"Autobiographies of great nations are written in three manuscripts – a book of deeds, a book of words, and a book of art.
Of the three, I would choose the latter as truest testimony." - Sir Kenneth Smith, Great Civilisations

"I must write each day without fail, not so much for the success of the work, as in order not to get out of my routine." - Leo Tolstoy

I have never believed that one should wait until one is inspired because I think the pleasures of not writing are so
great that if you ever start indulging them you will never write again. - John Updike

"The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour
is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it." - J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Advent Season - Afflicted by Hope

"When God “afflicts us with hope” we become people who look at the world with “a steady, honest, unflinching gaze." We see the world just as it is and yet, because we trust in God’s goodness, we still believe good triumphs over evil. This is the hope that lies at the heart of Advent [which celebrates Jesus' birth into a world of sin]. A hope that doggedly persists despite pain and suffering and deep, deep grief. A hope based on a promise that Jesus will not leave us alone but, instead, comes to us over and over again [in this life as the next]." - Teri Wooten Daily

A Beacon of Light: A City on a Hill Full of Light & Peace

The Risk of Birth
by Madeleine L'Engle

This is no time for a child to be born,
With the earth betrayed by war & hate
And a comet slashing the sky to warn
That time runs out & the sun burns late.

That was no time for a child to be born,
In a land in the crushing grip of Rome;
Honor & truth were trampled to scorn--
Yet here did the Savior make His home.

When is the time for love to be born?
The inn is full on the planet earth,
And by a comet the sky is torn--
Yet Love still takes the risk of birth.

The Birth of Jesus
Luke 2:1-15 (NASB)

2 Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all [a]the inhabited earth. 2 [b]This was the first census taken while [c]Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, 5 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. 6 While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a [d]manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is [e]Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a [f]manger.” 13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men [g]with whom He is pleased.”

15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the [h]manger. 17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.

*The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Days To Come
Isaiah 2:1-5 (NRSV)*

The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

In days to come
the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be raised above the hills;
all the nations shall stream to it.
Many peoples shall come and say,
‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.’
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.

O house of Jacob,
come, let us walk
in the light of the Lord!

*The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The Hour Unknown
Matthew 24:36-44 (NRSV)*

Jesus said to the disciples, “But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”

*The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The Downward Slope to Hope & Humanity

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The Ruins of Ozymandias, by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Image result for the ruins of ozymandias

by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land

Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:

And on the pedestal these words appear:

'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away."

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What is the main idea of the poem "Ozymandias"?
by Gretchen Mussey, enotes

In the poem, Shelley describes the ruins of a once great statue of a sphinx intended to represent the almighty reign of Ramses II, also known as Ozymandias. However, instead of witnessing the powerful image of an omnipotent ruler, all that remains of Ozymandias's statue is a "Half sunk," broken image of a domineering man that is decaying in the sand. Ironically, Ramses's original intentions of his statue have the opposite effect on travelers, who only witness how time impacts one's legacy and accomplishments. Shelley's poem examines the transitory nature of life, legacy, power, and government institutions. The decaying, broken image of Ozymandias's visage portrays how time destroys every human accomplishment. The inscription on the bottom of the statue is also ironic and symbolically represents how one's pursuit of power and glory are illusory and fleeting.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

What kind of person is Ozymandias as he is depicted in Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem of the same name?
by Andrew Nightengale, enotes

We learn something about Ozymandias from line three of the poem. These lines provide a description of the individual whose image has been sculpted in stone, which now lies broken in the sand.

Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

The words in bold inform us that the sculpture expresses a frown which suggests a serious expression; 'wrinkled lip' informs of a haughty expression, possessed by one who regards others with contempt. This is further supported and accentuated by the word 'sneer', which tells us that the person so depicted had disdain for those whom he commanded. The fact that his command is described as 'cold' suggests that he was heartless and cruel. Our perception is therefore of a cruel, hard, ruthless taskmaster who led without any love for his subjects. We can therefore rightly assume that he must have been either a dictator or tyrant.

