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.
Mornings where I don’t have an alarm on are few and far between. Even on Sundays when I don’t have work I feel the need to have on alarm as to not somehow waste the day.
But this Sunday I decided not to. There was no piano class either so I didn’t have to think about that. I had a lovely bath the night before, put on a new set of pajamas and then I slept for as long as I wanted. I woke up feeling relaxed, I even spent an extra hour, awake, in bed.
I didn’t get out of bed before it was already eleven and I only did so to get the cat and get back into the bed.
Yesterday my order of matcha had come in, so I made a cup of matcha latte (from scratch! No starbucks sachets today) and sat down with a new book; Lessons from Madame Chic or フランス人は10着しか服を持たない by Jennifer L. Scott.
I like these kinds of books, they always inspire me to be better (not for forever unfortunately, I am but a fickle creature)
A cup of matcha latte in one hand, a book in front of me, and my darling Darjeeling by my other hand.
I am getting closer to my perfect image of autumn, I am just missing a chair, colder weather, and a classic.
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.
The weather forecast had said a lot of rain so I decided to use my new rain poncho, with this beautiful pattern of magnolias and I loved it! No need to carry around and hold an umbrella, and by keeping my bags underneath the poncho they didn’t get wet at all. Such a brilliant spur-of-the-moment buy from the Moomin park earlier this year. It reminded me of the Norwegian saying:
There is no bad weather, only bad clothing
It rhymes in Norwegian so it sounds better (Det fins ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær)
I went to a starbucks and while I know it is so very unoriginal, it is one of the places I feel comfortable with, and where I don’t have to grapple with my anxious self. I had a chai latte and a chocolate chip scone while I continued reading Jane Eyre. How many times have I read this now? Luckily for me, I’ve kept lists of my reading for more than ten years now so I can pinpoint exactly how many times, but only if I check my book. Unless I write things down I cannot trust my memory. Let’s see, this will be the sixth time it seems.
After finishing my little break time I ventured on and did some shopping at muji before going to the main event; kinokuniya. I browsed for a bit, with nothing catching my eye before I saw the cutest book cover I have seen in a long time. The drawing style was amazing and it had all the things I love, like books, tea, plants, etc. The title sounded interesting as well so I picked it up. I wanted to go to the cafe next door to the bookstore and start reading right away but as it was Saturday, it was completely full so I gave up and went home instead, all while keeping my new book dry underneath my rain poncho.