June ‘22 Afternoon Tea with SJ

Good afternoon to you!

I know, I was going to write a blog post last week on my amazing list of Japanese books to read over the summers, but alas, it has yet to see the light of the day. Perhaps next month??

Today, I’m excited to be celebrating my third blogiversary on SJ Barnard!! This year, I didn’t plan anything special because…well, just because? (I totally didn’t forget about it, honest.) If you want to ask me questions about my blog or have any other comments/things you would like to interrogate me on, feel free to do so in the comments below!

So, without further ado, let me introduce to you June ‘22 Afternoon Tea with SJ…

​​-June Afternoon Tea ‘22 Setting-

Location: Wisteria garden

Tea: matcha soy latte, lavender London fog, Editor’s blend

Offered with: Kashiwa mochi, cloud yuzu macaroons, polar bear souffle pancakes with strawberries

Last month, I suffered from a reading slump and a bookstagramme slump. I took the time off to review my reading ethics as well as what kind of content I actually wanted to post on IG. Which was super helpful, because now I feel like what I post and what I read match (wait, it didn’t before??) and I love the new aesthetic. If you’re curious about it, you can find the account @bookish_bishop

May/June Books:

  1. Subculture Literature Theory–Eiji Otsuka 
  2. Yukiguni (Snow Country)–Yasunari Kawabata
  3. Kagirinaku Toumei Ni Chikai Blue (Almost Transparent Blue)–Ryu Murakami
  4. Such Fine Boys–Patrick Modiano
  5. A Grief Observed–C. S. Lewis
  6. The Dragon and the Raven–G. A. Henty
  7. The Song of Roland–Anonymous
  8. The Order of Time–Carlo Rovelli
  9. Watakushi ni Totte Kaku to Iu Koto (What Writing Means to Me)–Ayako Miura
  10. Four Quartets–T. S. Eliot

Currently Reading: Inception & Philosophy, Casino Royale, Imi ga Nakereba Swing wa Nai

More tea, anyone? Recently, I re-discovered my love for matcha latte/frappucinos and am constantly thinking about them. The Kashiwa mochi is a bit late season, but it’s still worth it!

Music 

I have a strange feeling I didn’t listen to much music this month. I did find many classical CDs at the library I absolutely love and don’t want to return; I also got a chance to go to the record store and excavated Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky concertos. 

Practising: n/a

Listening to: Shogeki (Yuko Ando), Mixed Nuts (Official HIGE DANdism), Comedy (Gen Hoshino), Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem Op. 45

Movie/TV Shows 

Have you tried the cloud yuzu macaroons? Yuzu is my favourite citrus fruit, so nothing can go wrong with it! 

This month, I didn’t watch many movies or TV shows, but some of the shows I absolutely LOVE to pieces are:

  • Nanba MG5…feat. Shōtaro Mamiya as Tsuyoshi Nanba, who comes from a Yankee family (which basically means delinquents, although they follow their own rules so it’s not like they do whatever they want to) and wants to spend a normal high school life while trying to hide this fact from his family who’s expecting him to take over the Kanto region. 
  • Waru…feat. Mio Imada (& other casts worth crushing on) who plays the part of a new employee at a traditional Japanese company, she ends up revolutionizing the company structure as she works toward achieving her dream goal of becoming “big” in the company.

Manga/Anime

Okay, so this month, I spent way too much time (and possibly money) on wotakatsu. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, it basically means anything to do with supporting the manga/anime/characters/idol group you are currently crushing on. For me, that looked like starting my annual re-read of Tokyo Ghoul (it’s like my third or fourth time), making acrylic key chains, AOT badges, student ID for Nanamin from JJK, etc., etc. I have so many other ideas for wotakatsu this summer and might be sharing them, IDK…(   ¯꒳¯ )b✧

Some Manga/Anime highlights of the month:

  • Oresama Teacher…by Izumi Tsubaki (auth. Of Nozaki-Kun) that I am head over heels
  • (re:) Spy x Family…by Tatsuya Endo that I (and a lot of ppl) am raving about
  • Tokyo Ghoul re-read (again.)…also, Chojin X by Sui-sensei is excellent!
  • Blue Period…a new love! I can’t wait to catch up on the current volume
  • Monster…by Naoki Urasawa. Made for binging and for digging up academic papers on the work. 

