Book Updates: Holiday Season

I have not been able to pick up a book since sometime in August (it was a Star Trek book too). So of course, I picked up many books to read during my Holiday Break. So far in the last 12 days I have only read six of the books that I picked up, but I figured I would write updates on these and then more later if I finish any other books. There is no actual theme to the books that I read, they don’t have anything to do with the holiday season either.

7081Android’s Dream by John Scalzi– This book was recommended to me by TheBetterCup. I read Oldman’s War by Scalzi as well, and overall he is a fantastic author so I had high hopes for this one too. It did not disappoint me.

Earth is on the verge of war with a militarily advance alien race after a human diplomat succeeds in killing (albeit in the funniest sort of way) his alien counterpart. Harry Creek must try to find the one object that can save the planet from alien enslavement. With many different groups moving in to find this special breed of sheep, and everyone double crossing each other, Harry also finds a way to overcome his own personal demons.

This book is fantastic. It is a sci-fi based adventure story filled with action and extremely likable characters. Scalzi is sublimely funny as he pokes fun at diplomacy, religion, legal system, and politics. The plot was full of unexpected twists, and the entire story (and title) is allusion or tip of the hat to a science fiction novel from the 1960’s.

The one negative I have to say about this book is that it is not the deepest or most thought provoking one on the list (at least for me that is). This is the type of book to read when you just want something to enjoy and don’t want to have to question everything. I recommend this book 100%.

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After Dark by Haruki Murakami– This one I picked up because I loved the author. He was the author of one of my very favorite books Kafka on the Shore. He is a bizarre author and this book was no different.

The story takes place entirely in one night (from like 11 pm to about 6 am). It centers around two estranged sisters: Eri, a beauty deep in sleep for the past months, and Mari, an ordinary student who regularly chooses not to sleep at night and instead reads at a local Denny’s. One such night, through strange yet very ordinary circumstances, she meets many people whose lives exist at night (a jazz trombonist who claims they’ve met before, a burly female “love hotel” manager and her maid staff, and a Chinese prostitute savagely brutalized by a businessman). These night people have terrible secrets that draw them together. And all of it is some how connected to Eri’s slumber, one where it seemed she had completely given up living but slept on like sleeping beauty, that will either restore or annihilate her.

The book’s plot feels simple, and yet it is intricate and surrealistic. It makes you think deeply about life and how each of these characters have lives that don’t match their personalities. I found the entire story very enjoyable, the one problem (which you may find in many of Murakami’s books) is that you may not recognize how everything connects. He never explains straight out what the fudge was going on with Eri and the man in the TV. Seriously though, this is a great book and is my favorite on the list.

7295501Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary R. Kowal– I found this book randomly and only decided to get it because of the name (I thought it sounded pleasant). I am glad that I did too, because I really liked it.

The story revolves around a neighborhood of families with young men and women who are looking for suitable matches. But the main character Jane, at the age of 28 and with a young sister who is considered angelic in beauty, has accepted her role as a spinster instead of a possible eligible bachelorette. She is very skilled in the feminine art of creating glamour (a magical trait added to art and music and even the body to enhance beauty). Her great skill and wonderful personality help her change in the end.

The story was fun and interesting with characters that won you over and others that made you hate them (Melody is everything disgusting that a young girl can be towards her sister). It is a magical realism book, so magic is part of everyday life here. My one problem is that the end was slightly fast paced in comparison to the rest of the story, too clean cut, and some characters just thrown away like they never mattered.

The writer attempted to write like Jane Austin and she was very similar. If you are a fan of Austin, which I am not but TheBetterCup is, you may like this. If you a worshiper of Austin, then you may be offended by her attempt to mimic the famous lady. I personally loved the book. If you want a book that is an easy read like Android’s Dream, but you are more into a romance from the Victorian Era, then pick this instead. I feel many people were too cruel on Goodreads (especially one bitter lady). I liked enough to want to read the other books in this series. I have read all of Austin’s books, and honestly I don’t think its any worse or better (again a personal opinion). This is not the best book ever, but I enjoyed reading it.

50143Asleep by Banana Yoshimoto– I wanted to read a book by Yoshimoto for some time. Honestly I heard others recommend this and her pen name was just so cool. I expected more, but ended up only kind of liking the book.

