Sketch Blog #1 – Taking Requests!

Merry Leap Year, everybody!

I don’t know why, but I love the number 4, and things being split into quarters. So I love how every four years we account for the fact the earth completes an orbit around the sun in 365.25 days by creating an extra little pocket of time. Well, not CREATING time, but taking four quarters and joining them together into a secret little time nugget.

I like to imagine a future when humans have spread out among the stars and started forming intergalactic relations, possibly with aliens, possibly our descendants who migrated to other planets. Well anyway, I like to imagine them taking a tour trip to Earth, and having the ‘leap year’ explained to them as part of ‘Earth culture’. Or ‘Earth geography’, whatever. Then they’d explain old rituals and customs and how time was measured thousands of years ago, and  celebrating Equinox and the Solstice and the like (splitting the year into four equal parts, thank you Pagans).

I also like the number 21. It’s my age, and it’s also the date when Winter/Summer Solstice and Spring/Autumn Equinox are celebrated. It’s also half of the number 42, which we all know is the answer to life, the universe and everything.

The number 4 is unlucky in Chinese and Japanese culture, though. It’s read like ‘shi’, which sounds similar to the pronunciation of ‘death’.

ANYWAY. I didn’t come here to talk about Pagans and the number 4.


I’ve started drawing again. Just as a hobby, and to experiment with new techniques, and to kind of keep the creative juices flowing. So I’m going to start posting a monthly sketch blog on here (maybe even bimonthly, if I draw a lot), of all the little doodles, sketches and drawings I compile over time.

Don’t expect anything of amazingly high quality, because as I say, these are just sketches. Mainly done on MS Paint (boy, that takes me back). Basically I don’t have very good drawing software (I use Adobe Flash and it can be a pain in the arse) and MS Paint simply feels the closest to doodling in pencil/biro like I would on my school notebooks. Maybe I’ll post some of those doodles too, hehe.

Because my imagination feels so dead these days I’ve decided to take requests too, or even just idea suggestions.

If you want me to sketch you something, leave a comment on this blog, tweet me (@naiveinnippon), or a message me on Facebook (Naïve In Nippon).

And without further ado, here are this month’s sketches (posted in no particular order):


Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire, A Series of Unfortunate Events, sans faces for added mystery >:3

boy on a ship

A little boy looking over the edge of a ship/tall building as his parents fight in the background.

chloe the illustrator

Request for CS: ‘Draw me’. So I did. 🙂 Another possible request was to draw the MHS gang updated but I’m getting a haircut in a few days so at that point it wouldn’t look very updated anymore, ahaha.


A little tribute to CL in her ‘Baddest Female’ (나쁜 기집애) music video. She is a queen and I worship her. 

czarina and rena

Rena and Czarina. Two original characters from this idea I had for a manga a few years ago, and might still one day draw. 

darth vader vs harry potter

Request for RM: ‘What about something Star Wars? Or Harry Potter, lol’. So I combined the two. I hope you like it, haha. xD

Freestyle paint sketch of a girl in the shower

A woman in the shower. I, um, don’t really know why I drew this. I think it was to practice drawing the female form in a flattering manner and also to practice drawing wet hair. Yeah, that sounds about right. Did I succeed? Probably not.

Freestyle paint sketch of a girl

A girl crouching. A little CL-inspired with the spiky eyeliner and urban attire.

Freestyle paint sketch of a guy and girl kissing

A kiss. It’s really hard to draw people kissing but this one turned out okay I think.

Freestyle paint sketch of a guy

Some dude. I’m pretty bad at drawing guys. I need more practice.

Freestyle paint sketch of a superhero

A lil non-starter of a cute little superhero type. Looks a bit like Hit Girl, doesn’t she?

girl in cap

Another little abandoned doodle of a girl in a cap.

Mono revamped - sketch

The beginning sketch of an original character I created when I was 15, called ‘Mono’, drawn in Flash. Since then I layered it up and it became my cover photo on Facebook.

