A very belated hello to 2022.

Also, hello to people who pop in to check out this blog! How’s it going? I know it’s been awfully quiet over here since the start of NaNoWriMo, but December happened in a blink.

Wait, January is already over?

Two blinks.

…It’s almost March?

Three blinks.

Anyway. How has everyone been? I know it’s been quite a while since the New Year Holidays, but did you enjoy yours? Are you staying warm? Healthy?

Let’s just both grab a hot beverage of our choice and then we can talk about how my past couple of months have been, as well as what I hope to achieve with this blog in the upcoming months.

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Delving into NaNo with two projects?!

Hello from the kotatsu! It is almost chilly enough here in Kyoto for me to merit breaking out the futon cover for this little table of mine… At least, at night. In the daytime, at most you still just need long sleeves. But hey, we’re slowly but surely (and finally) going from summer… and hurtling right into winter.

Autumn? What’s autumn?

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What are the tourist spaces like now? Arashiyama edition!

I was talking to a coworker the other day about tourist spots in Kyoto. When I mentioned how I missed seeing all of the local areas, my coworker shook their head. “You should go,” they told me, nodding emphatically. “Nobody’s around, so you get the whole place to yourself. It’s fantastic for pictures, and you can take your time there, too.”

Curious, I decided to see for myself. Armed with my vaccination status, a mask, and a fully charged phone, I ventured off to Arashiyama.

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Where do you stand?

Wow, it’s been a while since I talked about studying Japanese!

Has anyone else had the mental perk-up since they got vaccinated against you-know-what? I feel like I’m more awake than I have been for the past year. Not much has changed in my day to day life- I’m still masking, staying away from people (especially those who don’t know how to wear a mask properly or don’t wear one at all), and keeping mostly to places I can reach on foot.

But the two shots have been a breath of fresh air and I’ve found myself becoming more active. Putting more effort into exercise. Reading more. Keeping up with hobbies better. Starting new hobbies.

And picking up Japanese study again.

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C’mon, aircon!

I promised last time that talking about my aircon woes would be a whole new post. Here it is!

Ah, aircons. Coolers. Heaters. Dehumidifiers. And a source of white noise when you’re trying to sleep. They do it all, and we work them to death. We’re at the point in summer where a lot of people need to run it all night in order to sleep. I am, in most cases, one of those people in August. While winter is not a problem for me, summers leave me exhausted and yearning for cool temperatures the minute the thermometer goes over 27 degrees Celsius.

And then… this summer happened.

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How Many Towels Does One Person Need? (A Hotel Adventure)

Like most people, I haven’t been in a hotel in about two years (the photo you see is from 3+ years prior). But necessity pushed me into the unenviable position of having to book a hotel room for a few days during the height of travel season. The necessity? My air conditioner breaking.

That’s another story.

My stay in the hotel has reminded me of a lot of things. What it feels like to use facilities that aren’t your own. How nice it is to have someone else doing the cleaning for you. The awkwardness of timing yourself so that you don’t have to share an elevator with anybody else. That sort of thing.

And, of course, the cleaning wars with the housekeeping staff.

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Summer and all that entails

I’ve walked the Kamogawa so many times now that every little change there catches my attention. There are regular birds that I spot in their normal places, and new families (ducklings!) that I realize are new with delight. I witness the building of the dining balconies every year as restaurants prepare for hot summer nights… and their removal when everyone wants to withdraw from the cold. There are pet owners that I look forward to spotting, some with animals that made me do a double-take the first time I saw them.

The other day, for the first time, I saw a snake in the river.

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Less nose-gazing (hana-mi), more flower-gaping (hanami)

Today was a beautiful one, with a high of 20 degrees Celsius. Walking along the street, I saw a parent and child coming up the opposite way. The child was blowing big, fat bubbles into the air, and the wind kept sweeping them back the way the child had come. Unfortunate for the child, but I got to enjoy the fruit of their labors–walking surrounded by bubbles that caught the afternoon light, reflecting the cherry blossoms in full bloom.

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