Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Episode XXXVII-Truth, Justice and the Podcast Way Shownotes

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Intro Music: Theme from "Enter the Dragon" by Lalo Schifri

  Recorded On: 10/12/2015
  Martial Thoughts: Fighting Words
Interlude Music: Wheels (in the Sky) by Journey
Interview: Steve Perry
  The Matador Series
  Al Dacascos
  Steve Barnes
  Shadows of the Empire
  Teras Kasi
  The Hidden Fortress
  Indiana Jones and the Army of the Dead
  Maja Guru Steven Plink
  Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  Jason Bourne Series
  Joe Lansdale
  Vonda MacIntire
  Liz Lynn
  Jim Butcher (Dresden Series)
  Roger Zelazny

    Fans of Steve Perry
Interlude Music: Separate Ways (Worlds Appart) by Journey

This Week in Martial Arts: January 15th, 1972
Ernie Reyes Jr.

Contact Information
Twitter Account: @martialthoughts
Email: martialthoughts@gmail.com
Atemicast Youtube Channel

Outro Music: Voodoo Chile-Jimi Hendrix / Gayageum ver. by Luna

Friday, January 15, 2016

Review of "Samurai Tales"

In the interest of full disclosure, I received this book from the publisher for review purposes
Title: Samurai Tales
Written By: Romulus Hillsborough
Publisher: Tuttle
Format: Softcover
Pages: 256
Cover Price: $11.87(US)



  This book contains some of the stories that were occurring in Japan at the tumultuous time of the end of the Samurai.  There are many tales that intertwine, and you start to get an idea of the political situations that were going on in the major centers of government, and how they played out through the lives of the individuals presented here.  It's an interesting read full of swordsmanship, honor, beheadings, and colorful characters.


    I've been a reader on Japan and the samurai since I started martial arts about 20 years ago, and although I knew some of the names involved, I hadn't heard any of these specific stories that were told in this book.  I consider that a plus.  My friend Rick (from the Martial Thoughts Podcast) is much more knowledgeable about the Shinsengumi than I am, and he hadn't heard all of these specific stories.  So I gather that these are newer tales to English language books.  They might be more known in Japan, but I have no way of guessing that. 
  I also enjoyed how the book played off itself.  They would tell one story of a politically motivated duel/beheading, and then describe another samurai who was on the other side politically, and talk about their revenge killings.  Overall you get a pretty good feel for the types of politics that were going on at the time.


  My only complaint, is that the book is not a history book.  It kinda starts with the impression that you have a basic idea of the political landscape of Japan at the end of the Edo period.  Which, if you have even a basic idea (no thanks to Tom Cruise's Last Samurai) you can really place these stories in their proper perspective.  That would be my only negative opinion of the stories.


  I'm going to give this book 4 out of 5 Ninja Stars.  I enjoyed the book and was pleasantly surprised by the new stories that I hadn't encountered but I do think you should have a basic understanding of the framework of when these stories were taking place. 
  I especially liked the tales involving the Shogun's Executioner.  But, maybe that's because I watch too many Samurai Films (Where was the baby cart?).