The speaker tells us that the sculptor 'well those passions read,' which is an indication that the skilled artist was not remiss in the manner in which he portrayed his subject in this now decayed work. The line "The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed" further informs us that Ozymandias saw his subjects as buffoons and treated them as if they were idiots. He relished abusing his subjects and he fed his overblown ego by treating them with utter disregard and making fools of them.

Further insight is provided into Ozymandias' unpleasant superciliousness in the lines:

And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'

So vain and egotistical was he that he expressed his greatness on the pedestal of his statue, stating that he was greater than any ruler. Even the mightiest of the mighty could not challenge his glory for he was so all-powerful and great that all any other ruler could do was to become disparaged when they witnessed his magnitude and magnificence.

It is therefore ironic that all that has remained of Ozymandias' so-called prodigious power is a broken statue, enveloped by the sands of the desert.

Nothing beside remains

Ozymandias has been defeated by death and time. The lonely, open and vast desert has become his final resting place, leaving a poor testament to his once, as he believed, incomparable might.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

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"Ozymandias" (/ˌɒziˈmændiəs/ oz-ee-MAN-dee-əs)[1] is the title of two related sonnets published in 1818. The first was written by the English Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822) and was published in the 11 January 1818 issue of The Examiner[2] of London. The poem was included the following year in Shelley's collection Rosalind and Helen, A Modern Eclogue; with Other Poems,[3] and in a posthumous compilation of his poems published in 1826.[4] Shelley's most famous work, "Ozymandias" is frequently anthologised.
Shelley wrote the poem in friendly competition with his friend and fellow poet Horace Smith (1779–1849), who also wrote a sonnet on the same topic with the same title. Smith's poem was published in The Examiner three weeks after Shelley's, on February 1st, 1818. Both poems explore the fate of history and the ravages of time: even the greatest men and the empires they forge are impermanent, their legacies fated to decay into oblivion.
In antiquity, Ozymandias (Ὀσυμανδύας) was a Greek name for the Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II. Shelley began writing his poem in 1817, soon after the British Museum's announcement that they had acquired a large fragment of a statue of Ramesses II from the 13th century BCE; some scholars believe Shelley was inspired by the acquisition. The 7.25-short-ton (6.58 t; 6,580 kg) fragment of the statue's head and torso had been removed in 1816 from the mortuary temple of Ramesses (the Ramesseum) at Thebes by the Italian adventurer Giovanni Battista Belzoni. It had been expected to arrive in London in 1818, but did not arrive until 1821.[5][6]

Writing and publication history
The banker and political writer Horace Smith spent the Christmas season of 1817–1818 with Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley. At this time, members of Shelley's literary circle would sometimes challenge each other to write competing sonnets on a common subject: Shelley, John Keats and Leigh Hunt wrote competing sonnets on the Nile around the same time. Shelley and Smith both chose a passage from the writings of the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus, which described a massive Egyptian statue and quoted its inscription: "King of Kings Ozymandias am I. If any want to know how great I am and where I lie, let him outdo me in my work." In the poem Diodorus becomes "a traveller from an antique land."[7]
The two poems were later published in Leigh Hunt's The Examiner,[2] published by Leigh's brother John Hunt in London. Hunt had already been planning to publish a long excerpt from Shelley's new epic, The Revolt of Islam, later the same month.[citation needed]

Shelley's poem

Shelley's poem was published on 11 January 1818 under the pen name Glirastes. It appeared on page 24 in the yearly collection, under Original Poetry. Shelley's poem was later republished under the title "Sonnet. Ozymandias" in his 1819 collection Rosalind and Helen, A Modern Eclogue; with Other Poems by Charles and James Ollier[3] and in the 1826 Miscellaneous and Posthumous Poems of Percy Bysshe Shelley by William Benbow, both in London.[4]

