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Fifth chapter of oldest ‘Tale of Genji’ copy found in Tokyo:The Asahi Shimbun

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KYOTO--Experts confirmed the authenticity of a chapter of the oldest manuscript of Japanese classic novel “Genji Monogatari” (The Tale of Genji) that was discovered in storage at a home in Tokyo.

The manuscript of “Wakamurasaki” is the fifth Genji chapter confirmed to have been transcribed by poet Fujiwara no Teika (1162-1241), Reizeike Shiguretei Bunko, a foundation in Kyoto’s Kamigyo Ward, announced on Oct. 8.

The “Wakamurasaki” chapter depicts one of the highlights of the epic: The protagonist, Prince Genji, meets a girl who later becomes his wife, Murasaki-no-ue, the second-most important character of the tale.

The public interest foundation manages cultural properties belonging to the Reizei family, which has ancestral ties to Teika. The manuscript was found in February at the Tokyo home of Motofuyu Okochi, the 72-year-old current head of the Okochi family of the Mikawa-Yoshida feudal domain (today’s Toyohashi in Aichi Prefecture).

The manuscript, 21.9 centimeters long and 14.3 cm wide, had been kept in a large oblong chest in a storeroom.

A family record showed that the manuscript has been in the possession of the Okochi family since it was handed down from the Kuroda family of the Fukuoka feudal domain in 1743.

On Okochi’s request in April, the Reizei family studied the manuscript and the foundation later confirmed its authenticity.

“The Tale of Genji” is believed to have been written in the 11th century by noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu. However, none of her signed manuscripts of the novel has remained.

The manuscripts transcribed by Teika, a poet in the early Kamakura Period (1185-1333), are believed to be the oldest in existence and are known collectively as “Ao-byoshi-bon” (blue book-cover version).

The other four confirmed chapters from Teika’s manuscripts are “Hanachirusato,” “Miyuki,” “Kashiwagi” and “Sawarabi,” all of them now registered as national important cultural properties.

Experts concluded that the newly discovered “Wakamurasaki” chapter was transcribed by Teika based on a number of reasons. For example, the front cover of the manuscript was in blue, and the handwriting of text and a slip of paper on which the book title was written was identical to that of other manuscripts by Teika.

Junko Yamamoto, a professor at the Kyoto University of Advanced Science who specializes in literature of the Heian Period (794-1185), could not contain her excitement over the discovery.

Yamamoto said existing research on the “Wakamurasaki” chapter has relied on manuscripts completed about 250 years after Teika’s work.

“It is very significant that this discovery of the manuscript edited by Teika will be available for researchers,” she said.

(This article was written by Masanori Kobayashi and Jiro Omura.)

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digdoug
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Seth Godin, Bestselling Author

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Our guest this week is Seth Godin. Seth is a 19-time bestselling author, a blogger, an internet pioneer and a teacher. You can find out more at seths.blog.

Subscribe to the Cool Tools Show on iTunes | RSS | Transcript | Download MP3 | See all the Cool Tools Show posts on a single page

Show notes:

laserbond
LaserBond 100: All-Purpose Metal Marking Material
So, the Glowforge laser cutter was a sensation on Kickstarter, and unlike many Kickstarter sensations, it actually works. It’s a device that goes back and forth like a CAD cam flatbed printer, except it’s got a high powered laser in it that can cut through wood or acrylic or maybe chocolate. I haven’t tried chocolate. And I have been bad at it for a long time, and I’m getting better. They put up a sign in my building in the lobby, and I don’t like the sign. So I made a new one. I ended up making 18 versions to get it to look professional. And the key, which is talked about a little bit on the very active Glowforge discussion board is this new product called Laser Bond 100, and it’s this weird hack, which is this: Laser cutters of this sort can’t cut through metal, but they can heat it up. So, if you spray a certain kind of lubricant on the metal, when it heats up, it becomes impervious to everything, and then you just wash off all the other bits. And it’s a super weird way to make a sign, but it works beautifully.