Asleep is actually three short stories (with the last one being titled Asleep). All three focus on young women who have been put into a magical slumber for different reasons. The first one was called Night and Night’s Travelers. It was my least favorite of the three. It tells the story of a 22 year old girl named Shibami whose brother died unexpectedly and her relationship to him, her cousin who loved him, and his ex-American girlfriend. Focusing on how his death and their secrets affect each other and strengthen them. The story was not bad it was just a little boring. And I did not care much for the characters. The second story was much better. Love Songs focuses on Fumi, a young woman who is becoming an alcoholic and who hears a strange song, that reminds her of an old enemy named Haru, each night before passing out. She soon realizes that that the song is Haru’s attempt to reach her from the after life. They settle their differences and finally accept that they never hated each other. The third story was the best of the three. Asleep tells the story of Terako, a young woman in a relationship with an older married man whose wife is a vegetable in a coma. After the suicide of her best friend, a woman who slept next to people each night for money, Terako finds herself giving up on her own life. She only saves herself after meeting the spirit of her boyfriend’s wife.

The book is good, and Banana does a great job in incorporating this magical element that is invisibly present. Its not great like Murakami’s After Dark (which had a similar theme), and it may be that reading it after reading After Dark was the reason for my less excited feelings for it. I still liked the book, i just recommend not reading the two together.

17799South of the Border and West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami– Again another Murakami book. This was a good book, but not one of my favorites I still recommend this book, like all the other books on this list, but not as fully as I do some of the others.

Hajime was an only child growing up in post war Japan. His only companion in a world where every family had multiple children was a lame girl named Shimamoto who was also an only child. They had a deep bond, but lost touch over the years. Now in his thirties, he is married, has children, and owns a successful business. He meets Shinamoto again and his life is thrown upside down (because of his intense obsession with her).

This was a weird story, but much less magical then Murakami usually does. Actually there was no magic in this book. The story was great and compelling, but i only had two problems. One: the main character was not someone I really fell for. I could care less about his problems and his life because he was not very likable. He made many mistakes, yet did not seem to repent that much, and man was he obsessive and overly involved in these weird fascinations with this one girl he met when he was twelve. Second: the story felt incomplete. We never know what happened to the Shimamoto, he still says he would cheat on his wife, and even his wife says she may cheat on him. And what was Shimamoto’s life like? It was just so unfinished.

378The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer– I only read this book because my roommate suggested it. It was a great book, but it is a child’s book and I think I missed out since I read it now instead of as a kid. It was great now, but I feel there was a certain kind of astonishment that only a kid could feel in reading this.

It tells the story of Milo, a young boy who seems to have given up in life, finding now enjoyment in anything. One day he is sent a package where he builds a blue tollbooth that transports him into this strange world.

The book is witty, and has all this commentary on human behavior in the modern world. All it really is doing is pointing out the importance of appreciation life, sounds, scents, people, and showing how certain behavior are form of destructive ignorance. I think all kids should read this, and adults too.

Right now I am reading Fall of Giants: Book One of the Century Trilogy by Ken Follett, which is exhilarating so far. What books have you been reading? Comment below.

-Blog Barista

Rasengan!

Rasengan!

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Honest Myth:Norse- Jack Frost

collagefrost2It is after Christmas and New Years is steadily coming our way. This part of the season is always so strange, it feels almost like I am on a roller coaster and the cart is suspended in the air right before the drop. I know that after the New Years the days will pass very fast and school will begin again. I really don’t look forward to the new semester, but oh well. This was supposed to be the last post of the Holiday Marathon, but I figured i may add more.

Jack Frost is a form of Old Man Winter and a personification of snow, ice, and frosty weather, and the creator of the odd fern like patterns found on cold windows. He is said to be the one who ‘nips’ nose, toes, and other extremities in freezing weather. Usually he is depicted as holding a paint brush and paint so as to change the colors of the leaves in the autumn. Mostly he is an older kind man, but very rarely he is a young mischievous boy.

In Russia, he is equivalent to Grandfather Frost, a blacksmith who forges chains that is used to hold the Earth to water. In Germany, he is connected to Old Mother Frost, an old woman who shakes out feathered blankets to create snow.

Jack Frost is supposedly a modern twist to the name Jokul Frosti a sprite or elf connected to the Frost Giants. His father is Kari, God of the Winds.