Smith's poem

Smith's poem was published, along with a note signed with the initials H.S., on 1 February 1818.[8] It takes the same subject, tells the same story, and makes a similar moral point, but one related more directly to modernity, ending by imagining a hunter of the future looking in wonder on the ruins of a forgotten London. It was originally published under the same title as Shelley's verse; but in later collections Smith retitled it "On A Stupendous Leg of Granite, Discovered Standing by Itself in the Deserts of Egypt, with the Inscription Inserted Below".[9]

Comparison of the two poems
Percy Shelley's "Ozymandias"I met a traveller from an antique landWho said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stoneStand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,Tell that its sculptor well those passions readWhich yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:And on the pedestal these words appear:'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'Nothing beside remains. Round the decayOf that colossal wreck, boundless and bareThe lone and level sands stretch far away.[4]

Horace Smith's "Ozymandias"In Egypt's sandy silence, all alone,Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throwsThe only shadow that the Desert knows:—"I am great OZYMANDIAS," saith the stone,"The King of Kings; this mighty City showsThe wonders of my hand."— The City's gone,—Naught but the Leg remaining to discloseThe site of this forgotten Babylon.We wonder,—and some Hunter may expressWonder like ours, when thro' the wildernessWhere London stood, holding the Wolf in chace,He meets some fragment huge, and stops to guessWhat powerful but unrecorded raceOnce dwelt in that annihilated place.[10]

Analysis and interpretation


Shelley's "Ozymandias" is a sonnet, written in iambic pentameter, but with an atypical rhyme scheme (ABABA CDCEDEFEF) when compared to other English-language sonnets, and without the characteristic octave-and-sestet structure.[citation needed]


A central theme of the "Ozymandias" poems is the inevitable decline of rulers with their pretensions to greatness.[11] The name "Ozymandias" is a rendering in Greek of a part of Ramesses II's throne name, User-maat-re Setep-en-re. The poems paraphrase the inscription on the base of the statue, given by Diodorus Siculus in his Bibliotheca historica as:
King of Kings am I, Ozymandias. If anyone would know how great I am and where I lie, let him surpass one of my works.[12][13][14]
Although the poems were written and published before the statue arrived in Britain,[6] they may have been inspired by the impending arrival in London in 1821 of a colossal statue of Ramesses II, acquired for the British Museum by the Italian adventurer Giovanni Belzoni in 1816.[15] The statue's repute in Western Europe preceded its actual arrival in Britain, and Napoleon, who at the time of the two poems was imprisoned on St Helena (although the impact of his own rise and fall was still fresh), had previously made an unsuccessful attempt to acquire it for France.

Friday, September 20, 2019

R.E. Slater - Blinded to Social Justice

Blinded to Social Justice

Despair overwhelms 
so too weariness
the loss of spirit

courage is weakened
counsel darkened
whom to trust?
find release
escape the captor
do the right thing

A call to Justice!
cries out
across the lands

too lately come
the aide of

We are the dead
who breathe
empty lives

who fear what isn't
who defend the indefensible
who distrust the innocent
sightless and unseeing
deaf and unhearing
unmoved and unfeeling

Vast lie lands and people
- this very earth!
pleading action

fleeing humans
desperate families
parched earth
fellow wanderers
without hope
without help

These our Blood Kin!
by right and by birth
who cry as the dead

for deliverance
from evil
from cruelty
seeking refugee
merciful fellowship
right and just, together!

R.E. Slater
September 21, 2019

@copyright R.E. Slater Publications
all rights reserved


This morning I find myself mulling over this past week's thoughts, decisions and commentaries both written, unwritten and read. The complexity of life perplexes why so little progress is made locally as national and international constructs wash over us like so many destabilizing tidal waves. Many of which are unhealthy while some few are healthy. Issues such as witnessing how many forms of social unrest has taken us to those more poignant moments requiring actionable movement only to see one-and-all floundering in the wake of a strong backwash knocking us over unable to keep our footing to be pulled away from the shorelines of reason and goodwill. Which I think explains why focusing on controllable moments around us by participating in recurring life experiences are the only points of sanity we have left to us or feel empowered by.

