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.



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

The Train Stories: No Sleep

photo-120“There is no sleep in this life” is what I wrote next to this image that I drew sometime back. We are constantly moving. Constantly changing. Constantly trying to better ourselves while failing twice as much.  Today I came across two quotes that stood out to me.  One from the movie, “The Chosen”. A beautiful movie. In the film, the father is working hard on his project,  and his son wants him to rest. With that, the father replies, “Only a life of meaning is worthy of rest”. That hit me. He is pushing himself to the limit and fighting for what he believes in. What does my life mean? I am here complaining about things with no depth while I could be working harder. Along with that quote I found one by Leonardo Da Vinci: ” I have offended God and mankind because my work didn’t reach the quality it should have”. With those two stuck in my head, I feel ashamed. It is too easy for me to slack off and not do anything. I can only hope that someday I will be worthy of my rest.

How to draw..beautiful

I wrote this in Bali when I was feeling *ahem* exceptionally grateful. The following is a lot of random sentences and a lot of venting. I thought it was funny though because of the slightly contrasting themes of the whole paragraph and the very last sentence. We all have someone to thank or things to be thankful for. What good things happened to you today?

photo 2-8

How to draw… you say…. beautiful?

You can learn to draw pretty by staring at pretty things of long periods at a time.Maybe by even letting them happen. Some awesome things I’ll just list: Met a guy named Theo at the coffee shop. Made friends with two cool Israeli girls. Had lunch at the synagogue. Drank Starbucks. I feel like this trip has been turing out very beautifully, and I have the Fukadas and the people I met to thank. Not to mention God who plays and pulls the strings for me.
But I think I am tipsy now.

The Train Stories: What the Gods dropped


We stand in awe of this thing called music.

It is so familiar to us yet so foreign.

Like it should not belong here on this earth.

It isn’t of this earth and it seems we were not meant to receive it.

The Gods dropped it here by accident and we would not let them have it back since.

The Gods can’t have all of the fun.

I almost died this morning.

I almost died this morning. I might be exaggerating when I say that because you can not predict freak accidents, but it could have very well happened.

I woke up early- tired yet pumped, and decided to chop down the forrest that had grown in my backyard while I was away on vacation. For a good portion of the morning, I had managed to get a lot done with my hand-held grass cutter. I was pleased that I had been able to finish the front of the house and beamed at the job I had done, when I noticed I had missed a spot. My mind decided that my body still had a bit of juice left and went back to chopping.

Now, what you have to know is that the front of the house and the back are on different slopes with stairs connecting the two sections. Tired, hungry, and clumsy being not the best of combos, I fell off of those steps with the knife in my hand and nearly landed on top of it- sharp end up. It happened so fast and I had no time to think.

Words cannot express how grateful I was as I emerged from the bushes to discover that I had but a few scrapes. I shivered the rest of the morning when I started thinking about the multiple ways it could have gone down. I did not like where my mind wandered, but I decided that it will defiantly be helpful for future reference.

As I write this I hear an ambulance in the background, and I thank GOD that it was not me in there this morning. I am so fortunate that I have a chance everyday to explore and to live.

Ending on a more realistic note: I swear that I will be more careful when I am holding sharp objects.

Shake the box

On the way home from swimming at a lake, a tired girl had an Itouch rant:

I told my sister on our way home yesterday that I was feeling like I was void of emotion. At my core, I have always been more of a listener and not a talker. With guesswork, I can bet my two cents that the homeschooling background and the fact that we were born and raised in Japan made me more sensitive yet indifferent to issues that required serious thought.

I feel extremely blessed to have been brought up in the way that I was, but at the at the same time, something is off. Something is missing. I don’t know if it is just some pathetic plea for attention, but I am hoping that the void can be filled somehow.

I brushed off negative emotions because I thought they made me weak. It is difficult to listen to myself and easy to dismiss pessimistic feelings. There are times when I force myself to be happy because I believed that that is what would make me feel accepted. My default is happy, but there are times when I do want to be alone. 

Amongst all of the mixed feelings, there is a lot of gratefulness. I am grateful for friends I can be genuine with. I am grateful for hobbies that I feel like I don’t have to stress out doing. I grateful that I have God always watching over me even though I have been neglecting Him so much. I am grateful for the happiness I get just before I take a bite out of something delicious.

It is late, so that is probably why my emotions are on a high now, but it is organic and I am glad for that.

At the end of a blogpost, I usually wrap it up with a simple conclusion and we are all on our way; in real life, there is never a conclusion. We want things packaged up all nice and presented to us in a way that is easy to understand. But it is the question marks in life that are interesting. It is the unanswered questions make us want to shake that box.