-Blog Barista

haahahahaha

haahahahaha

Honest Myth:Christian- Santa Claus

I have been cooped up in my room for days now playing the Sims4. I had no idea what day it was, and I have completely lost track of my usual daily habits. It is weird how something like that can occur, but oh well. Anyways, Merry Christmas guys!!! I hope you all had a great day with your family. I know that today’s myth is nothing knew to all of y’all, but I figured it would not hurt to take it easy today. It was either this or a story of Jesus, but I chose the easier path. Enjoy the post of Santa Claus! If you know who the artists of the photos are, please tell me.

Santa-Gifts1Santa Claus is also known as Father Christmas or Kris Kringle, and he usually connected to Saint Nicholas. The name Kris Kringle is believed to originate from Christkind. Christkind is a spirit created by Martin Luther who was attempting to differentiate his church from Catholicism and created this spirit/angel to take the place of Saint Nicholas as patron of children.

Many songs, poems, and stories added to the depiction of Santa Claus, creating the modern idea of what Santa Claus looks and acts like.

He is depicted as a portly man with rosy cheeks , white beard and mustache, spectacles (not so much lately) and a red coat and cap. His name comes from Sinterklaas, a Dutch figure, and it is believed that Santa Claus is a mixture of Sinterklaas and the English named Father Christmas.

Santa Claus gives gifts to all the good children and is known to go around the entire globe in one night, in a sleigh pulled by 8 (9 if you include Rudolph) reindeer. He lives in the North Pole with his wife and a throng of elves who help manufacture the presents for the children each year.

I love Christmas, but sometimes it feels like the Holiday season is this really shallow and materialistic celebration of nothing. I loved it as a child because it was a warm and magical time, but now that I am older I really can see that it is nothing but this commercialized time with out the bonding and kindness that it felt like. Each year I try harder to try and recreate a much more wonderful Christmas feeling, but I am not sure how. I think it is through traditions, family gathering, and ignoring all the propaganda for buying gifts. Sorry for this long paragraph, it was not very happy go lucky. I just wanted to stress the importance of celebrating more then the gifts.

Merry Christmas!!!

-Blog Barista

On Comet!

On Comet!

Saint Young Men- by Hikaru Nakamaru

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Happy Birthday!!!

So I am more excited then possible to talk about this amazing manga/anime that I just accidentally found on the internet. It has religious allusions, funny and awesome characters, brilliant slice-of-life plot, and just awe inspiring art. I swear this just made my day yesterday, and best of all it is so very appropriate for the holiday season. I want to talk mostly about the manga (since there is no anime just a 90 minute movie and two OVAs), but most of the pictures will be from the movie. They were just to wonderful to resist.

Plot:

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Jesus Parts the Chlorine

Jesus Christ and Gautama Buddha are living together as roommates while on their Earthly vacation in Tachikawa. The story follows the two as they try to incorporate themselves into society, and hide their godly identities. It is a slice-of-life, and the plot mostly just follows them as they live basic lives such as shopping, going to an amusement park, or going to the community pool. Strangely enough it is not that easy for them to stay perfectly normal, even when performing such simple tasks.

Character:

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tumblr_mu84nuz0A71qzqnxxo1_500Jesus Christ- Jesus is the air headed (but not stupid) friend and who is very carefree. He can also be very observant at times, but most of all he is silly and lives with little to no worries. Jesus keeps a blog, loves shopping, and he tends to know more about the modern era. I love it when he yells ‘Exotic Japan’ after he sees things that are associated with the East. He can be very impassioned at times and very impulsive as well. When he gets stressed, his stigmata starts to flare (he begins to bleed from his crown of thorns). And if he is too happy, his crown blossoms and water becomes wine.

tumblr_mymaz6MWZJ1qc74q3o1_500Gautama Buddha- Buddha is a neat freak who is constantly stressed by the smallest things. He is very cautious and tends to be the one who almost blows his identity most (i mean he has a very specific look to him). Buddha is super cheap and thrifty and tends to stay calm even when he becomes extremely upset. Since he is always so worried, he masks his emotion in being calm which leads to him being virtuous too often (at godly levels). When this occurs, a halo encircles his head threatening to reveal his identity.

There are so many other characters. We get to meet the four archangels (Uriel is the best!), Lucifer and Mara make an appearance, we get to see some of the apostles (Peter and Andrew), Asura, Brahma, and so many more!!

