Closing the day

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I learned the importance of a ten yen today. Every little bit counts. Yesterday I forgot to ask my sister for some extra change, and I found myself standing infront of the ticket machine face-palming myself. I was the only teacher for today’s activity, it would have been really unfortunate had I not had that extra bit of money to get on the train.

Every month the school puts one of the teachers I charge to teach an activity. The theme for each month changes, and this month is all about food.
Though I have been at my present job for a little over three years now, my nerves never fail to take over me and I dread the activity day.
I am happy to report that it all went well as I knew deep down it would. I don’t know why I keep reverting back to worry even though I am familiar with it enough to have confidence. I wonder if I will wake up someday and be fine with it all.

With a book that I recently got in the mail from a friend in my bag, and my hair up and out of my eyes, I am happy. I am happy to look around and breathe in the crisp air. I am closing my day with people watching at the station and dinner with a friend.

The Train Stories: Dreadlock Man

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The guy with the dreads has it all figured out.

He doesn’t stress out about what people think

of him or the radiation that he is getting from his phone.

 He had insecurities but kicked them to the curb.

He put fear into his pocket and never let it come out again.

Now he is not afraid to ask. Not afraid to try.

Not afraid to work hard- because life is just

 more fun that way.

Good going Dreadlock Man

Flee love and it will follow thee

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The Japanese have a way with words. What would this mean for you?


Longer than 10 minutes

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The day went by quickly. I wanted to hold on to the minutes and the hours, but it flashed by. I spent the day watching the gardener I had I hired chopping down the jungle that I could not tame. It was amazing to see the difference at the end of the day.

I had a lot of things on my To-Do list, but it was hard for me to get into a good rhythm. I sketched for ten minutes then got bored. I read for five minutes then I moved to studying. After a few pages I remembered someone I had to email. Why couldn’t I get anything done?

The gardener finished his job at sunset. I stared at it from the balcony with the reds and the blues mixing in the sky and sighed a happy sigh. The job was finished. I counted the hours that he had worked: 9 1/2 hours straight. Him focusing on one project for that long inspired and saddened me. Could I focus like he had?

I promise I will study longer than ten minutes tomorrow.

I just love this place.

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A great many exciting things happened this week. We welcomed a new addition to the family: a heater. We were growing in desperate need of one because the temperature here in Japan had suddenly dropped.
With a lot more reasons to stay inside, I have been thinking and slowing down a bit more. I am still sick and I love these lazy days where I stay in and drink tea all evening.
Yesterday, I visited the organic cafe’ in my area for the fourth time this week. I feel as if I could go there every day and not get tired of it. You would feel the same way I am sure.
I will list some reasons why, and if any of you have a place similar to this, please let me know.

1. The music is different each time I go. The woman in charge plays the same artist throughout the day, but a different artist and genre everyday.

1. The atmosphere is cute and cozy. The seats are all different with the only thing in common being that they are all comfortable. The lighting is good and doesn’t strain your eyes.

1. It is close to the station and from my house it takes less than ten minutes to walk. I just walk down the hill and I am there

1. Don’t get me started on the food. She changes up the menu everyday. Mutsumi serves mostly organic and vegetarian meals with a plethora of tastes and spices to please the palate. When you come in the smell of the ingredients hits your nose right away.

1. Though Mutsumi is friendly and always has a smile on when I come in, she gives me my space when I do my reading or projects. Welcoming, yet distant in a good way.

I just love this place. If anyone happens to be in Nara, Japan I would highly recommend it.


I felt alive

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Gaze into the fire, into the clouds, and as soon as the inner voices begin to speak, surrender to them.

This was one of the lines that stood out to me as I read Demian in my favorite organic cafe by the station. Today could have gone down so much differently than it had. I would have woken up, gone to class, wave to the guard at the supermarket, arrive at work, make small talk for five hours , and come back home at 7:00 pm as usual. Every work day is predictable. It would have been the same Thursday, except that I ended up not going to work. The cold weather and the coughs from the people on the train finally caught up with me and I came down with a cold.
It has been awhile since I took a sick day. I tend to be more productive on days that I take off rather than days that I have off.

This morning I did some cleaning, and in the afternoon I went out to draw.
With some walking around, I passed a restaurant with the door to the kitchen wide open. I saw the cooks hard at work, making dishes and washing dishes.  I was standing outside looking at them for ten minutes wondering if I should go and ask if it would be okay to draw. Finally after mustering up the courage, I explained that I sketch as a hobby, and wondered if I could draw the kitchen. They agreed and I thanked them. The unfortunate thing was that when I sat down, I realized that I had forgotten my watercolor paper. I dug in my bag and there was nothing I could use except the back of a notebook. It turned out to be a blessing I disguise. I was pleased that the universe pushed me to try something new and break out of my tight shell a little bit.

As I was sketching, one of the workers came out and got a peek of what I had sketched. He seemed pleased and went back inside. A second time, he came out with some hot tea. “It’s cold out here, isn’t it?” And went back in.
That man made the drawing experience so much more of a joy. He came out about three more times to make small talk and showed me a lot of kindness that made my week.

A lot of elderly gentleman who were getting ready to hike up the mountain also introduced themselves. As serendipity had planned it, they were also sketchers and invited me along with them to their next sketching event.
If only everyday could be like these. I was sick and I was exhausted by the time I got home, but I felt alive.

Today, I ended up not going to work. Instead I find myself at my favorite cafe at the end of the day listening to my favorite kind if music and reading my favorite kind of book.

Outings with myself

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A Ramen shop for me this evening! When I entered the local shop, three chefs were standing with their arms crossed behind their backs just waiting for someone to walk in.I tried this place before, but this will be the first time I came to relax and sketch, which became more difficult after the smokers came in. After the smoke subsided, I got back to my drawing. This was the kind of place people go to on their way home. Everyone wore suits and no one made small-talk. No one seemed to be on friendly terms with the workers. The unspoken agreement of “We are all tired and I’m only here to eat” was palpable. I am starting to enjoy these outings with myself more and more.

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