Translation is magic

It is no secret I love translated fiction, without it I do not know where I would be. While I did pursue learning Japanese as a means of reading the novels I loved in their original language, I seem to be unable to reread them in Japanese and feel the same joy.

For example; Haruki Murakami. I read every book of his I could get my hands on, in English. I loved them. Whenever someone asked me why I was studying Japanese I would say because of Haruki Murakami and wanting to read his books in Japanese.

Now, was the first novel I read in Japanese by him?

No.

It was actually «If cats disappeared from the world» by Genki Kawamura.

I have, however, read some Murakami now. I read Norwegian Wood, a given, and I have read his essay collections, which are very enjoyable. But, while I have purchased and tried to read some of his short story collections and novels that have come out while I have been living here, I haven’t been able to enjoy them as I did with the English translations. They are different, as if I am looking at a completely different work. When Japanese people tell me «oh I can’t read him, his works are difficult to read», I cannot but agree. Like in 1Q84, there are two Murakamis (for me at least with English and Japanese, for Spanish speakers their Murakami will be different from the Murakami of a Chinese speaker and so on. I wonder if I meet a third Murakami if I pick up his books in Norwegian?).

While it was a bit of a letdown to have the purpose of my language learning become so estranged to me, I have been able to soothe my sorrow in new, yet to be translated works.

Not all have been in my top ten, but I have found some diamonds indeed, that I wish to be translated and shared with the world. Anyone know who to contact about this?

I know two of my favorites have been translated so far, the aforementioned «If cats disappeared from the world» and Shion Miura’s «The Great Passage», but I haven’t seen the below translated as of yet.

ののはな通信 by Shion Miura (currently reading it, but so in love already)

麦本三歩の好きなもの by Sumino Yoru (I remember loving reading this years ago, but couldn’t get into the second volume last year and so gave it away unread)

店長がバカすぎて by Hayami Kazumasa (So relatable and interesting turns)

52ヘルツのクジラたち by Sonoko Machida (All the tears)

Last, but not least, 木曜日にはココアを by Michiko Aoyama (currently reading the follow-up to this, 月曜日の抹茶カフェ)

Anyone who have read any of these books?

Back to the jibun techo

After getting a job with regular hours, I thought I didn’t need a fancy schedule book anymore, just a bujo would do.

But then I started driving school and having to find time to schedule in theory and driving lessons, deadlines, etc., was not easy with just the bullet journal. So I got a jibun techo again, with weekly schedules to get a better view of my time.

Stickers are for covering up my mistakes or change in plans haha

I am trying to use the other pages as well, like Book list page, but I haven’t been good at jotting down when I finish a book this year so I don’t know when I finished two of these books.

It’s not a big problem of course, but for someone with detailed booklists going back 10 years… I haven’t been too good at reading lately.

Out of quarantine

Had to abruptly go to Norway for a family emergency in November. Booked a ticket on the 17th and sat on a plane two days later.

It’s been 3 years since I was able to go home, and while it wasn’t a happy circumstance bringing me back, it was good to see familiar places and people. Hugging my family and friends. Feeling a twinge of baby fever upon seeing my cousin’s new baby. Making spring rolls and dancing around my best friend’s kitchen. Having my aunt’s two huge great danes in my lap. Being hated by my mom’s new kitten unless she was too sleepy to notice it was me. Feeling homesick and looking at houses thinking about moving back to Norway.

The timing was terrible though. A couple of days into my two-week stay in Norway, omicron happened which made me a nervous wreck the second week, constantly checking the news and border control pages to see if they’d allow me back in Japan.

Spoiler alert; they allowed me to come back in, but I had to stay 3 days at a quarantine hotel eating cold bentos morning, lunch, and dinner. I like rice, but not for every single meal. And the remaining 11 days I could quarantine at home, given that I didn’t step outside, which they would routinely check through an app.

