here for the introduction to the Round and Square series "Calendars and Almanacs"  
⇦⇦⇦⇦⇦ From right to left: ⇦⇦⇦⇦⇦
10/19...............................................................................................................10/12
This is one in a never-ending series—following the movements of the calendar—in Round and Square perpetuity. It is today's date in the Chinese lunar calendar, along with basic translation and minimal interpretation. Unless you have been studying lunar calendars (and Chinese culture) for many years, you will likely find yourself asking "what does that mean?" I would caution that "it" doesn't "mean" any one thing. There are clusters of meaning, and they require patience, reflection, careful reading, and, well, a little bit of ethnographic fieldwork. The best place to start is the introduction to "Calendars and Almanacs" on this blog. I teach a semester-long course on this topic and, trust me, it takes a little bit of time to get used to the lunar calendar. Some of the material is readily accessible; some of it is impenetrable, even after many years.

As time goes on, I will link all of the sections to lengthy background essays. This will take a while. In the meantime, take a look, read the introduction, and think about all of the questions that emerge from even a quick look at the calendar.
Section One
Solar Calendar Date


二期星
Tenth Month, Seventeenth Day
Tuesday, October 17
————

Section Two
Beneficent Stars 
(top to bottom, right to left)
合歲
日德
Generational Virtue
Linked Days

Section Three
Auspicious Hours
(top to bottom, right to left
申辰

酉己丑
吉吉中
戌午寅
吉中
亥未卯
凶凶
23:00-01:00 Auspicious
01:00-03:00 In-Between
03:00-05:00 In-Between
05:00-07:00 Inauspicious

07:00-09:00 Inauspicious
9:00-11:00 Auspicious
11:00-13:00 Auspicious
13:00-15:00 Inauspicious

15:00-17:00 In-Between
17:00-19:00 Auspicious
19:00-21:00 In-Between
21:00-23:00 Auspicious

The hours above are for Hong Kong. It is up to you if you want to recalibrate or to assume that the cyclicality of the calendar "covers" the rest of the world. This is a greater interpretive challenge than you might think.
                             —————————————————

Section Four 
Activities to Avoid  
(top-to-bottom; right to left) 

整理
甲髮
Patterning Hair
Trimming Nails

Section Five 
Cosmological Information
廿






Twenty-Eighth Day (Eighth Lunar Month)
Cyclical day: bingzi (14/60)
Phase (element): Water
Constellation: Beak of the Turtle (20/28)
"Day Personality" Cycle: Level (4/12)
————

Section Six
Appropriate Activities
and Miscellaneous Information  
(top-to-bottom; right to left)









死月

神虛
俱天
將罡
————
Appropriate Activities
Venerating Ancestors
Binding Nets
Patching Embankments
Plugging Caves

Baleful Astral Influences
Lunar Vacancy
Heavenly Dipper-tail
Death Spirit
Everything General

Section Seven
Inauspicious Stars
丫 神
Bifurcation, Spirit
———— 

Section Eight
Miscellaneous Activities

厠 庫
Granary
Toilet, Storehouse

Monday, October 16, 2017

Rice and Japanese Culture Midterm Assignment (Autumn 2017)

On this date on Round and Square's History 
Click here for the introduction to the Round and Square series "Assignments"
[a] Grain RF
Japan, East Asia, and the Pacific World
History 210
Midterm Assignment
Rice, Self, and Society
The Basics 
Read Rice as Self and watch the Seven Samurai (this will be shown in class on November 7 and 9). Write an essay of at least 3,000 words (about ten pages) commenting upon some of the many themes found in these very different “documents” and showing their connections to the materials we have studied up to this point in the course. The essay is due by 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 12.

The Pivot
Remember what I said in class about this assignment being a “pivot” experience. In that way, it is the most important assignment of the entire course. Your source letter was meant to get you thinking on new levels about primary and secondary sources, and to help you review the material in your various readings during the first five weeks. The rest of the term, as you already know (since we are well on our way) will be spent engaging a number of significant secondary texts that have shaped Japanese studies during the last half-century—covering the bulk of the four-hundred years. Later, you will write a "final" paper that asks you to put it all together—primary and secondary materials, as well as the various historiographical and ethnographic(al) arguments that have been employed over the centuries.
[b] Pivot RF

That makes this assignment central to your task. It is as though you are looking back at the first seven weeks of study, processing and reprocessing the material, and then pivoting to engagement with the film and the book…with an eye to preparing yourself for the second half of the course. In short, although this assignment asks you to write a review essay about Rice as Self and the Seven Samurai, you will be using all that you have learned as a backdrop for your work. To the extent that you really make the first half of the course your foundation for this assignment, you will prepare yourself beautifully for what is yet to come.

Review Essay
A good way to approach the assignment is to write a “review essay.”  You have already read several essays in the New York Review of Books, and have seen a number of authorial strategies being employed. In other words, you have a few models (highly and moderately successful) in front of you. The basic idea for your own assignment is as follows. A good review essay has a two-pronged approach. It is, on the one hand, a “review” of the book (Rice as Self) and the film (the Seven Samurai). Imagine that your ten-page essay contains an “embedded set of reviews of each of these, totaling about four pages—maybe five. In the “rest” of the essay you should show how the themes in the book and the film that can be seen in the wider perspective of Japanese history.

In other words, what do the sources in Varley and Lu have to do with what you have encountered in Rice as Self and the Seven Samurai? How about the secondary sources we have read during the last four weeks? What are some of the wider East Asian themes that might contribute to an understanding of Japan's identification with rice? Write about it.

