On Swords and Treasures and Due Diligence

(pictured for reference: the signature on the tang of a katana)

Once, an eon ago, I worked at the University of Pittsburgh East Asian Library’s Japan Information Service. I had to mind the desk and field calls and emails from the public about Japan and East Asia in general.

So one day, this older gentleman calls. He says that he wants a Japanese to English dictionary so he can translate the “pictograms” (kanji) he found on the tang of a sword.

“What sword is this, sir?” I ask him.

“So my mother in law was a Women’s Army Corps soldier on General MacArthur’s staff and brought a sword back from the Occupation of Japan. We stripped the handle and there are these pictograms.”

I, a grad student in Edo period history, and well acquainted with the stories of lost National Treasure swords from the Occupation, had to stifle a gasp.

I explained to him that if it was kanji, it was probably a maker’s or appraiser’s signature, and thus a proper noun, and that he couldn’t translate a proper noun any more than it would make sense for a Japanese person to translate his signature or mine. I explained my credentials, pleaded with him to send me a photo, knowing that you don’t strip a Japanese sword to the tang without knowing how to put it back together, and that it takes the proper tools to do so. I told him that there are many National Treasure status swords that vanished during the Occupation, and that we really ought to ascertain who made this blade, because it could be a credit to him and a boon to all humanity.

To translate the Japanese expression, I wanted to see that sword so badly that “it was like a hand came out of my throat.”

The man was not interested, and said goodbye.

I think about that sword sometimes, and my heart breaks.

“Confluence” is now available!

It’s wild to think that the trans lesbian cyberpunk stories I started telling myself in April are now a book that people can read! With illustrations, and a bibliography, and an art section!

On a friend’s Twitch stream, I was asked to sum it up in a sentence, and I said “middle aged trans lesbian cyborg couple fights for justice against megacorps and lives happily ever after.”

So, where can you find Confluence?

International paperback orders via here .

Ebooks from the Jevv Baebos here

(US-only) paperbacks direct from the publisher here

Paperbacks from B&N here

Thank you all so very much for your support of this series from this its outset! North Star Forever!

Social Media Realignment

With the implosion of the birdsite, I’m doing some social media realignment. So, here’s where you can find my most active presences:

Thank you for your understanding– let’s rise to the challenge and make the most of this moment!

#DidYouKnow: The Imperial Oxen

#DidYouKnow? Early in his career as daimyo of Sendai, with his sights still on a longshot bid to conquer Japan, Date Masamune set up an upper-upper-room (jōjōdan no ma) in Sendai Castle and a stable of oxen for the imperial carriage (hōren), all with the intention of receiving Emperor Goyōzei with appropriate pomp.

The room and oxen were on standby until 1868.

(enjoy my work? Consider subscribing to support it at patreon.com/riversidewings)

Friday Night History #52 (S2E19): “Shrine Aggregator”

Please support this project! Sign up at http://patreon.com/riversidewings

On Heian-era bureaucracy, celestial and terrestrial paperwork, and an aggregator for shrines. The latest #FridayNightHistory is “Shrine Aggregator,” and you can listen at https://anchor.fm/fridaynighthistory/episodes/Episode-52-S2E19–Shrine-Aggregator-e1q39g8 or wherever you get your podcasts.

So Now What?

So a rich manbaby took over Twitter, and is tearing it apart in realtime. Some of my most loyal followers, on that platform where I’d worked hard for years to build a following, are already gone. There’s nothing quite like Twitter out there.

So the obligatory question becomes…now what?

Honestly, I don’t know. I’m not leaving Twitter until they make me leave, and I am still not convinced that the guy isn’t going to try and sell off the company he himself admits he didn’t actually want to buy. Obviously, finding other platforms where people are going is a good idea, but that requires necessarily starting from scratch. This requires time and attention and in some cases money, all of which are in short supply for me, running a one-woman operation.

I am now on Cohost, at https://cohost.org/riversidewings , and you’re welcome to follow me there. It’s not the same as Twitter– it feels more like Tumblr and Livejournal were in their better days– but it’s a new platform being grown slowly and steadily, and I like that.

I’m on Mastodon, but in between instances at the moment, and Mastodon’s got a learning curve that means not everyone’s gonna be going there.

I’m on Patreon of course, at patreon.com/riversidewings, where I recently picked up again with #FridayNightHistory: https://www.patreon.com/posts/74051392

Beyond that, I’m in the same platforms I’ve always been on, trying to figure out how to pick up and keep going. But as I watch Twitter die, I can’t help but feel angry.

I was managing, and then the wealthiest man in the world decided to come in like a sledgehammer, rather than do anything constructive.

None of this had to happen.

And yet, here we are.