ashescanoe
Ashes Still Water Boats Canoe Plans
I’m imagining that I’m going to build a boat in my garage. Imagining is way better than actually doing it. So here’s the quick background: In 1955, there were more canoes in Canada than automobiles. It was the number one form of transportation for the whole country. And the canoes were mostly cedar strip canoes. A cedar strip canoe is made from very thin strips of cedar on top of wooden ribs, just like the ribs in a human being’s lungs that hold your lungs together. And then you can either put fiberglass or even more elegantly canvas on this boat. And the company that made most of them was the Chestnut Canoe Company. And I know this because I learned how to style a canoe from the student of the person who invented the sport in the 1930s. I once paddled with him, and I’ve taught thousands of people in Canada how to canoe. But even though I make my own canoe paddles, I’ve never made my own canoe. Well, the Chestnut Canoe Company, the pioneer, long out of business, and I’ve always been fascinated by how you just take basically 40 pounds of cedar strip scraps and make it into a boat. Well, there’s this guy, who has built a website where he sells you a tube with plans in it. That’s all you get is a printout. And what I love about it is it’s as if he has the ethos of a $50,000 motorcycle manufacturer. It’s got a style to it. It’s not just here’s the minimum, it’s here’s the maximum, here’s the Rococo Baroque version of a set of plans to make this timeless boat. And it is entirely possible I will never make the boat because I got almost 106% of the satisfaction just by knowing that I could.

Seth’s Zoom & Skype Call Tips
One of the biggest shifts of the last five years is that more and more people are realizing you don’t need to get on an airplane. You can just do a video call. And just before this, I was on a video call with 60 people, but you can do a video call with two people. And if you flew across the country and showed up at a meeting looking like you had just eaten pizza and then slept in it, people would laugh at you. But people show up like that in Zoom calls all the time. And so I wrote a blog post called How to Be on a Zoom Call. And basically what I describe is where to put the light, where to put the microphone, what to wear, don’t have a conversation in the middle because, unlike a conference call, which you can put on mute, it’s really hard to put a video call on mute talking to other people because everyone can see you. And so, if I’ve added sanity to anyone’s life with these six or eight points, I hope that it was worth the free click.

Paul McGowan’s speaker journey
There’s a guy named Paul in Boulder, Colorado, and he makes all the little pieces or some big pieces for expensive stereos, like pre-amps and amps and power conditioners and stuff like that. And what I like about this story is it’s a maker’s story because he has succeeded at doing it. But he made a friendship years ago with a guy named Arnie Nudell, and Arnie built the biggest speaker that was for sale in the history of the country, four boxes, each one bigger than a casket. So, if you bring these four boxes home, you’re going to need a casket because your spouse is going to kick you out. But leaving that aside, most people believe that Arnie’s speakers were some of the greatest ever made. Well, Paul hooked up with Arnie toward the end of his life, and they started talking about what would it be like to use modern technology to make that again. And unfortunately, Arnie died about nine months ago, and in his memory, Paul is persisting in making this speaker. What’s really cool about it is for a year he’s been sharing everything he’s been doing, talking about it. Halfway through, they abandoned the plans and started over in a different direction, and he’s doing it in front of all of his customers, and he hasn’t taken any orders. It’s not a Kickstarter ploy. It’s just a guy who likes being a maker. And I’ve been thrilled to watch it. He just demoed the prototype two weeks ago, and you can see some of the posts that he’s put up as it’s unfolded, and it takes real guts, I think, to be this sort of maker.

pacojet
Pacojet for ice cream
There’s a machine in Switzerland that you can get called a Pacojet, and they use it in restaurants. You probably have never seen one. It’s a little bigger than a sewing machine. And in it is a blade that spins in a vacuum at about 10,000 RPM, which is wicked fast. And it comes with a half a dozen metal aluminum canisters that you fill with a homemade ice cream mix. In my case, I make a vegan one with four kinds of nuts, dates, and cocoa powder, and you freeze it to four degrees below zero. Then you put the canister into the Pacojet and tell it how many servings of ice cream you want, and you press a button, and it spins down at super high speed and spins off as many servings as your restaurant needs. And it is the best ice cream technology in the world. It’s using a totally different way to break up ice crystals to make deliciousness. And if you care a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot about homemade ice cream, this is the thing to get.

