It’s fall. Mornings are crisp, and soon it is time to dig out the heaters and put the fan in their place.
This morning I made some hot chocolate, (from scratch!), and sat down to do some letter writing.
I am also wearing my little «brake time» cozy socks from Daiso.
Darjeeling is with me as always of course, doing her best to lie on top of the letter so I can’t read it.
Yesterday I spent the day reorganizing the kitchen, the stock closet, and the bath. I recently found out that the walls in the bath are magnetic, which opened up a whole new world of organizing possibilities.
We bought the rack in the middle for all the kitchen electronics, as the previous arrangement was not very earthquake secure.
Bought a little wagashi on the way back from the home store yesterday, a black halloween cat, which was delicious.
Today I want to see about getting some different trash bins, as I am over this tower type where any smell goes through all the compartments. I have seen some at muji that you can affix wheels to making them more convenient as well.
Today it is a public holiday here in Japan, don’t know which one, what matters most to me is that I have a day off.
I have seen online that they have different potato donuts at mister donuts here so I decided to try them out. I can’t remember the last time I went to a donut shop, nor when I last ate a donut, so it must be a while since it happened. Anyways.
We have mitsuimo (honey potato), mitsuimo and butter, daigakuimo (candied sweet potato, literally university potato though haha), sweet potato, and murasakiimo (purple fleshed sweet potatao, very appetizing name).
Mitsuimo was ok, mitsuimo and butter not to my taste (not a fan of butter taste?), daigakuimo was ok, sweet, sweet potato was good, and murasakiimo was the best I think. I wanted to like the sweet potato one more, but it didn’t have as much sweet potato taste as other sweet potato sweets, like wagashi, usually have so.
Today I felt very french, with my parisiennefavourite perfume from SHIRO, and a dress and belt from the collaboration between uniqlo and Ines de la Fressange.
I have been reading another book by Dora Tauzin lately namely; «パリジェンヌはいくつになっても人生を楽しむ» or “A parisienne enjoys her life no matter how old” (loosely translated).
Anyone tried the donuts from mister donuts lately? Or any other good donuts out there?
Last time I wrote it was spring, with its cherry blossoms and fair weather.
Now it is autumn, beloved autumn (let’s skip summer).
A lot has happened since spring, and some has stayed the same. I got a new job, which accounts for most of the changes in my daily life and wellbeing. Working from home should mean that I have a lot more time as there is no commute, but for some reason it was easier to get in reading on a commute than at home. I am still working on the work/private life balance.
I got my dream table, a table I had in a note in my evernote app years ago titled «future house ideas». I am living in the same apartment but the arrival of the table has brightened it more than I had imagined.
My plant keeps growing and I had to repot her a little while ago:
We have been hiking lately so I have seen some beautiful views;
I did some doodling from May on my new phone, mostly of Darjeeling, and opened up a little Redbubble shop! I found doodling on my commute was very relaxing, but I often missed my stop.
It is almost time to break out the autumn fashion, and as usual I couldn’t help myself getting some new pieces this year either;
It’s still just a little too early, a little too hot, to start wearing it though.
I am still writing letters, and being as obsessed with stationery as always. Been buying autumn stationery and stamps like there is no tomorrow;
I would like to blog more, but not sure how to proceed, what to blog about, how often etc. Maybe the blog will be updated more this fall, or maybe not, I cannot say for certain. I have so many hobbies but so little time.
How is everyone doing so far this year, as we pass into autumnal bliss?
The plum blossoms are blossoming and the weather is going from winter chill to warm and breezy (and back again to the chill). It is spring.
This year I started a new job, though similar with the old one it is just different enough to not have me dread going to work. (Last year was rough)
I am keeping busy and the house and balcony is slowly filling up with flowers as well. I was walking down the main street on my day off last week and was drawn to the flower shop, and left with a little bouquet. I’m trying to propogate my pothos but it’s going slow and I might not be doing it right.
I am still writing a ton of letters, and I recently started, not collecting but, getting my own stamps so that even the postage is cute. I do feel the tendency to hoard them and not use them for what they are intended but I try to keep it in check.
Also thanks to my lovely penpals, my list of books-to-read, outside of my usual sphere of Japanese lit, is growing. I am halfway through Aoyama’s お探し物は図書室まで and loving it, and I started Circe by Madeline Miller and will be reading the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop, both recommended by penpals.
