September Afternoon Tea with SJ

Good afternoon to you!

It’s already that time of the month where I info-dump my September with you generally served with too many cups of tea than needed. Do forgive me for not posting last week…if you were one of those people waiting for an SJ post to pop up last Saturday *insert plot twist* and it didn’t, I really do apologise for it. University has officially claimed my life, but I’ll get into more of that later. 

-September Afternoon Tea ‘21 Setting-

Location: Vegan café

Tea: Matcha tea latte, Chai tea latte, Ginger tea latte

Offered with: Taiyaki, Belgium waffles, French crullers & fluffy donuts

As school started, my reading habit went a little sideways…which is pretty predictable, given all things. 

  1. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (fic)
  2. Magic for Liars (fic-da)
  3. Bunny (fic-da/nw)
  4. Shin-ai naru (jpn fic)
  5. Amphitruo (uni-syllb)
  6. United We Fall (YA)
  7. Life of Galileo (uni-syllb)
  8. The Blazing World (uni-syllb)
  9. The Chosen and the Beautiful (fic-da)

Currently reading: The Fellowship-The Literary Lives of the Inklings, Moby Dick

Overall, I think I read too much dark academia in one month and I’m a bit sick of them now. I’m super hyped about reading about the Inklings & revenge-reading MD…this time I’ll finish it! (I hope.)

More tea, anyone? The ginger tea latte is absolutely gorgeous, so is the French crullers. 

Again, I think university swallowed up a large chunk of time and I didn’t have as much space for media…which is quite sad, but I think I’ll be overloaded if I added anything more. 

Music 

So, a hilarious development occurred. My sister got me into BTS, and although I still don’t know much about them, I’ve come to enjoy their music a lot. 🙂 I listened to less classical music in general, but I think I’ll change that since I’m thinking of going to the central branch library to borrow lots of classical CDs soon.

TV shows

While I didn’t watch any movies this month *gasp*, I watched a lot of Japanese TV shows with my family. Some of my favourite ones are:

  1. Tokyo MER (This was honestly too good to be true. It’s like every writer’s dream in the character arcs, settings, & everything!!!!)
  2. #bemyfamily (Ohmygosh, this is like the cutest show EVER. I love every #bemyfamily member & their relationships with each other.)
  3. My Fair Prince (A little cringey but loveable rom-com about a game company CEO. Tbh, we watched it for the sake of Dean Fujioka, lol.)

Manga/Anime

I got through halfway of season 3 in BNHA & I. Was. Destroyed. If you look at my record history of fav. Fandoms in manga/anime, you’d probably notice a lot of them are on the morbid side where you never know who will die in the next episode. (So not looking at KNY, AoT & co.) So compared to them, I though BNHA wouldn’t have a high death rate. 

Tash, was I wrong. 

It’ll probably take me another week to get over it…

Just look at this cutie…

In the meantime, I’ve been rediscovering my love for these mangas:

  1. Hetalia
  2. Uramichi Onisan
  3. Detective Conan

Have you had the chai tea latte yet? Or a classic matcha tea latte? The mini-taiyaki are also worth a try!

As mentioned in my September update email, I’m officially out of the writing rut & am brimming with creativity. 

However. 

I’ve yet to reach the 50K mark in Osthauptstadt (like, another 500 words left) and it’s honestly been a little discouraging to me since I thought I’d be able to whoosh past that wc. Then again, university has been more than I thought it would be, so I guess I’m happy with what I have so far…and the end is near!

“You’re the next.”

So, university. *inserts nervous laughter*

I used to think people who complained about university life was a bit…um, sort of not-all-there? Like, I didn’t believe them. How could one of the most pivotal part of your life be anything but joy???

(Someone please go punch the person who said that.)

Obviously, the academic side of university has been great. I’m so glad I read my uni term 1 syllabus ahead of time because it’s saving me precious life’s energy & I’ve been hyped since last year to just get to an academic institution. (Okay, maybe other than the fact I had to write a 2K essay on Plautus’ Amphitruo which was fun but not really.)

