recentlies

Hey friends, it’s been such a long while! I can spend a bit of time online tonight as I won’t need to get up until later tomorrow, so I popped on to wordpress because I have been thinking about updating my blog for a while now. Then, I discovered the beginnings of this old post, from 9th February. It’s now the end of March! So please enjoy the beginnings of my old post and then after that, the start of my new post.

Early February 2015

Life has fallen again into its usual patterns here. I do the work thing in the first, main part of the week. On Saturday night after finishing work I usually crumble to cravings and go get an Indian takeaway. We used to have Indian takeaways every weekend back at home. In the second, smaller part of the week, I try to catch up with chores, study some Japanese, and attempt to negotiate a sort of social life, as much of a social life as possible for a shy, introverted type person like me.

The routine part is good, I suppose, although lately I’ve also been a little stressed about my job. This is mainly because I want to be the best I can be, and I want to deliver worthwhile and exciting lessons to my students so that they’ll enjoy themselves and want to come along. I want to give them something positive.

There are a few events and bits and pieces coming up at work and that’s exciting, because it keeps me busy and gives me new experiences, although I usually end up feeling nervous too.

Late March 2015

Brief weather update: we may have had the last snow of winter last week. We’ll see – my student said it could even snow in April. I have my fingers crossed because I don’t want to continue with using 5 blankets, onesie, jumper, tracksuit bottoms and a hot water bottle at night. Please hurry up, Spring! I’m looking forward to sakura.

Well, we’ve moved on quite a while from my last post. The events that I wrote were approaching… I can’t really remember what they even were. But, I suppose that means they must have been ok.

As for updates on things like my social life… I think that’s improved somewhat lately. I have gotten to know some friends a bit better and it is nice to feel a part of a group. Unfortunately though, a lot of people are leaving this Spring. Moving back to home countries, or getting jobs in different parts of Japan… I hope they have lots of fun and I wish them all the best. It was lovely to meet them and I hope I can meet them again. Still, more people are moving on soon! I will miss these people!

With the Indian takeaways… I have been trying to convince myself to stop having them for the sake of my health, but I continue. Although I hope I can call myself a little less indulgent than before. Recently I have been enjoying cooking and making weird salads. I have discovered how amazing avocado is and try to find a way to add it into any dish I make, but I am usually too impatient for it to ripen and end up eating weird, hard avocado slices.

I feel like my Japanese study is going well lately. Vocabulary and kanji are good and I have been able to maintain these reasonably well despite spending less time studying them (I want to catch up, though!). Grammar is a stumbling block. I know a lot of people think that immersion and memorisation of sentences is the best way to learn things… despite this, I still enjoy working through a text book and studying grammar. I still get the immersion bit from living within Japan. I do plan to start memorising sentences in the future though (a la AJATT.com), but not now. And that’s okay, because I’m not in any rush to reach N2 level.

Lastly, with art, I have been keeping up a sort of routine in that I usually try to get several hours solid drawing time in every Monday, my 2nd day off. It’s been pretty good. I have tons of ideas, however, yet when I come to execute them I feel confused and not sure how to proceed. The technical bits are ok, but just coming up with a meaningful composition is hard for me. Maybe I’m scared/intimidated, maybe I just don’t have it in me to do that kind of illustrative work – this is something I definitely fear. I should probably start with thumbnails first instead. Try different ways of starting out. Do you think that for some people it is just impossible to do something? Or is it possible to learn something that comes unnatural to oneself? Is this even unnatural to me or am I just lazy? Ok, less questions. I will just keep going and somehow try my best.

This weekend, I have an extra day off so perhaps I will either go explore a new town or I will use this time to super recharge myself, clean everything, catch up on studies and draw loads.

Recent Links

Portfolio: Yay, I finally updated my portfolio a little bit. My friend sent me a photo of the packaging I designed for him, so I uploaded it to my portfolio along with some recent sketches, and updated my description. If you have any tips about my portfolio (or actually, anything in particular) please let me know.

