You Only Live Twice ePUB Ý You Only Epub /


You Only Live Twice I am one of the first to admit that I would rather be reading than watching most television movies and other media other than a few of my favorite franchise series One of those series is James Bond and I have seen most films at least once I have a favorite Bond actor and a favorite film for each Bond which I am partial to and end up repeating so than the other flicks When classic bingo called for an action or adventure suare I used it as an excuse to read another of Ian Fleming's original Bond books You Only Live Twice which also checks off the Y for my A to Z book title challenge was the last book that Fleming wrote in his lifetime hence passing the franchise on to other less devoted writers While not my favorite Bond by far it still presented me a chance to spend time with 007 on an otherwise gloomy winter dayJames Bond is reeling off of his game so to speak It is the 1950s the height of the cold war and he has been a 00 agent since the end of World War II He has botched his last two assignments as he is still grieving from the death of his wife Tracey at the hands of the sinister Ernst Stavo Blofield and his eually vile wife Irma Bent Bond believes that he should tender his resignation yet M the head of British Secret Service MI6 can not afford to lose his most capable spy At a time when the threat of nuclear warfare has the entire world on edge M entrusts Bond with top assignments than ever Yet Bond would be happy to retire to Jamaica and live out his days in the sun and surf of the island After buttering up and prodding by M Bond agrees to a 'promotion' to the foreign service and heads to Japan on a classified diplomatic missionThe one caveat of this assignment is that there are no guns or any other secret gadgets available to Bond from MI6 While in a Japan still in the American sphere of influence Bond must learn to behave like a true member of Japanese society Entrusted in the hands of top Japanese agent Tiger Tanaka Bond spends the majority of the book immersed in Japanese culture Although he pines for English gin cigarettes food and women Bond plays the game and becomes passable for one of the taller Japanese miners Versed enough to write a rudimentary haiku and to laugh at the right places Tanaka believes that Bond is ready for his assignment to infiltrate the Garden of Death located on the remote island of Kyushu off of the Asian Sea While there he will be under the care of Bond girl Kissy Suzuki a pearl diver from the nearby island of Kuro who believes 007 to be Taro a Japanese minerBehind the garden of death are none other than Blofield and Bent themselves Creating this garden of deadly plants fish and volcanic geysers the couple encourages Japanese suicide seekers to meet their death at their paradise The couple appears just as sinister and vile in this book as they do in current Bond films most notably Spectre Yet Blofield is the only thing similar to the movies from this books Rather than disabling a nuclear weapon that is a threat to western civilization leaving viewers on edge here Bond desires revenge on Blofield and Bent and is forced to fight them without the aid of a gun This scene makes for a true fight of strength and man power and was actually enjoyable to me than some of the seuences where Bond has multiple killing agents at his disposable And of course because Blofield grows evil by the page I was silently cheering as 007 dueled his rival in true Japanese ninja styleYou Only Live Twice is one of the few instances where I may have enjoyed the movie version slightly than the book While I enjoyed seeing Bond in a different role as a foreign service officer and learning about a culture different than his own I pined for the action of the big screen I have previously read From Russia With Love and Casino Royale and both books contained action than this one Perhaps Fleming suspected that his involvement with Bond was coming to a close although he left numerous journals that would form the basis of his other stories You Only Live Twice is not my top Bond story but it was fun and even witty at parts Besides as longtime Bond viewers know from the screen James Bond will be back and hopefully my next Bond read will be better35 stars “You only live twiceOnce when you are bornAnd once when you look death in the face”Ian Fleming’s 12th Bond book is set in Japan and concludes his brilliant Blofeld trilogyWhile the films use Blofeld and Spectre to a greater degree Fleming’s Blofeld shows up in three books – Thunderball On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and here First published in 1964 we see Fleming at the height of his considerable narrative powers but tragically he only had a few months to liveMonths after Blofeld killed Bond’s wife Tracy Bond is a mess and M sends him East on an “impossible” mission But this is after all James Bond and our hero crashes headlong into trouble than anyone expected When Bond discovers that the Japanese nemesis is in fact Blofeld the action turns personal as ugly as a Sicilian vendetta and Fleming’s tight prose makes the most of the scenarioOne of the better Bond stories there were passages of this that made me think that this was some of Fleming’s best writing I WAS reading a lot of espionage and western novels in the early 70s In fact I had started reading espionage in 1969 with “The Man from