The Things They Carried (by Tim O’Brien)

Hello and welcome to Dogania.

I would like to  make regular posts on books I read.  At least a photo or a brief paragraph will be enough. I also encourage you to add your comments about them.

Today my post will be about a book I recently read; The Things They Carried. 88f712a7-cae3-4ebc-ad73-674209574dff

I am not sure how to range it; a fiction,  an autobiography, or short stories. When you read the book you feel like this is what really happened to Tim O’Brien in Vietnam. Every chapter independently tastes a beautiful short story. A war story, a love story…

When I was reading this book I felt Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-5. Did anyone else have this reaction?

If you go as s soldier for a military operation abroad, what will you carry in your pockets or in your bag?

A photo? An object? Some candies?

The Cup of Humanity; Tea (Book)

Tea Romanticism from Long Time Ago

Recently, I happened to read an interesting book: “The Book of Tea”, written in 1906 by a Japanese-American author, Kakuzo Okakura.

To be a tea addict, this book has boasted my love of tea. Now I feel more sophisticated when I drink one more cup of tea.matcha-tea-japanese-ceremony1

There are many artworks aggrandizing tea like mural graffiti works, but this one is so different. It is honoring tea in a wider perspective.

It approaches tea as a biological plant, as a socio-cultural norm, more interestingly as a religion. It was also so surprising to see how big tea affected Taoist and Buddhist practices.

Teaism is a cult founded on the adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts of everyday existence. It inculcates purity and harmony, the mystery of mutual charity, the romanticism of the social order.

There are many proverbs about rice and bread in different languages, especially in languages like Turkish and Korean.  Not as many as bread and rice, there are interesting sayings about tea as well.

the man with no tea in him.

Similarly,

talking with him is without-salt.

Besides the oral influence, tea also has inspired art and architecture in China and Japan. Especially influence of tea on Chinese ceramics is worthy to be considered. During Tang Dynasty, the ideal color of tea-cups was intellectually discussed. Okakura tells about the book of Luwuh in his book. In that book a detailed paragraph describes the form and color of tea-cups;

Luwuh considered the blue as the ideal colour for the tea−cup, as it lent additional greenness to the beverage, whereas the white made it look pinkish and distasteful. It was because he used cake−tea. Later on, when the tea masters of Sung took to the powdered tea, they preferred heavy bowls of blue−black and dark brown. The Mings, with their steeped tea, rejoiced in light ware of white porcelain

Not everybody makes the propaganda of tea, sometimes it meets with the opposition as well.

Like all good things of the world, the propaganda of Tea met with opposition. Heretics like Henry Saville (1678) denounced drinking it as a filthy custom.

And, tea’s charm against the rivals

Everybody is a fan of those; tea,wine, coffee, cocoa. I am of tea. Now, me and my group we have good quote against the others;

It (tea) has not the arrogance of wine, the self-consciousness of coffee, nor the simpering innocence of cocoa.

Tea’s story as a plant:

The tea−plant, a native of southern China, was known from very early times to Chinese botany and medicine. It is alluded to in the classics under the various names of Tou, Tseh, Chung, Kha, and Ming, and was highly prized for possessing the virtues of relieving fatigue, delighting the soul, strengthening the will, and repairing the eyesight. It was not only administered as an internal dose, but often applied externally in form of paste to alleviate rheumatic pains. The Taoists claimed it as an important ingredient of the elixir of immortality. The Buddhists used it extensively to prevent drowsiness during their long hours of meditation.

Tea methods vary from culture to culture, from time to time. Throughout the history mainly it has been tried together with a few main other ingredients.

The leaves were steamed, crushed in a mortar, made into a cake, and boiled together with rice, ginger, salt, orange peel, spices, milk, and sometimes with onions!

The method of tea-making in Luwuh’s book “Chaking”:

In the fifth chapter Luwuh describes the method of making tea. He eliminates all ingredients except salt. He dwells also on the much−discussed question of the choice of water and the degree of boiling it. According to him, the mountain spring is the best, the river water and the spring water come next in the order of excellence. There are three stages of boiling: the first boil is when the little bubbles like the eye of fishes swim on the surface; the second boil is when the bubbles are like crystal beads rolling in a fountain; the third boil is when the billows surge wildly in the kettle. The Cake−tea is roasted before the fire until it becomes soft like a baby’s arm and is shredded into powder between pieces of fine paper. Salt is put in the first boil, the tea in the second. At the third boil, a dipperful of cold water is poured into the kettle to settle the tea and revive the “youth of the water.” Then the beverage was poured into cups and drunk. O nectar! The filmy leaflet hung like scaly clouds in a serene sky or floated like waterlilies on emerald streams. It was of such a beverage that Lotung, a Tang poet, wrote: “The first cup moistens my lips and throat, the second cup breaks my loneliness, the third cup searches my barren entrail but to find therein some five thousand volumes of odd ideographs. The fourth cup raises a slight perspiration,−−all the wrong of life passes away through my pores. At the fifth cup I am purified; the sixth cup calls me to the realms of the immortals. The seventh cup−−ah, but I could take no more! I only feel the breath of cool wind that rises in my sleeves. Where is Horaisan? Let me ride on this sweet breeze and waft away thither.