Art:

The art work is gorgeous and unique. It feels lighthearted and detailed, but best of all they are not extremely anime like. It is a seinen, so that art is more ‘adult’ which matches better with the characters who are supposed to be young adult males and godly. It is also extreme neat, and character movement was smooth with no choppy ‘swooshes’ to replace the actual actions (both in the movie and the manga). I am not sure how else to explain the art so it may be better to just take a look yourself. The movie and the manga were very true to each other in both plot and art style.

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Final Thoughts:

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Iwatobi swim club may want to take a few pointers.

I could not imagine anyone being offended by the plot, but if you are really religious and do not like to see Jesus/Buddha in an ungodly light, then this may not be the manga for you. I really just loved the idea of this in its entirety. The allusions are so fantastic, and sometimes they are made through the miracles these guys perform.

tumblr_mx931bteHc1qcsnnso1_500They act like regular goofy young men, and this is super enjoyable. They make a lot of puns (like really punny puns that lead to them laughing so hard it is ridiculous in a cute way that is). At one point they even get to be a comedy duo with stage names that stick: Long Hair and Punch. I will let you guess who is who. This manga is so very funny, full of religious detail, and extremely enjoyable.

You will not be filled with intense emotion of sadness or anger while reading, but you will surely feel light and happy. The manga is witty and well made, and the author is the same person as the creator of Arakawa Under the Bridge (I was not a huge fan of that one, but I know it was very popular at one point). The manga is still on going too, which means that there are more volumes to come thankfully! Both TheBetterCup and I recommend this 100%.

-Blog Barista

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Too virtuous for his own good…

Honest Myth:Christian- St. Nicholas

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Vintage card from Switzerland

 

It is Christmas Eve!! I hope every one is having a very fantastic holiday season right now. I love this time of year. I am not a fan of the whole commercialized celebration (all about presents and money), but I really enjoy the whole religious and familial aspects. Anyways let us get on with this.

St. Nicholas was a Greek man born in Patara of Asia Minor. He was the son of a wealthy family but both of his parents died in an epidemic while he was still young. He was instead raised by an uncle who was connected to the church. Afterwards as an adult, he became Bishop of Myra, dedicated his life to God, and gave all his inheritance to those less fortunate. He was greatly revered (called a saint while alive) and called the wonder-worker.

In one legend, he was the saint who saved the three young boys from the butcher (see: http://www.espressocomsaudade.wordpress.com/2014/12/23/honest-mythfrench-pere-fouettard/). He brought them to life by praying to God.

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St Nicholas card from Ukraine

In another legend, a family with only three daughters could not afford dowries. With out money or marriage, the girls would never get married and would most likely become prostitutes. Either out of modesty, or so as not to humiliate them, he secretly threw three gold purses through the window one night. In one version, the daughters left their stockings to dry in the fireplace above the embers. He dropped the purses down the chimney, and they landed in the socks.

For this third story, the land of Myra was in a great famine. A ship delivering wheat to the Emperor stopped by the port. He asked them to leave some wheat behind. At first, the sailors disagreed (for the wheat was meant for the Emperor), but they finally agreed. They left behind two years worth of food, and when they arrived, they found that amount did not change.

Saint Nicholas is Patron of Children

To learn more go here: www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/who-is-st-nicholas/

I hope you enjoyed this!

-Blog Barista

eww....

eww….

Top Five Beautifully Drawn Manga

So in the beginning of December, i had a really sweet reader named Azukichan request that I make a post on manga with beautiful art work. So today, I did some research and compiled a small list of manga with really wondrous art styles. Many of these I have yet to finish reading and some I have never read. On that same note, many of these I would recommend reading and many I definitely would not. But over all I would like to say that this is purely opinion. These are top prettiest manga art to me, and many can either disagree or agree. So though I have these listed, that does not mean that there are not other manga that can be seen as more beautiful. If you have any that you find particularly pretty, please leave a comment down bellow.

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  • Olimpos – Aki: (Here: http://www.espressocomsaudade.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/olympos-by-aki/) I also wrote about this one as well . It tells the story of a young Trojan prince, but the author takes her own special twist on the entire mythology. The art is gorgeous and mesmerizing. This one, I believe, may be the most beautiful manga of all (but it definitely does not have the attention to detail like Otoyomegatari).

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  • Naruto – Masashi Kishimoto: It may be a little unfair to include, but one of the things I like about Naruto is the art work. I have made no posts for Naruto.