The issues are too large, too deep, too complex, as we are discovering, leaving us with the only thing we can do which is to reorganize ourselves into larger, more cohesive regional blocks of social networks to systematically address the tidal washes of change confronting us to large scale world action. We can no longer live in our little bubbles pretending all is well. Rather, we each have obligations to fulfill in resolving societal detractors, destructive earthly practises, and the social injustices around us.

How? By counterbalancing those negatives with the good things the bible urges us to enact amongst each other and into the world beyond. Such Spirit things as peace, love, mercy, forgiveness, and unity. Our natural tendencies bespeak our fragility as a species - if not the weak mindedness bourne our humanity that we stand up to disinformation to create constructive moments of rightful actions. And yet, if we do nothing but sit and judge nothing is done.

Whether enacting better democracies or Spirit-based resolves, each requires a personal and generational duty to the larger society around us to contribute to its health and healing according to the social networks and livelihoods we each have and bear a responsibility to address regarding the weighty issues pressing in on us from all sides. Fear, isolation, and anger are the poorest constructs to build upon. Much better we respect each other, listen to one another, and build a future we might be proud. One that is good, morally strong, and vibrantly cohesive in the face of so many societal and earthly negatives.


R.E. Slater
September 20, 2019

Thursday, September 19, 2019

R.E. Slater - Ancient Rhythms

Ancient Traditional Japanese Music - Mountain Pass

Image result for ancient japanese
Additional Images

Rivers Flow Within

Hot yellow clouds cry
But cannot see looking down
Earth awaits her death.

Scattered blossoms flow
Along dying streams choked
Living waters unsung.

Seeing, we see not
Not earth, not others, blinded souls
Once ancient, forgot.

Mouldering petals
Like forgotten joys, rotting
Fled creation's memory.

Joyless hearts beating
Singing lands of summer blooms
Echoing fey lament.

Remembering home
Nourishing Edens, now barren
Timeless paths flowing.

Embracing oneness
Fellowships bound land to soul
Divine grace gifts all.

R.E. Slater
September 18, 2019

*A traditional Japanese haiku is a three-line poem with seventeen syllables,
written in a 5/7/5 syllable count. Often focusing on images from nature, haiku
emphasizes simplicity, intensity, and directness of expression with no rhyming

@copyright R.E. Slater Publications
all rights reserved

Notes to Haiku

Having come across a foreign concert segment on the Internet I became curious as to why it was so moving to the well dressed audience gasping and swooning during its emotional performance. It seems that the song being sung by the young lady in white was lamenting the losses of childhood and of that of the ancient Japanese culture having forgotten its meaning and identity when absorbing Western practices, capitalism, and consequentially separation from the cradling arms of the earth (sic, earth spirits of nature) in its mimicry. The song, like the film it originated from, layers its hopes upon a succeeding generations which might remember the old ways in finding a way back to what once was treasured in its ancient traditions - cultural vitality, fellowship, earth care, and the social identity which came from these traditions. Themes universal to the ancient human breast itself.

Modern Western critics like Wendell Berry, Aldo Leopold, and a host of others ranging from poets to theologs have echoed these same sentiments in observing how industrialized Western progress has created great loss to humanity's inherent cardinal values imaged upon our souls by the divine granting the life-giving qualities of identity and meaning when in fellowship with the earth and one another. Specifically, both concert, song, and film, recall the primal longing of creation as an ancient longing we have too easily dismissed as an insignificant thing when pompously disrupting or destroying both our own past as well as the pasts of other native American cultures, aboriginal cultures, and non-European civilizations by Westernizing standards having become deaf-and-blind to the accumulated wisdoms of the ancients over the centuries in succeeding echoes of enforced religious and doctrinnaire superiority.