This week we had a national holiday so both me and Teddy had work off. We decided to drive up north to Miyagi prefecture to see the fox village! We were also lucky enough to be there just in time to experience the foxes up close; by holding one🦊
The foxes in the park are wild so to not get bitten we couldn’t touch them, though I really wanted to, they looked so cozy! And after holding one I stand by it, Momo (the fox I got to hold) was so warm and fluffy and a lot bigger than I had expected. Maybe Darjeeling could become this size one day, I certainly wouldn’t object.
I would like to get back into studying this year, the textbooks on my shelf haunt me, but we’ll see. If only one could learn enough through just reading novels to pass N1 I would be so happy but alas. As they said in If cats disappeared from the world by Genki Kawamura; 「何かを得るためには、何かを失わなけれならない」(I think that’s the quote, it’s been years since I read it) meaning something like “no pain no gain”.
I still go to my piano lessons, though it doesn’t feel like I am improving much. But they’re only for fun anyway so. I’m currently practicing backnumber’s Happy End.
As I settle more into the new routine of daily life, I predict more tea and more books. And more walks. And more baking. I recently made chocolate chip cookies for the first time and they were addictive.
Just a little update before I head off to work. I would like to blog more but I don’t really know what to blog about. Maybe I’ll have a clearer vision in the future.
Yesterday was as perfect as a normal working Monday could be.
It was sunny, but with a cool wind bringing in the scent of autumn. I opened all windows and doors as far as I could letting in the fresh air while not letting out the cat. After days of rain, I could finally do the laundry and did no less than four loads thanks to the sun drying things in less than an hour.
For three years I have had the same futon covers, but I finally bought new ones; matching ones. And the joy of washing them and putting them on: I was over the moon. I have noticed that here, instead of having several sets of covers and changing and washing on like a weekly basis (which I would do in Norway), it seems to be enough with one set and then you hang the whole futon out to dry and “wash” in the sunshine.
While the laundry was drying, I was free to clean the apartment and finish most of my to-do list (that has been piling up lately)
I also got started on changing out my warderobe. Thanks to reading “Lessons from Madame Chic”, I am trying to define my style and also get some ‘core pieces’ and maybe even get down to a ’10-piece warderobe’. I make no promises however. I got a lot of new clothes (well, 8 pieces) which I think will be the main, but I also have some thicker knit sweaters and one wool skirt in my existing fall/winter warderobe so I am already exceeding the 10 pieces but I am not too bothered, it’s not the end of the world. I’m also trying to get better at dressing up, wearing the clothes I like more regularly and not just for special occasions. So for example, to go to the bakery this morning, I put on some of my new pieces and did my makeup! At 10 in the morning! (I work evenings). In Norway, if the bakery was as close as it is here, I might’ve just gone over in sweatpants.
Anyways, I digress, I was writing of yesterday.
My warderobe is looking like this at the moment, I’m hoping to get my knit sweaters etc., into the white boxes that are currently full of winter clothes, which means I need to find a different space to store summer clothes. Did I mention I love organizing yet? It should be getting clearer now. Thinking about storage space and how to organize it is what gets me going. And yes, I have thought that maybe I should become a Konmari consultant, but haven’t found any courses here yet.
I took a break after my warderobe shenanigans and had another matcha latte, which I have every day now, I am obsessed. I’ll probably drink it daily for 6 months and then I’ll get hooked on something new, or maybe go back to milk tea (that I made and drank daily from December until June).
Matcha latte? Check
It doesn’t take too much to make me happy. I coud accomplish all this, take my time getting to work, and work didn’t bring me down either.
I got home, took a bath with the Makioka Sisters in hand, and then I could go to bed in new sheets, the first new sheets in 3 years. My sigh is of happiness and you could probably hear it from outside as the temperature was perfect for keeping the windows open all day and all night.
Woke up early and did a sweep of the house. Did some much needed dusting, mopped the floors, vacuumed the carpet, hung out laundry, cleaned the kitchen counter, aired out all the rooms, and did some reorganizing in the stock closet. Everything felt clean and fresh and in order.
Went to my piano lesson and started a new piece. When I had tried it by myself earlier I could not grasp it at all, but the teacher showed me and it all just seemed so simple. It really makes a difference having a teacher to help. I will enjoy this piece, it’s a classical piece, as compared to the previous piece I was working on which was a pop-song, and I found I can’t really get into pop-songs with the piano yet. I prefer more calm, soothing, slow classical pieces.
