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Snippets of Odawara

I never really cared for Australian hydrangeas. To be entirely honest, I’d never really given them a second thought. In my mind, they were always background flowers; flowers that belonged on the desks of bougie fashion editors or else in the hallways of well-dressed grandparents, but not something to really pay attention to. Surprisingly, now, they might well be my favourite flower. Every time I see hydrangeas–ajisai (アジサイ ) in Japanese–I get reminded of the day I went to Odawara. The day I went, the ground was still damp from rain. The sky was grey and mottled, and sat in the impasse between black and white that I so strongly associated with the suffocating humidity of the August before. The air was cool, though, unlike in the later summer months, and the sleepy cicadas chirped in their funny little orchestra the entire way between the Romance car platform and the castle where I had been commissioned to take pictures. I only got to spend a couple of hours here.  It was just a quick pit-stop on …

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!   Frankenstein by Mary Shelley The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde 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 …

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 …

The Week I Turned 22

  I 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. …

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 * A Picture of Dorian Gray—Oscar Wilde The Miracle of Mindfulness—Thich Nhat Hanh A Gathering of Shadows—V.E. Schwab A Conjuring of Light—V.E. Schwab A Room of One’s Own—Virginia Woolf* The Deep—Anthony Doerr Peter and Wendy—J.M. Barrie Children’s Fantasy Literature—Farah Mendlesohn  The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature—Farah Mendlesohn The Bad Beginning—Lemony Snicket The Deep—Anthony Doerr* Quest of Her own: …

An Ode to Melted Snow

I’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 …