Consequently, in this present day we must now repair the renewing cycles of divine life by listening to, and learning from, one another as from the earth and Spirit themselves, each once heard in the sublime symphonies of our distant souls now lost within the graves we have wantonly dug as memorials to our sins, greed, and follies. This loss of divine rhythm must somehow be recovered from what was carelessly destroyed and now deemed worthless in our pride and short-sightedness. Soul qualities we are only now realising granting life, hope, purpose, and fellowship with the earth and with one another. And it is in this  divine revelatory light we must hear again those ancient lyrics to restore, renew, steward, and cultivate earth's primal Edens which had once nurtured both creation and the human spirit in practices of wisdom, selflessness, silence, love, and community.

R.E. Slater
September 16, 2019

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Westward Expansion into California
(Early California Exploration, Colonization, and Immigration Gallery)

Joe Hisaishi 2011.jpg

Joe Hisaishi in Budokan was a concert commemorating
both the Japanese theatrical premiere of Ponyo and the
25 years of musical collaboration between composer
Joe Hisaishi and film maker Hayao Miyazaki.

Lyrics: The Name of Life

The whiteness of the clouds left behind by a plane
Draw a line across the blue sky
Always, no matter to where, always continuing
As if it knew tomorrow.

In my chest I breathed in a shallow breath
I remember the breeze that blew on my hot cheek.

The hands and feet which are bound before the future
Are freed by a quiet voice
So nostalgic that I want to scream out, is
One life, the midsummer light
At your shoulder, swaying, the sunbeams streaming through the leaves.

The white ball at rest
The petals which have been scattered by the wind
The invisible river which carries both
Singing while flowing on.

Secrets and lies and joy
Are the children of the gods who created this universe.

The heart which is bound before the future
Someday, will remember its name
So loved that I want to scream out, is
One life, the place to return to
At my fingertips, the summer day which doesn't disappear.

Inochi no Namae (The Name of Life)
Joe Hisaishi in Budokan - Studio Ghibli 25 Years Concert

Futatabi [Reprise] (Spirited Away)
Joe Hisaishi in Budokan - Studio Ghibli 25 Years Concert

Spirited Away

Spirited Away (Japanese: 千と千尋の神隠し Hepburn: Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi, "Sen and Chihiro's Spiriting Away") is a 2001 Japanese animated coming-of-age fantasy film. It was written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, animated by Studio Ghibli for Tokuma ShotenNippon Television NetworkDentsuBuena Vista Home EntertainmentTohokushinsha Film and Mitsubishi and distributed by Toho. The film stars Rumi HiiragiMiyu IrinoMari Natsuki, Takeshi Naito, Yasuko Sawaguchi, Tsunehiko Kamijō, Takehiko Ono, and Bunta SugawaraSpirited Away tells the story of Chihiro Ogino (Hiiragi), a moody 10-year-old girl who, while moving to a new neighbourhood, enters the world of Kami (spirits) of Japanese Shinto folklore. After her parents are mutated into pigs by the witch Yubaba (Natsuki), Chihiro takes a job working in Yubaba's bathhouse to find a way to free herself and her parents and return to the human world.

Miyazaki wrote the script after he decided the film would be based on the 10-year-old daughter of his friend, associate producer Seiji Okuda, who came to visit his house each summer. At the time, Miyazaki was developing two personal projects, but they were rejected. With a budget of 19 million US dollars, production of Spirited Away began in 2000. Pixar director John Lasseter, who is a fan and friend of Miyazaki, convinced Walt Disney Pictures to buy the film's North American distribution rights, and served as the executive producer of its English-dubbed version Lasseter hired Kirk Wise as director and Donald W. Ernst as producer of the adaptation. Screenwriters Cindy Davis Hewitt and Donald H. Hewitt wrote the English-language dialogue to match the characters' original Japanese-language lip movements.

