My Sketching Pilgrimage


It has been a while since I decided to make the pilgrimage up the mountain to the local temple. I’d have to say that living next to Hozanji has been one the biggest neglected treats that I am slowly learning to take advantage of.

After taking a few friends up on a mini tour to see the area yesterday evening, it reminded me of all the beauty Ikoma has to offer.

With some inspiration from the dinner guests yesterday, I decided that today I would spend a good chunk of time sitting and sketching something up there.

I wanted to pretend I was not in my area and forget about work and all of the things I make my brain think about these days.

Walking up the mountain is a workout in itself with steps leading all the way to Hozanji. Along the way you can find anything from hippie cafe’s to accessory shops, to my friends bar to tea houses. There are tons of hidden paths just waiting to be discovered.

I bowed at the gates to let the deities know I was going to be around for awhile. I entered and started to look around for something to draw. I couldn’t find anything that drew me in immediately, but I started a conversation with the old monk in the shop exchanging dirty ten yen coins for polished ones to offer to the gods. A question about the correct way to throw the coins into the box lead to a rant for an hour about the small differences between people who know how to pray and those who just go through the motions. In the middle of our conversation I got my sketchpad ready, and started to draw his post. I took breaks in between and he showed me pictures from him preforming the fire ceremony and images from when he first got purified to be a monk. Old, old photos of him struggling to stand under a waterfall in Kyoto, the strong current pushing him down to the rocks.

Making a long story short, I got a few history lessons while sketching in a temple in Ikoma, Japan. I finished off the day with frozen fingers, a relaxed mind, and delectable tea.

There are a lot of lessons that can be learned from the temple, but also many I learned on the way home from the chill feline who has nothing better to do than lay around and love on visitors that stop by for a pat. Today really was a treat, in more ways than one.



What I did today



So today I went off my usual schedule and attempted to practice more on my Wacom. It was such a good day though and it just made me realize how much I love being at home and not having a set schedule. I have only my homeschool upbringing to blame for that I suppose :O

Will try to practice more like these! It was really fun.

London, Lists, Lines



I have returned from London and I feel like I am still getting in the swing of things. When I say swing of things, I mean slowly preparing myself for going back to work. I love working and working hard, but there gets to be a point when the boredom at certain jobs can reach such a level of dullness, it starts to become painful. Wording it like that sounds horrible, but it some positions just don’t work for certain people.

What was a blast was some observations and sketches I made while I was visiting London. I will keep a few to myself, hidden in my notebook only available to those who come by for a coffee. Five for you.


  1. The toilets are square.Who has a square ass? 
  2. There is a lot of brick. Everywhere. I have never seen so much brick in my life.
  3. The “Tube” is literally the shape of a tube of toothpaste. 
  4. In London, shops look like Ikea. The whole city is a cute hallmark card.
  5. All museums are free. Sold me on the country. 

In 10 years

I constantly stumble across these little poems that I wrote when I was younger. Makes me think that I might have to up my game and compete with my younger self. When I was thirteen, I had this giant notebook filled with stickers, poems, lists, anything that I felt like writing. That is where I pulled the mini poem below from. It’s amazing how much my thinking has changed.

“In 10 Years”

In 10 years all of these things will pass
All of the hurt and the confusion
Will be all gone and won’t last

In 10 years I’ll wish I knew what I knew now
I’ll have so many regrets
Just because at the time I didn’t know how

In 10 years I’ll wonder why I made such a big deal
About things that never could matter
Instead of things that are real

In 10 years I’ll still be the same person at heart
My hopes and wishes might change
But can’t go back to the start

In 10 years God will still be the same
Yesterday today and forever
He’ll be with me through the pain

Japan Sketch Auction: Friends Curry Shop

I will be posting new artwork regularly and will be up for sale 🙂
If anyone happens to be interested, please bid on the Instagram page!

Customer Service Q&A. My twin answers my questions.

Lately I find myself fascinated with customer service and how to improve my own performance when it comes to dealing with customers and the people that we are around everyday.

So I turned to my sister this afternoon and I sat her down for a quick question and answer session to see what she thought about customer service.

My sister, Reylia Slaby, is a professional photographer who has quite an impressive resume’. She also helps out at a restaurant in down-town Osaka called Bistro New Orleans. Because of her current situation in having to build relationships with people daily, I thought she would be a good person to start off this mini series with.

12047394_10153115180100778_1509823996_nHi Reylia. Have a sit and let me ask you a few questions. Are there some things that you have done that can fall within the realm of customer service?

I have my own photography business, and I also do a bit of restaurant work. Seeing how customer service works in my own photography business is a bit more subtle, but in the restaurant it is obvious how it comes into play.

Is there anything that you have learned at the restaurant when it comes to dealing with a customer?

Because customer service is so emphasized in Japan, there aren’t too many things I’ve learned yet that I didn’t know before starting. Things like presentation, packaging, and the rhythm of the work were new skills that I learned, but when it comes to customer service I feel like there are things that are just a given. It’s obvious what good service is.

When it comes to the customers, what are some thoughts that you have while working?

I want people to feel comfortable, relaxed, and to have a good time. I want people to have good memories in the restaurant.

Is it difficult to be genuine in a job where you go through the same patterns each day?

I think you can be bored, tired or rundown, but the workers can still be genuine even if the job becomes routine. Customer service works in other directions too. It’s about making people feel good. It’s not limited to the customers either, but the workers in those jobs also have to feel well-treated as respected. It’s all about creating an atmosphere of harmony.

People wonder why service can below par these days, but one culprit I believe is that the inner workings and philosophies of the companies are negative and quite possibly corrupt. So many companies these days don’t value a healthy working ethic, and settle to hire those whose work performance they know to be lazy or poor.

It’s also important to cultivate kindness in the workspace. Everyone should give encouragement.
It’s a shame that we have this idea that we can’t have friends at work or we can’t be friends with our bosses. I don’t think that working hierarchy should exist.

Changing the topic slightly, but what do you think about the company Buffer?

It sounds amazing and like something you would be good at. I believe that you do cultivate good feelings and the person across from you feels cared for.

Do you think their transparency policy helps?

It helps a lot. It’s hard to be honest, especially for a company. In fact, its almost impossible for a company to be 100% honest these days. So I give them tops.

What do you think I personally need to work on?

You are good at diving into something and giving it your whole heart. But, once you’ve reached where you believe to be the top, you move to something different. If it doesn’t continue to satisfy or fulfill you, you move on to other things that will. I believe that this trait can be used to a companies advantage, although.

What is one quote that comes to your head right now? Any quote related or non-related is fine!

Very unrelated, but one quote I like these days is that “Art is not a healer, it’s an x-ray that helps you to understand pain.”