Asian Literature

Oriental Philosophy

We learned the differences of Confuciousism, Zen Buddhism, and Taoism from the book, The Tao of Pooh which uses Pooh bear to help up understand the philosophies. Here is what we read.


Basically, we will look at three philosophies.

Confucianism - Confucius created this philosophy. One looks back to the past and does things the correct ways by imposing rituals and rules. There was a saying about Confucius, "If the mat was not straight, the master would not sit." This is a good way to understand his philosophy.

The Analects records Confucius's wise sayings. Complete this worksheet.

Zen - Buddha created this philosophy. He felt that things in this world prevented us from being truly happy and enlightened. Think about the drama that your friends bring into your life that distract you from what is important. In Zen, you would find a way around that. Detach yourself from the world around you if you wish to be enlightened.

Zen monks use these stories to get students to understand the concept of zen. Click here to read the Zen parables

Taosim - created by Lao-tse. Go with the flow. Bad things happen. Good things happen. It all evens out, so don't get overly exicited or depressed. Just go with it. If you try to force something to happen, you will be unhappy.


Japanese Monsters, Mythology, and Urban Legends



Japanese Poetry







O.K., this is not really Japanese poetry. There are people who spend their time composing haikus on Spam (the canned meat product, not the email variety). Here are a few for your enjoyment:

Pink tender morsel,
Glistening with salty gel.
What the heck is it?

Bones, blood, and sinew.
Eyeballs, gonads, and sphincters.
Could be anything.


How I wish I could take full credit for this one. A colleague of mine came up with the idea back when cell phone screens were small. The idea was that a textku would be pretty much anything as long as it fit on a screen with no scrolling. Today's screens are large, so I'm thinking that we should use these rules for textkus:

3 lines. 1st line has 10 characters, 2nd line has 15 characters, 3rd line has 10 characters. Space is counted as a character. Text abbreviations are encouraged to achieve enlightenment. Emojis are a character.



Extra Credit

Get a copy of The Tao of Pooh.

Read the book (it's short) and write a page and a half (typed and double spaced) paper on your new understanding of the philosophy of taoism. Tell whether or not you intend to be more taoistic in your way of thinking and handling problems. Summarize why Pooh was picked to demostrate the Tao philosophy. This will go into your test average.





What? A teacher who make you read manga! Just think about how awesome Mr. Alford truly is. Actually, don't. It will probably just blow your mind with sheer awesominity. THE PROJECT DOCUMENT

What is manga?

Short answer - Japanese comics. However, it is more than just that. Manga appeals to all ages in Japan. There is no taboo for an adult to be seen reading manga in public, like there for an adult reading Spider-Man comics in America.

What are the characteristics of manga?

Well it is more than just big eyes. Manga also often features:

  • Masking Effect - this means that the artist will switch from a cartoony style to a realistic style. Sometimes cartoony characters will be shown in front of very realistic backgrounds or a character that might be drawn realistically most of the time, may be shown cartoony when angry.
  • Symbols - we have symbols in American comics that we recognize (like an image of a saw going through logs or zzzzzzzzz to show someone is sleeping hard) that are not used in manga and vice versa.
    • huge tear drops - may not be real tears, just showing the character is very sad
    • a deformed vein (usually cross-shapted) on a forehead - character is angry
    • a snot bubble from one nostril - character is asleep
    • sweat droplets - confusion
    • two parallel lines coming from the bottom rim of the eyes down to the cheeks - character is crying
    • cat mouth - character is being mischievous
    • eyes get extremely big and bubbly - excitement
    • white cross shape bandage - pain
    • thick black lines - anger
    • facial features shrinking - shock or rage
    • an elipsis over the head - silence, but the character wants to say something
    • index fingers pushing together - character is telling the truth or a secret
  • Hair - often the hair color means something (not always, though)
    • Black - power, evil, sadness, mystery, death
    • White - purity, peace, cold, death
    • Blue - calm, dependability the daker the color, the more responsible), cold
    • Purple - royalty, wisdom, spirituality
    • Red - passion, joy, aggression
    • Pink - femininity, childlike, kindness
    • Orange - balance, enthusiasm, warmth, seeking attention
    • Yellow - wealth, courage
    • Green - envy, harmony, life, tranquility
    • Silver - intelligence, maturity
    • Brown - comfort, endurance




Write Japanese - This chart was given to me by a student teacher who was going off to live in Japan after he graduated. Break down the word you wish to translate into sounds (not how you spell it). Consonant sounds will need to be followed by a vowel sound. For example - Mark might be broken down into these sounds: Ma-Ra-Ka.

To my knowledge, this chart is public domain. If you know different, please let me know who to ask for permission.



















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Chinese Mythology (you must be using your ERA Google Account to edit this presentation)





The WeWe Gombel - Make one copy for your group and put all of your names on it. Share it with your group. Everyone will work on it together.