These next manga were all found today. I wrote them in order of which I found had the best art style. There was this other manga that I liked, but it was so good that I decided to make a separate post.

sayahatori_shoukanjou_v01_ch01.ayahatori-shoukanjou-v01-ch01-p0310011.Ayahatori Shoukanjou – Kajiyama Mika

So this one was interesting. The art is very beautiful, but like most shojo the background can be a little lacking sometimes. But for the most part it is very well made. I am not to much a fan of the plot, but if you want a manga where the main character girl uses her naivety and kindness to soothe the heart of a mean male, this may be up your alley. Don’t get me wrong though, the plot is pretty unique outside of the love story portion. The story focuses on Kozakura Saaya as she summons one of the three most beautiful women in the world, Ono no Komachi who turns out to be a man. Now she plans to befriend Komachi, her historical familiar, instead of enslaving him like the others in her clan.

njnlg2.Aria – Amano Kozue

Both TheBetterCup and I have seen the first few chapters of this manga. The best way both of us can describe this is that the art is airy and light. It is very colorful and almost Utopian. Yet, I read it a very long time ago, and my only impressions of it now is ‘what..?’ I am not sure what the plot was while reading it. A girl named Akari lives on Aqua (formerly Mars) in a neo-futuristic imitation city of Venice. There is no technology in this planet (it has yet to reach them from Earth), but Akira has decided to become a gondolier (tour guide). It is a slice-of-life, and the art really shows this heartwarming and adventurous world.

3. Song of the Doll – Lee Sun Young

hI was not planning on reading this one. It, honestly, did not look good plot wise for me. The art is extravagant and detailed and beautiful, but not in that meticulous way that Otoyomegatari. Instead it looked more like the The Bride of the Water God sort of art, a little over done and ornate. Anyways, what pushed me away from wanting to read this was the cover arts. It always showed this emotionless woman with a very dominating male, but I chose to try at least one chapter. It turned out much better than I thought! The characters are very interesting and so is the plot. I am not sure how the love story may go, but it is not as bad as I had expected. The plot focuses on Woohee, a woman as beautiful as a doll, and her strange fate (I know the summary is a little weak, but I don’t want to ruin this for you). All the characters are so well drawn, and each one is fantastically dressed. I would recommend trying this one, ironically enough.

4.Chang Ge Xing – Xia Da

l035This particular story is amazing in both story and art. The art is brilliant and detailed in much the same way that Otoyomegatari is. I am not sure if this is a Chinese manhwa or a Japanese manga, but I know that the story takes place in China. The art is truly well done with a lot of attention to the architecture and scenery. The story focuses on a princess named Li Cheng Ge. Skilled in martial arts and learned in the art of war tactics, she plans to avenge her families death and take back her place on the throne.

Seriously this manga was amazing, and I highly recommend it.

25.Gisele Alain – Kasai Sui

745127Gisele Alain is a very pretty manga. It is simple and lacks the ridiculous amount of detail that most of the other manga tend to have. It may not be super ornate like the Song of the Doll or the Bride of the Water God, but that is why it is so wonderful. It keeps this very innocent and magical sensation. As far as the art goes, less was more in this case. The story was also fantastic, and I surely recommend that you try this manga. It focuses on this young landlord who decides to begin a small detective like business for her renters. They come to her with simple problems (like a lost cat) and she helps. Her companion, a young man named Eric who owes 3 months rent, helps her along the way. This is more similar to a slice-of-life. It is really fun and charming. And if you come out ready to read only one of these, I hope you try Gisele Alain. Gisele is extremely strong willed and does as she likes when she likes with out much fear of being judged, but she is a little naive (as shown when she was surprised to find that you need to pay people when trying to find information). Eric on the other hand is a cautious young man, constantly being pulled into her schemes with a threat of the rent bill. Together they work real well together. This is one that I recommend.

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I hope you enjoyed these. If anyone knows more that they find beautiful please put them in the comments. Some that I know are considered very gorgeous include The Bride of the Water God, NANA, and Umineko No Naku Koro Ni. I would also like to note that I tried to avoid putting manga that I already wrote on. For instance, I find Centaur no Nayami by Murayama Kei to be very beautifully done. (Here: http://www.espressocomsaudade.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/centaur-no-nayami-by-murayama-kei/) Anyways, have a good day and read good manga!