On Sunday (yesterday) I was finally free to venture outside, and I went to get a haircut, bought a novel, got donuts, posted my long overdue christmas cards, and went for a walk in the woods savouring the fresh air and the feeling of stretching my legs out fully for the first time in two weeks. Swearing to myself I won’t take this freedom for granted again. But like with colds and blocked noses, it will quickly be forgotten until next time.

Falling behind

I have a mountain of correspondence to reply to and must apologize to all of my penpals.

I had planned to try to catch up this weekend but,

Saturday we were gone most of the day, and when we got home I barely managed to get a shower before going to sleep. I went to bed with my hair still wet, even though Teddy always gets cross about that. But what is a poor girl to do? Hairdryers aren’t the best for your hair and with this length it takes forever, and with a desperate need for sleep I wasn’t in a state to wait up another 2-3 hours for it to dry naturally. Sometimes you just have to go to sleep with wet hair.

Sunday I slept in, till the ungodly time of 11:30! And even having slept until this late, I didn’t even get up and make breakfast or do anything before closer to one o’clock in the afternoon. Usually unheard of for me but Saturday was a long day so I guess it can’t be helped. I spent the day cleaning, studying, watching Gray’s Anatomy, and planting. We had some more plastic bottles so I made some more planters.

We also went to the homestore and I got some cat-friendly plants for the living room. I want to make the apartment into a jungle. With plants everywhere, but I have to think about Darjeeling as well, don’t want her to get sick, nor mischevious and making a mess.

I would like to be able to write letters on weekdays, but finding the time to sit down properly and give the letters the attention they deserve is difficult when your after work schedule is full of trying to catch up on house stuff, like grocery shopping, cleaning, making dinner, and getting to bed in a timely manner.

Let’s face it, I have become a boring adult (tear).

I will do my best to get in some writing time this week (this weekend Teddy is having his second shot of the vaccine meaning we will be at home and so I will have time to write between taking care of him). I also want to get a headstart on christmas cards that I got a little while ago (and that I need to get more of, I only thought about my penpals, not my actual family when I was buying them 🙈)

Friday morning, reading, plants, and lately

This morning I managed to wake up (yesterday I did not), so I can have a relaxing morning. I like to get up early so I can do nothing for about two hours. Sometimes I will do some cleaning or some yoga, but that’s on the rare occasion that I am perfectly rested and have the energy.

Lately it is cold, so the first thing to do is turn on the heaters to heat up the rooms and to make a cup of tea. Since I woke up with a bit of a sore throat today I decided to make peppermint tea.

I am rereading Murakami’s 1Q84 lately. Darjeeling is in the window looking at the birds outside, making her little meowy noises.

After being inspired by a tiktok I am trying to grow some greens in my humble kitchen and they are sprouting a bit! I also got some more mini plants to greenify our space a bit. They’re not good for Darjeeling so I am keeping them in rooms she doesn’t have access to. The teapot pot is so cute though! I love it and want another hundred more.

Not long now before I can eat some spinach! (Haha)

When we got home from the supermarket on Monday, we got home to a crime scene;

It had been on top of the dresser lately but now it is no more. Just the day before I had been talking about why I like it so much to Teddy, maybe Darjeeling got jealous. At least she didn’t hurt herself!

I have also picked up my studying again lately after getting (yet another) new textbook on the recommendation of my friend.

Yesterday I got some Japanese sweets at the supermarket because they were irresistibly cute!

It’s a mini pumpkin!!

It’s 7am now so time to get back to my book before I have to get ready for work.

Have a lovely Friday everyone❣️

Cloudy with a chance of tsukune

My legs are still sore from hiking. Just the thought of sitting down or standing up makes me want to cry. But! It hasn’t stopped me from having a productive Sunday.

While waiting for my package to arrive, I sat down and wrote some letters. I’ve been feeling busy lately so haven’t sat down properly to write in a while (apologies to all my penpals).

Right before 12 my package finally came, I ordered it a month ago and have been waiting impatiently ever since.

I’ve been reorganizing the kitchen a lot lately, and this is the final piece (for now).

