I thought it might be cool to write a little post about the things that are inspiring me at the moment. Games and books, movies and social media, I constantly feel like I’m fully engaged. At the moment I am on holiday, and have nothing but time. So here are some things I’ve been into!
The Imjin War – by Samuel Hawley
Lately I’ve been on a real samurai kick, its kind of all consuming. And this was the book that started it all! The Imjin War is the tale of just that, the Japanese attempt to invade and conquer China and all of Asia in the 16th century. Landing in Korea, the Japanese expected the Korean’s to simply let them march on Beijing. Instead, they would fight tooth and nail, making the Japanese pay for every inch of ground they covered. Impeccably well written, Samuel Hawley tells the tale from the point of view of the three main belligerents: the invading Japanese, the Koreans, fighting for their very survival, and the Chinese, initially dismissive of the entire affair, but forced to mobilise to stave off the very real Japanese threat. Incredibly readable, with very likeable characters and deeply informative, the epilogue in particular really stays with you.
Samurai William – by Giles Milton
Samurai William is a book that had been on my to-read list for quite awhile now. I’m really glad I got to it, as its one of the better books I’ve read in recent years. William Adams was the first Englishman to reach the shores of Japan, in 1600. The two year journey itself is fascinating, but what follows is nothing short of incredible. Born into poverty outside of London, Adams was made samurai by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the Shogun himself. Adams taught Ieyasu about the Western world, and in return earned his trust and respect. Adams is still remembered today in Japan, there is even a district in Tokyo named after him (Anjin-cho). Also, the video game Ni-Oh is VERY loosely based on the events of the book. Its an incredible story, and a fantastic read!
Sabriel – by Garth Nix
Other than history, I really only read sci-fi/fantasy (which is something I’m trying to change). Sabriel is a book I started reading years ago, and picked it back up on a whim. I’m glad I did too, because Garth Nix creates a really interesting unique and interesting world, in which the modern meets the fantastic. The first novel in the Abhorsen trilogy, Sabriel tells the tale of the titular heroine as she comes into her birthright as the Abhorsen, a sort of holy necromancer that banishes the restless dead that wander the world. It has a really interesting magic system involving bells, and the depiction of the afterlife (that is a place the protagonists regularly travel too) is truly unique. Really looking forward to continuing the series!
Ran – Akira Kurosawa
I have a thing where I find it really difficult to watch older movies, basically anything pre original trilogy Star Wars is out of the question. I’m trying to break out of this though, and combined with the aforementioned samurai thing, I arrived at Kurosawa. Ran is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear, interspersed with segments based on the legend of Sengoku era daimyo Mori Motonari. It’s a long movie, but I actually really got into it. Its a very vibrant movie, with a lot of colour being thrown around. Most of the major characters have a colour theme that is used really well throughout the course of the movie. It even has pretty impressive battle sequences, Ran having the biggest movie of any movie made in Japan at the time. I’m a fan now, and after Ran I immediately moved on to…
Seven Samurai – Akira Kurosawa
A timeless classic, and of course one I hadn’t seen. Released in 1954, this movie is over 60 years old, and is surprisingly watchable! I might sound really ignorant, but I truly thought movies of this era were unwatchable. But it turns out its a fun movie, and surprisingly really funny! The action is fantastic too, and the story has been adapted countless times: villagers, rather than giving their harvest to the roving bandits that demand it from them every year, instead use it to employ samurai to defend them. The Clone Wars animated series had a really great episode that was an homage to this, but with Jedi instead. That’s all the Kurosawa I have seen so far, but will definitely be exploring his other films.
Persona 4 Golden
God, I love this game. Still plugging away at that platinum trophy, but I really forgot how vast this game is, and you really cant just steamroll through it. Even on normal difficulty I’m having some troubles with some boss’s, and having to grind a little. Still really enjoying this playthrough, and I’d say im a little past halfway (Void Quest dungeon). The plan is still to get a full review out, but I think I will save that until after this run, and maybe comment on the platinum process. Spoilers, its pretty difficult, and sometimes obtuse. Gotta have it done by the time I get home and start on Persona 5 though, so about two weeks left. No pressure!
Kind of weird thing to be inspired by, but I’ve really been into Twitter lately! I’m trying to make a conscious effort to engage with people, write some jokes and generally get involved with the platform. And while its still early days, I’m noticing an increase in followers ever since I started making a conscious effort, which is kind of rewarding in its own way. I guess I’ve never been a big Facebook or Instagram guy, so I’m seeing the addictive nature of social media. Feel free to follow me @ https://twitter.com/KhaylAdam, its mostly jokes, Persona memes and Star Wars ramblings.
What are you into at the moment, got any recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!