-Blog Barista

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This entire post took much longer than I intended…

 

Honest Myth:French- Pere Fouettard

Pere Noel and Pere Fouettard

Pere Noel and Pere Fouettard

Alright guys! It is day five of this holiday themed myth marathon and it is two days till Christmas!! I don’t know about you all, but I am so excited. This is the first year that I had a legit job (outside of the school), and so I actually bought gifts for my loved ones with my own hard earned cash. I am just most excited for them to see them open the gifts. Anyways, this particular story I learned in French class during high school, but I never looked it up till now. Finding a good photo was hard, but here you go.

Pere Fouettard is a companion of Saint Nicholas, who goes around with St. Nick on St. Nicholas Day (December 6). Fouettard gives lump of coals and whips naughty children while Pere Noel gives gifts. His name, Pere Fouettard, means something along the line of Father Whipper.

Fouettard’s appearance is described to be an older man with a sinister face. He wears a dark robe, has an unkempt black beard, and carries a whip/stick/switch. His face is also usually darkened with soot.

Legend states that Fouettard was a butcher originally. During a famine, three boys went searching for food and ended up lost. They found the home of the butcher and asked him for the night’s shelter. The butcher agreed and then chopped up the children into many pieces. He planned to sell their meat and make more money. St. Nicholas then arrived, and he brought the boys back to life. The butcher repents, and begs Nick to allow him to make up for his crimes. So, he became Saint Nicholas’s companion, serving out of loyalty and gratitude.

Learn more here: http://www.chuck.hubpages.com/hub/Father-Christmas-and-His-Assistant-Pere-Fouettard-

-Blog Barista

Vixen: a female fox or a very foxy female ;)

Vixen: a female fox or a very foxy female 😉

 

Honest Myth:American- The Princess that Wore a Rabbit Skin Dress

This is not part of the Holiday themed marathon. Instead, I had this myth lying around and figured it would be nice to write a buttload of posts now before school comes back again. Anyways I think that this will be an enjoyable myth for everyone so here it is. It is an American folklore, what I mean by this is that the myth is from the United States (but from any Amerindian tribes).

There are many myths that seem extremely similar to this one including Allerlerauh, and many of the components may be a mixture of them.

If you know who the artist is please leave a comment down below.

If you know who the artist is please leave a comment down below.

A woman married her third husband, the King of the country, he was very abusive and soon she became very sick. He promised her he would not marry again unless the next woman was as beautiful as her. After her death, he search everywhere for a woman suitable to marry, but could find no one. He soon realized that the only woman who qualified was his wife’s young daughter (in some versions she is the child of either the first or second husband, but for some he is her legit father. Which, I find a little disturbing).

To avoid the marriage with her father (or step father) the young princess asked him for a special wedding gift. She asked for a silver dress like the moon, a dress with pearls and diamonds that was dazzling like the stars, and a golden shimmering dress like the sun. The first took one year and six months to make, the second two years and six months, and the last took three years and six months. Lastly, once all was made, she asked for a homely dress/coat made of rabbit fur (or of a mixture of different animal furs, but what is important is that it is a poor looking piece of clothing that she can wear over an outfit for warmth). The night before the wedding, she took a golden ring, a spindle, and a reel, and left her home on her mare. The young princess lived in the neighboring forest until she was found by the Prince of the Kingdom near by, as he went hunting.

She was given a job in the kitchen, and all the staff ridiculed her by telling her that all she needs are rabbit ears to become a true rabbit. The prince held a ball and she sneaked to the dance dressed in her silver dress. The prince fell in love with her, and next morning she slipped the golden ring into his soup. When he asked the staff, everyone denied having placed the ring in his food (including the girl in the rabbit skin dress). For the next ball, the young princess went again dressed in her pearl and diamond dress and spoke to him all night. The next day, she slipped the spindle into his food again. Yet still, the prince could not find the culprit. For the third dance, she went in her shimmering gold dress and danced all night with the prince. As they danced, he placed the ring onto her finger with out her noticing, and he also made the ball last a little longer than usual.

Because of this, the girl had to hurry to the kitchen and did not get enough time to change. So she threw her rabbit skin dress over the gold and prepared the prince’s soup. When she handed him the food, he caught her hand and found the ring on her finger. She pulled away in shock and her rabbit skin dressed slipped slightly, revealing a peak of her golden dress. He pulled the mantle off, and her dress was exposed. Knowing her identity, they married and lived happily ever after.