levoit
LEVOIT Air Purifier
This thing is such a breakthrough. In my office, I make lunch for everyone every day, and dosas are big on the mango, and dosas make a little bit of smoke. And this was a problem. It turns out this machine — you put it next to your stove, and you press a button, and all the smoke disappears. It’s got a carbon-something filter inside that is good for many, many hours. But I only use it for five minutes at a time, so I haven’t used it up. I have one next to my Glowforge. I have one next to my stove.

coppermat
Copper Grill Mats for Dosas
Dosas are made from two ingredients, rice and lentils. So if you’re a vegan or vegetarian, it’s a home run. They’re delicious. You make them on a big cast iron skillet with no sides. But it turns out that the super popular brand new copper mats that are a miracle for cooking fish on the grill, you can also just dump the dosa batter right onto the copper mat, and you can grill your dosa. I got some copper mats for Dan Pink. I’m now a hero in his home. These copper mats cost a dollar each on Amazon. It is the size of a small cooking sheet. They’re flexible, and they’re just woven copper. And what you do is you put them on the grill, you warm them up for just a minute, and then nothing you put on them will stick. You can cook fish, anything. And it’s a miracle. Why did they just get invented now? If this was on late night TV, you would say, “That’s impossible.”

dosabatterwetgrinder
Dosa batter wet grinder
If you want to make the batter for dosa, you first have to move to South India, and then you get the two ingredients, and they have to each be soaked separately. And then you have to grind them in with all the wet grinder, which are a granite flat surface that’s round, and then these conical granite pyramids that spin around and grind things to a very small size. The reason you have to move to South India is, after you’ve made the batter, you have to plunge your hands into it repeatedly. That is how you inoculate it with whichever sort of bacteria makes it ferment. Now, I did not make my batter in South India, so my inoculation isn’t quite as successful, but you can’t skip the part about infecting it with the bacteria. But leaving that aside, a wet grinder is a miracle. You can make hummus in it. You can make chocolate from scratch, from cocoa nibs, and you can make this product. And there are lots of people who are importing them from India. The interesting thing about the Cocoa Town link is the guy who imports it from India realized it was the cheapest way to make homemade chocolate. So he just put a sticker on the outside, calls it Cocoa Town, and he doesn’t even mention dosa. You just have to pay extra because you can make chocolate in it.

Also mentioned:

Akimbo
My day job, the thing I’m spending all my time on now, is learning, not education. No certificate, no degree, no accreditation, no tests. Show up because you want to learn something. And it’s in the spirit of what I learned from Kevin all the way back to Whole Earth, which is that, if you’re enrolled in learning something, it doesn’t need to be sugarcoated the same way, and you are open to experience, which makes you open to change. So at akimbo.com, that is what we are building: one series of workshops after another where people work with each other, face to face on video or in discourse, around small lessons, over months of time, where at the end, they are transformed in the way they see the world, and they don’t care that they didn’t get a certificate.

 

We have hired professional editors to help create our weekly podcasts and video reviews. So far, Cool Tools listeners have pledged $390 a month. Please consider supporting us on Patreon. We have great rewards for people who contribute! If you would like to make a one-time donation, you can do so using this link: https://paypal.me/cooltools.– MF

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digdoug
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cespurgeon
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Cespurgeon@gmail.com

700-Year-Old French Mill Still Cranking Out Handmade Paper

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For their latest video, Great Big Story visits a French mill that’s been making paper for 700 years. The Richard de Bas mill has supplied paper to the likes of Picasso and Dali and is today one of the few remaining places in France where paper is still made by hand; they only produce about 2 tons of paper a year. That flower paper is incredible. My only complaint about this video is that it wasn’t 6-7 minutes longer. You can see more of the mill in this video (in French, although YT’s auto-translated captions work ok).

The mill and the associated museum in Ambert, France are open to visitors and you can buy some of their paper from the online store. A pack of dozen sheets of their floral paper is €30.

See also this 1970 short film on marbled paper, a personal favorite of mine.

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digdoug
9 days ago
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I think I may have to order from here.
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5 from harry belafonte

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Each and every one of you has the power, the will, and the capacity to make a difference in the world in which you live in.

Artists are the gatekeepers of truth. We are civilization’s anchor. We are the compass for humanity’s conscience.

