SFU English 380: Mutilation and Foreign Relations in the Japanese Novel

A class blog for students of English 380 - "Literature in Translation" - at Simon Fraser University in Autumn 2005.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Guest Speaker Tuesday, Nov 8th

Our next guest speaker is scheduled for next Tuesday, November the 8th. Robert Mustard will speak to us on the differences in fundamental assumptions between the anglosphere and Japan, and on the history and spirit of Japan as it is reflected in the uniquely pacifist Japanese martial art Aikido.
Mustard is the world aikido master; having spend over twelve years in Japan as sensei at the main Yoshinkan Dojo in Tokyo. As presented in lecture, Mustard is an important character in Newdigate Prize winner Robert Twigger's essential book on the the relationship between Japan and the anglosphere, Angry White Pyjamas: A Scrawny Oxford Poet Takes Lessons From The Tokyo Riot Police.


At 8:57 AM, Blogger Louise28 said...

Robert Mustard is an impressive individual and I appreciated his attempt to communicate his experience in Japan and to demonstrate his knowledge as a world aikido master. Some of the negatives of his presentation were discussed in class. On the positive side, I liked Mustard’s candidness in not excusing cruelty under the guise of “the master knows what is best beyond what we think is best”, which I have heard many practitioners of various “gurus”, martial arts or otherwise, propound. I referred to the incident of a teacher who intentionally and needlessly broke the arm of a “uke”, a person who attacks the aikido teacher so that the teacher can demonstrate defence with aikido mastery. The relationship of teacher and "uke" is one of trust in that the teacher will not hurt him intentionally. Mustard criticized the teacher and explained that in his dojo nobody has been hurt. This is not Mustard’s aikido and he does not respect it. I liked his humour and natural way of relating to his students. His demonstrations gave us an indication of his aikido mastery, yet I thought Mustard was unpretentious and refreshing.


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