The film was originally released in Japan on 20 July 2001 by distributor Toho. It became the most successful film in Japanese history, grossing over $361 million worldwide.[a] The film overtook Titanic (the top-grossing film worldwide at the time) in the Japanese box office to become the highest-grossing film in Japanese history with a total of ¥30.8 billion. Spirited Away received universal acclaim and is frequently ranked among the greatest animated films ever made. It won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards, making it the first (and so far only) hand-drawn and non-English-language animated film to win that award. It was the co-recipient of the Golden Bear at the 2002 Berlin International Film Festival (shared with Bloody Sunday) and is in the top 10 on the British Film Institute's list of "Top 50 films for children up to the age of 14".

In 2016, it was voted the fourth-best film of the 21st century as picked by 177 film critics from around the world, making it the highest-ranking animated film on the list. It was also named the second "Best Film of the 21st Century So Far" in 2017 by the New York Times.

Spirited Away Trailer


Ten-year-old Chihiro Ogino and her parents are traveling to their new home when her father takes a shortcut, leading them to what appears to be an abandoned amusement park that Chihiro's father insists on exploring. They find a seemingly empty restaurant stall stocked with food, which Chihiro's parents immediately begin to eat. While exploring further, Chihiro finds an exquisite bathhouse and meets a boy named Haku, who warns her to return across the riverbed before sunset. However, Chihiro discovers too late that her parents have metamorphosed into pigs, and she is unable to cross the now-flooded river.

Haku finds Chihiro and has her ask for a job from the bathhouse's boiler-man, Kamaji, a yōkai commanding the susuwatari. Kamaji refuses to hire her and asks worker Lin to send Chihiro to Yubaba, the witch who runs the bathhouse. Yubaba tries to frighten Chihiro away, but she persists, so Yubaba gives Chihiro a contract to work for her. Yubaba takes away her name and renames her Sen (千). While visiting her parents' pigpen, Haku gives Sen a goodbye card she had with her, and Sen realizes that she had already forgotten her real name. Haku warns her that Yubaba controls people by taking their names, and that if she forgets hers like he has forgotten his, she will not be able to leave the spirit world.

Sen faces discrimination from the other workers because she is still a human and not a spirit; only Haku and Lin show sympathy for her. While working, she invites a silent creature named No-Face inside, believing him to be a customer. A "stink spirit" arrives as Sen's first customer, and she discovers he is the spirit of a polluted river. In gratitude for cleaning him, he gives Sen a magic emetic dumpling. Meanwhile, No-Face imitates the gold left behind by the stink spirit and tempts a worker with gold, then swallows him. He demands food and begins tipping extensively. He swallows two more workers when they interfere with his conversation with Sen.

Sen sees paper Shikigami attacking a Japanese dragon and recognizes the dragon as Haku metamorphosed. When a grievously injured Haku crashes into Yubaba's penthouse, Sen follows him upstairs. A shikigami that stowed away on her back shapeshifts into Zeniba, Yubaba's twin sister. She mutates Yubaba's son, Boh, into a mouse, creates a decoy Boh, and mutates Yubaba's harpy into a tiny, flylike bird. Zeniba tells Sen that Haku has stolen a magic golden seal from her, and warns Sen that it carries a deadly curse. Haku attacks the shikigami, which eliminates Zeniba's hologram. He falls into the boiler room with Sen, Boh, and the harpy on his back, where Sen feeds him part of the dumpling she had intended to give her parents, causing him to vomit both the seal and a black slug, which Sen crushes with her foot.

With Haku unconscious, Sen resolves to return the seal and apologize to Zeniba. Sen confronts No-Face, who is now massive, and feeds him the rest of the dumpling. No-Face follows Sen out of the bathhouse, steadily regurgitating everything he has eaten. Sen, No-Face, Boh, and the harpy travel to see Zeniba with train tickets given to her by Kamaji. Yubaba orders that Sen's parents be slaughtered, but Haku reveals that Boh is missing and offers to retrieve him if Yubaba releases Sen and her parents. Yubaba agrees, but only if Sen can pass a final test.