If you remember me from two weeks ago, I bravely (?) announced I will be taking it slow, meaning I won’t be writing this month, but spend the time brainstorming and configuring Notion (another new love!!) so I can maybe re-start working from July. I think my brainstorming thing was working well up until like last week, but this week I hadn’t spent as much time on it, so I’m still undecided on what to work on during July. In a way, it feels like a mild brain slog which is always not fun; at the same time, I think I could take this month of rest & hope to come back strong into writing starting July. 

Would you like another cup of editor’s blend? It’s my favourite tea for writing/reading sessions, excellent to be had hot or cold. This month was slow considering academics as well. I was taking an Intro to Hebrew course at my church which was loads of fun & made me realise how theologically deep the Hebrew language was. I want to keep up my learning but haven’t figured out a way to do it yet. I’m also looking forward to my summer term coming up at uni where I’ll be taking poli-sci and philosophy, not to mention my year two registration is coming up. I don’t know, is it just me who finds it a great joy to brainstorm course schedules and plans??

This is completely a side note, but souffle pancakes are best had right after they’re done. We’ve tried many times to make souffle pancakes–and sort of epically failed. I mean, they’re still good flat but that would just be normal pancakes…

Anyhow. 

Life has been exciting because now the weather is starting to hold and it actually looks like summer! I went on a downtown stroll with a uni/church friend, and we had an epic time going around all of the Japanese stores (like Muji, Daiso, Seria, etc.) in the vicinity. I also got to go on a date with Mom (which we hadn’t had for the longest time ever) and we had ramen and went to more Japanese stores (like Uniqlo and wotaku stores). This week has been a mini-vacation for me since I went on a sleep over to a Japanese friend’s house where we spent even more time reminiscing about our favourite manga fandoms. Good times, I say. 

So, life has been good. I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for three years now, and I couldn’t have done it without you! Thank you for being a part of SJ Barnard, and I hope that you have an even better summer ahead of you. ⸜( ´ ꒳ ` )⸝♡︎

Thank you for reading! How was your June? What are some of the highlights this month? Do you have any questions about blogging or about me? What are some of your summer plans? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!

 On Finishing A WIP For The Longest Time, Ever.

Hullo, world!

I am finally back and logged into the blogosphere after a month+ hitout. I was actually hoping to come back on the last week of May for the afternoon tea post but ended up not being able to…(I know, I still have not found the right work-balance thing now that I have work on Saturdays.) If you remember me from May, I decided on a hitout to finish a WIP…given I haven’t finished one in like, two or three years. So, the big question is, did I finish my WIP?? *the suspense builds*

.

.

.

YES!! 

I did finish my WIP, and I today, I want to talk more about it…

>> Read more about Osthauptstadt here

My Thoughts?

Some things I thought after finishing:

  1. It was easier than I thought??

Obviously, I had to be intentional about the time I make to write, where I was going, and maintain my inspiration throughout the little time I had to write. I also wrote in a cafe for one of the writing sessions, which was fun! I also fully inducted Notion into my writing life, and it has been a lifesaver. I used Rebecca’s Notion templates for setting up my WIPs. I am head over heels in love with Notion and don’t know how I functioned without it…I know, I really should try to get out of this plannerholic cycle, but plans and journals and notions spark so much joy inside me!!

  1. Didn’t feel like a great accomplishment…

This is kind of my honest reflection. Although I know I should be happy that I did, indeed, finish a WIP for the longest time, ever, somehow I don’t feel like I’ve done something great. Rather, it feels like something I should have done earlier and I finally got down to it…

  1. Trying to rush into another shiny new idea ™

Yes, you heard that right. As soon as I finished Osthauptstadt draft 0.5, I was already thinking of a new WIP to work on. I have a stack of WIPs I want to work on this year, some half-baked, some more-than-half-baked than the others, but I desperately wanted to not lose my writing steam. If you follow my email list, I started the month with a rather bold claim, “I will continue working and finish one more WIP by the end of June!”

