Things of Note:
I'm sure you're all groaning over that heading already, since this section of my journal is dedicated to the Thanksgiving Note Project
As you may or may not know, this is a project I started back in 2008 on my first account, and over the years it's led to some fantastic things being shared among the community. I stopped hosting it myself a few years back because of college obligations (and then work obligations), but Exillior
headed it up in my stead at first, and now TheMaidenInBlack
is running the project this year.
I definitely recommend you take part, and if you can afford to chip in prizes to help the project out, it'd be much appreciated! Promised features:
Here are the winners of Memnalar
's annual All Hallow's Eve contest!
Two Birds With One StoneThe thing about ghosts is, it's not the fact that they're dead or that they're breaking the boundary between worlds or going against the natural order of things that's actually scary about them. And it's not the fact that things move or go missing while you can see that nothing's touching them. I mean, yeah, it takes some getting used to – but there are rules and you can learn them. A different set of rules than ours, sure, but you once you get used to it it's as ordinary as, I don't know, traffic.
No, the actual problem with ghosts is the fear.
I don't mean the fear of the unknown, or anything. I mean they can just scare you for no reason. Turn on an uncanny switch. It's like dragonfear, except I've never seen or heard of a real dragon and I'm pretty sure it'd be impossible not to notice them if they were real. I mean, they're huge, they breathe fire (or acid or ice or – they breathe something, anyway), they fly, and anytime anyone gets within fi
House H(a)untingThe apparition raised its translucent arms and began to wail.
“I come from Hell! From Hell! From— Bloody hell.”
The spirit of Edmund Aspinall grabbed at his shroud as it headed downwards. He pulled it up round his shoulders again and wrapped it around his body.
“You don’t half feel the chill once you’re away from the flames of eternal damnation.”
Miss Amelia Gould, medium-slash-estate agent, nodded sympathetically and entered ‘Hell’ into the address box on the form.
She looked up to see Mr. Aspinall still rearranging his shroud. He smiled weakly.
“I apologise for the rather revealing attire. If I’d realised I was going to be wandering around like this for all eternity, I would have made sure my nearest and dearest had known to bury me in a pair of drawers.”
“Please don’t worry about it, Mr. Aspinall. I am a professional.” Miss Gould put the form to one side. “So, I take it you’r
Joanie The assembly was lovely. The guest speakers ensnared the entire room, the slideshow was endearing, albeit a bit corny with the use of those sappy pop songs with the over-dramatic piano bits in them. But the most exceptional part was the moment of silence. For once, no one dared to make a sound, taking it as seriously as they could. I could see my friend Charlotte, sitting at the far end of the auditorium. Her eyes were red, blotchy from the sentimental bits of the whole event. I wish I could have sat next to her, but the matter was a bit out of my hands. I couldn't find a seat next to her. Or anywhere, for that matter.
It sort of sucks being dead.
It was now time for the eulogies. With shaking legs, Charlotte made her way to the stage, grasping a worn piece of paper. At the podium, she took a deep breath that made her body shudder. But as the words began to leave her mouth, she immediately seized up, the tears returning to her eyes. Quickl
Ghosts Don't Tell LiesOnce upon a time, my best friend died. It was a stupid little accident, something that could have ended with a scare and a scraped elbow, but ended in an endless string of condolences. Not so much for me, for the family. I tried to support them then, but they didn't need me. I was not sure they had even needed my friend all that much. They grieved and cried a little at the funeral, and then moved on. I know they did, because I didn't.
I couldn't for some time, because it just hurt too damn much, and then, I couldn't for a whole other reason. You see, my friend came back to me. Not to the family, not to Sam, who had been dating him for two weeks, right before his death, but to me.
I saw him appear one night, almost translucent in the moonlight. He appeared outside my window and knocked. I did not run then. Maybe I should have, but I didn't. If I had lost my grip on reality, it was worth it for being able to talk again, smile again and make our dumb jokes that made me laugh until
This Is My HouseOne second, I’m a shadow, quiet, eyes closed.
Next second, I am the absence of focused light, retching as it cuts me into shape. My eyes are OPEN, and I see the bastards sitting around a board of letters, trembling hands on the cursor that is my tongue.
“I sense you.” A girl. Not old enough to be a bitch. A little girl, eyes closed, lips unquivering. “Why are you restless?”
Because you’re killing me! You’re killing me!
Others: man, woman, girl’s parents. An old bitch too, with a fading aura from too much time with the dead, too much meddling, testing, poking, prodding, burning.
“Why won’t you speak?” the girl asks.
I put my hand on theirs and shove it into spelling.
G-E-T O-U-T G-E-T O-U-T G-E-T O-U-T
Faster faster faster get out get out get out PLEASE I BEG
The board cracks. The table splinters. The pain recedes.
But I cannot slip back to shadow. I have stirred. And my
Day of the Dead Roy parked his red pick-up truck alongside the curb of his apartment building, just as the sun dropped behind the Las Vegas skyline in the distance. He walked up to the door of his first-story unit and was greeted by a loud meow.More art of Akira:
"Hey there, Knives," he said to the small black cat. "Just give me a second."
The cat continued to whine impatiently as he always did when he was hungry, especially as his ambiguously brown-skinned owner unlocked the door.
But Knives went silent mere moments after he had squeezed through the crack in the door.
That was unusual.
Roy quietly dropped his backpack and slipped his fingers through the carabiner on his key chain.
He cautiously entered the apartment. The living room was untouched—furniture, knickknacks, and electronics still where they should be. Knives usually waited by his bowl
Look at the amazing job millibayley
did drawing this nerd of mine:That trip update:
I said I'd give a fuller report of my trip to Japan, so I guess I'm gonna do that now! I probably should be using this time to write for NaNo, but I think I can spare a bit. I'm ahead on NaNo, anyway, so all's well.
This is long, so tl;dr I went to Kyoto and had an amazing time.
I landed in Osaka on October 15th after two pretty decent flights. The first flight was the big one across the Pacific Ocean, and dropped me in Beijing before I flew to Osaka from there. My body didn't like the first flight all that much, but I slept for a good portion of it, which helped. The flight from Beijing to Osaka was easygoing, and I felt pretty good when we arrived.
Then I had to wait in line at immigration for two hours. =_=
After I finally got through immigration, I got my luggage and got on...the wrong train. Thankfully, I realized this before the train left the station, but it was a hilarious mistake in retrospect. A guy at the station helped me find the train I needed, and I was able to get on my way to Kyoto from there.
Once I got to Kyoto, I got off the train, took an escalator to the exit (I thought) and ended up in the middle of a 7 story department store. Found my way out of the department store, ended up on a street I didn't recognize, and was spared further panic by spotting a 7-11. The beauty of Japan is that there's a 7-11 on almost every block, and every single one has wi-fi. So I was able to get a hold of my friend using 7-11 internet, and from there we made it to his apartment with no extra fanfare.
The next day, he had to go work his day job, so we had breakfast and lunch together, then I went off to Shijo Kawaramachi to get my tattoo done
. I left early enough that I should've gotten there with about 20 minutes to spare, but the tattoo place was down an alley and didn't have a distinguishing sign to it, so I ended up walking well past it before I came back and found it. Still got there with two minutes to spare, on the bright side! My tattooer Ryuji
was a super nice guy, very friendly and did great work and quick. My friend arrived about halfway through the tattoo process and hung out for the rest, and after the tattoo was done we walked around Shijo a bit before heading home.