Sen, No-Face, Boh, and the harpy meet with Zeniba, who reveals that Sen's love for Haku broke her curse and that Yubaba used the black slug to control Haku. Haku appears at Zeniba's home in his dragon form and flies Sen, Boh, and the harpy to the bathhouse. No-Face decides to stay behind and become Zeniba's spinner. In mid-flight, Sen recalls falling years ago into the Kohaku River and being washed safely ashore, correctly guessing Haku's real identity as the spirit of the Kohaku River. When they arrive at the bathhouse, Yubaba forces Sen to identify her parents from among a group of pigs in order to break their curse. After Sen answers correctly that none of the pigs are her parents, her contract combusts and she is given back her real name. Haku takes her to the now-dry riverbed and vows to meet her again. Chihiro crosses the riverbed to her restored parents, who do not remember anything after eating at the restaurant stall. They walk back to their car, which is now covered in dust and leaves. Before getting in, Chihiro is shown to still be wearing the hairband No-Face spun for her at Zeniba's home.

Hidden Meaning in Spirited Away (Miyazaki)
– Earthling Cinema


The themes of the film are heavily influenced by Japanese Shinto-Buddhist folklore. The central location of the film is a Japanese bathhouse where a great variety of Japanese folklore creatures, including kami, come to bathe. Miyazaki cites the solstice rituals when villagers call forth their local kami and invite them into their baths.

Chihiro also encounters kami of animals and plants. Miyazaki says of this:

"In my grandparents' time, it was believed that kami existed everywhere – in trees, rivers, insects, wells, anything. My generation does not believe this, but I like the idea that we should all treasure everything because spirits might exist there, and we should treasure everything because there is a kind of life to everything."

The film has been compared to Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland as the stories have some elements in common such as being set in a fantasy world, the plots including a disturbance in logic and stability, and there being motifs such as food having metamorphic qualities; though developments and themes are not shared. Among other stories compared to Spirited Away, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is seen to be more closely linked thematically.

The major themes of Spirited Away center on the protagonist Chihiro and her liminal journey through the realm of spirits. The archetypal entrance into another world demarcates Chihiro's status as one somewhere between child and adult. Chihiro also stands outside societal boundaries in the supernatural setting. The use of the word kamikakushi (literally "hidden by gods") within the Japanese title, and its associated folklore, reinforces this liminal passage:

"Kamikakushi is a verdict of 'social death' in this world, and coming back to this  world from Kamikakushi meant 'social resurrection.'"

Yubaba has many similarities to The Coachman from Pinocchio, in the sense that she mutates humans into pigs in a similar way that the boys of Pleasure Island were mutated into donkeys. Upon gaining employment at the bathhouse, Yubaba's seizure of Chihiro's true name symbolically kills the child, who must then assume adulthood. She then undergoes a rite of passage according to the monomyth format; to recover continuity with her past, Chihiro must create a new identity.

Along with its function within the ostensible coming of age theme, Yubaba's act of taking Chihiro's name and replacing it with Sen (an alternate reading of "chi", the first character in Chihiro's name – lit. "one thousand"), is symbolic of capitalism's single-minded concern with value, reflecting the film's exploration of capitalism and its effect on traditional Japanese culture.

Yubaba is stylistically unique within the bathhouse, wearing a Western dress and living among European décor and furnishings, in contrast with the minimalist Japanese style of her employee's quarters, representing the Western capitalist influence over Japan in its Meiji period and beyond. The Meiji design of the abandoned theme park is the setting for Chihiro's parents' metamorphosis - the family arrives in an imported Audi car and the father wears a European-styled polo shirt, reassuring Chihiro that he has "credit cards and cash", before their morphing into literal consumerist pigs.

Spirited Away contains critical commentary on modern Japanese society concerning generational conflicts and environmental issues. Chihiro has been seen as a representation of the shōjo, whose roles and ideology had changed dramatically since post-war Japan.