Mono revamped

The above sketch, layered up and completed. Still looks kinda shit, though I can’t entirely blame Flash, I think it’s mainly because I’m lazy.

paint sketch - black and white girl

This came outta nowhere. She’s a cutie. Any ideas for names? So far all I can think of is ‘Anna’, because she reminds me a bit of the Japanese singer Anna Tsuchiya. 

paint sketch - girl with frowny face

Moody lil cutie.

paint sketch - queen qwerty

‘Queen Qwerty’, a character I came up with on the spot. This was an attempt to come away from manga style and create something more simple. Looks a bit like a cross between The Powerpuff Girls and South Park.

princess froggy

A cute little princess character I came up with, originally based on a genderbent drawing of a friend. 

The next three drawings were requests, and they are somewhat, ahem, NSFW (aka a teensy bit porny), but I really like how they turned out, so I decided to post them to this blog after all. Look at them if you will, or not, up to you. The requests were of something Marvel/superhero girly/a cute butt. So in tribute to the new DP movie I draw Lady Deadpool, also Smash Girl from the YT animation ‘Power Trip’, and R.Mika and Cammy from Street Fighter.

drivebysmash girl and captain crashstreet fighter butts

waltz of the flowers

Last but not least, I had Tchaikovsky’s ‘Waltz of the Flowers’ in my head and so came up with this while listening to it. Lovely piece of classical music.


So there you have it! These are all works from the past month of sketching. The simplest, most incomplete doodles maybe took 5 minutes or less, and the one that took the longest was the final NSFW pic of the SF girls, but that still only took 1.5 hours. The not-a-sketch but complete-work-of-art which was the Mono Facebook cover took forever, between 5-10 hours, I think. Though I definitely procrastinated which probably added to the total time.

That’s all, folks! If you have a request, or a suggestion on something to draw, leave a comment on this blog, my Twitter, or my Facebook page. See ya!



It’s a New Year – Regrets and Resolutions

I started 2016 with a bang – meeting new people at my friend’s annual New Year’s Eve party, getting a little too excited, drinking too much, losing my gloves and my phone, going to bed with the room spinning, waking up to the sound of my mum yelling, and then (literally) picking up the pieces. Probably not that different to the average Brit’s New Year, to be honest.

January’s almost over already! Blimey, time flies by faster and faster the older you get. There was no white Christmas this year, and this winter has been pretty mild (save for ‘Storm Frank’ and the UK floods), but it FINALLY snowed a little bit over the weekend. Not a huge amount, but enough to cover the ground and look like a festive, magical blanket hiding all the ugly bits.

I had my January exams over last week. They didn’t go terribly, but they didn’t go brilliantly either. I submitted an essay on ‘women and violence’ in Le Morte D’Arthur (by Sir Thomas Malory) for one of my English modules, which was pretty substandard, I’m sad to say. But my semester of Medieval Literature and Arthurian Legends is over now. They were highly interesting, but unfortunately not subjects of English that I was particularly gifted in. Hopefully that will change when I start the new semester with Literature of the Romantic Period and Japanese Film & Literature.

As soon as my last exam was over I got on the train and went to go visit a friend down south who I hadn’t seen since before my year abroad in Japan, and we had a great time catching up, exploring the city, eating junk food and watching the new Star Wars again, this time in 4DX at Cineworld. The movie was enjoyable (obviously), the 3D was okay (I’m not crazy about it) and SOME of the 4D effects were great.

The good effects included the motion seats that would move and vibrate along with the camera pan or spaceships flying, and some strobes that lit up whenever there was an explosion, along with some wind and a bit of water splashing when in rain. The vibrations from clashing light sabers were also a pretty nice effect. Other things, like these little whooshing bursts of wind that erupted from my headrest and spurted past my ear whenever the Stormtroopers fired their blasters, were not so great. It felt like there were actual bullets whizzing past my head by a hair’s breadth and it made me want to curl up under my seat and take cover.

