Dear Dazai (and my loyal readers of course!),
It’s Day Two and today there was less anxiousness going into it, a larger-than-necessary sense of achievement from yesterday‘s accomplishments. I’ve already done some of the things I’d promised to do, now moving forward there was less fear about what was to come.
I’ve made my daily chat to Eliza my organising time, she’s in the middle of being a madwoman and literally moving furniture around her small abode like a superhero, so she inspires me to greater things. I haven’t moved furniture, but I did manage to organise three drawers of DVDs today. Organising them into ones that I love too much to part with, and ones that can be given away. There’s now two bags of them, waiting to be found another home. Two bags that I can give to people who will enjoy them more than I do.
As I went to bed last night, I sat down and read two of the books that I’d left out for the week. Though I deliberately chose two that were not huge, one manga and one essay about the differences between Japanese and Western aesthetics. Both of them reminded me that a lot of what I like about Japanese literature is that it’s often beautifully understated (not always of course, but in this case, definitely). There’s no extra story, no words that don’t need to be there. It is what it is and the words that are there are carefully chosen for the impact that they’ll have. The manga was a simple tale about the year in the life of a woman and her cat, their existence together. It was heartwarming and sad, but ever so beautiful. The essay made me hunger for the Japanese aesthetic which is so rarely utilised here, for the beauty in such simplicity and age. So I heartily recommend both ‘She and Her Cat’ by Makoto Shinkai and Tsubasa Yamaguchi, and ‘In Praise of Shadows’ by Junichiro Tanizaki.
I also read an essay by Albert Camus, and was a little put off by the pretentious nature of 20th Century French literature, so far removed from the simplicity that I’d been embraced by. It talked about things that weren’t necessary, discussed academics that weren’t necessary and made itself out to be more than it was. It wasn’t that the concept was bad, in fact, given the world at the moment, the idea of creating art for a powerful statement is something that’s important, what isn’t important though, is the idea that you need to justify the need for it with pretentiousness and classicism. Perhaps I’m simply not a fan of Camus in his non-fiction form.
Beatrice is slowly being edited, this chapter is proving less arduous than the previous chapter. There’s less cringey phrases, and there’s more of the new heart of the story that I want to keep. Still I need to move faster if I want to have it finished by the end of the week. Also should anyone be interested I publish (infrequently) new chapters at sherlockholmesandotherexistentialcrises.wordpress.com
For my new work, whose working title is currently ‘Mae’, I’m feeling so excited about it. I’ve been so invested in getting to know my fairly large cast of characters and making them the people that are needed for this story. As of today, I’ve managed to nail down most of the info regarding the main cast, there’s still some characters that need some love, but they’re a little secondary, so I won’t mind coming back to them at a later stage, but tomorrow the tentative plan is to plot a little and if I’m feeling particularly brave, I’ll write something!
Finally, the moment I know you’ve all been waiting for: tea!
Today I moved from blue to green tea, specifically green tea from Japan. More specifically green tea from Sakurai in Tokyo. I started with their own blend of a genmaicha, it’s more savoury that what people would generally consider. This is because to offset the roasted flavour that comes from the rice, they’ve also added kombu, to give it a slightly salty edge. It’s definitely an acquired taste, I know a few people who’ve screwed up their nose at it, but I find it a good tea to start the day with, it’s robust with a nice golden edge to the green colour. The only thing I would say is that I probably didn’t let it brew long enough, I brewed it for three minutes, and next time I’d probably go for five to get more of that savoury tone from it.
The second tea is a sencha from Sakurai, it’s delicate and light, and could almost be mistaken for a gyokuro, given the smooth nature of it. The palate on it is exceedingly fresh and there’s that lovely grassy edge to it. It’s an easy tea to drink with no tannic quality to contend with, so it’s very smooth. Again, I would say that it might have benefitted from a longer brew time, it tastes more like it would if it was brewed in France than if it was brewed in Japan. I can’t complain too much, because it’s got a lovely jade colour in the tea bowl. I’m using one from Japan today, it’s a deep emerald on the outside, with fine blue decoration on the white porcelain inside. It’s a lovely cup to drink from because it allows the aroma to permeate the space about it, but the tea does cool quickly as a result.
I’m going to call it a night, and settle down to read another book after this.
Here’s to Day Three!