Showing posts with label memories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label memories. Show all posts

Still Enchanted, Still Busy



Although I doubt it's scientifically provable, I am almost completely certain that time moves faster in Tokyo than anywhere else in the world. I feel a bit like I'm in a time lapse video where time is flowing instead of ticking, shadows are swimming in and out and light moves a bit too quickly from day to night and then back to day again. It's a conundrum because it is one of the most magical cities in the world - I want to be here - but time slips away too quickly. I feel like a girl trying to catch water in my hands.

We've been busier than usual, partly due to a lovely visit from some UK family during the past few weeks. Dan's aunt, uncle and cousin swung by Tokyo following a short holiday in China. Though I haven't felt at all lonely during our travels, it was almost surprising how nice it felt to see familiar faces again. While they were here we pulled ourselves away from laptops and work a little more than usual and took in some great temples, smaller towns and Tokyo sites. Although I am definitely a city girl, it was so wonderful to get out into the country where the trees are all turning gold and red and just sit and take in the less hectic pace. Japan is such a contradiction. It's all bright lights, big city, overwhelming technology and modernity, but it's equally ancient, spiritual and traditional. I've seen a lot of Shinto and Buddhist shrines over the past few weeks and there will be much more of that when we eventually make our way to Kyoto.



In between being tourists, we've been working like crazy people. We've got a few big projects launching this week and we're in that frenzied, last minute stage of tying up loose ends and testing and then retesting again to try and avoid any bugs or glitches. I can say with complete honesty that, at the moment, we've got more demand for our services than we can possibly take on. I know that times are hard in a lot of industries but I suspect this might translate to some small gains for the freelancer - where companies are afraid to hire someone full time, which is a commitment, they are quite willing to fill their gaps with those of us looking to take on interesting, short term projects. Our plan is to take off most of December and focus a bit on some of our own ideas, which have take the back burner as we work on other things. It's a hard balance though, because we've also had some enquiries lately that are pretty amazing in scope and scale - some of these things would be pretty hard to pass up.

We'll be spending Christmas and New Years in Seoul. I'm excited about it, but it's kind of bittersweet. I do think I'll miss the turkey dinner and the quiet, insulated way the holidays usually feel. If anyone knows where to find a traditional Christmas dinner in Seoul, please speak up!


I think we'll try to have a quieter week this week. We've got a little grocery store across the lane from our flat and I've been cooking a bit in our tiny kitchen, which consists of one hot plate, one microwave, one frying pan, one pot, two bowls, two plates and some cutlery. The only thing I've missed a little it is having an oven, but even that is negligible. I can remember when I moved into my solo place in Cardiff and I felt the need to buy a ton of dishes and cooking things from Ikea. I was so used to having hand blenders and all kinds of pots and dishes that I thought I needed them. If and when we ever settle in somewhere again, I really think I'll feel quite differently about what I really do need. Although two burners would be nice, we've made due really well in our small Tokyo kitchen. I think the key is to clean as you go because there's no room for a mess and no extra dishes to allow for it.

And when we don't want to cook, we can pick up fresh sushi across the street for about £2. Not bad at all!

x

All photos by me. 

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Writing Again


When I was a child I spent a lot of time with adults or alone. My grandparents had (and still have) a little cabin at Buena Vista Beach and although the area is fairly developed now, when I was a child it wasn't much more than a collection of beat up cottages, gravel roads and one small corner store where my cousin and I would buy sour candies and chocolate bars. In Canada, school was out in the last week of June, and didn't start up again until after the September first long weekend; me and my grandmother would spend most of that time at the cabin where there were none of the modern conveniences or distractions of the city.

There weren't a lot of kids in the area, or maybe I've never been great at making friends - either way, except for playing with my cousin Justin who would sometimes come out with us, I can remember spending a lot of quiet time reading, drawing, writing and listening to music on my Walkman. We went for long walks in the hills on the edge of town down along an old trail that used to be a train track and  spent time sitting on the beach - me floating in the green lake water trying not to put my feet down into the weedy bottom and my grandmother reading on a towel.

I used to write a lot when I was younger. I can remember working on a 'novel' when I was in grade six; every night after dinner instead of watching television I would settle down at the kitchen table to write for hours. When I was thirteen, I saved up my allowance for months to buy a typewriter and when I finally got it, I set up a little desk in my bedroom and wrote and wrote and wrote. I actually looked forward to it.

Although I never really stopped writing, I stopped finding time for the kind of creative writing I was so in love with as a child. I'm not really sure how that happened or how I allowed my feelings to shift to the sense that writing was a chore rather than a pleasure. Slowly, I am trying to find my way back to the feeling of play and pure enjoyment that I used to feel at the prospect of an afternoon in front of my old typewriter (now it's my old Mac). Yesterday I wrote my first complete short story in quite awhile; I had no particular market in mind and no plans to try to publish it, I just wanted to get it down. I have no idea whether it's technically good or bad, but I love that it's there. An excerpt from my work in progress (but fully formed!) first draft:
Through the dark green of the bushes back beyond the beach, January could see flashes of  plum and the rolling water became the sound of fabric passing over stones and twigs, a procession of women – Lucy’s best friends – leading her down the path towards the sea.
I had cake and tea with the beautiful Ms. Dean the other night and as we talked about books and reading I was struck by what a gift this year of travel is, not only because I get to see the world, but because it affords me the time to read and write that I haven't really had since those childhood summers at the beach. Apart from exploring (fodder for writing), and some freelance work we've taken on, I have endless patches of time to read, study photography and write and I really want to use it well.

If anyone wants to start a virtual writing group, let me know; it would be great to build a little community around this rekindled romance.

Image from my Pinterest Lovely Stuff Board, Photographer Unknown

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Pretty Pictures - Doris Day with Rainbow Poodles

I spent a lot of time with my grandmother when I was little. Our summers were mostly spent out at a little beach cabin with no running water and no television. I credit the long hot months we spent there during my formative years for my love of reading, writing and my genuine comfort with spending time with myself.

We didn't have a television at the beach so there were no movies or sitcoms, but during the winter we made up for it with a very specific mix made up mostly of musicals, Westerns and Bruce Lee films. Doris Day (pictured above with rainbow coloured poodles) was one of my grandmother's favourites, in particularly her turn as Calamity Jane - the famous female Western gunslinger. Day's portrayal of Jane was quite different from how the character was represented in Deadwood; although I'm sure Deadwood is more accurate, I prefer to think of poor Calamity as the awkward, candy-coloured tom-boy of the classic musical. The girl with the heart of gold and the happy ending. Swoon!





Image via Whorange.

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