Monday, February 6, 2017

school's in session

but not for much longer-

this week we are on are the final assigned book... (I just put that photo in to give you a sense of how different life can be outside the comfort zone of your own country - LOL and since all our books for class were quite foreign that seemed like a good lead off)

so far we have done:
  • ancient China (@ 700) an imperious as well as imperial judge becomes a "detective" in three crimes - some of the solution comes from standard procedures of torture... historically accurate though it may be - not too much brain work needed for torturing confessions...
  • historic (pre Meiji Restoration) Japan @1850 very formulaic stories that mostly dealt with domestic issues - perhaps a tad too foreign to resonate with westerners - which may be why it was published by a University press and cost so much to buy...
  • communist era (1970s) Laos - this one was my favorite of the four- because I really liked the old guy who was the "detective" - he was funny and rebellious and smart... and it really enlightened the reader on the poorest country in Asia as communism came to power...
  • recent India (Mumbai) cute enough but not all that believable and it seemed like the Inspector just fell into some of the most important clues to "solving" the crime - and for a guy who served in the police department for decades he seemed overly willing to impersonate an active police officer to me.  Also I didn't like that the elephant was depressed and not eating for most of the book

and for the last week of class - choose  a country and period for a book to read and then to share with the group (book reports LOL) and I chose one about Singapore and Bangkok... I am about one third of the way through and find it both well written and interesting and the "detective" is not just a sketch of someone but a well rounded person that I think readers could relate to- he's pragmatic and flawed but quite appealing as he makes his way through details of the case (which are extremely hard to come by in the murder of the wife of a person with diplomatic immunity...)

having been to all these countries I found it interesting to see how much or how little I recognized of the places I had been to... all the photographs in this post are mine from travels in Asia over the last fifteen plus years- and if you want to see more- cut and copy this address into your browser-

I envisioned the Chinese villages where Judge Dee visited in the course of his investigations to look something like this old town (which is preserved and apparently few visit there - Daxu)

in the Japanese based book- Inspector Hanshichi often eats noodles but sometimes treats himself to eel- LOL  - when coming from or heading to a temple to make offerings or inquiries-

this was a village we visited in Laos and even though they clearly didn't have satellite dishes in the 70s era Laos this place is probably pretty much unchanged since then otherwise-

It would not look out of place for a man and his elephant to walk through these streets in India LOL

and my Inspector in Singapore meets the coroner in a bar exactly of this type - though he despises the place and says it is overrun by yuppies LOL

this is the area of the above photo - from a distance to give perspective-

so I enjoyed this class quite a bit despite it now being twice as far away as it was the last few years- Certainly that is a deterrent to signing up again but if it turns out to be something of interest I would do it again... worth the effort...

This week - a visit from friends and a lecture on Artificial Intelligence

and then we are off to NC to visit Angela & Lee! so stay tuned... there's always more - LOL

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