But I totally did not count the human interaction energy needed to do university. I’ve met so many people (probably over thirty) and it was awesome getting to know new people, but I feel like I’ve officially expended my extrovertism for the year 2021. Last week was plagued by dizziness & nausea that I was walking like a drunk nautam. (Due to part iron deficiency, part stress, part something else, probably) Oh, I also went to my first house party. It was offered by my church’s young adult, so it was super chill, but just saying. 

Me, dying from human interaction.

Let us hope I will recover the extrovertism over this weekend, everyone!

Do have some more of the Belgium waffles while they’re hot! Or perchance another cup of tea? (Remember, one can never have enough tea…)

Life has been good. (Yes, I know I sound like a commercial, but it’s true.) I stepped way out of my comfort zone, talked to people, socialised & acted like a semi-modern person. (I asked for people’s IG handles when we were parting. Genius, eh?) I got more involved in my bible study group & young adult’s group. I cried for joy when everyone excoriated Hobbes because Hobbes is evil and so is his Leviathan. I made myself bento-lunches on a regular basis & advertised Numbers as the Most Interesting Book in the Bible to Read ™. 

And in the end, that’s probably all you need to do in a month. 

Thank you for reading! How was your September? What are some of the highlights from this month? Did you meet new books or people? How is the new school year going for you? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!

AH: How to Regain Your Love (& Motivation) to Write Again

Hullo, world!

It’s so hard to believe, but my first week at my university has ended. In this week, I got to go on campus tours, attend workshops & practise lectures/seminars as well as meeting so many new people. And although I’m kind of tired after the fact, it has been such a blessing being a part of this. I can’t thank everyone who was a part of this experience enough. 

Now, it’s my favourite day of the week–Saturday! I honestly don’t know why, but Saturdays fill me with joy whether or not I get to write (or blog) simply because it’s that kind of day that makes me smile when I wake up. And obviously, Irish cream in my coffee. That’s the only day I get the real deal 🙂

[Also, pls take some time to fill out a short survey concerning my email list: https://forms.gle/e6sxLonmVKnMWdJk7

Today, I’ll be talking about How to Regain Your Love (& Motivation) to Write Again. This summer has actually been a dry spell for my writing life where I struggled to put words down to paper. Even when I did so, it didn’t feel natural or from my heart and I ended up needing lots of breaks in between. 

Well, it’s officially September, and I’ll be going back into writing…so here’s a little fragment from that attempt. 

 A: Where are you? 

First of all, temet nosce. You need to know where you are writing-wise and life-wise. 

For example, university is starting for me in a hybrid manner–meaning, I’ll have half online classes & lectures while the other half is in-person. I don’t have a full-load yet, but I know I won’t have as much time to write. So, I’ll be setting a lower goal than I think I can do…like, half the amount I think I can manage. 

B: What is in your heart? 

For the longest time, I lost touch with the feeling of excitement with the WIPs I was working on. Obviously, not every writing day will look like hands flying, mind flashing past to awesome scenes and amazing prose leaking out. But I felt the fire inside me dying, flickering into embers that I started doubting my story. 

And so, reflect on your heart. What is the story in your heart? What’s the theme song burning just to be written? Chances are, without a solid thesis, the words you want to shout to the whole world, you won’t get through those tough writing days, the dry spells of writing. Find that ember. Find the fire to your story, the soul of everything that makes your story matter. 

C: Who are you writing to? 

This is also an essential block to writing & motivation. I talk often about my Ideal Reader, and how I’ve come to realise they’re usually me to begin with. I’m writing the book I can’t find on the bookshelf. I’m writing a blog post that will encourage me, make me smile in the future. I used to think I had to have a “proper” IR–family, friends, etc., etc.–and that put a lot of pressure on me. 

What will they think of my writing? What if they didn’t find it as enjoyable as I thought it was? What if they thought I was wasting my time? 

Well, I say Tash to all that. 

It’s absolutely inane. Even if everyone out there absolutely hates my writing, I love it. And that’s enough for now. 

D: When will you write? 

On a more practical note, ask yourself WHEN you’re going to write. 

I wrote in the mornings these past years because that was the only time in the day I had time all to myself. I used to think if I missed that slot, I wouldn’t have any time to write that day. 