The kitchen before:

And after:

Tried rearranging the contents to have the heavier items at the bottom as it was a bit more wobbly than I’d like but it is still wobbly so… Maybe it doesn’t roll as smoothly owing to the fact that the flooring is quite soft. Anyways I am happy that I could fit a lot more in here than before! It has opened up a lot of space elsewhere too.

After assembling and organizing the new kitchen wagon/rack thing I finally sat down (painfully) and folded laundry from the past week, which Darjeeling decided was her bed;

For dinner I tried a new recipe from a new recipe book I bought; sweet and salty tsukune (chicken meatballs), with sesame spinach miso soup:

First time to make tsukune and it wasn’t bad! If I may say so myself.

All in all a good Sunday. Time to take a hot bath and get ready for tomorrow, hoping the soreness will fade overnight.

Yamanashi adventure

3am; we get up to start the journey to Yamanashi prefecture. With a cup of coffee with cocoa powder and my new trusty neck pillow from muji in hand I was ready to be on our way.

First we went to Hinatayama. We started out at the lower parking as the upper parking is a bit inaccessible unless you have one of those offroad cars or what you call it.

It took almost 3 hours to get to the top, because I am horribly unfit and feel sick with any kind of ascent (I can walk on flat ground for days). I thought of going back uncountable times but we reached it and I was so glad I hadn’t given up. It was freezing, but beautiful.

After having a snack we went on our merry way down, which was a lot easier than going up. I enjoyed it a lot. The fresh air, the sunlight filtering through the autumn foliage, the path littered with yellow leaves making the scenery magical.

Until about the last 50-ish minutes (that felt like the longest of the whole hike) where I had several blisters and what not, making each step painful, and I was tired and over the whole thing, just wanting it to end.

We made it down to the bottom in one piece, lifting my mood a great deal.

Next we went to get the Yamanashi specialty as we were ravenous; houtou

They had a limited autumn set that I had to get, with pumpkin houtou and chestnut rice!The chestnut rice was so sweet, almost like dessert!

The houtou was like a stew, or hotpot, with a wide range of different vegetables in a soup. There were huge chunks of potato and carrot in there too, so soft and delicious.

After eating till we felt like bursting, we went to the onsen to nurse our aches. We went to Hottarakashi onsen at the top of a mountain, just in time for the sun to set. Sitting in the hot water outside with the cool wind, watching Mt. Fuji flushed in pink; indescribable.

It was a lovely day off, and I am happy that I could experience Yamanashi a bit.

Today, the day after this adventure, I am taking it easy at home, as my legs are out of order like the day after leg day at the gym. I will see you again one day Yamanashi.

Rainy October Sunday

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.

It also has wheels making cleaning easier

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.

Have a good Sunday everyone❣️

衣替え from summer to autumn

衣替え (koromogae) is the seasonal change of clothing, switching out the warderobe from one season to the other. The beginning of October is the perfect time for koromogae.

Darjeeling as (un)helpful as always.

I was able to do some decluttering as well, but not as much as I would like. I still get stuck on the «I might need this» or «I might want to wear this again one day».

This time I left the pieces that I didn’t wear last year in with the summer clothes in the storage box, so if I don’t reach for them this season I can hopefully declutter them next spring.

Now my warderobe looks like this;

I realized I mainly use greys, blacks, whites, mustards, and a tiny splash of pink. At least it’s not all black. It feels calmer.

I hope to be able to do a 100% perfect konmari one day. Maybe next year.

Tomorrow the weather will be lovely so I plan to get all the laundry done and even hang out the futons.

What do you do on sunny days off?

Saturday bookstore browsing

I went to the bookstore to get a housewife magazine today, and while I was browsing I first saw that there is now a fourth book out in the «Before the coffee gets cold» series by Toshikazu Kawaguchi.

As I looked to the right I saw a very familiar design, namely that of Michiko Aoyama’s books! I didn’t know she had a new book out, nor that it seems to be a continuation of my favorite book of hers; 「木曜日にはココアを」(Cocoa on Thursday)!!

This time it is «Matcha cafe on Monday» or 「月曜日の抹茶カフェ」.

I can’t wait to read this!

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