Which, by the way, is totally not happening. *hides in a corner* 。°(´∩ω∩`)°。

  1. Feeling burnt out

I started out the month hopeful and thinking I could finish another WIP. After all, I just finished one. How hard could finishing another one be??

.

.

.

Well. Any author/writer on the block can probably tell you about it. Also, for some strange reason, this week has been a tough one for me. Versus the first week of this month where I was like, “I can do anything”, this week was just…not that great. And, when things are like that, it’s usually a sign I should slow down…( ´•̥ו̥` )

  1. What is wrong with me???

Although this is kind of what I’m thinking right now. I finished a major WIP, I’ve been enjoying my new job, and I’ve been doing some of the bucket list things to do during summer. Technically, things are going well…

Now What?

Then, I realised: I’ve actually written a blog post on what to do in this kind of situation!

>> AH: 5 Steps to Recharge After A Major WIP

(And if you’re in similar shoes as mine, do take a moment to read through it; it’s quite useful, I promise.)

Now that I’ve poured myself another cup of tea and taken a breath, here are some things I’m planning to do:

  • Will take it slow, definitely.

So, obviously, I won’t be breaking my back trying to finish another WIP. 

  • Will follow my advice…

I’ll be reading some books I love and take this month to fill up my well of inspiration!

  • Probably follow the intense writing month -> rest month -> intense writing month routine from now on…

Earlier in the year, I was planning to have a WIP focus each month and slowly work through them. Yet, now I realise I need a more relaxed writing schedule to balance writing and life. ꒰◍ᐡᐤᐡ◍꒱

  • Take it slow (take 2)

I probably sound like a broken record by now, but really, take it slow! 

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And that’s it for today. 

Thank you for reading this post! How is your June going so far? What are some of your WIPs? Do you have a way of taking a break after you finish a WIP? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!

 April ‘22 Afternoon Tea with SJ

Good Afternoon!

Saturday is always like a Sabbath to me, and I’m always really thankful & overjoyed when the week reaches Saturday…it’s probably my favourite day of the week!

I was actually debating whether or not to write this post today because I have a midterm in the afternoon (on Saturday, I’ll add once again), and it’s my comp-sci one that I’ve been dreading since the start of this term. 

But. 

Instead of having another cram session, I’ve decided to let go & trust God…I’ve studied for it and done the best I can for it. I just have to trust in that. 

So here I am! I’m so excited to share my April with you…

-April Afternoon Tea ‘22 Setting-

Location: sunny garden with spring flowers

Tea: strawberry-rose-champagne, sakura-blossom, apple-vinegar elderflower

Offered with: sakura mont blanc, amazake-pudding, sakura cider jello

Bibliotheca 

I wasn’t planning to get a lot of reading down, and I was right–April was a slower reading month than usual. But I did read a lot of academic essays which was kind of fun on the retrospective. ⸜( ´ ꒳ ` )⸝

  1. Chinmoku (Silence) – Shusaku Endo
  2. Following in Van Gough’s Footsteps – Maha Harada
  3. The Last Graduate – Naomi Novik
  4. Why We Watch Anime – Ryota Fujitsu
  5. Reading While Black
  6. Kamen no Kokuhaku (Confessions of a Mask) – Yukio Mishima

Currently Reading: Subculture Literature Theory, The Living Thoughts of Kierkegaard

Media 

I wholeheartedly endorsed the sakura-themed sweets and first-ever sakura blossom tea! (Also a fun fact: In Japanese elementary schools–or at least the one I used to go to–we have an unofficial sakura-catching competition. The person who catches the most sakura gets to eat it!) 