UNCLE” novels and Ian Fleming’s “Goldfinger” which was followed by “Thunderball” and finally “You Only Live Twice” both of which I read in 1970Ian Lancaster Fleming writing his novels in the bedroom of his house in JamaicaOf the three James Bond novels I think I had liked “You Only Live Twice” the best Maybe because the location was Japan and I was totally bewitched by the rich Japanese culture I had already known several Japanese words like kimono origami geisha sayonara and kamikaze through reading books and watching films while I picked up some like sumo harakiri and sake a Japanese rice wine from Mr Fleming’s tomeThe cover of the novel I read as a schoolboy in Calcutta The novel started off with sumo wrestlers wrestling in an arena Just imagine giant babies in pampers butting their heads to start the match I am sure a 148kg sumo would be easily able to lift me up with his little finger then roll me like a dice in his palm and throw me at the jubilant front seaters However I wouldn’t mind landing on the lap of a beautiful buxom Japanese woman or even a white Spanish senorita Oh Please excuse me for being carried awaySumo wrestlers lunge towards each other on a clay dohyo an elevated ringGetting back to the novel I think Ian Fleming also mentioned Bond playing ‘Stone Paper Scissors’ while on his spying business in Japan Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong Then there was this part about how some Japanese shrinked their testes through sheer practise and brain power so as not to get hurt if faced by some crazy rival I was truly enthralled reading all this I kept wondering as to how they did thatBond was skilled in judo and karate so naturally the location being Japan the novel had its fair share of that too What would a bond novel be without fast and furious actionSean Connery poses for a publicity still A haiku from the novel became extremely popular when the book was first published and then again when the film was released in 1967 Nobody needs to be reminded that suave and sexy Sean Connery was its hero Bond James Bond“You only live twiceOnce when you are bornAnd once when you look death in the face”Bond composes the haiku in the novel but it is actually by Basho a Japanese poetI thorougly enjoyed the book and found it to be the best of the three Bond novels I had read so farPlayboy magazine featured excerpts from Ian Fleming's You Only Live Twice in its May and June 1964 editions having artwork by Daniel SchwartzTowards the fag end of 1969 the film was released at a cinema hall in Calcutta My elder brother took me along with two cousins to watch the night show I loved the opening titles with the silhouettes of girls dancing in the nude the sumo wrestlers ramming their heads with all their might and the volcano set which is in reality Blofeld’s secret hideout That is nearly about all that I liked about the film It was no patch on the book Besides I did not find the Japanese heroine Mie Hama to be attractive or sexy at all especially after having watched beautiful Bond heroines like Ursula Andress Dr No Daniela Bianchi From Russia With Love Claudine Auger Thunderball and Honor Blackman who starred in Goldfinger and remains my favourite to this day Instead of being fired a depressed and out of sorts James Bond receives a next to impossible mission on a remote Japanese island There's a lot that's unbelievable here I'll just start with Bond successfully impersonating a Japanese man ridiculous and a secret missile base hollowed out of a dormant volcano that no one else knows anything about But it is James Bond and don't think too hard fun so I went with itDespite its flaws I'm now somehow reading James Bond There's something about the picture of James Bond's character desperately trying to understand another culture and thinking he has somehow passed that's appealing As little as he really knows about Japanese culture for instance he still attempts to figure out the psychology of the Japanese in everything from rock paper scissors to high stakes espionage I guess it's just funny in a weird sort of way but entertaining nonetheless You only live twiceOnce when you are bornAnd once when you look death in the faceThis is the haiku James Bond composes in this book but in reality it is by Bassho a Japanese poetThis is a very weird book Actually it's my personal opinion that view spoilerthe death of Gwen Stacy Tracy Bond hide spoiler Rating 35 of five1967's film version of the book apparently kept nothing to speak of from the book's plot little enough of the characters and broke new ground in space science if only physics would agree to operate by Bondiverse rules So that raises the uestionWhat the actual fuck Undetectable space launches from a densely packed island nation famous then as now for being xenophobic Volcanos hollowed out and repurposed because they're extinct and then KERPOW they blow up on cue The sorriest ninjas on record being trained in what appears to be a suburban gardenYeesh No wonder Sean Connery was ready to leave the role after this turkeyYou might have noticed that Connery is by Western standards a large man Tall Muscular Imposing And he's now going to pretend to be Japanese Forty five years ago there were very few Japanese men over 6ft tall To the best of my knowledge there are to this good moment a vanishingly small number of Japanese men with Scottish accents and furry chests So when Bond