*insert “Tash to all that!”*

Anyhow. From this September, I’ll be going for a more flexible writing schedule. If I write one word, one sentence a day, it’ll still be a good writing day. If I write a page or five, huzzah to me. I might be able to write in the morning, or after lectures, or even before going to bed. It’ll be a new attempt and I’ll probably still have to adjust many things (and fail a lot), but I’ll write as long as that day still exists. 

E: Why are you writing? 

And lastly, probably the most important thing to know–Why are you writing?  It’s that kind of question that makes you want to slowly edge away, saying, “Oh, this is just, um, a hobby, a side-business-y thing I do, so don’t mind me…”

Well, no. 

Writing isn’t a just, it’s definitely not some mindless thing you do. (I mean, it could be that, but for me it’s never some small thing.) You’re pouring your life and soul into this “small thing” you do on your side because you actually believe this is something that matters, something worth your time. Don’t downplay your writing. Don’t think it’s something without a mission. 

I write because even when someone stops me, there’s a story in my heart that’s screaming to be written. There’s a message that’s waiting to be heard. It might take time, it might look ugly, but as long as there’s still today and tomorrow and so on, I’ll take up my pen. And that’s the end and the beginning of the story. 

Thank you for reading! What do you think? Do you have something burning in your heart? A story that’s waiting to be written? Why do you write? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!

(Also, don’t forget to fill out a short survey! https://forms.gle/Q2RdgsXKtffYzC4D8)

Summer ‘21 Afternoon Tea with SJ

Good Afternoon!

Today, I’ll be sharing my summer with you. It felt like a really long and short summer versus last year where time was like a small creek. This year was filled to brim with adventures &c, so let’s dive straight into it!

-Summer ‘21 Afternoon Tea Setting-

Location: Beachside park

Tea: Hibiscus, lime-lemon-basil, Mint-and-Grapefruit

Offered With: Muscat parfait, melon cream soda, white roll cake

I got to read a lot of books over the summer–the total being over thirty-something books–and although there were books I wanted to read anc couldn’t, I’m happy with what I did read…well, except some of the reading I did for my university syllabus. (My family would know all about it, given I ranted about the need for it to burn in the seventh circle.)

Summer Reads

  1. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue (fic)
  2. When We Were Orphans (lit fic)
  3. Bushido (Jpn nfic)
  4. Miura Woshin Essay (Jpn nfic)
  5. World History from Maps (Jpn nfic)
  6. Murakami Haruki’s top 100 playlist (Jpn nfic)
  7. Counting by 7s (mg)
  8. Rashomon (Jpn clsc)
  9. Good・bye (Jpn clsc)
  10. Fangirl
  11. Writer As A Vocation (Jpn nfic)
  12. The Art of Flight (nfic)
  13. The Chronicles of Narnia (clsc)
  14. Shayō (Jpn clsc)
  15. The Bacchae (uni sylb/O4)
  16. Love Does (nfic)
  17. 1Q84 v1-3 (Jpn fic)
  18. The Communist Manifesto (uni sylb)
  19. Carrie Pilby (YA)
  20. Till We Have Faces (clsc)
  21. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (uni sylb)
  22. Grettir’s Saga (uni sylb)
  23. The Prince (uni sylb/O5)
  24. Unfamiliar Fishes (uni sylb)
  25. Discourse on the Origin of Inequality (uni sylb)
  26. My Brother’s Spare (YA)

Overall, I’m glad I’m almost finished reading my first term university syllabus books. 🙂 

Would you like more of the white roll cake? Or another glass of hibiscus tea? 

Anyways, I rediscovered my love for many things in this section over the summer as well since I went on a manga re-read and movie binges! 

