Friday, September 6, 2013


It's late, and Friday. End of the first week of school and all. Reading a good book nd happily not attending the first football game at my high school.

(On a slightly irrelevant note, anybody care to tell me what people see in football? It's all anyone can ever talk about, teachers and students alike. Why can't we all get so hyped up about Divergent or Harry Potter? You know, have shout outs about it over the intercom during morning announcements and stuff.)

But that's not what I mean to post. Today, I simply mean to post a few notes I wrote about Ancient Japan while watching a documentary.

  • Any deviation on a mirror will make the light bounce off it in a different angle; "magic mirror" is a world standard, created by (16th c. Japan). You have the white sunlight that reflects off it, and if it is completely white, it is free of deviations. In 16th c., a copper plate was made and fashioned to the backside of it, seemingly decorative, but was used to manipulate the deviation on the mirror's surface to reflect an image of, say Christ when you use the white-light trick. During the persecution*, a false back concealed a picture of Christ, to let secret Christians know they were Christian, too -- the mirror surface is scraped and polished, creating the deviations, and then coated with nickel to make it look like an ordinary mirror. But it will reflect the backside.
  • Clocks --  They were searching for the underlying rule of nature. When an outsider (Westerner) brought a clock to Japan as a gift in the 17th c., they took it apart to see how it worked. Based on the clock, they began all sorts of "magical" clockwork, including clockwork robots. (A tea-carrying robot for the tea ceremony.)
  • It takes real skill to unravel silk worm material. It's pulled and twisted into thread, with spit making it smooth. But the traditional silk is getting more precious today.
  • Architecture --Built around a central support tree, with lots of horizontal beams. Pagodas -- earthquake resistance, the central tree is not connected to the walls; the walls sway, but do not fall, because the tree absorbs the movements. 
  • Samurai sword is tested for balance and flexibility. Each sword maker has their own formula. Carbon is on outside of the steel during the forging stage, until folding and heat force it inside the blade, giving it its flexibility. 
  • "Floor that sings like a nightingale" -- to prevent sneak attacks on the shogun, the floor amplified sound and made it "sing." (This is a building where the shogun, or leader, lived or worked?)

This is literally copy and pasted from my notes in workflowy. (Workflowy is a website where you can organize your thoughts into lists. I highly recommend it for writers, or anyone, really.) For reference, this is from a documentary called What the Ancients Knew: Japan. You can watch it on the history channel occasionally.

How about you? What do you know about The Ancients?

Have a blessed Friday and weekend!

*Yes, there was a time in Japanese history where Christians were persecuted. In fact, all Western stuff was persecuted -- this was centuries ago, during the "spheres of influence" thing in China, and they held onto their Buddhist culture tightly. And effectively, since they are islands who can restrict Western access to their ports.    

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