is presented as a native husband for a local girl WITH HER OWN HOME AND BOAT I rolled my eyes so hard I'm pretty sure I saw my brain Like every damn single man on that island wouldn't be all up in Bond's business from second one seeing as how he nabbed the most eligible woman in JapanSo it sounds like 35 stars is ridiculously generous doesn't it There are reasons 1 Bond's death scene at the beginning of the movie So cool I get frostbite from watching it 2 Blofeld's big blond henchrat Scenic 3 The Toyota 2000GT that Bond's first gal pal drivesÜber cool car And trivia for the five of you still reading this Toyota delivered the car to the filmmakers a couple weeks before shooting Connery did not fit in the vehicle At all Toyota's staff said oh no so sorry we'll fix it and they DID I am constantly amazed that this level of customer service ever existed on the surface of the earthThe house I live in presently was built in 1938 It's got golden oak floors painted baseboards dentilated crown moldingsvery NOT 1960s decor The films have reminded me of the ocean of blond wood teak copper and faux stone that permeated the built environment of the day Glass tables horrible things they were too An amazing number of ceramic lamps with cylindrical paper shades As familiar to me as my beard but not today's design vernacular by any stretch I wonder is it off putting or old fashioned looking to kids of the 1980s Kids HA most of y'all got kids of your own nowSo at least one star added for taking me right back into a world I liked a lot because it was the first one I ever knew It had its charms I prefer today but that doesn't lessen the draw of a familiar past That's a big part of the fun I get from rewatching these filmsETA The song I forgot to mention Nancy Sinatra's rendition of You Only Live Twice a syrupy ballad with a screechy violin hook that embeds itself in the brain extremely deeply The hook is played over a lot of lovely scenery shots so repetition does its ugly work Still it's nowhere near as horrible as the Tom Jones rendition of Thunderball That is just heinous 25 The Superintendent went to the bottom of his file and extracted what looked like a blown up copy of Doctor Guntram Shatterhand’s passport photograph and handed it over Bond took it nonchalantly Then his whole body stiffened He said to himself God Almighty God Almighty Yes There was no doubt no doubt at allYou Only Live Twice or as I really want to call it On Her Majesty's Secret Service Part Deux because I can't help seeing parallels to the second Hot Shots movie deals with a James Bond that has been broken after the events of On Her Majesty's Secret Service Bond has lost his interest in his job is depressed puts missions and lives at risk chases pleasures aimlessly and is on the verge of being fired The only reason he is not is that M is persuaded to set Bond an improbable task that has no other aim than to make Bond realise that he needs to step up his game What M does not know is that the investigation into the strange goings on on a Japanese island will play right into Bond's troubles Bond held the pictures not looking at them thinking Ernst Stavro Blofeld Irma Bunt So this was where they had come to hideYou would think that this set up of Bond being sent to investigate something far away from his usual life would provide some opportunity for Bond to reflect or try to deal with his own losses you know to make Bond grow as a character But no Instead Fleming decided to use this book as an opportunity to showcase his own interest in all things Japanese and use Bond as a tool for comparing Fleming's understanding of British and Japanese culturesThis part of the book is fun It might with good reason make you doubt Fleming's research There are at least two eye roll inducing assertions in Fleming's portrayal of Japan and one of which about sumo wrestlers seems to have become a myth that has transcended the Bond franchise Never mind eh As this Bond buddy read comes to a close only 2 books left one of which is a re read of a short story collection I have come to really ask myself why I stuck with the series and had not abandoned Bond's exploits after From Russia With Love which was one of the very worst books I have ever read EverWell I have to admit that Fleming's attempts at dazzling his readers with bullshit are one of the reasons this series has been fun I don't mean Fleming's xenophobia sexism homophobia snobbishness I really mean the times when Fleming tries to persuade the reader of facts that are wrong The series is riddled with mistakes about biology history physics chemistry anything that can be researched Yet Fleming talks about this stuff with so much conviction that reading a Fleming novel inevitably makes you uestion your own knowledge It is fun to discover the errors or to learn something you didn't know by looking at topics that Fleming discusses with enthusiasm which just don't sound true Even so if you have a patient reading buddy who doesn't mind sounding out some of the ideas with you On the flip side what I haven't enjoyed so much are the plots of the Bond novels There are exceptions of course Casino Royale or Dr No come to mind here but overall the plots reading in today that is were uite simplistic and often boringIn You Only Live Twice I would even go as far as to say that there is no real plot Or at least there is nothing that makes the plot interesting