And now here we are, with me finally having a bit of free time after a grueling semester. It was hard work, and I got sick and stressed out a lot more than I did in Japan, but I was much more productive and efficient in my studies and entering societies than I was when I first began university over two years ago. At the same time, I seem to have turned into a bit of a social recluse. Whenever I didn’t have to go to class, I would shut myself away in my room and not leave except to eat or go to the bathroom for days on end. And by the end of my hermit retreat, I would get anxious when the time approached to leave my cave and interact with other people. I also had on-off bouts of intense nihilism and depression. But for now, mentally, I feel quite healthy and at ease.

When I visited my friend this weekend, he mentioned he hadn’t seen any artwork or internet publications by me in a long while. He’s working now, with a 9-5 job in the city, but he says he still tries to keep up with his art at least once a week, and that’s inspired me to want to produce more stuff despite all the work I have to do as well. I thought about starting drawing again, and wondering where I could publish my drawings, then remembered I could still use this blog as a place to keep it all linked. I don’t really use Tumblr, deviantART, Flickr, or any of those. And I hate starting new accounts just to let them gather dust when I lose motivation. So here we are: new cover photo, new profile picture. Feel free to follow me on Facebook and Twitter, too.

So, regrets of 2015:

  • I don’t think I completely made the most out of my time in Japan and there are still so many places I want to visit and friends I want to make.
  • I didn’t budget carefully enough and ended up owing my mum a lot of money which I’m still paying back. Luckily I still have that Skype tutoring job (which is going great, by the way).
  • I didn’t work as hard as I could have and this is still a problem I’m facing back in British university.
  • I didn’t make a big deal out of my 21st birthday back in September. That’s not a HUGE regret, and I was too exhausted at the time to have a huge party, but I think in 2016 for my 22nd I’d definitely like to try inviting all my friends around.
  • I can’t go to California this year after all. One day I hope I can.
  • The disaster that was New Year’s Eve. I’m not drinking at all this month and after that I vow to limit a night’s drinking to four drinks only.


And my resolutions for 2016:

  • Drink less, eat less, sleep more, exercise more
  • Do all my homework on time and keep up with assignments
  • Read for leisure, not just for my degree
  • Do an internship in Japan this summer (in the works!)
  • Visit family and friends more
  • Travel a bit around the country and get to know the UK a bit better
  • Be creative and use this website to enhance my artwork and writing skills
  • At the same time, try to work on my internet addiction
  • Plan ahead for people’s birthdays so that I can give them great presents
  • Learn a new skill – I’m studying Korean at the moment, but I think I’d like to learn to drive in my final year of university so that I can work towards getting an international license and then be able to drive in other countries.


Happy New Year!

NIN pp

Day 199: Spring Term Placement Test 木曜日・2015年4月2日

Today was apparently the last sunny day for a while, and I was stuck inside redoing the placement test. Luckily I managed to complete the test in two hours rather than three this time, as the internet seemed to be working a lot faster.

It gave me my immediate results at the end, and I see that my kanji is now among the highest possible marks in the advanced level for students in the M-Program, which pleases me. I’ve definitely absorbed a lot of kanji just from looking at the names of places in the station, looking at Japanese advertisements everywhere, and so on. I think I’m quite good at remembering kanji.

On the other hand, my grammar is, as I thought, completely terrible. I was still on a mid-intermediate level but grammar is definitely something I need to work on this semester. Time to hit the books. I didn’t have much of a clue of what to do in Japanese tutor sessions so it was mainly just free talk for two and half hours, and while I learned some good words and phrases, it never had much direction.

Now that I’m tutoring all kinds of different people, I see that some of them use textbooks, so maybe I can start bringing textbooks to my tutor sessions. Could do an hour of grammar, an hour of studying a news article, and half an hour of free conversation. And prepare blogposts and/or essays each week for them to check. I think that’s a much more productive idea. Why couldn’t I have thought of all this stuff closer to the beginning of the year? I feel like I’ve lost 26 weeks of practice now. Still, better late than never. Teaching English to people has really put my own learning into perspective.