The place of tea in Buddhism (specifically in Zen Buddhism) is so special. Tea has a proverbial connection with Zen Buddhism. Zen monks used tea as a faith metaphor and practiced tea rituals by it. I was surprised to know that most of the modern day cultural tea ceremonies in Korea and Japan originated from those practices.

 The monks gathered before the image of Bodhi Dharma and drank tea out of a single bowl with the profound formality of a holy sacrament. It was this Zen ritual which finally developed into the Tea−ceremony of Japan in the fifteenth century.

Zen… Taoism…. Confucianism … There are dozens of precious details to learn about Asian beliefs in the book…

 Chinese historians have always spoken of Taoism as the “art of being in the world,” for it deals with the present−−ourselves. It is in us that God meets with Nature, and yesterday parts from to−morrow. The Present is the moving Infinity, the legitimate sphere of the Relative. Relativity seeks Adjustment; Adjustment is Art. The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings. Taoism accepts the mundane as it is and, unlike the Confucians or the Buddhists, tries to find beauty in our world of woe and worry.

Mongolian invasions and tea…. Mongolian invasions were so destructive, but they helped to spread the cultures long distances away. When Mongols invaded Chin, they destroyed most of the tea gardens. Though they introduced tea to other nations under their rule, their damage on China’s tea heaven was so huge.

Tea-room. Okakura makes a informative tearoom description in his book;

In the tea−room the fear of repetition is a constant presence. The various objects for the decoration of a room should be so selected that no colour or design shall be repeated. If you have a living flower, a painting of flowers is not allowable. If you are using a round kettle, the water pitcher should be angular. A cup with a black glaze should not be associated with a tea−caddy of black laquer. In placing a vase of an incense burner on the tokonoma, care should be taken not to put it in the exact centre, lest it divide the space into equal halves. The pillar of the tokonoma should be of a different kind of wood from the other pillars, in order to break any suggestion of monotony in the room.

And, some artistic quotations from the book:

——-Noble secret of laughing at yourself…

——-Thus began the dualism of love−−two souls rolling through space and never at rest until they join together to complete the universe. Everyone has to build anew his sky of hope and peace.

——-Perhaps we reveal ourselves too much in small things because we have so little of the great to conceal.

——It is true that with cultivation our sense of art appreciation broadens, and we become able to enjoy many hitherto unrecognized expressions of beauty. But, after all, we see only our own image in the universe,−−our particular idiosyncrasies dictate the mode of our perceptions.

—— We classify too much and enjoy too little. The sacrifice of the aesthetic to the so−called scientific method of exhibition has been the bane of many museums.

——To gladden the flowers with soft music.

—— In all circumstances serenity of mind should be maintained..

The ceremony is over; the guests with difficulty restraining their tears, take their last farewell and leave the room. One only, the nearest and dearest, is requested to remain and witness the end. Rikiu then removes his tea−gown and carefully folds it upon the mat, thereby disclosing the immaculate white death robe which it had hitherto concealed. Tenderly he gazes on the shining blade of the fatal dagger, and in exquisite verse thus addresses it:

“Welcome to thee, O sword of eternity! Through Buddha And through Daruma alike”

Constantinople’s Beautiful Days During Multilingual Empire

A photo of Istanbul from the last days of Ottoman Empire. A bakery shop in Ortakoy. Name of the shop is written in 6 languages: Turkish, Armenian, Greek, English, Russian, and Hebrew….

It depicts the multilingual face of the Empire. Contrary to Turkey’s one-language-dictation, it shows there was a language freedom during Ottomans.

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Sadly, most of Ottoman Empire fans in Turkey are severely anti-minority languages. A sign in Kurdish or Laz language may cause a big problem. Shop owner needs to struggle with both laws and public reactions. Even though recent reforms allow more freedom, public pressure, which is called mahalle baskisi (neighborhood pressure) becomes more suffocating.

Yar-e-Dabestani e-man (My Classmate) – Iranian Song

Yar-e Dabestaniye Man (“My Classmate” in Persian) first performed in the mid 1970s and became popular with the anti-Shah students in the colleges and universities in Iran. It is known to be Fereydoun Foroghi’s song. Ironically, this song like many other anti-shah songs later was revived against the Islamic regime by the anti-Islamic revolutionary student. I heard it many times during demonstrations of pro-reformists’ in 2004.

