I finished Robert Ringer's "Winning Through Intimidation" and started reading Yukio Mishima's "The Samurai Ethic of Modern Japan." It's an introduction to and analysis of Hagakure. Hagakure's a 17th Century work on bushido and Japanese samurai ethics and living - I've got some excerpts of it here - "Excerpts from Hagakure, Chapter 1."
Reading Mishima, I realize something about the difference between Japanese and American superheroes and fictional characters.
At the most desperate moments, American fictional heroes tend to win by discarding their training and going with instinct and feelings. You see the hero who was beaten down and whose plans failed, who now "lets go" and thus wins.
At the most desperate moments, Japanese fictional characters win by unleashing and realizing the effects of their training.
A hallmark of Japanese fiction is the hero going through a long training period, but then not quite mastering his skill. Then, at his most desperate moment, the training kicks in to the full extent, and he wins.
A fascinating experience - within a few days of each other, I was given some info brochures on Muslim customs, culture, and theology and on Jehova's Witness customs, culture, theology. It's interesting to compare them - they take completely opposite approaches to educating people about their faiths.
I snapped a couple of pictures of each. I think these are pretty representative pictures -