I’m also going to be preparing for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test in July as it’s cheaper to take the test here than in England. But I can only take one test at a time. I was presumed N4 level by my teachers in my first year of university, and I think I’m easily N3 now, maybe even N2 if I pushed myself hard enough, but I think you can only take one level test at a time so I’m going to go for N3 while I’m here and then N2 in December when I return to England. I’ve signed up to the JLPT site but I’ve not applied yet. I have until the end of the month. I just want to do the practice tests online and see what kind of level I’m at before I apply. Maybe I’m closer to N2 than I think. Though I doubt it.

I tutored several kids today. One girl read me Dr. Seuss books (Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in the Hat), I presented an epic Harry Potter quiz consisting of 42 questions (6 questions per book) to the 8-year-old Potterhead (he got 40/42, amazing), and a new client was a 12-year-old boy who speaks really quickly and excitedly as he’s clearly very intelligent and has been learning English since he was born so he speaks it very naturally. We mainly talked about video games. He plays mainly Nintendo 3DS though, and I don’t have one. I play on my brother’s Xbox mostly. I heard my brother was going to buy an Xbox One with his own money though I don’t know if that plan has yet come to fruition.

I also tutored another little boy who is 7 years old, but he always gets frustrated about halfway through the lesson and loses interest. I don’t know if it’s because I rub him up the wrong way or if he just gets confused by the textbook tasks or if maybe he doesn’t want to study English. I can’t tell. I’ve had two lessons with him so far. To be fair, the textbook lessons are often not so clear. Even I have trouble identifying what they’re supposed to say/do.

Tomorrow is Day 200! Oh how time flies.

Day 174: Throwing in the towel 日曜日・2015年3月8日

I name this blog “Throwing in the towel”. Don’t worry, I’m not quitting my blog. Unless you, the reader, happen to despise my poorly-ordered rambling train of minimal thought and hope for me to break both my arms in the near future so that I can’t continue to erode your brain cells, in which case, put down the champagne. It’s not over yet.

No, I call this “Throwing in the towel” for a very trivial, stupid reason, but I thought it was funny, so I’ll tell. Well, not really, seeing as I’ve ruined the whole set-up now… anyway.

Yesterday during the recreation game time in the gym of the Awajishima camp, the last “game” involved wet towels and all the teams (UK, S. Korea, India, Peru, Iran, Taiwan, Phillipines and Canada). We had to race against each other to wipe the floor, running along the floor and pushing the wet towel in front of you as you go, like they do in the bath house in Spirited Away, or in your average Japaese high school cleanup, I guess. There were six members on each team including the team leader (me for the team UK), and we had to run the length of the gym to the other side, pushing the wet towel as we went, then passing it to another team member on the other side, until the last person had run the length of the cleaning area.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never done any kind of running at half-height whilst pushing a wet towel along the floor, and to me, it sounded kind of dangerous. I’d seen it done in anime, but I’d never attempted it myself, and I had a pretty good idea that I would fail. The other group leaders agreed with me.

We had to complete this race not once, not twice, but three times. The first time I had to race, I skidded on the wet floor and fell face-first, derriere up (I was wearing leggings at the time, too), and that happened three times in the course of about ten metres. Not only that, my glasses fell off. I now have a huge bruise on my right knee, the skin came off on one of my knuckles, and I think I may even have sprained my wrist. Well, not sprained, maybe strained. The other two times, I fell twice in about five metres, feeling no less embarrassed each time it happened, and whenever I’d get within a few metres of the next member of the team, I’d make a sort of grunting “nyah” sound of surrender and toss the towel over to them.

And the whole point of this story, is that when I was tired of trying to push the wet towel along a wet floor without slipping, I gave up.

And when I did give up, I literally threw in the towel.

A round of applause, please.

Well, it was funny at the time. Speaking of puns, the Japanese kid sitting in front of me on the bus home (nicknamed “Cantaloupe”) told me a joke. At first I didn’t know he was telling a joke, as I don’t know if I’ve ever had a Japanese person tell a joke American-style before.

At first he said, “Why does Peter Pan always fly?”, and I was like, “Well, why not?” After laughing at me, he then explained it was a joke, so I asked, okay, why does Peter Pan always fly, and he replied, “because he never lands.”

Har. Har. Har.