After my lesson I went to the second-hand store and found a beautiful momiji tea bowl and had to add it to my tea-cup collection. As soon as I got home I baked an apple cake (but without apples as I don’t like them getting warm and mushy) and made some milk tea with Mariage Frères’ French island vanilla black tea and used my new tea bowl. The momiji design made me happy, and this tea is my favorite. The cake came out well too, making it a great time.
I did a facemask and wanted to take a long bath while watching a movie, but was chuffed when the application kept translating the titles making it difficult and the movie I wanted was only available dubbed into Japanese, though I wanted to hear it in its original language as I like the main actress. I had a bit of a childish tantrum and tirade on twitter and felt that maybe I am not as much as an adult as I’d like to be, when things don’t go as I wish I revert right back to a whining baby. It is almost too embarrassing to admit, but there you have it.
As the movie part didn’t go through, I decided on reading instead and it made for a lovely bath. I continued Jane Eyre, and it was around where Mr. Mason is bit by Rochester’s crazy wife aka his own sister.
After my bath, I did some measuring around the house and found that I could increase storage space if I moved things around a bit, in the hope of making it a bit more functional. One of my great pleasures is to organize and declutter. That is not to say that the house is always spotless of course. I have found that there is a big difference between wanting to have clean dishes and wanting to clean dishes.
Excluding my little hissy fit, today has been delightful. If all Sundays could be as this one, I can’t have any complaints.
Obon vacation came and went by in a flash. I wouldn’t have minded having another week or two.
I was supposed to go home this year, using my vacation days, and fly back to spend some quality time with my friends and family, but because of the pandemic these plans have been overturned and I’ve had to stay here. But I did get out of the house for a bit.
The first day was spent cleaning and organizing a bit in our stock closet, thanks to (finally) reading this manga by Yururi Mai, I wanted to turn out the whole apartment, but satisfied myself with the closet (for now).
Day 2 we went on a drive over to Gunma prefecture to see this beautiful old historic house, a dam, and to eat some himokawa udon (which I have found that I love!)
Day 3 I went on a date with my friend, and she let me drag her out to Daikanyama (where I had never been) to see a bookstore that according to a google search is one of the top 20 most beautiful in the world! It is called the Daikanyama T-site and it is spread over three connected buildings. They had a pretty big English selection too and the interior was gorgeous.
We also went to the Rikugien gardens for a nice (super hot) stroll.
Day 4 we celebrated a birthday with eel, cake, and fireworks.
Day 5 was spent just relaxing.
The last day, Sunday, we got up early and drove to the beach! I took my favorite novel with me, Jane Eyre, but it was too hot to do anything but cool off in the water. It was so hot that the glue must have melted because pages started coming out and I had to try and attach them with washitape when I got home.
It was a good little vacation, a breath of fresh air, before going back to work. Having gotten a day at the beach, I feel like summer is complete for me and that autumn is more than welcome to take its place. Dreaming of hot chocolates and scarves and sweaters and a chill in the air. Wrapping yourself in blankets and knitted socks. What a dream. A dream that feels oh so far away.
I never had an ear for music. My grandfather, and now Teddy, tell me I am tone deaf. They may be right, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying listening to music, singing (bad) karaoke with my (very) close friends, and since December; learning piano.
I never learned any instruments as a kid. We did the recorder at school, but luckily only for a short time. I tried my hands at guitar but after spending 30 minutes trying to tune it and then failing at getting my fingers into the seemingly impossible positions described in the ‘guitar for beginners’ book, I put the guitar back in the closet where I found it.
Last year I saw a sign advertising trial lessons for piano at a local bookstore. For weeks I went past, reading it again and again, wondering, thinking. I could maybe? But my courage would always fail me. Until one day in November; I had made up my mind. I marched to the bookstore while making up all the possible scenarios on how the conversation would go in my head. I entered the store and went straight to-
the magazines. I am so bad at talking to and reaching out to strangers that I had to recharge after using all my energy on just getting to and into the bookstore. I circled around a bit, looking but not really looking at the different covers before I squared my shoulders and went to the register where an older man was working.
After stammering out in nervous Japanese about the sign and wanting to try, he tells me to hold on and goes to find the piano teacher that was holding a piano lesson in the back room of the bookstore. Great, I have to redo all I just did to another person. The teacher was lovely though, and we set a date for the trial lesson.
The trial lesson went great, and I’ve been going every Sunday for about 6 months. While I do not have any aspirations to be a great pianist, and while I might still be tone deaf, it’s a great pastime which I very much enjoy.