Levels of life

I managed to finish the book Levels of Life by Julian Barnes while taking my lunch break before the second half of my test. I enjoyed it and I was able to get into it enough so I didn’t have to worry about the two test directors that showed up just for me(I was the only one that was taking the test). Some quotes from the book that I scribbled down:

Perhaps the world progresses not by maturing, but by being in a permeant state of adolescence, of thrilled discovery.

So why do we constantly aspire to love? Because love is the meeting point of truth and magic. 

He could hear himself living.

We were together for thirty years. I was thirty-two when we met, sixty-two when she died. The heart of my life; the life of my heart.

It hurts exactly as much as its worth.

Perhaps grief, which destroys all patterns, destroys even more the belief any pattern exists.

There are two essential kinds of loneliness. That of not having found someone to love, and that of having been deprived of the one you did love. 

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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!

Can’t keep it in.

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When I have this feeling I feel like I can do anything.
When I have this feeling I want to flip the tables and forget about all of the phone calls. I don’t want to think about the 9 to 5s, the To-do lists, the bucket lists and the shopping lists. At times like these I am just excited and want to create. I don’t want to do anything else at times like these. I want to put all I have in my head, the good and the bad, and have it find its way to blank canvas before me. I want to be sucked into the raw act of art and forget where I am, who I am. I want to digest all of my daily experiences through sketches and through my lowly attempts at making the memories last. I want to show them to people and share them to further domino the effect.

I am just too excited now to keep it all in.

9:43

Open, close. It’s 9:43.
I hear the loudspeaker and see what I see.
The windows of the train holding all of those lives that are fleeting.

The girl with siren red hair, laughing. The old woman in the purple coat shivering. The suits going to their companies. The girl falling asleep on her knees.

They are all you, they are all me.

That was the train that left at 9:43.

To the boy sitting next to me

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To the university boy sitting next to me on the train yesterday:

Thank you so much for tapping me on the shoulder. Thank you so much for pulling out Google Translate to make an attempt to appreciate a stranger. Thank you so much for telling me about yourself. Thank you so much for letting me talk to you about my life. Thank you so much for wanting to meet again. Thank you so much for not being like the rest of the population. Thank you for giving me my favorite memory of the week.

I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of meeting you if I hadn’t missed my stop.

Again, thank you.

Nagano: First Findings

The following post will be on my adventure to the countryside of Japan: Nukuta, Nagano. It was a mini adventure that brought out a lot of demons, yet set me into a better direction of dealing with them. I loved the trip, and I hope you will enjoy my stories. There will be five posts in the series so stay tuned for the rest.


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My trip to Nagano was off to a dramatic start as I emerged into the pitch black rainy morning at 5:30 AM.
I am not used to getting up so early, so I found myself nodding off when I got on the platform. As I glanced up at the clock, I suddenly remembered that the magical hour will soon be approaching: The Businessman Rush Hour. Just as I had predicted, five minutes before the train pulled up, a flood of suits came rushing down the stairs. I never had any reason before to catch this train, so I was happy to have had the experience of squeezing myself into all of the people.

The trip to Nukuta Station was long. A whopping seven hours. During that time I mostly slept, but I also penciled down some thoughts I had while I was on the train.

As soon as I got off at Nukuta, Yoshida-san passed by in his car. I told him that I would call when I arrived at the station, but apparently it was not difficult to guess when I would arrive because only three trains pass through a day.

He was not how I expected him to be, in a good way! He was lanky and had a smile with a lot of expression in it. I did not know what kind of work I would be doing, but he explained to me that they were in the business of making houses for bees.
After doing a bit of work, he gave me a tour of his other gardens and of the neighborhood. Apparently only eight children attend the local middle school.
We very quickly got onto the topic of religion. He asked me a lot of questions about my beliefs.

“I just only realized at 45 that the only person you can change is yourself- no one else can do it for you”. He would quote himself over and over.

We arrived at the place I would call home for the next four days. It was interesting. It was a shack, but I liked it. There was no toilet in the house. Instead, you had to walk outside, down the hill for thirty seconds, and open up this metal box that looks like a locker and you will find the Japanese-style toilet waiting for you.
There also was no shower, but there was a bath (Also not inside the house).

If you would open up the plastic sliding door to the house, you would find the whole house cluttered with books, cooking utensils, blankets, and trinkets.

The hosts are both very sweet people. I will go on to explain their personalities little by little over the posts.
I found it hard to connect with them at the end of the first day, but I crossed my fingers and hoped that they would be glad that they decided to take me in. A stranger to their way of life.


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Prefecture Hopping

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I was very busy this day and ran all over Kansai.

I went to Kyoto in the morning to pick up a painting of mine.

Time Spent: 1 and 1/2 hours

I went to Nara after that pick up a study book for class that I had forgotten at my friends house:

Time Spent: 3 hours

I went back to Ikoma to go to class:

Time Spent: 1 hour

After class it was about 4 o’clock in the afternoon. I am whipped by this point but I still have energy and I prepare myself for the rest of the day!

After taking a shower I head off to Kobe to spend the evening with my family.

Time Spent: 2 hours.

It was a long day but a great day. I have never done so much prefecture hopping in my life. I managed to get a sketch done in Nara. *happy dance*

I will be going to Nagano from tomorrow to do some agriculture projects and I doubt that internet will be available. I hope to come back with a lot of stories to write about and share with all of you.

-Johnna