Tumblr: Since I mentioned that I’ve been keeping up with my art pretty well I thought it makes sense to remind you, my dear friends, this is my tumblr, where you can find all of my sketches.

James Victore’s Youtube: So I found out about this guy last year before I moved to Japan, watched his Skillshare videos, and watched loads of his Youtube videos too. He has even more now! So tonight I’m listening to even more! He’s funny, and very motivational for artists! Please listen and enjoy.

Thanks as always for reading. I hope you had fun. I am sorry there are no pictures in my Japan based blogs because I am tired and want to listen to videos now! If you want a picture-based experience of my life, I recommend just following my tumblr.

Elysia

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Settle

Dear friends,

I’ve been in Morioka for about a month now and since I managed to get hooked up to wifi at my apartment finally, I thought it would be a good time to write an update post. I can’t say this is going to be a very picture heavy post at all so I won’t be offended if you don’t stay to read this. But to those who want words and are happy trawling through my long ramblings, thank you for sticking with me! If you are looking for more pictures, less talking, I have posted some sketches I’ve done since arriving in Japan on my regular art tumblr. Also, if you turn your eyes to the left of the site there is my instagram feed. I haven’t posted many personal/Japan photos, just art.

So, this is three or so weeks on from my last post. I have been at work for four weeks and am mostly working independently now, which can be frightening, but I’m getting to grips with it a lot more now. I have a few difficult classes, and teach from age 2 to 90. My work is fairly varied and as I said before, the hours can be a bit weird as it’s a private language school.

I’ve been walking around the city a lot and finding my bearings over the last few weeks. I know where most of the useful places are now. For example, there’s a super shopping centre about an hour and a half’s walk from my house (or a 20 minute journey if I walk to the station and catch a bus). Inside there are lots of nice shops I’ve never heard of, plus Muji, Uniqlo, Baskin’ Robins ice cream and a Mexican themed shop with loads of lovely clothes and accessories. My friend and I also found some good cafes nearby plus a wonderful Italian restaurant.

mexican and/or central american inspired shop front. clothing store within a shopping mall

Mexican/Central American themed shop – sorry if I got the specifics wrong, I don’t know enough about the culture. But I would like to learn more and learn to speak Spanish ><

I still need to find out how to go to the doctors’ surgery if ill and how to get my teeth cleaned by the dentist as I didn’t have time to have a checkup etc. before flying off. I need to find the international centre too, because I’m in serious need of Japanese lessons. My Japanese is very patchy which is a pain, so I have borrowed a text book (Genki 2) from a colleague, but also want to get some lessons to speed up my learning.

I had a few problems with things not quite working in my apartment but I am slowly smoothing those out now. Hmm. I’m not sure what else to update on regarding everyday life…

Oh, lastly, there are several fabric shops around here which makes me feel very happy. The biggest one has a small section dedicated to needle felting, and I have wanted to give it a go for a very long time since my amazing friend inspired me. I managed to budget enough to be able to afford a small starter set this weekend, so I’ve been playing around. This is my first attempt. I found it pretty difficult and I get frustrated easily with craft – probably because I’m so messy but I really admire and want to make cute, clean work – however it was fun and I enjoyed watching the TV series Broad Church while making it. My next needle felt item will be a donut!

needle felt soft sculpture tiny loaf of bread. beige and cream

My attempted needle felted bread loaf.

Anyway, today is my day off (I get Sunday and Monday off) and I am finishing off this blog post and then have some letters to write. After that I just want to slack about now that I have internet, cook my dinner, etc. I started a drawing in my sketchbook which I’d like to finish. I’ll probably take a photo of it very soon for tumblr and instagram. It’s been difficult finding time/motivation to draw much, but I have managed to do a bit every day or two. I don’t have many materials here but I plan to get hold of some more pens and colours after I get paid.

I’m not sure what to say next, so until the next post, goodbye! Thanks so much for reading. If you have any questions about expat stuff or whatever please let me know in the comments.

