Monday, back to work after my week’s vacation. So hard to want to get out of bed this morning. And what a Monday it was too. The best things about today? I got to come home. I got to read Murakami at lunch. I am loving Hard-Boiled Wonderland. My Barnes and Noble order arrived on my doorstep today. Oh yeah, and school started!

This quarter’s class is Introduction to Systems Analysis. Probably not a subject I will be blogging about much, though I am very interested in it. Rumor has it that it is a challenging class. But I am excited about it and up for the challenge.

Shall I tell you about one of the first books I have finished in 2008 on my vacation last week? I chose to read Usagi Yojimbo as one of my books for the Japanese Challenge. Usagi is a graphic novel and apparently quite popular with teens. I got book six in the series because my library didn’t have some of the other ones or they were checked out. I was a little worried at first that I wouldn’t know what was going on, but this graphic novel is definitely not rocket science. Within the first few pages I knew just about everything that had happened in books 1-5 and by the end of book six I knew all the rest.

It’s a good thing graphic novels read fast, because after the second chapter I almost stopped reading because I was so bored. It got a little better by the end, but not much.

Usagi Yojimbo is a ronin–a samurai without a master. Usagi used to be in the employ of Lord Mifune, but an epic battle has left him masterless. Usagi has been away from home for many years because Lord Mifune’s Samurai were being killed or imprisoned. But the war is long over and he can return from exile to his home village. On his way home he kills a demon that terrorized a bridge, kills another samurai who was dishonest and setting up rigged fights for money and he kills some hired bandits. He also tells a story in which he kills other samurai, a giant octopus, a giant bug, and another demon. Finally when he makes it back to his village he has to kill some hired thugs and another demon. And after all that, he can’t stay home because his former girlfriend had married someone else who is very jealous of Usagi because it is obvious that Mariko still has feelings for Usagi. So, for honor and Mariko’s sake, after a visit of a few weeks, Usagi has to pack up and become a wandering samurai again.

The story is simplistic. Usagi often accidentally stumbles into situations that he then has to fight his way out of. And the whole love triangle thing at the end is as cliché as you can possibly get. The only really redeeming thing about the book is that the art is really good. I was overall disappointed. While a younger teen may enjoy the book–it has a sort of videogame quality to it–there isn’t much there for an adult to enjoy.