Music 

This month, I listened to a lot more music than I usually do. It’s probably because my stress level was record-breakingly high from exam seasons, IDK…

I also want to get into Black Pink for some strange reason? So, I’ve started listening to them…(But I wouldn’t say I know a lot about them yet! I’m like a neophyte-fan, maybe??)

Practising: The Rumbling, Sakamu, Miracle Link Ring!

Listening to:  King Gnu, Buckingham (Wednesday Campanella), Glue

Movie/TV Shows 

Because I was busy with uni (trying not to die, TBH), I didn’t have a lot of chance to watch movies or tv shows…

Except.

I

FINALLY

GOT TO 

SEE 

JUJUTSU KAISEN 0 IN THE THEATRES!!!!!!!!

(Okay, enough of this nonsense. But you get the idea.)

Manga/Anime

And, if you are familiar with the recent anime releases, Spy x Family has officially started! I’ve been a fan since the start of the serialisation, so this is a very historical and dramatic moment for me. Also, GOLDEN KAMUY IS ENDING. I still can’t believe it…But the good news is, Young Jump (Tonari no Young Jump) is offering a free reading from start to finish. So, if you can read Japanese, now is the time to go read GK 😉 

& yet another thing. (I know, there’s more??)

My dad (who also happens to be into anime) has recently lent me his login info for anime websites, so now, *inserts evil laughter* I have infinite access to it. After uni ends, I’m planning to go on a binge if I can evade my siblings… (꜆꜄•ω•)꜆꜄꜆

Writing Life 

How about a glass of apple-vinegar elderflower tea? I just love elderflower because it gives me that spring-summer vibes I am perpetually falling in love with. ꒰ ∩´∇ `∩꒱

This month was supposed to be a typing month (i.e. that time when I type up my handwritten manuscripts). Needless to say, it’s still got a long way to go…I think I only managed a few chapters of Woodstone? But then again Woodstone is insanely long??

Hopefully, I’ll get more time to type up my draft so I can either continue on with this draft and/or work on another WIP from May when I’m planning to do more “serious” writing. (   ¯꒳¯ )b✧

Academics 

Oh, and have you tried the amazake pudding? Amazake is a kind of rice wine without alcohol that’s typically served on Girls’ Day (March 3rd) in Japan! It has a distinct flavour and some people find it too singular a taste, but I personally love it, not to mention it’s super healthy for you. 

As you might have already surmised, April is the end of term & the end of my first year at university. (Which is totally unbelievable, btw.) 

Things I’m Glad That’s Over:

  • Comp-sci project. Like, so done with significant computing and everything. 
  • Poli-sci finals. I was pretty confident about this one, except my grades were not what I expected it to be. Oh well…
  • Arts Academic Essay. This one is a whopping twenty-page long academic paper on Austen’s novel form and Emma. I want to burn it if I can. 

Overall, I’m so blessed that I could spend a year filled to the brim with learning, new opportunities & new people. It’s sad saying goodbye to some of them but I hope to see them again (perchance) somewhere on the vast campus. Also, I’m taking courses during the summer so I won’t completely laze off & forget how to study. 

(´ฅω•ฅ`)チラッ

Lifestyle & Living

My mental health sort of deteriorated towards the end of this month (aka this week, because of finals & stuff) and it hailed a lot? Like, I think we had a week where it was hailing non-stop, then become sunny, then thunderstorm-y. It’s usually really nice in April so I was not expecting this bizarre weather but go figure. Other than that, the cherry blossoms were dazzling as they are every year and I (probably) got a job at a tutoring centre so things are okay. (You know, when all things considered.)

And that’s life for me 🙂

And they shall fight against thee, and they shall not have the mastery; for I am with thee, saith the Lord, that I deliver thee. (And they shall fight against thee, but they shall not have the mastery; for I am with thee, saith the Lord, and I shall keep thee safe.)

(Jeremiah 1:19, WYC)

Thank you for reading! How was your April? Is it spring where you live? (And if so, do you like spring?) What are some things that happened this month that was exciting for you? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!