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My 5 Favourite Gothic Literature Books

Without a doubt, one of my favourite literary genres of all time is Gothic. I stumbled onto this genre after choosing a class themed around it at university; the reading list looked interesting (Mary Shelley, Edgar Allen Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson etc.), and so I popped it onto my enrollment list for that year.

What I didn’t realise was that, in chosing this class, I would discover an amazing genre to which some of my favourite books of all time would belong. So, today, I though I might share some of my favourites with you. Here are my five favourite Gothic lit books!


  1. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  2. The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter
  3. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
  4. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

An Ode to Dead Cherry Blossoms

When I moved to Japan in July last year, my major goal was to be able to stay long enough to see the sakura. In March of this year, I was lucky enough to do that.

As many of you know, we went through a lot of ups and downs throughout out time here (especially financially), and there were many times where we didn’t know if we would physically be able to afford to be in Tokyo for cherry blossom season. But, thanks to our hard work, that all paid off …

Only, I was working so hard, a part of me feels as if I didn’t get to properly appreciate it. It was beautiful, no doubt and I’ll cherish those weeks–the weeks from my first ever cherry blossom season–for the rest of my life (honestly, it was like living in a fairy-tale. Everything was pink; everything was the colour of fairyfloss). But, I was exhausted and burnt out. I never got a moment to really, properly stop and soak it in when the blossoms were at full bloom.  I wrote a little piece called An Ode to Dead Cherry Blossoms to explore how I felt.

If you haven’t seen it already, I hope you like it ~

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Happy Tanabata

This weekend was the annual Tanabata (七夕) Festival here in Japan. The Tanabata Masturi is also called the ‘Star Festival’, and comes from Qixi Festival in China. I was told by one of my teaching assistants that it’s an old festival about two star-crossed lovers, Orihime and Hikoboshi, who are only able to be together on the seventh day of the seventh month. Everyone prays for clear skies so that they might be able to see each other again across the Milky Way.

Here, people write wishes and prayers on pieces of paper and string them up on trees. If Orihime and Hikoboshi are able to meet, their wishes come true. Most of my students’ wishes were about wanting to grow up and be soccer players or badminton players or comedians, or else wanting a particular toy or other, but there was something really lovely to sitting there helping them write out these things in English on bright orange, pink and blue scraps of paper.

On Sunday, we went out to the festival along Kappabashi-dori, between Ueno Station and Asakusa Station. I have never seen a festival as colourful as this one. It was so, so beautiful.

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The Week I Turned 22


IGI turned 22 last week. The day absolutely poured with rain, but it was beautiful and perfect. I spent it with my best friend (who made me choc-chip pancakes for breakfast). I ate sushi for dinner. I bought a yellow skirt with little blue and white houses on it. I spent the day in my favourite city in world.

I find it difficult sometimes to believe that I really live here, that I’m studying my Master’s in Literature and Writing, that I’m getting paid for writing work, that I’m an English teacher to tiny cuties, that I’m healthy, and optimistic and full of so much happiness. I am so lucky, and feel such overwhelming gratitude to the people in my life who have supported me and to myself for working my butt off to be here.

Here is the week of my twenty-second birthday.

This video took an entire week on its own to edit. I worked on it every day, in between teaching shifts, and I’m exhausted but I’m so proud of it. I hope you like it too ~

2018 in Reading

It’s already halfway through February and I am only just now creating my 2018 reading list … that’s pretty indicative of how quickly this past month and a half have gone.

Last year I really enjoyed documenting my reading on this blog so I have decided that I will do it again this year. Here is my 2018 reading list: all of the bookish things I have read in 2018 (also, I should mention that I’m including my favourite short stories and essays. Not all of them. Just the ones I love and want to remember).