[c] Background RF
Additional Notes
This assignment asks you to engage the text (and film) at hand, and to review all of the work you have done thus far in the course. It does not require you to do “research,” and substantial outside work will almost certainly be counter-productive. For example, spending two or three pages on the casting and shooting of the Seven Samurai would be far less relevant than spending those pages examining how themes of rice and community weave their way(s) through the book and the movie. Background information is occasionally useful (and you may have some from previous reading or coursework), but do not make the mistake of providing so much “background” that you don’t deal fully with the assignment itself. 

Plot out some of the themes and take notes to make sure you have dealt with the full range of possibilities in the materials. Your skills in spotting themes in the Lu source readings will pay off a great deal in this assignment, as will the general historical and cultural knowledge you have gained from your other sources and from class sessions. You have all of Week 11 (the week after break) to pursue this project, and you should use it to review all of the readings and class discussions (not to mention themes) that we have studied thus far in the semester.

Reminders
[1] This assignment is meant to tie together much of the work you have done this semester. Just as you must do on weekly quizzes, be sure to use the full range of your “sources” in your interpretations. Strive to "master" the Japanese sources from Lu's reader, and then to integrate broader understandings from the Chinese and Korean materials we have encountered in the Great Courses lectures.
[d] Complex RF

[2] Don’t forget that I will be evaluating this assignment with the assumption that you are trying to explain these matters to “intelligent non-specialists" (exactly the way that New York Review writers must.  That means that I do not want you to “skip” those portions that you know I know. I want you to explain them. I want you to be the expert who is explaining these matters to someone who does not know much about Japan, but is certainly able to follow a complex argument. Imagine, for example, that you are writing for your FYI professor, with moi looking over her shoulder

[3] Follow standard Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) citation form, and use the style sheet as you proceed. This is a “formal” paper, and the style sheet’s guidelines should be followed closely.

[4] There should be a short bibliography of sources (class books and any outside materials that you have consulted) at the end of your document.

[5] Good luck. There is more than enough material to write any number of essays. Choose several good points, scenes, or themes. Then write one.

Due by 5:00 on Sunday, November 12. (Put a hard copy outside my door). 
Use the word count feature of your software and put the word total at the bottom of the essay, e.g. “3,262 words.”
[e] Reflection RF

China's Lunar Calendar 2017 10-16

Click here for the introduction to the Round and Square series "Calendars and Almanacs"  
⇦⇦⇦⇦⇦ From right to left: ⇦⇦⇦⇦⇦
10/19...............................................................................................................10/12
This is one in a never-ending series—following the movements of the calendar—in Round and Square perpetuity. It is today's date in the Chinese lunar calendar, along with basic translation and minimal interpretation. Unless you have been studying lunar calendars (and Chinese culture) for many years, you will likely find yourself asking "what does that mean?" I would caution that "it" doesn't "mean" any one thing. There are clusters of meaning, and they require patience, reflection, careful reading, and, well, a little bit of ethnographic fieldwork. The best place to start is the introduction to "Calendars and Almanacs" on this blog. I teach a semester-long course on this topic and, trust me, it takes a little bit of time to get used to the lunar calendar. Some of the material is readily accessible; some of it is impenetrable, even after many years.

As time goes on, I will link all of the sections to lengthy background essays. This will take a while. In the meantime, take a look, read the introduction, and think about all of the questions that emerge from even a quick look at the calendar.
Section One
Solar Calendar Date


一期星
Tenth Month, Sixteenth Day
Monday, October 16
————

Section Two
Beneficent Stars 
(top to bottom, right to left)
時月天鳳
德德德凰
Phoenix
Heavenly Virtue
Lunar Virtue 
Timely Virtue

Section Three
Auspicious Hours
(top to bottom, right to left
申辰

酉己丑
吉吉吉
戌午寅
吉中
亥未卯
吉中
23:00-01:00 Auspicious
01:00-03:00 Auspicious
03:00-05:00 In-Between
05:00-07:00 In-Between

07:00-09:00 Inauspicious
9:00-11:00 Auspicious
11:00-13:00 In-Between
13:00-15:00 In-Between

15:00-17:00 In-Between
17:00-19:00 Auspicious
19:00-21:00 Auspicious
21:00-23:00 Auspicious

The hours above are for Hong Kong. It is up to you if you want to recalibrate or to assume that the cyclicality of the calendar "covers" the rest of the world. This is a greater interpretive challenge than you might think.
                             —————————————————

Section Four 
Activities to Avoid  
(top-to-bottom; right to left) 

取問作修
魚卜灶廚
Kitchen Repairs
Stove Work
Inquiring-into Fortune
Garnering Piscinity

Section Five 
Cosmological Information
廿





滿
Twenty-Seventh Day (Eighth Lunar Month)
Cyclical day: bingzi (13/60)
Phase (element): Water
Constellation: Net (19/28)
"Day Personality" Cycle: Fullness (3/12)
————

Section Six
Appropriate Activities
and Miscellaneous Information  
(top-to-bottom; right to left)

修交嫁祭
倉易娶祀
栽修納祈
種造采福 
納動裁會
畜土衣友
安上開出
葬梁市行
不債
俱歸天楊
將忌火忌
————
Appropriate Activities
Venerating Ancestors
Inquiring-into Fortune
Meeting Friends
Going Out (and about)
Marriage Alliances
Grain Payments
Cutting-out Clothing
Opening Markets
Trade and Commerce
Repairing and Constructing
Moving Soil
Raising Beams
Repairing Granaries
Planting and Cultivating
Positioning Graves

Baleful Astral Influences
Poplar Taboo
Heavenly Conflagration
Return Taboo
Everything General

Section Seven
Inauspicious Stars
丫 地
Bifurcation, Earth
———— 

Section Eight
Miscellaneous Activities
碓 灶 廚
Pestle, Stove, Kitchen