My War…

I have been scouring the web for any type of reading guide for the Jan/Feb reading selection, “My War ~ Killing Time In Iraq” by Colby Buzzell and have had little luck.  I did come across a review by Matthew Hill at the University of Maryland  as well as a great article from The New York Times called The Hemmingway Effect which discusses the troops turned writers due to their experiences in war.  Colby Buzzell himself is now a columnist for Esquire Magazine .  He’s got one article titled “The Best Years of Our Lives” which was an interesting read about life after deployment and the Army and looking at life now. 

I enjoyed this book and feel that it gave me a little more insight on the experiences going on in Iraq.  I liked reading about the day to day stuff that the troops do and the dangers that their lives entail while carrying out the “War on Terror”.  I know that it’s been a while since you finished this book but please reiterate your opinion on this book and what you took from it. 

I will be posting the new voting poll this weekend for the March/April title so be sure to check back here soon. 

Period Of Reflection

Two weeks ago a thirty-eight year-old Marine allegedly raped a fourteen year-old Okinawan girl in his car.  This was the first in a few crimes committed by U.S. service members in Okinawa, Japan and off site of U.S. military installations within a period of a week.  The repercussions of these events have resulted in a “Period of Reflection” of all SOFA status personnel and their families.  In a nut shell this means that until further notice all SOFA status people, no matter their age, must limit their activities to the military bases on Okinawa and their off-base housing and contracted business if you have monthly bills to pay with local businesses until further notice.  The statement below is from  There are also articles about this situation in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Japan Times & Japan UpdateUPDATE: From Yahoo! News

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa (February 22, 2008) — Lt. Gen. Richard C. Zilmer, commanding general of III MEF and also the Okinawa Area Coordinator, ordered that all Status of Forces Agreement personnel, which includes service members, Department of Defense civilians, DoD invited contractors, and their respective family members, observe a “period of reflection” that began Wednesday morning.

During this period of reflection, which is for an indefinite period of time, SOFA-status personnel are limited to their place of duty or employment, worship, education, medical or dental treatment, or off-base residence. There is no restriction to regularly scheduled activities and facilities aboard any U.S. base or installation.

This order comes on the heels of a two-day Marine Corps Ethics and Leadership stand down conducted Feb. 14 and 15, which was held so that all Marines could reflect on individual roles and responsibilities as Americans and service members serving in Japan. However, due to alleged off-base misconduct by service members over the President’s Day holiday weekend, Zilmer ordered the period of reflection.

“I fully realize and appreciate the overwhelming majority of service members, family members and DoD civilian employees here in Japan who demonstrate only the highest levels of personal and moral conduct,” Zilmer said. “However, these recent incidents possess the potential to undermine the goodwill we have fostered with the Japanese people over decades of cooperative engagement.”

Because the order was given by Zilmer acting in his role as Okinawa Area Coordinator, the order applies to all the branches of the U.S. military and all SOFA-status personnel on Okinawa. Zilmer, who is the senior U.S. military commander on Okinawa, serves as Okinawa Area Coordinator in order to coordinate matters of joint service interest peculiar to the Okinawa area. In that capacity, he serves as a representative of the Commander of U.S. Forces Japan.

During the period of reflection, SOFA personnel are authorized to transit between U.S. military installations or their off-base residence using privately owned vehicles, military supported transportation, or commercial taxis.

Exceptions to the order can be made on a case-by-case basis with the approval of O6-level commander for pre-existing or pre-registered obligations or special events.

This period of reflection will allow commanders and all SOFA-status personnel an opportunity to further review procedures and orders that govern the discipline and conduct of all U.S. service members serving in Okinawa. Zilmer said the period of reflection, “will allow me and all our senior leaders to review the orders, procedures and regulations that govern our conduct and behavior living abroad.”

In addition, today has been designated as a “Day of Reflection” by Lt. Gen. Bruce A. Wright, commander of U.S. Forces Japan, and all U.S. military installations and units in Japan will participate in a unit commander led Day of Reflection emphasizing professionalism and core military values.

“Every service member is expected to take personal responsibility for his or her off-duty conduct, and we will continue to be unwavering in our commitment to maintain exemplary high standards of professionalism,” Wright said.

I’ve Been A Bad Girl

Since returning from Kyoto last weekend I have to admit that I haven’t been reading my book “The Pillars of the Earth”.  Instead I have been reading my mags that arrived in the mail and watching movies.  I rented Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married”, “Across the Universe” and “Margot at the Wedding”.  WDIGM was HILARIOUS and touching.  The R&B/Soul singer Jill Scott had a very large roll in this movie and was just wonderful and vulnerable and sweet.  I loved her character Sheila the most.  Janet Jackson was also in this film and I was happy to see her back in a film that was so good.  ATU was probably my fav out the films I rented.  The director took the Beatles catalogue and selected the songs that would help tell her story and did a beautiful thing with the music and characters.  The singing was superb and I have found my new favorite singer because of it.  Dana Fuchs  has the  most raw, natural voice and just wails out the songs with such feeling and anguish.  FANTASTIC!!  She has inspired me to learn The Beatles Helter Skelter.  If I could sing it half as well as Dana that would be great.  MATW was a disappointment for us.  We didn’t even make it a quarter of the way through the movie before we had to turn it off.  Not one likable character really and Nicole Kidman’s Margot was so mean it was painful to watch any longer. 

I also purchased “The Jane Austen Book Club“.  The hubby had bought “Michael Clayton” so last night we watched some George Clooney yumminess and some Jane Austen worshipers.  Both films were great and I am very glad I bought JABC because I will definitely watch it again.  I loved how each character represented one of Austen’s books and the author was able to mesh everything together.  I need to make sure that book is on my Borders Wish List.  So instead of some book updates I thought I would write some movie reviews.  Have you seen any good films lately?  The Oscars are this weekend and I can’t wait to see the outcome and the fashions. 