Miyazaki has stated:

Chihiro’s parents turning into pigs symbolizes how some humans become greedy. At the very moment Chihiro says there is something odd about this town, her parents turn into pigs. There were people that "turned into pigs" during Japan’s bubble economy (consumer society) of the 1980s, and these people still haven’t realized they’ve become pigs. Once someone becomes a pig, they don’t return to being human but instead gradually start to have the "body and soul of a pig". These people are the ones saying, "We are in a recession and don’t have enough to eat." This doesn’t just apply to the fantasy world. Perhaps this isn’t a coincidence and the food is actually (an analogy for) "a trap to catch lost humans."

Just as Chihiro seeks her past identity, Japan, in its anxiety over the economic downturn occurring during the release of the film in 2001, sought to reconnect to past values. In an interview, Miyazaki has commented on this nostalgic element for an old Japan.

However, the bathhouse of the spirits cannot be seen as a place free of ambiguity and darkness. Many of the employees are rude to Chihiro because she is human, and corruption is ever-present; it is a place of excess and greed, as depicted in the initial appearance of the No-Face. In stark contrast to the simplicity of Chihiro's journey and transformation is the constantly chaotic carnival in the background.

There are two major instances of allusions to environmental issues within the movie. The first is seen when Chihiro is dealing with the "stink spirit." The stink spirit was actually a river spirit, but it was so corrupted with filth that one couldn't tell what it was at first glance. It only became clean again when Chihiro pulled out a huge amount of trash, including car tires, garbage, and a bicycle. This alludes to human pollution of the environment, and how people can carelessly toss away things without thinking of the consequences and of where the trash will go. The second allusion is seen in Haku himself. Haku does not remember his name and lost his past, which is why he is stuck at the bathhouse. Eventually, Chihiro remembers that he used to be the spirit of the Kohaku River, which was destroyed and replaced with apartments. Because of humans' need for development, they destroyed a part of nature, causing Haku to lose his home and identity. This can be compared to deforestation and desertification; humans tear down nature, cause imbalance in the ecosystem, and demolish animals' homes to satisfy their want for more space (housing, malls, stores, etc.) but don't think about how it can affect other living things.

Additional themes are expressed through the No-Face, who reflects the characters which surround him, learning by example and taking the traits of whomever he consumes. This nature results in No-Face's monstrous rampage through the bathhouse. After Chihiro saves No-Face with the emetic dumpling, he becomes timid once more. At the end of the film, Zeniba decides to take care of No-Face so he can develop without the negative influence of the bathhouse.

The Films of Studio Ghibli Trailer

Joe Hisaishi
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Joe Hisaishi
Joe Hisaishi 2011.jpg
Hisaishi in Paris in 2011
Background information
Native name
久石 譲
Birth nameMamoru Fujisawa
BornDecember 6, 1950 (age 68)
Nakano, Nagano, Japan
  • Composer
  • conductor
  • arranger
Years active1974–present

Mamoru Fujisawa (藤澤 守 Fujisawa Mamoru, born December 6, 1950), known professionally as Joe Hisaishi (久石 譲 Hisaishi Jō), is a Japanese composer and musical director known for over 100 film scores and solo albums dating back to 1981. Hisaishi is also known for his piano scores.

While possessing a stylistically distinct sound, Hisaishi's music has been known to explore and incorporate different genres, including minimalistexperimental electronicEuropean classical, and Japanese classical. Lesser known are the other musical roles he plays; he is also a typesetter, author, arranger, and conductor.

He has been associated with animator Hayao Miyazaki since 1984, having composed scores for all but one of his films. He is also recognized for the soundtracks he has provided for filmmaker 'Beat' Takeshi Kitano, including A Scene at the Sea (1991), Sonatine (1993), Kids Return (1996), Hana-bi (1997), Kikujiro (1999), and Dolls (2002), as well for the video game series Ni no Kuni. He was a student of legendary anime composer Takeo Watanabe.