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 125: The nth day of nothing 日曜日・2015年1月18日

I often wish I didn’t have to write a blogpost on days that nothing happens. I didn’t even go outside today. The most strenuous activity I achieved was cooking pasta. I’d found a jar of pesto at the IEON supermarket, and I’m not sure pesto jars are that common over here, so I bought it. My pasta consisted of me using up a pack of spaghetti, the jar of pesto, broccoli, daikon and renkon. It was either pasta or making a curry from one of the curry blocks I bought, but I was too lazy today.

Originally I think I was supposed to be going out with Rachel while she looked at lolita clothing before going to a party, but that fell through as she didn’t wind up leaving until 4pm, so I shrugged and stayed at home, saving money.

I’d been invited to church again by my Korean friend, who I’ve not managed to tell I’m an Atheist yet. I said at the time I already had plans on Sunday (which was kind of true, though I didn’t go through with them in the end). But I have no intention of ever going back, so I can’t just fob her off with excuses week after week for the rest of my stay here. I need to tell her, even if it’s going to come across as rude.

I don’t think churchgoing is something I should just endure for the sake of being friends. I don’t agree with it. I don’t believe in ANY god, let alone a religious god, let alone the Christian God, or agree with any Christian practices. Other than that, and the creepily evangelical display of the Japanese chuch I went to, it’s expensive and complicated to travel to Tenmabashi, and why should I give up my Sunday to feel uncomfortable in a setting to which I do not belong? Going once was more than enough, and I didn’t even consent that time. I kinda got dragged along without knowing what was going on, and then being unable to refuse.

Again, it wasn’t really my intention to talk about religion today. I did nothing related to religion in the past few hours. I did NOTHING, full stop. I woke up late, read fiction, did some work, made pasta, and I’m still reading, which I shall continue to do until I go to bed, which is why I’m trying to get this blogpost out the way.

I’ve had nothing but Tolkien’s works on my mind since Thursday. My head is filled with nothing but hobbits and elves and dwarves and wizards…

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, since I was little. I’ve had many career choices floating through my brain, such as astronaut, astronomer, doctor, nurse, painter, Formula One driver, football player, director, actress, tennis player, musician, policewoman, businesswoman, secret agent, translator, Prime Minister, and hairdresser, to name a few. (Most recently, the idea to be a rapper or baseball player also crossed my mind.) But the idea of being an author has been ingrained in me since I was seven years old, and the dream has never faded, unlike my other temporary aspirations. It probably stems from my desire to be good at everything and experience everything. It’s hard to accept that no matter how hard I try, I will not experience everything. I can’t live other people’s lives, either. But I think this desire stemmed from living through thousands of other characters. I read a LOT of books as a child, more than I do now. Like a book a day. More than that, sometimes. I’m proud of the younger me, as I don’t even read that much now, being too busy and/or lazy.

But anyway, being a writer is the closest thing to experiencing a life I cannot live, or offering just another piece of experience to a reader’s booklist. They always say “write about what you know”, and while my life to me is commonplace and my knowledge limited, maybe there are readers out there who’d find the kind of things I could write about interesting. I’ve read so many good stories in my lifetime, and I want to give back by creating my own.

The trouble is, I am definitely my worst critic. I’ve always been interested in science fiction (a lot of the books I read when I was little were actually non-fiction books on space, borrowed from the library), but even though I love the way works of art like Interstellar make me feel with all the timey-wimey-ness and the space exploration and the dystopian world, it wasn’t scientifically accurate, and in science-fiction, technicalities make up a LOT of it. I feel like a large part of enjoying it comes from believing it could actually happen. Because science is science, not magic, so if something happens contradictory to reality, or you can’t believe such a thing would happen in that world, then it feels like a cop out. So while I love space and science and am much of an enthusiast, I know I am no born scientist, and I would hate my own works if I couldn’t make them convincing and solid. Who knows, maybe I’ll work together with my high school friend who’s doing Natural Sciences in Cambridge. Though saying that, I think she’s more of a fan of things like Lord of the Rings rather than science fiction.

