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By Dwip December 17, 2004, 7:06 pm Comments Off on Insert Catchy Title Here RSS Feed for this post

So, in a strange twist of fate, I find myself reading a number of books on World War II, playing a WWII FPS, and playing a Civ 3 succession game of the WWII in the Pacific scenario all at the same time. Go figure. In any case, I just talked about MoH:PA, and you can read the Civ game for yourselves, so I’ll talk about books.

I don’t remember offhand the history of the Pacific war I read. It was, well, the standard US vs Japan history. And, while this is all interesting, and I needed a refresher on the course of the war, what interests me is not American-centric history from the American POV, but in what the Japanese were doing, say. Unfortunately, this sort of thing is largely unavailable or very hard to find.

On the other hand, there are a few things. Somebody seems to have checked them out before I got there, mostly, but there are one or two. A guy named Hiroo Onoda, for example, wrote a book called No Surrender: My Thirty Year War, and it’s fascinating. The short version is that Onoda was a guerilla warfare specialist assigned to the garrison of the island of Lubang in the Philippines, and after the US captured the island, he headed off into the jungle with a few guys. By the time 1954 rolled around, they were down to two, and the two remaining guys stuck around until 1972, when the last one besides Onoda was killed. Onoda himself came out in 1974, believing until the last that the war was still going on, and constructing his own reality in his mind to make sense of it. And as it turns out, there was quite a lot of this going on, though 1974 is sort of extreme.

One also notes the fates of various large groups of Japanese troops after the war ended – some settled in the formerly occupied lands, and in China some fought on one side or another of the civil war there. Some might have fought in places like Vietnam, too. Interesting stuff. There’s gotta be a book in there somewhere.

On another, more U2 related note, I now possess the Zoo TV Sydney show and the Passengers: Original Soundtracks 1 album. Zoo TV, being the Achtung Baby tour, pretty much has to rock, and the criteria for being played at the Sydney show was apparently “Is this song on either Achtung Baby or Zooropa, and is this song awesome? Well ok then.” So let’s just say that the only downside to the whole thing is that it’s on VHS.

Passengers, on the other hand…well, it’s a trippy album. For one, you have the single, Miss Sarajevo, which sounds totally unlike the rest of the album, and for two, you have Your Blue Room, which tangentally sounds like stuff on the album. Then on a less famous note you have Elvis Ate America, which sounds like nothing else, has words, and is very very funny. Most of the rest of the album has either few words, no words, or the words are in Japanese, and the music sounds roughly like what Radiohead was destined to sound like 5 years later, except U2 does this better than Radiohead does this. So I like the stuff with words a lot, and the rest just makes great background music, which since it was supposed to be soundtracks for fake movies, makes a lot of sense, I guess.

And the final word was “Gronk.”

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