E

post-exhibition

Hi all…

… so I thought I’d just borrow the photos off my instagram (let’s follow each other on instagram!) to show a little of the exhibition pieces I made. I will probably take a day next week to walk around the whole of the exhibition, taking photos, and then talk about some of my friends’ work and also some favourites too from people I don’t know so well.

If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll probably know that I worked on a project which involved drawing on lots of sheets of paper as well as completing two bigger drawings.

 So here are the two big drawings… I painted the frames white for the exhibition. The week before the exhibition, when I was framing the portrait drawing, I was putting the glass in and it got caught on part of the frame and shattered! That was very frustrating. I had to run to the framing shop in town to buy some more glass for £10 and run back to the school of art carrying the whole frame (heavy for me)… I’m very glad that the people at the framing shop were able to help me so quickly. In the end I was mostly quite happy with the way these pictures turned out, although one of them was mounted slightly to one side! It’s not noticeable to other people unless I point it out, fortunately. If you want, you can find better resolution images in my deviantART gallery.

As for the forty sheets of drawings, my friend helped me nail each sheet to the wall. Here’s some photos of me awkwardly sitting next to my work, hanging in progress, and complete. I thought it would take a LOT longer to put all my work up, but thanks to the help of friends it was all completed in one day.

So altogether for my exhibition I had forty pieces of paper with drawings on, two big framed drawings, and also a plinth with my digitally printed book. I had originally hoped to be able to sell my book at the exhibition, but as it was printed in full colour the production costs meant that it was unlikely to sell very much and also I did not have enough money to pre-order any! But anyway I suppose I am reasonably satisfied with having put up the exhibition. All the exhibitors, both undergraduate and post-graduate, are being assessed this week. Tomorrow I have my assessment at 10am, and several of us need to come in again on Thursday to be assessed by an external examiner.

Oh, I also wanted to share this photograph of a cute puppy who was present at the exhibition opening afternoon – I got to hold him!

 I’m not really sure why there was a puppy at the event but most people were pretty delighted to see this malamute-husky cross.

So, hopefully this week or next week I will be posting again with more photos of the exhibition – of other peoples’ artwork! I hope you all don’t mind my recent slack with posting. I realise that I have only done nine posts altogether since moving my blog over to wordpress. The infrequent posting is due to having been quite stressed out with the exhibition work, as well as working at the supermarket and maintaining a slightly pathetic social life along with that. After these two assessments on Wednesday and Thursday, plus having to print ten more etchings for a print exchange, my main focus over the three summer months will be to prepare for the final exhibition in September. I would like to say that, since we will not have any written assignments, I will be able to post more over summer, but we will see! I will try my best.

I also hope you all don’t mind the flat tone in which I write. I would really like to write with more emotion and flair but I am quite tired at the moment and you probably also know (from my work and writing) that I am prone to feeling bad for little reason at all, so that probably adds to it. Also I get a bit scared about revealing how I am actually feeling sometimes because family read my posts and I don’t want to worry them.

I suppose a good way to end this would be to briefly mention a few interesting and/or nice things that have happened over the past weeks.

  • Two people whom I lived with during the last academic year came to visit and see the exhibition. It was really nice to be reunited with them and I’m so glad that they liked my recent art too.
  • I met some new people while out celebrating the exhibition with my friends. One of them I had met briefly before. My good friend (one who visited) and I talked to this person for perhaps an hour or so and he was funny and we were amazed at how well he was able to talk about academic subjects while he seemed to be super inebriated.
  • My Japanese textbook arrived from white rabbit press in Japan. I’m looking forward to studying from it and I want to improve a whole lot more, because I still feel like a beginner!

I hope I can study lots over the summer and eventually progress to studying at roughly N3 level, a middle level of the Japanese language proficiency test. I don’t think I want to take any of the JLPT levels for a long time but I like to use it as a way for gauging what kind of grammar I should be learning.

I think it’s probably time to go now; I will likely walk home from the school of art after this, cook some food, maybe study, maybe play computer games (skyrim!) and plan for the next two weeks. As for plans for the next exhibition, I have a few but I’m not sure.

So, next time – photos of my friends’ work!

Good bye from Elysia