Back On Island

Hey Y’all!!  Happy long weekend and I hope you are doing well.  The hubby and I returned from our trip to Kyoto last night.  The city was relaxing and cold.  There were flurries almost everyday and though it was in the low thirties the whole time it was nice walking around weather.  We saw multiple shrines, temples and castles and enjoyed our lovely hotel, The New Miyako. 

When you go to mainland Japan there aren’t as many signs of America as there are in Okinawa.  Yes there is McDonald’s (where isn’t there really), Starbucks and the odd and end familiar name but for the most part, mainland Japan is very foreign.  I think the best way to explain to an American the difference in the two cities on mainland Japan that I have visited is Kyoto is to Tokyo as Washington, D.C. is to New York City.  Kyoto was the capital of Japan for one thousand years until the Imperial Palace and Japanese government were moved to Tokyo at the end of the nineteenth century.  Due to it’s thousand year long term as Japan’s capital, Kyoto is filled with ancient temples, monuments, shrines and the original Imperial Palace (where the Royal Family still goes for select ceremonies).  Tokyo is a high energy, never tiring, and intoxicating city where Kyoto is slower paced, cradled in the valley of protective mountains and full of a history that tells the story of a great people. 

I will be going through our pics soon and will share some with you here.  I am also going to get back to “The Pillars of the Earth” and try to make a big dent in it before the end of the month when I will post the new voting poll for our March/April book. 

Happy Valentine’s Day

Seven years ago on Valentine’s Day my hubby and I had our first date.  Now I know that sounds cheesy but it was the only night of that whole week/weekend that we both had free and so without knowing it was the holiday of love, we set the date for drinks and the rest is history.  To celebrate this year we are flying up to Mainland and spending a few days in Kyoto, the spiritual capital of Japan.  I hope you have romance this Valentine’s Day and think about that first date with your significant other.  How you went from that day to now and how wonderful the roller coaster of life can be.  I always dreamed of a knight in shining armor and I am so lucky to have the chance to spend my life with him. 


3 Out of 33

I finished the third of 33 books I will hopefully read this year.  I know some of you may not agree that it is a “book” but it was suspenseful, beautiful, had a plot and was a comic book.  Wonder Woman: Love & Murderby bestselling author Jodi Picoult was great!  I haven’t sat down and read a comic book to read a comic book since junior high or so (Elf Quest series) but I did last night and enjoyed it immensely.  It made me curious about Jodi Picoult’s novels and what her appeal is that caused the comic world to ask her to write for one of the icons of the comic world, Wonder Woman.  Have any of you read any of her books and if so which ones and what did you think?

Spicy Noodles & A Good Book

The other day I had lunch with two friends at a delicious spicy noodle restaurant called Tan Tan and we discussed a bit of “The Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett.  Both of these ladies are much further along than me in this almost one thousand page book and were afraid of letting out any spoilers for me.  I got very excited about their passion for the book and how much they love reading it as I do.  We’ll see what kind of dent I can cause over the weekend before heading up to Kyoto on Mainland Japan for a long Valentine weekend starting on Wednesday. 

I am happy to announce that my TBR shelf has some new books on it.  I received a gift certificate from one of my best friends here in Oki (Thanks Angie) to Borders and my box arrived yesterday.  In it were the following titles:

The Golden Compass, Deluxe 10th Anniversary Edition (His Dark Materials, Book 1)Writings on Politics, Family, and Fate

Love and MurderA Novel

Book Review ~ My War… Killing Time In Iraq

First of all I would like to say….. Congrats to the GIANTS!!  My mantra of the weekend was “Anybody But The Pats….. Go Giants!”. 

I finished “My War… Killing Time In Iraq” by Colby Buzzell over the weekend.  I really liked it though I was ready to move on to a new book about 3/4 of the way through just because it felt like I had been reading it forever.  I was impressed with the writing style and ability of a dead beat guy who joined the Army because he needed to do something substantial with his life at the time.  You can’t judge a person by their cover though.  I found the stories of an Iraq deployment very interesting and sometimes horrifying but reading this book gave me an even stronger sense of pride and admiration for our Troops over seas and on deployments who voluntarily place themselves in harms way for our great country. 

I was enthralled with the twelve page telling of the battle in Mosul where some of Buzzell’s fellow soldiers sustained extreme injuries.  To know that the family members where able to get so much more information out of Buzzell’s blog than the Army and press were telling and that that outlet has been squelched by the Military (though for reasons of OPSEC I do understand) so families today don’t get as much info on the brave things that their sons and daughters have done is eye opening.

I was a bit disheartened that during the 2004 election Buzzell reported that most of his fellow Soldiers were not voting because either way they felt that either way they were screwed.  To feel like a pawn in a world wide game of Chess and to know that these pawns are dying and being injured in such grave ways is unimaginable to me.  I hope for an end to this war comes sooner than later and I also hope that the new surge of Troops on deployments feel a bit better about this election than those of the 2004 election deployments. 

I will post some questions and anything else I can find regarding this book in the last week of February as well as a new voting poll for our March/April book. 

An update on my choice for my next read… I had mentioned last week that I was watching Showtime’s “The Tudor’s” on DVD and that I was really excited to read “The Other Boleyn Girl” by Philippa Gregory.  Well I started reading it but found my mind’s eye distracting myself from the story on the page with visions from the DVD.  I decided to revisit this book at a later date and pick “The Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett back up after putting it down before Christmas.  I started reading it again last night and stayed up a lot longer than planned because of the excitement of a fire.  I will be having lunch with two ladies this week who have been reading this book and that will be a great way to stick with this title.  I’ll let you know how our lunch and conversation goes.