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…

-March 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!

AH: Writing From Rest

Hullo, world!

It’s finally April, meaning spring, aka my favourite season of the year. It seems like spring is exploding everywhere around me, not to mention there are actually sunny days. *insert gasps & fervent hopes it will stay* I can’t believe my academic year is coming to an end soon, either…it felt so short!! 

Anyhow. 

Lately, with so many things coming to a close, it feels like I’m finally starting to get the idea of writing from rest. It’s a mindset, a posture, a practice. And today, I’ll be talking a bit about how I try to keep this in my heart even when it gets dizzyingly busy. 

So without further ado, let me present to you, AH–Writing From Rest

But wait…what does “writing from rest” mean??

Good question! For me, it would mean:

Writing-from-rest

/ˈrīdiNG – frəm – rest/

verb

  • Writing from a leisurely manner/state; creating from a space of rest
  • the mindset of writing (as outlined above)

i) Sleeping earlier & waking up earlier. 

Something that has greatly helped me in writing from rest is sleeping earlier and waking up earlier. 

And before those of you who are not morning persons run away, hear me out:

I think that we can all agree that writing takes energy. The act of creating something out of distinct, arbitrary 26-letters is not something to be taken lightly of. I won’t pull out the research on the benefits of sleeping earlier or waking up earlier, but one thing I personally find is that it does help restore my creative energy. 

In the morning, where nothing has really happened yet to clutter the mind or sap one’s energy, it becomes much easier to focus on my writing, and that only. Starting from a blank piece of paper, physically, mentally, and spiritually, can help you relax and let your imagination roam free. 

> Practical steps to take:

  • Go to bed 15~30 minutes earlier than you usually do. Turn off your phone 15~30 minutes before going to bed
  • Set an alarm for 5~15 minutes earlier than you usually wake up
  • Set out the clothes you are going to wear the next day by your bed. As soon as you wake up, take this to the washroom/wherever you go after waking up & get changed!
  • Put the kettle on. Make yourself a cup of tea or simply hot water. Drinking something first thing in the morning lets your body know you’re awake!

ii) Setting up a morning routine. 

Another thing that might be super controversial, but has helped me nevertheless, is having a solid morning routine. (Well, more or less solid…but later on this.) 

When I say morning routine, don’t think you have to do what I do, or a set thing that another influencer might do. You do your own thing. Which, I think, is the whole point of having a morning routine–a set of things you do that helps you wake up refreshed & become ready to face a new day

My morning routine looks more or less the following:

  • Wake up & get changed
  • Put the kettle on. (As advertised earlier!)
  • Light a candle & do my morning devotions
  • Listen to worship music & make breakfast/lunch to take to school
  • Get ready for university!

> Practical steps to take:

  • Brainstorm. What are some things that help you feel refreshed & energised in the morning? List out three of the things that help you do this.
  • Make a plan. From the list of three things that help you in the morning, think of ways to make it even easier to do–for example, if you plan to run in the morning, can you get your running gears in place? If you plan to do devotions, maybe already have your Bible (& notebooks, or other resources) in an accessible place–like on your desk, by your bed, etc.
  • Don’t be stressed. As I pointed out earlier, the whole point of having a morning routine is to help you feel refreshed & ready for the new day. Don’t feel like you’ve failed first thing in the morning even if you can’t follow along with your routine perfectly. They’re more like…guidelines in the first place! Feel free to change up the order, cut out some of the things, etc. 

iii) Being okay with the day’s writing. 

Lastly, be okay with the amount of writing you get done on that day. Maybe you wake up earlier and you are able to squeeze in a writing block in the morning. Maybe you’re like me and have to go somewhere, so the only writing block you get are the in-between times of classes, work, etc. Maybe you won’t have any time to write in the morning, OR later on. 

But the important thing is–being okay with it. One of the most important things about writing from rest is having a calmer, rested mindset from where you create. It does not have to be a solid hour of writing with everything perfectly falling in place. It can be the five minutes of quick journaling, three minutes of working out in your head about a particular scene, or a minute of Pinterest scrolling. (Yes, don’t be so aghast that I just endorsed Pinterest scrolling. It’s called brainstorming!) Whatever you get to do on that day, it counts as writing as long as you are putting your mental energy into it. Just take a deep breath, turn off your phone for a bit, and let your creativity take place. 

> Practical steps to take:

  • Schedule a writing block. Find a time in your day that you can fit your writing into. Remember, it doesn’t have to be long!
  • Plan to do one thing in that writing block. It can be simple as “make character profiles” or “write one paragraph”. Or, you can be more ambitious and set up wordcount goals. Just remember to be happy with what you get done!
  • Write down your thoughts about that writing session. This also does not have to be long. It can be one sentence, like, “I’m happy with what I wrote!” or “I feel like I want to write more.” I keep my thoughts, progress, and goals in my writing journal, which you can read more about here: 3 Steps to Start a Writing Journal

And that’s it for today!

Thank you for reading! What did you think? Do you practise writing from rest? Are you a morning person (or want to be one)? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you! 

March ‘22 Afternoon Tea with SJ

Good Afternoon to you!

The cherry blossoms are coming into full bloom all over the place & it’s another Saturday…my favourite day of the week.  ⸜( ´ ꒳ ` )⸝♡︎Despite everything that’s happened this week & this month, I’m grateful to have a time to sit and reflect on the month.  

So, without further ado, let me present to you March ‘22 Afternoon Tea with SJ!