So anyway, getting on to what I actually did today… today was the last day of camp, in which my group had to finish making their presentation about the tsunami in the Tohoku area, approaching its fourth anniversary in a couple of days. I realized too late that I’d been helping them a bit too much, and I didn’t think so at the time. I’d thought I was being quite strict, making them speak English a lot, but when I was rewriting the draft of the script for them at midnight last night so it would be easier to read my notes when they wrote the script themselves the next morning, I realized I shouldn’t be correcting my own handwriting; I should have let them do all the writing. That’s part of learning a language, isn’t it? Something about forgetting what you say, but what you write sticks with you forever? There’s truth in that.

I think at the time I’d forgotten that I was only really there as a guide, and had kind of taken on the role of the scribe. I’m still a student myself, albeit in university, but I’m only three, four years older than these kids. I still have to do group work and projects every now and again, so I think me being a bit older and being “elected” as the leader, I forgot myself, and became part of the group.

So today, I didn’t do anything. I let them figure it out by themselves. And because we only had two and a half hours to finish the script, make the slides, and then practise the presentation, I set a strict time limit, which I hadn’t thought to do in the previous workshops, in which I’d had no clue of what I was doing. We managed to make it work, though. And we got the presentation done on time. In perfect English, too. They wrote the script, and I corrected their grammar and spelling and so on. And helped with pronunciation for when they read it out.

So I feel like I learned a lot more about teaching from this experience. I didn’t know what I was doing at first… in fact I think my expectations of myself were higher than they should have been, as I was only a volunteer and they’d apparently been told what they were doing beforehand. But by the last workshop, I sat back and let them do the work, keeping myself available in case they had any questions, set time limits and a schedule, and so on. And I think I was quite good at the time limits thing, as we managed to keep to our goals extremely well.

My group did very well when it came to presenting. They spoke loudly and clearly, and kept on time. And it was quite informative, which in a way turned out to be quite original, as other groups had chosen similar methods of presenting theirs. I was very pleased with their efforts. And for my efforts, I was paid ¥21000 for the three days. I was very pleased.

The girl who gave me the biwa cake last night, we’ll call her Hikari, she took a shine to me. She was very sweet, telling me I was like a big sister (well, I am in real life, to an eighteen-year-old sister and a fourteen-year-old brother, both taller than me now… hmph). She even gave me a letter that she’d written very neatly in both English and Japanese. I gave her my email address in case she ever wanted me to help her with English.

I was glad to get home, though. Knackered. Glad I don’t have anything on for a few days, though I’ll look into a possible trip to Nara. There’s a festival going on right now, and I’ve still not been to Nara, despite it being in the Kansai area, on the Hankyu line.

I’ve also just realized… tomorrow is Day 175. Which is a very special day. Another special day is March 17th, in just over a week’s time. But the reason Day 175 in particular is very special is because it marks exactly halfway through my year abroad in Japan.

My year abroad is unfortunately not 365 days, but 350 days. September 16th-September 1st. Or thereabouts. My blog will end on day 350-ish, give or take one or two days. I’ve still not made arrangements for what I’m doing when I’m coming home. My dorm contract runs out on 31st August, so do I come straight home then, or leave a bit early, or even make a stop off at Korea or Hong Kong on the way back… it’s all still uncertain.

But anyway, as far as I’m concerned, Day 175 will be my halfway marking point. And then March 17th will mark six months since arriving in Japan. An official half-year. March 15th is also a kind of celebration – six months since my 20th birthday, and six months until my 21st. It’s also quite a lot of people’s birthdays around the middle of March… why, I don’t know.

Halfway through… I actually feel like I should be going home to England around now, when in reality I’m only halfway through the year and have six more months to go. Maybe because I’ve been making so many new memories over here, and doing so much stuff rather than letting all the days blur into each other, that time is passing a lot slower. Then again, when it DOES reach the end of the year, it’ll feel like it went by all too quickly. A year sounds so short to me. But if you do enough stuff, it can last forever. So there you have it – I’ve unlocked the secret to living longer. Time is relative.

I’m already celebrating the halfway point when I’m still only on Day 174, so I’ll stop talking now. Goodnight.