 

 

Coup D’état Diary

FB_IMG_1470618074956Sorry, recently I have neglected the blog too much. There is the backlog of thousand matters to talk about. Let them stay in the pocket for future posts, but take the most breathtaking topic:  D’état Coup Attempt in Turkey, in my beloved country.

Since last few weeks many of my colleagues from different countries called me to ask about me and my family. They watched news about Turkey, they were worried.  Their words were full of pity.

Do you know how it feels when people worry about your country?

Living abroad loads you whole the burden of news about your own country in the global media.

Is Turkey safe now?

We want to travel Tukey, but we heard there is ISIS…

Turkey is a very beautiful country. Your foods are very delicious. What was its name? Kebab? Yes, yes kebab!

Not only my friends but also people I encounter in supermarket or coiffeur asked me about happenings in Turkey. Thanks to them I did learn that the word in Korean referring to coup is kuteta  (쿠데타), which looks to be a loan word from French.

Turn back to coup day.

Only A few hours before the coup attempt I had a flight from Istanbul to Seoul. After 10 hours of flying, I arrived my home in Seoul. I wanted to take a short nap, but my phone didn’t let me sleep with notification raids. When I checked my smart phone there were hundreds of messages mostly from Whatsapp groups. What I found out was something of a surprise.  People were talking about an abnormal thing. Turkey had turned into chaos…

During next hours I did follow the happenings second by second from TV broadcastings. Turkey was being hijacked by an evil cabal. It was like an action movie.

Do you know how it feels when you are watching your country is in fire, while you are thousands of miles away from it?

Coup attempt failed. With a great support ruling party brought about another victory.

Now on, the Ruling Party will be stronger as never been before. Nietzsche says; What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. 

We experienced that there would be thousands of people, company or institutions to denounce the coup if it fails.  As we experienced that they clapped army commanders in successfully carried out coups in 1950’s, 1960’s, 1980’s.

From a distance, I follow the escalating ferocity of Turkey’s political battles. You may blame me to be a passive bystander. I don’t have any other choice but to do so. Because I know well that sometimes, politicians and interest groups welcome conflict in pursuit of a broader ideological goal. I don’t claim the coup attempt was a play, but I am sure it is welcomed by someone.

What do we do here; to blame… Blame the opponent to be a traitor, a hain… Compete in patriotism

Worn Out Internet Bookmarks

Yesterday, when I happened to check files in my portable disk, I came across some internet bookmarks which I used to follow 7-8 years ago. Most probably I did save them to that disk before reformatting my PC. I remember, I used to follow those pages regularly. That time, their contents ranged from news pages and social sites to blogs and forum pages.  Inside those web pages, today,

Some of them are still active, and they seems to have many followers as before

Some of them exist, but not updated since long time ago, today they looks like an archive,

And the others totally have been shut down.

In the Internet age (you may find another name for it; cyber world,  media world) changes are too fast. In a few years any product (or person, or webpage) that is popular becomes obsolete.  For instance, Mirc, Nokia…  The question for companies is whether they make one of their products (or webpage) obsolete or their competitors. If one of your competitors makes it, then your company will be in trouble. This is a common fear of popular companies, and it must be. In 1990’s Microsoft had that fear, and today Google needs to have it.

Anyhow… good music never becomes worn out. enjoy this beautiful Turkish cover:

City Lights and Charlie Chaplin’s Eyes

Urbex Seoul 4; Sculptures of Ali and Zahra in Korea

Ohhh sculptures of the two characters of one of my favorite Iranian movies, Children of Heaven!

And in Korea!

I don’t think it’s particularly brilliant but I love the movie. And, I never forget those 2 characters of the movie.

DSC_0012 (2)Place is the same as the one in the previous post, Ihwa Mural Village of Seoul.

It was a big surprise for me to see these sculptures in Seoul. If there is a fan of Iranian movies in Korea, please drop here a message. I really need you.

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How to go to Ihwa Mural Village:

Take Subway, Hyeahwa Station. Exit 2. Walk in direction of left side. You will see signs which will take you to the village.

For the Other Urbex Seoul Stories on Dogania: Here

Urbex Seoul 4; To find another city better than this one…

Ihwa Mural Village

From Ihwa Mural Village looking at Namsan Tower of Seoul.

A nice spot to quarrel with this city.

Soon I will write a post about Ihwa Mural Village on my website, Seyahatya.com

Keep following.

How to go to Ihwa Mural Village:

Take Subway, Hyeahwa Station. Exit 2. Walk in direction of left side. You will see signs which will take you to the village.

For the Other Urbex Seoul Stories on Dogania: Here

While I was on their planet 4

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Ihwa Mural Village, Seoul – South Korea

Rest of my days on the planet: here

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