Music 

Practising: Gurenge (Kimetsu no Yaiba op), KaiKaiKitan (Jujutsu Kaisen op1), Chopin Etude op.10 no.3

Listening to: Prokofiev piano concerto no. 2-3, Tchaikovsky Symphony 4, 5, 6, Max Richter’s Voyager

This summer’s most-listened-to playlist on Spotify

Movie 

I watched a lot of movies in July since my family was away for camping and I was sick for a week. Some of them were fantastic, some were just okay…

  1. Vancouver’s Sunrise–after the all-Japanese baseball team back in the early 20th century
  2. Honey and Thunder–based on the Naoki prize winning book about piano prodigies
  3. Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence–the classic feat. Sakamoto Ryuichi
  4. Tenet–Nolan keeps getting better
  5. Kingsman–bordering on okay and not okay
  6. The Imitation Game–I love Alan Turing and I love Benedic Cumberbatch!
  7. Kill Your Darlings–also based on a book
  8. Interstellar–my new fav!!
  9. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them–re-watch…Newt Scammader is simply too cute!!
  10. The Crimes of Grindewald–Newt + Theseus. Also, “Your eyes look like a salamander’s.”
  11. The Prestige–earlier Nolan work. Okay. 
  12. Memento–earliest Nolan work? Not okay…
  13. Norwegian Forest–based on the Murakami book. Stunning cinematography albeit a tad graphic
  14. Emma–re-watch. Absolutely hilariously Austen
  15. Castle in the Sky–classic Ghibli. Prob. in the top 5 list. 
  16. Nausicaa–I’m the fan of the manga, but the movie was amazing as well!!

Manga/Anime

I did a manga reading challenge and am happy to say I got through most of them!

  1. Tokyo Ghoul + Tokyo Ghoul re: (Re-read it for the third time? Gets better with every re-read.)
  2. Attack on Titan (up to vol. 33, waiting for the library to acquire vol. 34!!)
  3. Kimetsu no Yaiba (This finally arrived from Japan. I cried buckets and it’s definitely a must-read.)
  4. The Promised Neverland vol.15-19 (I am still waiting to get vol. 20…)
  5. My Hero Academia various + Anime season 1-3 (It keeps getting better and better.)
Everyone should read this manga and cry as much as I did.

(Psst! I also have a new Goodreads account solely for manga-reads. It’s at: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/138785634-iaphos)

Wow, that was long. I think I’ll have another glass of mint-grapefruit tea. The muscat parfait is absolutely gorgeous, too!

So, writing life… *insets crickets chirping*

As much as it pains me to say, I did not have a great writing life this summer. I have not been able to move up my wc since the last WIP update I did in July which has been kind of depressing to me…

However. 

In the bigger scheme of things, I got a few wc tucked between various projects, trying to sew up loose ends, brainstorm, outline, worldbuild, etc., etc. I feel a bit stand-stilled so I’m not sure how y writing will work out in September, but crossing my fingers I might be able to get back on track!

This is where things get really exciting. University is starting soon. In fact, orientation week is from Monday!!! *inserts cheers and fanfares and confettis*

For those of you who have been long SJ Barnard readers, you might remember me flailing about university and my long dream of getting there. Well, I am happy to announce to you that I am finally (and officially) enrolled in a university with first year courses of my dreams (maybe) hoarding brand-new textbooks and binge-reading syllabii. I am so excited I can just burst!!

So, cheers and onto the next topic…

Lifestyle & Living

More tea, anyone? Have you tried the melon cream soda? They’re all the rage in Japan as being Showa-aesthetic and “emoi”. (My siblings hate the word!! It means emotional, btw.)

Life has been good. I survived a five-day long camping trip to Whistler, three-day intensive karate camp (where we won the talent show with Kimetsu and GReeeN songs), one and half week illness (not Covid, thank goodness), and various online university prep workshops. That, and reading pretty much summed up my summer.

I also got my first ever MacBook. It’s MacBook Air with M1, rosegold *swoons* and works like a dream compared to my old Dell. I’ve yet to name it but I’m leaning towards Rhindon, spelt with nne-ending. (In case you’re wondering, it’s the name of Peter’s sword.) Since I bought it with student discount, I got free AirPods which makes me feel like an actual modern person! Eeep! I’m getting back into drawing more, and am thinking I’ll draw in between classes…hence I will be clad with iPad & iPencil, too! 

I usually don’t buy things at all and all of the expenditures have been dizzying to me, but why not? I’ll probably not buy things until four years later. 😉 

And that’s the grand finale to my summer break! 

Thank you for coming over! What was your summer like? What are some of the highlights and/or favourite memories? Did you travel places? Or meet new books? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!