I will continually update this list as the year progresses ~

Books/essays/stories that have been read before will be marked with *

  1. A Picture of Dorian Gray—Oscar Wilde
  2. The Miracle of Mindfulness—Thich Nhat Hanh
  3. A Gathering of Shadows—V.E. Schwab
  4. A Conjuring of Light—V.E. Schwab
  5. A Room of One’s Own—Virginia Woolf*
  6. The Deep—Anthony Doerr
  7. Peter and Wendy—J.M. Barrie
  8. Children’s Fantasy Literature—Farah Mendlesohn
  9.  The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature—Farah Mendlesohn
  10. The Bad Beginning—Lemony Snicket
  11. The Deep—Anthony Doerr*
  12. Quest of Her own: Essays on the Female Hero in Modern Fantasy—Lori M. Campbell
  13. ‘Where’s Mama?’ The Construction of the Feminine in The Hobbit—William H. Green
  14. Women of Ice and Fire: Gender, Game of Thrones and Multiple Media Engagements—Anne Gjelsvik and Rikke Schubart
  15. On Fairy-Stories—J.R.R Tolkien
  16. Tolkien and Modernism—Patchen Mortimer
  17. ‘The Web of Story’ Structuralism in Tolkien’s On Fairy Stories—Derek Shank
  18. The Laugh of the Medusa—Hélène Cixous
  19. ‘Because I’m a girl, I suppose!’: Gender Lines and Narrative Perspective in Harry Potter—Melanie J Cordova
  20. Harry Potter and the Heritage of Gender—Eliza T Dresang
  21. Women in Game of Thrones: Power, Conformity and Resistance—Valerie Estelle Frankel
  22. Undoing Gender—Judith Butler
  23. Fairies, Mermaids, Mothers, and Princesses: Sexual Difference and gender Roles in Peter Pan—Heather E Shipley
  24. Howl’s Moving Castle—Diana Wynne Jones
  25. The Invention of Angela Carter—Edmund Gordon
  26. The Bloody Chamber—Angela Carter
  27. Children of the Blood and Bone—Tomi Adeyemi
  28. The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart—Holly Ringland
  29. Killing Commedatore—Haruki Murakami

An Ode to Melted Snow

4213I’m from Adelaide. The very first time I saw snow, it was at the beginning of 2017. My boyfriend and I were sitting on a flight between Seoul and Sapporo, and, as we were coming into New Chitose Airport, we were flabbergasted by what we saw though those rounded windows. The ground was covered in a strange white-grey blanket, with the tops of tiny trees and gates and rivers scattered across it. We wondered: was it a lake reflecting the clouds? Did Hokkaido just go through some heinous flooding we hadn’t seen on the news? It took us stupidly long to realise to obvious: it was snow. 

So, when the snow began to fall on Tokyo a few weeks ago, I was awed. To have snow falling in these tiny, billowing flakes outside my window—to be able to see that happening, right from the warmth of my writing desk—was absolutely remarkable.

I love snow, though I know that it’s simply a novelty for me. I know that it’s inconvenient and hazardous and soaks my shoes and hurts my toes as I walk to work, but there’s something so enchanting about the purity of it and the way that a person can go to sleep, having walked home on hard ground, and wake up the next day to soft, crunching whiteness covering everything.

The night it happened, we went walking through a park that’s not too far from our apartment. I dove into an untouched patch and made my first snow angel. It was surreal. I felt such innate excitement and wonder, and every worry I had that day dissolved; nothing terrible could happen in a world that snowed this beautifully. For this was magic, manifesting in the only way it can for mere mortals who read fantasy stories rather than live them.

I adored the snow. But spring comes for us at a terrifying rate and soon it will be warm again. The blossoms will come out and the coats folded away. The snow has melted now and I miss it. It came and went so fleetingly, it might have never happened at all.

The Waltz of the Autumn Witch

The first morning of autumn galloped through the vale, rolled over the hills and tumbled onto the towns and villages that sat scattered in the valley. Dragging its chilly winds behind itself, the new season murdered any trace of summer that had been left upon the air. With a great gust, it flung the yellowing leaves over the vale, the crisp confetti finding even the almond orchard, hidden at the edge of the valley, and the witches dozing inside. Elsie woke first. Read More