-March Afternoon Tea ‘22 Setting-

Location: sunny loft

Tea: Lavender london fog, Lady Grey, Asian pear green tea

Offered with:  strawberry steamed cake, apple baumkuchen-tart, black sesame ice cream

This month, I suffered from tsundoku-syndrome…that is, I had a stack of books I was planning to read. Which I did for some of them, as you’ll find out later down the road. But overall, much like last month, I felt like I wasn’t as into reading as I would have liked since I was burnt out from uni &c. 

  1. Modern Translation Rongo to Soroban –Eiichi Shibusawa
  2. On the Genealogy of Morality -Friedrich Nietzsche
  3. Chosen Ones –Veronica Roth
  4. Science Fiction –Sherryl Vint
  5. Heike Monogatari (The Tale of Heike) –Anonymous
  6. Ares –Jenna Terese
  7. The Phantom Tollbooth –Norton Juster
  8. Inadvertent –Karl Ove Knausgård
  9. The Use and Abuse of History –Friedrich Nietzsche
  10. Geijutsu to Kagaku no Aida (Between Art and History) –Shinichi Fukuoka
  11. Meditations –Marcus Aurelius
  12. If Not, Winter –Sappho
  13. Haru to Shura (Spring And Asura) –Kenji Miyazawa

But now that I look back, I’m actually surprised to find I did get to read the books I enjoyed (except Nietzsche, obviously). Maybe it’s just this week that fell flat??

Currently Reading: Ethics (Bonhoeffer), The Last Graduate (Novik), The Art of Fiction (Gardner)

More tea, anyone? The lavender London fog is absolutely gorgeous, not to mention the asian pear!

Music 

Since I went on a long music rant last week, I won’t elaborate on this topic…But in case you missed it, here’s the link to last week’s post: the me + music tag / 2022 edition

Practising: Sinfonia concertante k.364, The Rumbling

Listening to: Tchaikovsky symphony no.5-6

Movie/TV Shows 

Since it’s March, a lot of the TV shows are ending in Japan–which is equal parts sad…and equal parts sad. (Okay, that made no sense whatsoever. But you get the idea.) Anyhow. (*∩ω∩)

Current favourites:

  • DCU–Deep Crime Unit…I WAS NOT EXPECTING THE CLIFF HANGER!!! I have a love-hate relationship with cliff-hangers, and this one is bordering on absolutely hating the directors rather than loving them. (Or maybe not. I am excited for another season, but still!!)
  • Mystery to iu nakare–Do not say it is a mystery…I’ve been recently finding out that the actor who plays the MC, Suda Masaki, is also the singer who did an MHA ending that I LOVE to pieces (Long-Hope-Philia, in case you were wondering). My life has been a lie…
  • And various others…from April, though, I plan to cut back the number of TV shows we watch (ˉ ˘ ˉ; )

Manga/Anime

I haven’t read manga in a while since the Golden Kamuy-phase, so I’m going to invest myself in a somewhat new series–Blue Period, which a lot of people have been recommending to me. Also, the library recently placed the orders for Bungo Stray Dogs up to the current English volume, which I’m thrilled about! 

AND. 

THE JUJUTSU KAISEN MOVIE 0 IS OFFICIALLY IN THE THEATRES!!!

*inserts blood-curdling shrieks*

No, I’m not dead yet. I can’t wait to go to the theatres wearing my Gojo Satoru T-shirt, though!!

ଘ(੭ˊ꒳​ˋ)੭✧

So, writing. 

This month has seen some progress in re-working my WIP (Juliet) although it almost always seems to feel like I’m suffering from a severe case of indigestion. In the last WIP update, I was going to talk more in-depth about the specific process I had which is honestly kind of cool, since I’m writing/organising a lot of the data in Python.

Yes, you heard that right. Since starting to learn coding in one of my uni courses, I started implementing some of the language into how I set up my Juliet re-work. It sounds a bit strange, but for some weird reason, this works for me–maybe because I’m taking a step back from the language I know best (plain English prose) and actually thinking about what to write in a different one (Python–also English, but not really). 

I’ve also been using my journal & Google Jamboard a lot just to set a basis for my schedule and brain-dumps. Overall, I’m more hopeful for this WIP than I had been in the past, and can’t wait to see where it will go.

꒰ ∩´∇ `∩꒱

Have you tried the strawberry steamed cake? Or the apple baumkuchen-tart? It’s this tree-stump-like cake with apples. And this baumkuchen is a bit like a tart as well! (I recently learnt that baumkuchen isn’t a standard dessert in North America or Europe.) 

I survived my midterms. 

And yet. 

Nietzsche. Has been. Driving me. Crazy!!

I’m in this program where we read a book every week and write an essay every other week. This month, I had to write on Nietzsche–hence I proceeded to get a stack of Nietzsche to decipher him. 

Which was not working. (I did eventually end up finishing the paper, but late.)

I am so glad we’re done with him. And here’s a quip most people might know but is still entertaining:

Nietzsche: “God is dead.”

God: “Nietzsche is dead.”

Lastly, a bit about life.

Because of many things that seem to demand my attention, I’ve been burnt out a lot. This post was supposed to be posted much earlier, too. And sometimes, it’s so hard not to stress. 

But I know that what really matters in life are the small things and how we get to places, not when. 

So, I’m learning to be okay with not being able to do everything. Even then, God’s grace is sufficient in me. 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

(2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV)

And that’s it for today!

Thank you for reading! How was your March? What are some things that happened this month that were exciting for you? Are you looking forward to April? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!