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A Realization About Japanese and American Superheroes

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.

Real breastfeeding

On Toddler Breastfeeding

I found this photo of a mom breastfeeding and love it. The tattoos, the laid back posture, the softness of the colors; fantastic. This has been on my breastfeeding pinterest board for about a year. A couple of weeks ago, someone commented saying the photo was dark and sad because the mother was not gazing at her child. I completely disagree.

The idea that breastfeeding should be portrayed as blissful, tender moments is not new. It seems the only breastfeeding image that is accepted is the one where mom is gazing at baby lovingly. The reality is, breastfeeding does have those blissful moments but it also has the moments where mom is tired, or aggravated, or her mind is on other things and she happens to be breastfeeding. But that doesn't make the moment dark or sad. Every breastfeeding moment must be loving and blissful.. What an unreasonable expectation to put on nursing mothers! I can't think of any aspect of my life that solely consists of blissful, happy moments.

When breastfeeding moms read this kind of response they feel something is wrong with their breastfeeding relationship. They feel that they should be more happy about it. That there should be a permanent smile plastered on their faces when they breastfeed. That they should be counting the minutes until the next feeding. Late at night when mom is tired, hungry, a little sick, and there is a fussy baby wanting to nurse the guilty thoughts start to surface. This mom in this moment is not happy about breastfeeding. She'd rather be sleeping, or getting a massage, or both. And at this moment, it would be better if she was resting and recovering. But there is another human that's dependent on her and she's doing the most loving thing any mom can do. She's breastfeeding and caring for him. Unfortunately, the guilt will chip away at her confidence. Those guilty thoughts will eventually destroy her perfectly healthy and happy breastfeeding relationship.

What can we do about this? We can keep talking about real breastfeeding. We need to shed light on what a real breastfeeding relationship is like. It is like any other aspect of our lives. It has happy incredible moments. It has not so good moments. It has downright bad moments sometimes. But that's life. I don't focus on the bad moments or even the not so good moments. Every decision I make brings me closer to joy in everything I do. And that's what I see in this photo. A mom making the best decision for her and her baby in that moment.

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