Re-entering Tolkien’s world has reinspired me to want to write fantasy, which was the genre I think I originally wanted to write, ever since I started writing. Writing properly, I mean. When I mastered holding a pencil and spelling out words, I would write a whole lot of nonsense on assignments, making up stories and being creative as possible rather than writing the truth. (In example: “What did you eat for dinner last night?” would be the assignment, and I would write an A4 page about me playing outside alone with the dogs in the park, then returning home whilst it started to rain, and it turning into a thunderstorm whilst I slept, and when I woke up it was my birthday. Some bollocks like that. I actually remember that’s what I genuinely wrote, and I have no idea what the actual assignment was. I just have an inkling I was doing it wrong, which is an inkling I’ve had all my life, up to now, that I’m doing something wrong. I was five when I wrote that.) I think I first started writing “properly” when I was around seven. I would even use colons and semi-colons as part of my punctuation, because I’d seen them in books and I had an idea of how they worked, even though they hadn’t been explained to me. Maybe language-learning really was in my genes. I just naturally kind of picked it up.

I particularly wanted to write fantasy after being exposed to Harry Potter. That was the pivotal moment in which I was inspired to be an author. I was in awe of J.K. Rowling and her achievements, and I wanted to be like here. I think I still do, though you shouldn’t write just for the sake of getting money, only because you have a story to tell. I’m not sure I’ve found my story to tell, yet.

But if I’m going to write, why not fantasy? After all, it’s not like I live in my own world most of the time. I live for fiction, and for the experiences I can’t experience. So I might as well go all-out and create a whole new world.

I might not be a top scientist working on a cure for cancer, or the astronomer I wanted to be, or particularly good at sport or acting or singing, or able to speak ten languages (I can speak four, three of them only just enough to get by rather than being skilled), but I do have this. I don’t think I’m the greatest writer in the world, but I know I CAN write. Some of you reading this blog may disagree, as it’s a jumbled, incoherent mess. That, I’ll agree with. I’m basically just writing exactly what comes to mind and everything that comes out is unedited. I don’t overarticulate, or try to describe exactly what I mean. This blog isn’t a story. Story of my life, maybe, rather than something I’m going to embellish like I would with fiction.

But I’ve been told I can write. I really hate the ongoing fanfiction I’m writing right now as writing practice, as the characters are shallow, and there’s too much overthinking, and it’s full of clichés, yet it has a really high number of favourites and a LOT of comments filled with praise. Some criticism, too, but only saying what I know is wrong with it already. At least the knowledge is there, the fact I know I can do better. I know I have the ability. Better than believing my work to be really good when in fact it’s shit.

The curse of a writer… never being able to enjoy your own work, or join the readers in the anticipation of what will happen next, or being able to fall in love with the characters. J.K. Rowling is the one person who can’t enjoy Harry Potter the same way her fans can. Neither can George R. R. Martin with A Song of Ice and Fire, or J. R. R. Tolkien with his Midldle Earth saga, or Oscar Wilde, or Shakespeare, so on and so forth. Luckily there are plenty of other works in the world to enjoy. But if you’re a critic like me, it may be hard trying to find a story that’s everything you ever wanted. So you try to create it yourself, and then you can’t enjoy it the same way readers can.

Interstellar was everything I ever wanted in a film. Almost. Let-downs were the bad science, in particular, and yet the film may not have been so beautiful if the writer had been a fully-qualified physicist rather than an artist.

It’s probably not still out in the cinema. Damn it. It’s amazing to watch with surround sound and sharp visuals. Far more absorbing and breathtaking than watching it on a TV screen. I love the cinematic experience.

And once again, I went off on a HUGE tangent. This tends to happen when I don’t do anything. I didn’t even want to write that much today, I just wanted to get this blogpost over with so I could keep reading. Again, there’s next-to-no editing at all on this blog. It’s just my thoughts as they pop into my head. Which is why you may occasionally spot the odd grammar mistake or missing punctuation.

At the same time, I should probably clarify, while I DO write about what pops into my head, and reading this blog may feel like reading my personal diary, I don’t write about EVERYTHING in my life. I do have a censor button, which may be hard to believe. I can talk about taking a shit, but there are some things that even I consider too personal to talk about. The shit is mainly used for comedic effect, anyway.

This whole ramble induced an image of Dumbledore talking to me with concern. “It does not do well to dwell on dreams, and forget to live.”

That’s exactly what I am doing, though. I would probably succumb quite easily to the Mirror of Erised or the One Ring after all. Well if I can’t be a hero in real life, I can always write one.