There is not even an evil master plan to overthrow We meet Blofeld and Bunt again but they are mere mad shadows of their characters from On Her Majesty's Secret Service Where is the fun in this So overall this is an interesting novel for getting to know a little bit about Fleming and his estimation for Japan but it is an utterly boring Bond adventure that ends with a weird variation on Madama Butterfly Such an odd novel Ian Fleming’s twelfth James Bond novelThe tragic end to James Bond’s last mission – courtesy of Ernst Stavro Blofeld – has left 007 a broken man and of little use to the British Secret ServiceAt his wit’s end M decides that the only way to snap his best agent out of his torpor is to send him on an impossible diplomatic mission to Japan Bond’s contact there is the formidable Japanese spymaster Tiger Tanaka who agrees to do business with the West if Bond will assassinate one of his enemies a mysterious Swiss botanist named Dr Guntram Shatterhand Shatterhand is not who he seems however and his impregnable fortress – known to the locals as the ‘Castle of Death’ – is a gauntlet of traps no gaijin has ever penetratedBut through rigorous ninja training and with some help from the beautiful and able Kissy Suzuki Bond manages to gain access to Shatterhand’s lair Inside lurks certain doom at the hands of 007’s bitterest foe – or a final chance to exact ultimate vengeance “Britain has not only lost a great Empire you have seemed almost anxious to throw it away with both hands You apparently sought to arrest this slide into impotence at Suez but succeeded only in stage managing one of the most pitiful bungles in the history of the world if not the worst Further your governments have shown themselves successively incapable of ruling and have handed over effective control of the country to the trade unions who appear to be dedicated to the principle of doing less and less work for money This feather bedding this shirking of an honest day’s work is sapping at ever increasing speed the moral fibre of the British”The reason that international terrorist organisation SPECTRE replaced Russian Spy body SMERSH as James Bond’s main villain was that as the Fifties progressed it became increasingly ludicrous to suggest that Britain was at the forefront of the anti Soviet fight Philby and his cohorts who are referred to obliuely in this volume had proved that British agents were likely to be hand in hand with the Russians In addition the fact that Britain had lost the Empire and the whole country seemed tired and grey – not to mention still bombed out – meant that Britain’s prestige had greatly faded This then is James Bond super agent of a failed cause a man still fighting the fight but unsure any what he’s fighting forTo be fair the piece of dialogue uoted above is dismissed by Bond when said to him and yet the sentiment of it echoes throughout ‘You Only Live Twice’ There are numerous references to how Britain needs to buck up her ideas because fings ain’t what they used to be Newly widowed Bond is jaded and tired which undoubtedly suits the downbeat and failing country he represents And yet this novel wasn’t published in the Fifties but in 1964 just when Britain was starting to swing again Okay the book was no doubt written the year before but even then there should have been a sense that all was changing and Britain wasn’t as threadbare as previously supposed And yet in the reactionary and conservative world of James Bond and Ian Fleming in the year of his death Britain was definitely past its prime and destined to be a miserable black and white failure for even Side note the Bond film in 1964 was Goldfinger Isn’t it a jarring moment when Connery suggests that the best way to listen to The Beatles is while wearing earmuffs That’s one Swinging Sixties icon taking a swing at another but it does sound like the 1950’s Bond of the book He’d have thought the moptops were nothing but tuneless scruffsDivorced from its historical context this is a fairly dull and uneventful book Bond goes to Japan on a nebulous mission then hangs around for a bit waiting for a plot to develop In the main this is a travelogue Ian Fleming’s ‘What I Did On My Summer Holiday” essay It takes a long while for the action to get going and even then it’s fairly anticlimactic To be fair the ending is refreshingly atypical although the suggestion that all these books are real and written by one of Bond’s friends feels clumsy and self reverential In short this is a novel in which Bond is a lot like the country he represents or Fleming’s perception of it anyway He was once virile and powerful but those days have passed I’ve found that one must try and teach people that there’s no top limit to disaster – that so long as breath remains in your body you’ve got to accept the miseries of life They will often seem infinite insupportable They are part of the human condition Ian Fleming You Only Live TwiceIan Fleming took James Bond off the interstate of his traditional espionage novels with the last couple books You Only Live Twice is Fleming putting James back into the game The settting for most of this novel is Japan Bond is hunting for the Japanese Dr Guntram Shatterhand who turns out to be Ernst Stavro Blofeld the head of SPECTRE It is interesting enough but seems a bit dated with the NINJA scenes and Yellow Face

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *