Aries season, huh? March was interesting. I broke up with my boyfriend toward the start of the month. He's a good guy, but we were not good for each other. The middle of the month was spent basically only working, between my two jobs, and then submitting a pretty dang solid invoice for some of the work I did, bringing some financial relief I don't think I ever really expected to know. The end of the month was spent in a weird space between excitement at getting close to someone I really like and not quite processed grief over my aunt passing.
She lived a lot longer than expected, considering she had esophageal cancer. According to Exillior, that usually gets 6 months. She made it a year and a half. Her funeral was on Monday, and while it was a rough, sad occasion, there was still a good amount of the humor that she was really well known for.
I've been thinking about that since Monday afternoon, and in a roundabout way I'm grateful for it. Not happy she's gone, not happy at the thought of what life will be like without her, but happy that at least there's some humor to be found in the grief.
I'd like to take that aspect of things with me for the rest of my life.
Around here... I'm several years removed from the community at this point, I think, and I'm sure that shows in some ways, but I'm trying to make my way back around here more. NaPo is helping. It gives me an excuse to be here daily, so if I can bring that back to my daily routine, then you'll be seeing more of me about.
Here comes another late night call... Hi all. It's been a hell of a year so far, hasn't it? I've been trying to make a point of changing my habits this year, particularly in the past few weeks. I'm making it a point to get up and exercise more, the eating habits are next on the list, and most importantly I'm trying to write again. Not just telling myself I want to do it, but actually making myself use free time to do it. So...it's something.
I feel like I've kind of been letting time go by without working toward anything other than surviving in the past few years, and I don't like that much. So, that's something I want to work on as this year goes on. For now, though, I'm trying to make small changes that are easier to commit to, in the hope that the big picture gets better in the process.
In lighter news, I've been playing D&D with a few friends, so that's been a fun and consistent social event that's getting me out of hermit state. It's also been good fodder for writing, as coincidence would have it. I think in the process of working on these various things, I've cut back on my time playing Overwatch, but I don't feel bad about that in the grand scheme of things, so maybe it's just for the best in general. I think that for all the fun I've had playing the game, it's also been a contributing factor to me not focusing on actual life goals and the like.
Anyway, it's pushing on 3 am and I'm rambling, what's new How are we all doing?
Well... Leave it to me to make a journal going on about how I want to be less of a hermit and then go missing for two months. In my defense, I took on a second job on top of my first one, so the little free time I had has gotten even more little. Granted I'm averaging 3-5 hours of sleep a night right now, but you know, life being what it is and all that.
Both of my jobs involve writing, which is nice, but it leaves very little time or passion or drive to write stuff of my own, if I'm being honest. I haven't written much outside of work in months, and I don't see that changing in the near future, at least. I'm not super thrilled about it, but given it's not really an issue of discipline so much as I just don't have time or energy...but hey, extra money's nice. I've upgraded from "almost not afloat" to "my nose has surfaced enough to breathe here and there", so that's something.
I missed a lot around here in the time since I last posted a journal, which was more or less the last time I was on DA for more than a few seconds I got another DD in that time, it seems, so thank you for that, akrasiel!
Pushing on 3 am... So of course I'm awake. Some things never change. I guess the bright side is that this particular night I've jumped off the deep end doing a few things I've been putting off, and thinking about stuff that's going on around me and what that means for me and my future. I realize that's super vague, and it kind of has to be, because I work for an online company and can't talk much about it. Still, it does feel like there are a lot of signs in front of me right now, and I'm hoping that I'm navigating the situation the way I'm supposed to.
I know that there's not necessarily a right way to navigate life, but in situations like this I feel like it'd be easier if it were more like a platform game, where there's a clear-cut path, you know? Ah well.
Ten years. Ten years ago today (well, yesterday, technically, since it's 2 am now, but point being) I made my first account here on DA. That's wild. It's weird to think that I've been around here for a full decade of my life, it seems like the person I was when I signed up to be here is a completely different person than I am now. Not a bad thing, of course, but it certainly puts into perspective how few other things have stuck through that ten year period. Thank you all for being a part of this journey of sorts, and here's to more time in the future.
Overwatch I know I talk about this every update but listen, I'm sitting in Master tier right now, working toward getting to Grandmaster by the end of the season, and then (hopefully) pushing toward top 500 after that, so I'm feeling pretty good about my progress. If you're up for watching, here's one of my placement matches from the start of this season:
I've been posting matches and highlights to my YouTube channel, so if you want to see more of my games, they are there
Well... It seems a bit silly to talk at any length about apologies for not being around here at this point, since I've more or less been increasingly inactive on most social media in the past year. I wish I could say that I was doing something that kept me away from using the internet, but that'd be pretty untrue. The reality, I think, is that despite knowing that for my line of work I need to keep some sort of online presence, the desire to not be online grows stronger by the day.
The downside to that, of course, is that it means I talk to less people who I genuinely care about, because I'm not good about keeping in touch in general as it is. So, I'm trying to work my way out of feeling that way, one small step at a time.
I guess, for a personal front update, my mohawk is growing back in at lightning speed and unfortunately so is the hair on the sides of my head, so I'll be shaving my head again soon, haha. Although I didn't manage it last season like I'd hoped, I did make it to Master rank in Overwatch this season, and if you'd like to see some of my gameplay, I have been posting videos over here. I dropped back out of Master almost as soon as I got in, so I am working my way back up again, but I've been hovering within 150 points of getting back to it, so I am sure I can manage it again.
On the writing front, I don't have anything major to report, just been doing short things here and there from time to time to keep my mind at least somewhat invested in it, but I don't have the drive to write anything major right now, so just keeping myself at it a bit is good enough, at least for now.
Work has been a bit more positive, which has helped make life more bearable in recent months, so I've been feeling a little more willing to do things, I guess. That's a trend I'm okay with, though.
Greetings. In a perhaps not odd turn of events, I don't really have much new to report. Just had one of those moments where I was like, "you haven't posted a journal in a while..." I guess the lack of things to report is probably a good reason why, though, hah. It's been a lot of work and playing Overwatch for me over here (made it to Diamond tier this competitive season, trying to get to Master before the season ends!), with a bit of writing intermixed, but admittedly not as much writing as I should be doing, or would like to be doing. That's something to work on for the future, but I guess realistically that's something I'm going to be working on for the rest of my life
Greetings! I'm camped out in Narita Airport, finally about to head home after a month long adventure in Japan. I'm pretty happy for all the time I got to spend here, and for all of the things I got to see and do, but I am also pretty excited to be getting back to sunny California. I'm not normally one for getting homesick, but I'm ready to be back at my place with my doofus cats and my housemates' doofus dogs.
I took a lot of pictures of my trip, and I want to go through and pick out some in particular to share, but I'm not sure if that's gonna happen in the near future or not. Once I get back home it's right back to work, and some stuff happened at work before the end of the year that has changed up my work life quite a bit. Hopefully good things are to come on that front, though! Anyway, point being, I want to sift through the photos I took and pull out the good ones, and once I do that I'll share some of them with you all.
Also, I was working and traveling when it happened, so I didn't have the chance to post about it when it did, but doughboycafe was kind and gave It's all over the news a DD earlier this week. I am happy to report that my aunt is still alive, still in treatment, but still alive nonetheless, so things could definitely be worse. It's still a bit strange for me to receive a DD after giving out so many, though. I still haven't processed the fact I've had 6 of them now. Ah well.
There's a whole lot of 2017 left, so I am trying not to be too speculative, but after how rough 2016 was, it's hard to be anything but glad to be out of it. Here's hoping the year brings good things and good news to everyone.
Hi all. Been a while. A long while... I didn't realize it's been almost half a year since I last posted here, but when life keeps you busy that's what happens. I'll try to summarize. My job's a disaster and my cousin killed himself in August, but life goes on whether you're ready for it or not. The bright side is that good things happen sometimes, even if they're few and far between, and sometimes you get put in a place where you realize that it's time to get up off your ass and live life, instead of letting life happen around you.
What am I talking about? Hell if I know, but I'm sitting in an apartment in Kyoto writing this journal right now, I just got back here from Tokyo last night, and for the roller coaster that has been this year, I'm glad it's ending on a high point.
I ended up buying a camera (thank you for all the folks who answered my questions about that almost a year ago), I decided on the Nikon D5600, and so far it's been pretty trusty. I've taken a lot of photos here in Japan, gonna start weeding through them to pick out the ones I feel like sharing most, but I'll probably post more on my Instagram (mainly so my family knows I'm not dead, haha). I'm gonna try to start picking out ones I like best to share here, though, see if I can get myself back into the swing of being active around these parts.
So much talk. So little being said. Hi folks. I've been absent a bit lately again, mostly due to work and life stuff. But also like 40% due to Overwatch consuming my life. How are you all? How is creating going? Are you making new things? Taking care of yourselves each day? I hope you take care of yourselves and treat yourselves well. You deserve that.
I'm pretty stoked because my favorite tattoo artist in the whole world is going to be in San Francisco in a few weeks, so I'm hopeful that I can get a booking with him while he's out here...otherwise my option is save up and fly to Japan again, haha. Although, that's on the list of things to do as well, if I'm being honest.
Music corner: An old favorite, but still a fun song to pump up a day.
Short update: Maybe. Is it ever really a short update with me? As Heidi would say, there's no way to know.
First and foremost, because a few people were asking about it in comments and other places, I did finally hear back from that last school I was waiting to hear back from, and unfortunately I did not get into the MFA program there. However, judging by the email I received, it sounds like I was on a list of potentials and was just far enough back on the list that they filled the acceptance list before it got back to me. I was definitely bummed by the news, but I'm doing my best to take it all in stride. In a twist of irony, I got a lot of writing done the night before I got the rejection, and got just as much writing done that night, so I think that if nothing else, it's done a lot for my motivation to get my current projects done. It's a pretty fair trade-off, all in all.
At this point, my goal is to get the first draft of The Meteor done in the next week. The Meteor was the book I spent NaNo last year writing, although by then I was more than 20k words into the first draft, and right now it's sitting just shy of 85k words. I've got a scene and a half left of the main book, and then an epilogue to write, which in theory is doable in the next week.
Did I mention my roommates are getting married next weekend? That's going to complicate things a bit. Ah well, worth a go anyway, I figure!
Interviews: You should read this one. It's a great interview with reddaverocker about his book series, bullying, self-care, dealing with success and failure alike, and several other things.
Quiet night. Hi all. I don't journal as much as I used to, and that's true of...well, everywhere, not just here on DA, haha. It's something to do with the fact I work from home, I suspect. I want to spend less of my free time in this space I always inhabit, so I don't do it very much when I'm not contractually obligated to. On that front, though, I was promoted at my job at the start of the month, which was a very good feeling. It was also kind of necessary for a lot of legal reasons I won't get into, but the long and short of it is I'm earning my keep, haha. So, that's all there is to report on the work front.
As far as personal stuff goes, I was supposed to go see Ellie Goulding with aunjuli on Friday...but then I caught the plague :C Ended up falling asleep at 4 pm and not getting out of bed until the next morning, outside of a few trips to the bathroom. I'd never taken an antihistamine before, but the doctor (Exillior) recommended it, and it does appear to have worked rather well, but man. I hope I never have to take one of those ever again. To those of you who suffer allergies and have to take those regularly, you have my utmost respect.
Outside of that, I'm still waiting to hear back from a grad school I applied to. I got rejections from the others, but this one is the one I want to go to the most of the ones I applied to, so I'm still holding out hope, and a fair bit of anxiety, heh. I'm really hoping that the delay in hearing back is because they're really considering me for it, but who's to say.
Eight years ago, LadyLincoln gave me my first Daily Deviation on my first account. At the time I didn't really know how to process that. I'd only been on DeviantArt for about eight months, and it seemed like one of those things that didn't happen to very many people. At the time I didn't really expect that I would ever get one, but then suddenly I had one, and I had no idea what to do.
Since then, I've received four other Daily Deviations, given out more than 200 of them myself, volunteered here for two years and worked here for three. I've learned a lot, made some very important friendships, and had life experiences that had I missed, I doubtlessly would not be where I am now. And now, on top of all of those other things I have to be grateful for...I also have the honor of saying that I was given the Deviousness Award.
There was a time before I first became a Community Volunteer where I think I used to imagine what it would be like to get Deviousness. I think I had this mental image of shocked excitement but also a bit of pride, feeling like "yeah, this is awesome and I really worked hard for it", or something. I don't really know, it's been more than 6 years since then. But now, in the midst of actually receiving it, all I can think to myself is "there are so many people who deserve this", and I just find myself tremendously humbled by the whole experience, because there are so many people who deserve this, and there are so many people in the community who have done so much to help others, just because they can, and so to be picked for this is...well, I don't know that I have words for it. I am a very small person in the grand scheme of the world, but I'm very moved. Being here has been a privilege and a journey that I haven't once regretted.
I promise I'm not normally this melodramatic. Just...in awe still. That's all.
There are a lot of people I would like to thank right now, but I know me, I will absolutely forget to thank someone I should be thanking. So, I won't risk that, and instead I'm going to give one blanket thank you. If you know I should be thanking you, I am thanking you. If you think I might be thanking you, I am thanking you. If you're like 99% sure that I'm not thanking you, well, that's too bad because I'm thanking you too.
Quick update: A former professor of mine shared this on Facebook recently, and it's a very good read for anyone who has (or hasn't!) given thought to punctuation in longer works! This article, simply titled Punctuation in Novels, shows visual comparisons of punctuation use in various famous novels, and provides some neat perspective on things that can often come more naturally, but really ought to be given just as careful thought as the words surrounding them. Check it out!
Pictured: Punctuation in Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy (left) and Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner (right).
To make a long story short: I'd like to get a decent professional-ish digital camera. What brands/models do you use/recommend and why?
To make a short story long: I've been applying to grad schools the past few months, all of which are outside California. If I get into any of them, I'm essentially going to be moving away from everyone I know, potentially to the other side of the country. I've never lived by myself before, and I've never lived outside of California for more than a few weeks at a time. My thinking in the midst of all of this is that if I'm going to more or less upend my life in one fell swoop, I might as well document it all properly, and ideally learn to be a better photographer in the process. Trouble is, the only camera I own other than my cell phone is a cheap touristy-type one from like 2006.
Primary use for me would probably be nature, landscapes, or cityscapes, that sort of thing. Price isn't really a huge concern right now since I'm looking around at the moment, but I'm all for saving money without skimping on function, so there's that I guess. Any and all info you've got to share would be welcome!
I've sorta got my eye on the Nikon D7100 currently, but I'm not locked in on that being the one I want, and I'd love some outside opinions.
Well. This year's off to a really weird start. It's hard to believe it's only February 1st, with all of the crazy all over the place stuff that happened in January. I can't even say that a lot of crazy things happened to me specifically, just that the past month has been one of the most bizarre starts to a year in recent memory.
So, I don't have a whole lot to report on the personal front currently, outside of work eating up most of my time. My goal to have the first draft of book 2 done by the end of January was not a success, but I've been given more hours to work at my job, so being in a financially stable position has been a relief. I've still got time to finish this book, though, and I intend to have it done sooner rather than later, there have just been a lot of outside forces impacting how much personal writing I get done.
On the bright side... February means birthday month, and while I don't ever do much to celebrate my actual birthday, it's been a consistent thing that I've celebrated during the month. Last year I treated myself to a pretty fancy trip to Las Vegas. This year, I'm treating myself to concerts. I've been really into Hiatus Kaiyote recently, and when they announced they were doing a show in LA to celebrate their second Grammy nomination, I decided I'd look into it and see if I could afford to go.
Tickets sold out in two hours, so I was like "well okay, I guess I won't be seeing them, then". I checked StubHub a few times, and the price continued to skyrocket, so I wrote it off as something that wasn't going to happen. I was bummed though, since they're from Australia and toured out here last year, so it would've meant not seeing them for presumably quite some time. However, I woke up on Friday morning and saw a sponsored post on Facebook about how they were so surprised by how quickly their LA show sold out that they decided to put on another show in Orange County a few days before the LA show. I'm not one for passing up opportunity when it knocks a second time. So, I jumped on it and I'll be seeing them live a week from tomorrow.
So far this is looking to be a great year for live music. My roommate bought me a ticket to see Metric live as a Christmas present, so I'm seeing them later on this month, and aunjuli and I are seeing Ellie Goulding in April and Modest Mouse & Brand New in July! Juli and I saw Ellie Goulding live together back in 2012, so it'll be fun to see her live again, and I've wanted to see Modest Mouse live for the greater part of 12 years now and it's just never managed to happen, so I'm supremely excited that I'll finally have the chance to do so.
The other bright side to all of this stuff going on at once is that it's distracting me from thinking about my grad school applications. I should be hearing back from some of them by the end of this month, so...fingers crossed, haha.
Didn't expect to vanish so suddenly, but... Well. Life.
My grandma passed away the week before Christmas. We kind of saw it coming, all things considered. She'd been in a care center for several months because of dementia and just general things that come with aging, but we suspect that she knew that grandpa was gone, since he'd visited her every day right up until he went into hospice care. It's hard for me to really talk about this without sounding cold, and I don't mean to sound cold when talking about it, but while she was always someone I considered family, it definitely felt like there was some distance there...probably not on her part, but I don't really know how else to phrase it. She was always very nice to me, though, she'd regularly come to band concerts when I was in college and the like.
It's a relief in some ways. I'm glad that she didn't have to spend too long without him. Her kids visited regularly, of course, but all the same, you can feel an absence like that when it's someone that important to you. She passed less than 6 weeks after he did, so it certainly wasn't long.
Anyway. Between that and work and lots of general life happenings (including but not limited to a very scary incident involving a flat tire and my car's tirejack failing not once, not twice, but three times while the car was suspended in the air), I've not really had much free time to dedicate to anything other than, well, writing.
I'm still working on November's NaNo novel, with a tentative goal of having the first draft done by the end of January. I did it with last year's novel, and I'm pretty sure I can do it with this year's, too. The difference is that last year it kind of all just happened, where this year I do feel like I'm having to make myself write it all. But, on the bright side I am still very excited for this story on the whole. The writing's just more tedious and there are a lot more plot holes to account for, haha.
What are you all up to? Taking advantage of the holidays and relaxing? Or are you working on one project or another?
Thanksgiving Note Project feature: Featuring the lovely ginkgografix! I've had the great privilege of knowing Anne for 6 years now (almost 7!), and had the even greater privilege of volunteering on the CR team alongside her back in 2010! (She also made the lovely journal skin that you're looking at right now, I've had it since my username was lightningmonkey ) If you're looking for a wizard, she's the person you want. Although, she might not take well to the term wizard. Glitter fairy is more accurate.
Anne is tremendously skilled with code and graphic design, and on top of that she is a magnificent craftswoman with an eye for detail. Here are some of my favorites of hers from this year!
Two for two! Last week was SUPER busy, between everything that had to happen for Black Friday sales at work and this monster:
I almost didn't make it. For a while I thought I wasn't going to. I think I had 45 minutes to spare when I finished. Although, in fairness, I'd written a good amount of the book before November even started, so I was well past the 50k mark overall. Nonetheless, two wins in two years. Maybe I can do this novel writing thing after all.
/he says, even though the first draft's not done yet
1: What gave you the idea for your novel this year? The main character, Spike Miller, has actually been around in my head since...2004. He's the first character I've recognized in my head as a character of my own. He just never quite fit into any story I tried to put him into, until last year, at which point he clued me into his world and what was going on inside it.
2: What made you decide that that story idea was the RIGHT IDEA? Last year I went into NaNo with just a general desire to write, and what I got out of it was something really off the wall. It was very fitting, for the approach I took to it, but I don't think it's a standard book for me to write, or rather, I don't think I'd write that book a second time, no matter how much I love it. This year, I wanted to try something more solid, something that I felt I could speak about and explain, and most everything about this year's idea felt right on that front.
Plus...11 years. I think I kept Spike waiting long enough.
3: How much plot building did you do before November? Did it help you, or could you have survived without? I did so little. So very little. But honestly, the more I try to plan out a plot, the less it tends to turn out the way I want it to, so going in sort of blind tends to push my creativity a bit, and the plot tends to work itself out from there.
4. What is your favourite part of the writing process? The action scenes, the dialogues, the descriptions... so much to choose from! Dialogue, hands down. I don't feel like I write so much as I let my characters have their conversations on their own and my fingers just happen to transcribe it.
5. When/how did you decide what the central conflict of the novel would be? Everything eventually comes back to it, doesn't it?! I didn't really decide this one, I don't think. Spike told me several years ago that he could transform into a coyote and that in a lot of ways it was ruining his life. From there it was just figuring out what caused it, and how to get to the resolution.
6. What was the most difficult part of your NaNoWriMo this year? I started working on this book in earnest back in July, so by the time it got to be November 1st, I was already 21k words into the story, at that weird middle part where things get hard for most writers on week 2 or 3 of NaNo. Working through that was difficult. And then I started a new job right in the middle of NaNo, and my job is literally writing things all day, so I had to learn to balance work writing and personal writing...
7. And what was the easiest? I felt like every time I sat down to write, I wrote a lot, at least for me. I'm not a particularly quick writer when it comes to creative writing and my personal ideas, so getting through NaNo is usually a challenge of setting time aside for myself. Having said that, there was a day where I wrote 3.3k in less than 4 hours, and on the last day I wrote 2k in about an hour and a half, so it's nice to know that I've got it in me to write that much in a day, even if I can't do it all the time.
8. Did you tie all your loose ends, or leave space for a sequel? The book's not done yet, but I'd like for it to be a one-off. Series options are advantageous on the publishing front, if your series gets picked up, but I don't think this is the right idea for that. I'd like to write a series eventually, I think, but not now, and not with this idea.
9. Did NaNoWriMo scare you off the wagon...or will you do it again next year? This is my like...sixth year doing it, third year succeeding. I don't think there's a way to scare me out of it now.
Music corner: This song's over a year old now and I do not care one bit because I am still jamming to it and the whole album it came off of. It's more or less the soundtrack to writing this past month. If you're looking to groove, look no further.
Well. A lot has happened in the past three Tuesdays. I started a new job two weeks ago, doing copywriting for a website that some of you may have heard of. I've been around there even longer than I've been here on DA, so it's sort of a natural progression, in an interesting sort of way. My first week was hectic, but good. I'm not used to working from home, and I'm still adjusting to that part, honestly. I like being a homebody as much as the next person, but I'm a little more social than I thought I was, so balancing being at home and being able to go out and do things has been tricky.
Last Tuesday evening, my grandfather passed away. We weren't super close, but he was family, and I was used to him being around, at least in some way. He went into hospice care the Friday before, caught up in the midst of some heart problems that he'd had for a long time. The doctor said that if he'd been in better health they would've tried surgery, but they didn't think he'd take to it, and so he went into hospice care with the understanding that he could make it two days or he could make it 6 months. They didn't really know.
Several family members got to see him before he went, and my aunt was there when he passed. He was in decent health on Monday, but Tuesday he was not doing anywhere near as good, and I think we all kind of knew at that point that it was going to happen. My aunt told him that it was okay for him to go, he took three breaths...and he was gone.
It seems so strange, that it would be that kind of...well, cinematic, for lack of a better word, but that's how it went.
The next morning I posted this, because it was on my mind and I was struggling to focus on work long enough to get things that needed doing done:
To say that I've been overwhelmed by the responses is an understatement, but I'm grateful for it all the same. In a grand stretch of irony, it's the first poem I've written in almost two years, and in the past 6 days it has become the most favorited and commented on deviation in my gallery, my fifth Daily Deviation (second on this account), and the only piece of writing I've ever posted that managed to hit the Popular page.
It's been a bit difficult to keep up with everything around here, but it served as a pretty strong reminder as to why DA has been my home for so many years.
This Tuesday is a work in progress. I got some less than savory news on a personal front; but, I'm making the most of it. It's nothing so bad that it doesn't have a solution, so I ultimately have no reason to complain, except out of frustration.
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!
More art of Akira: Look at the amazing job millibayley did drawing this nerd of mine: <da:thumb id="570539272"/>
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).