Although slavery may have been abolished, the crippling poison of racism still exists, and the struggle still continues.

America can no longer afford to be as arrogant as we’ve been. We can no longer exempt ourselves from the global family of concern.

You can cage the singer but not the song.



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digdoug
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"America can no longer afford to be as arrogant as we’ve been. We can no longer exempt ourselves from the global family of concern."
Louisville, KY
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Assemble With Care

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Maria helps people fix things. Objects, by trade, but perhaps more than that in practice.

Developed by the fine minds at UsTwo Games (best known for their work on the Monument Valley series), Assemble With Care is a contemplative Apple Arcade game about fixing people’s things.

Stage by stage, we’re introduced to two main families in the town of Bellariva, and the game uses puzzles to reveal glimpses of their lives.

By repairing one thing or another for them—solving the puzzles—Maria listens and observes, witnessing and eventually helping smooth over their interpersonal struggles.

She’s running from something herself, and the entire game is a journey through learning to help yourself by helping others.

This all sounds weighty, but the game isn’t sombre by any means. It’s a gentle, quiet story without shocking turns, just substantial enough to make each puzzle feel meaningful.

There are only about a dozen stages in total, with visual novel style story portions in between them. Each object typically requires you to disassemble, observe, replace broken parts, and re-assemble. With care, of course.

Some puzzles take things a bit further, asking you to react to what another character is asking you to do, or experiment with possible combinations and approaches.

The difficulty never spikes, making it an accessible game for younger and less experienced players too. It took me about half an hour or so to play through it one afternoon.

Attention to Detail

Part of what makes iOS such a perfect platform for these sorts of games is the directness of touch.

Other games in the genre have undermined this tactile advantage by limiting the speed at which you can interact with or move objects. This feels frustrating in the heat of a puzzle as the solution finally opens up to you. Suddenly it feels like you aren’t able to solve it at the speed of thought—you have to do it at the pace the game allows for.

I was very pleased to see that Assemble With Care allows you to move as quickly or as slowly as you want. You can make your way through things at your own pace, without feeling like you’re being held back or going too fast.

This attention to detail at the gameplay level is mirrored in the design too; Maria is careful to put loose screws from the various contraptions into a dish so they don’t get lost, and the game uses a mug of coffee to trigger the pause menu—a coffee break.

I also want to draw your attention to the absolutely impeccable sound design in the game. Each interaction feels authentic, the music transitions smoothly from one area to the next, and the fully voiced characters are (mostly) convincing in their performances.

Making Connections

Assemble With Care is a game that uses fixing trinkets as a metaphor for fixing relationships.

It’s a brief, beautiful puzzle game about human connection, and is well worth a play.

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digdoug
9 days ago
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I want *hours* more of this game. It really is beautiful, and the story layer made it worth replaying. (The first pass I just raced through to the puzzles)
Louisville, KY
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Well-preserved dog remains found in Peru

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The well-preserved remains of a 1000-year-old dog have been discovered in the Sechin archaeological site in Peru. The dog’s remains are in excellent condition, with significant patches of yellow and brown fur and toe pads still extant.

Sechin, a prehistoric site in northern Peru’s Casma and Sechin river valleys, was inhabited from at least 7600 B.C., the earliest radiocarbon date result from the settlement. Very little is known about the population, but the site was occupied by the Casma/Sechin culture for thousands of years. By 3600 B.C. they were building monumental structures like pyramids, plazas and friezes. The plaza and frieze at Sechin Bajo are the two oldest monumental structures known in the Americas. The Casma/Sechin culture appears to have abandoned Sechin as a result of a war around 100 B.C., but they would later reoccupy it.

The dog’s remains, which date to the reoccupation period, are the second discovery made by the archaeological team since excavations began. It was discovered in the main structure of Sechin, a monumental complex believed to have had religious purpose. Preliminary investigation of the dog suggest it was a native breed from the prehispanic era that was used in the temple.

The excavation project aims to find out more about the history and people Sechin. More finds are expected now the dig has encountered the most recent habitation layer. This first stage of excavations will end in November. After a break for winter, the next stage will begin.

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digdoug
13 days ago
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Good boys for millenia
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