Saturday we went to Osaka proper and wandered around the Osaka shopping district, which was huge and intense. There were more stores than I could manage to focus on, but it was a really neat experience walking through so many different stores, and so many different kinds of fashion. There was a Dangan Ronpa shirt I found that I really liked, but even the large was just a bit too small for me, which was a problem I faced quite a bit when shopping there, hahaha. From there, we took the train over to Osaka Business Park to head to Osaka-jo Hall for the Sakanaction concert. I gave a fuller account of the concert over here
, should you want to read about the concert in particular. It's a long post all on its own, so I didn't want to make this journal somehow longer by including it all here, haha.
Sunday we climbed Mount Hiei
, which is a mountain a bit north of Kyoto. It was really great exercise, and a magnificent view as well, but I tell you what, I've never been out-walked by so many old ladies in my life. They just climbed the whole thing like it was nothing; my friend and I would stop to catch our breath from time to time, and this full group of old ladies chatting away would breeze past us, talking full-volume. We went to Enryakuji while we were there, it's a set of temples not far from the summit of the mountain that carry a lot of history, and were generally just breathtaking to be around.
Monday I mentioned in the journal I posted while I was in Kyoto, but wandering Shijo Kawaramachi was so much fun. I love wandering around shopping areas, even if I'm not finding what I'm looking for. There were so many things to see, and it was just a really nice place to be.
Tuesday was a recovery day. My friend had to go to work, and I wanted to rest, so it was spent mostly in my friend's neighborhood in Demachiyanagi. We went to dinner at a local cafe and got some writing done that night, but it was a very casual day. The only thing of note that happened was that morning, when my friend had an appointment and so I needed to leave the apartment before 6 am. I got to the local McDonald's right as they were turning the lights on, and the employee said いらっしゃいませ, as they're expected to do...only I was so out of it that I said it back. I was so embarrassed. =_="
Wednesday we got up early to go to this pancake cafe that my friend really recommended, and after we ate there I could absolutely see why he recommended it. I had the single most amazing pancake I've ever had in my life. And as someone who loves pancakes, you should know that that's a huge deal. It had ricotta cheese inside that was slightly melted but still solid enough to know it was there, and every bite melted in your mouth. If you ever find yourself in Kyoto, go to Cafe Rhinebeck for breakfast.
The divine pancake.
After that, we went to Yasaka Shrine and Kyomizu Temple
. There were a loooooot of people at Kyomizu, including a number of students who had to talk to foreigners as part of their homework, so I got interrogated for a while by some very cute elementary and high school students, then we went on our way into the temple. It was a really beautiful place, but we made the mistake of taking the scenic exit, which had a slope that I'm pretty convinced was at a 35 degree angle at points. Sore legs, to say the least.
Thursday and Friday my friend had to work as well, so I spent most of it relaxing and wandering around Demachi a bit, though not a lot. It's expensive to live in Japan, and I was definitely low on funds by this point in the trip. We went to a few places in the neighborhood, went to a few different Book Off locations to try and find a friend of mine some manga that he asked me to get before I left (with no success), and wandered around Shijo and Gion a bit more, and I had an obligatory parfait at a parfait shop. The one I got had green tea everything. Green tea cake was delicious. 10/10 would eat again.
Saturday we went walking through the Kyoto Imperial Palace
...or outside it rather, as you can't get into the palace itself except under very specific circumstances. Still, there's plenty to see in the grounds around it, and the roads are HUGE. You cannot mistake it for anything other than what it is, there's enough room to march an army through those roads.
The next morning I had to leave super early to fly home, which was rough and very sad. I tell you what though, if the flight to Japan is bad, the flight returning is way worse. We hit a TON of turbulence, and it was near impossible to sleep on the plane, in spite of the fact that I was in the very back row and didn't have to share much space with anyone.
Anyway. It was a fantastic trip, and even now I'm still processing the fact that it happened in the first place. Good stuff.Music Corner:
Toshinobu Kubota has been one of my favorite Japaese singers for some time, and is widely considered as one of the first to really do R&B in Japan. This is one of his older tracks, but he turned 52 years old this year and he's still at it (and still does it very well).