Learn more here: www.sacred-texts.com/neu/grimm/ht27.htm

-Blog Barista

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Honest Myth:South Eastern Europe- Kallikantzaroi

kallikanztaroi_worldtreeToday is TheBetterCup’s and my birthday. We are now turning twenty years of age, and with the sudden realization that we have lived on this planet for twenty years, I did a little research and found a fun little myth that corresponds with this. So I hope you enjoy this particular folklore as much as we did.

This particular myth is found in many places such as Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece (that is how I heard of it, it is huge in Greece). The Kallikantzaroi are Winter Goblins or Christmas Goblins. They are malevolent goblins that dwell underground, but come up during the twelve days of Christmas (from the December 25 to January 5). The name has an unknown meaning, but originates from Greece.

The Kallikantzaroi live underground and saw away at the world tree so that it may fall and bring the world down with it. They are not allowed/able to go back to the surface of the Earth except when the sun is stuck in a certain place in the sky. The twelve days of Christmas are also known as the unbaptized days (maybe it is believed that Jesus was not baptized between those days), and because of that demons are able to escape during that time. They cut at the tree all year and right when they are about to saw through, Christmas comes. The goblins go to the surface to bring trouble to the humans. On the sixth of January, the sun begins to move again and the Goblins must go down back to the underground. At this point the tree has fully healed and they goblins need to start over.

0004_11-300x241Some say that they are humanoids with animal parts, hairy bodies, horse legs, and boar tusks. Some times, they are described as large, sometimes small. They have red burning eyes and giant secondary sex characteristics. They mostly look like little, black devils that are very blind, speak with a lisp, and love to eat other creatures. They are described as dancing when they move.

They mostly escape at night, because during the day humans are more readily able to defend themselves. To scare away these goblins there a few tricks that can be tried:

  • Leave colander on the door step. The goblin will sit on the steps counting the holes of the colnader repeating ‘1, 2…’ They can never finish and say three because three is a mystical number associated with God and by saying it they would die. The goblin will continue to count until sunrise.
  • Burn wood in the fireplace or burn a yule log or stinky shoes. All of these keep the goblins from entering through the fire place (may keep Santa out too).

Any child born on a Saturday are believed to be able to speak and see to the Kallikantzaroi. Any child born during this time (any where from like 21 to like January 6) are in danger of becoming a Kallikantzaroi once they reach adult hood (like twenty years of age). For some, children born near Christmas are thought to change as punishment for their mother’s sin in bearing children at a sacred time of Mary Mother of God.

The Turkish have a similar myth. It is believed that they appear in the first ten days of winter and stand at murky corners. They ask ordinary questions, but to avoid being killed one should always answer all the questions with the word ‘black’.

In the Macedonia (an area in Northern Greece), those who live with a ‘light’ guardian angel undergo this transformation.

I hope you like this. Hopefully TheBetterCup and I can avoid becoming terrible winter goblins!

To learn more go here: www.spiegel.de/international/europe/beware-the-kallikantzaroi-greek-goblins-run-riot-over-christmas-a-597656.html

-Blog Barista (Happy Holidays!)

He needs help...

He needs help…

Honest Myth:Christian- St. Lucia

Here again for today’s myth. It is a very short one, but I found it interesting and awesome, and hopefully you will too.

lucia

Lucia was a young girl long ago who went to a shrine of Saint Agnes to pray for her ill mother. An angel appeared to her in a dream and the mother was healed miraculously. Lucia then became devout Christian and vowed to never compromise her virginity as a way to to prove her thanks for her mothers glorious recovery. Her fiance (who she was going to be forced to marry) denounced her to the Roman authorities and they went after her. They tried to remove her from the shrine, but even fifty oxen could not pull her out. As a final attempt, they attempted to burn her and set her on fire, but she continued to preach the word of God. She was only then able to die after being given the Christian Sacrament.

This holiday is celebrated on December 13, considered one of the first days where there is less daylight. On this day in Sweden, the eldest daughter of the family wakes up early and dresses as the Queen of Light (St. Lucia). She wears a white dress, red sash, and a crown/wreath of candles. She then goes around waking the family by singing the traditional song (Sankta Lucia) and giving coffee and treats.

To learn more go here: www.ingebretsens.com/culture/traditions/the-legend-of-sankta-lucia

-Blog Barista

Dasher is definitely my favorite!

Dancer is definitely my favorite!

Honest myth:Judiasm- Hanukkah

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Illustration by David Harrington (This is a children’s story tom Hanukkah).

On to the next day of our Holiday special. Today’s myth will focus on the story of Hanukkah! Most people in the United States know some things about the holiday, but (myself included) don’t tend to know the story. If anyone of the Jewish fate sees anything wrong in how I retell the story, please tell me so that I may correct it. This one I found specifically confusing in terms of what occurred to bring about the holiday. So here I present to you what I learned.

At one point in history, Israel was under the rule of the Syrian King whose father (previous King) had won control of that land after waging war with Ptolemy, Hellenic King of Egypt. The Jews were greatly oppressed under this King. The Jewish treasury consisted of contributions of half shekel (some sort of currency) from each adult male every year. This money was meant for religious rituals and as funds for improving for improving the temple. The King needed money to pay the Romans, and he wished to unity the Kingdom under one religion so as to make them easier to handle. Because of this, he planned to oppress the Jewish more and to take over the temple.

The Jewish temple was seized by the soldiers and dedicated to the worship of Zeus. Observance of Judaism became an offense punishable by death. the high priest, Mattahias refused to do as they said. he and is five sons fought back and then went into hiding in the mountains. They gained more rebels, and calling themselves the Maccabees, they fought to regain the temple.

The temple needed to be purified (after they claimed it back as a Jewish place of worship), and to do so a menorah had to be burned for eighht days, but only one day’s worth of oil was left. They lit it anyways and miraculously, it lasted all eight days, just enough time for more oi kosher oil to be made.

They have lots of yummy food on this  holiday, I swear it is so yummy.

-Blog Barista

To learn more, check this website out: www.history.com/topics/holidays/hanukkah

Yeah, Dasher!

Yeah, Dasher!

 

 

Honest Myths:Christian- Three Wise Men

It has been a very long time since my last post, and I am very sorry. I just finished my finals week and now break can begin. I don’t have anything super special planned, but since we are in the middle of the Holiday season, I plan on doing different Holiday based myths of Christmas and Hanukkah and so on. I am actually really excited. Mostly because it has been so very long since I got a chance to relax. I planned on doing a Thanksgiving myth, back in November, but my Thanksgiving Break (only 3 days) was basically spent working (my part time job) and doing school work. Right now I am just enjoying a bunch of books I checked out from my university, and I also plan on doing a post that reviews the 5 to 6 books I want to read. I guess we will see. Anyways I hope you guys enjoy the first part of my Holiday themed Honest Myths (this one may be a little short, but I really liked this part of the whole Nativity Scene in general).

If you know who the artist is, please tell me. Thank you

If you know who the artist is, please tell me. Thank you

The Three Wise Men, also known as the Biblical Magi or the Three Kings of the Orient, are foreigners that came to give gifts to Jesus, King of the Jews, at his birth. Not much is actually said in the Bible about them that explains how many there was or if they were really Kings, but traditionally it was believed that there was three and that they were wise kings.

"We Three Kings" by Simon Dewey. He sells his art. If you want to see his work go here: http://www.altusfineart.com/home/afa/smartlist_127/we_three_kings.html

“We Three Kings” by Simon Dewey. He sells his art. If you want to see his work go here: http://www.altusfineart.com/home/afa/smartlist_127/we_three_kings.html

The three kings are considered to be Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar. Caspar was King of India and brought the gift of frankincense. Balthazar was King of Arabia and brought myrrh. And Melchior was King of Persia, and he brought gold. Some believe that the Kings could possibly be the descendants of Noah, and thus Balthazar can also be shown as the King of Ethiopia. Christians of different backgrounds, though, have many differing beliefs as to where the Kings came from. Some Christians of Chinese descent believe that one of the wise men was Chinese in origin.

These wise men heard or read a prophecy of the birth of the true king, and thus they set out to find Jesus. They went to Herod, King of Jerusalem, to get counsel and he sent them out with the condition that they would return to him afterwards. He wanted to be told where to find the child, saying that it was so he could pay respects to the baby, but he actually wanted to murdered him instead. The three wise men went out to find the baby and began to follow a very bright light in the western sky called the Star of Bethlehem. They found the baby the night he was born, or at least that is what the Nativity Scene makes it seem like (I am not super sure if that detail was ever mentioned anywhere). That night, they had a dream where God warned them of going to Herod. With this, they decided to go back to their kingdoms through another route.

-Blog Barista

To learn some more go here: www.answersingenesis.org/holidays/christmas/we-three-kings/

I am still a little broken over the end of Naruto...

I am still a little broken over the end of Naruto…