Challenge: Day Four

Dear Dazai (and those of you who’ve been checking in!),

Today has been quite different from the other days, I’ve been a bit less motivated today than I have been in the past couple of days and I’ve been a little bit laser focused today, which has meant that the big picture of the day got lost a little. So as a result there are a few things today that didn’t get done as I would have liked.

First and foremost, given I have been ahead in my organising and well aware of this, today again I left that out of the things that I did. Knowing that I only have one more drawer or shelf to organise and knowing I have three days with which to do it, has made it a less urgent than I had considered it. So I’m going to up it a little for the last three days. I want to ensure that my shelves in my bedroom are totally organised by the end of the weekend. There’s not that many left to do and if I can finish an extra drawer in my wardrobe I’ll be pleased.

Secondly, I didn’t get around to editing Beatrice today. I was so focused on Mae, that I couldn’t put my mind to editing Beatrice and I knew that if I did anything with it today that I wouldn’t be happy with it. So I’m going to get my skates on and make sure that there’s a new chapter up on Sunday!

This has meant all the focus on Mae, which means that I’ve progressed a lot faster with it than I was imagining, even with adding in the daily time devoted to it. This evening it has been the sole focus of everything that I’ve been doing, so there’s been more than two hours devoted to it, but this is good. Really good. It now means that I have the first two chapters written (as written as a first draft ever is) and I have some definite ideas about where I want some of the main plot elements to go. Honestly I know I keep talking about this, and if I’m brave I might let you have a peek, but this has made me so happy working on it and I hope that it’s going to be as wonderful as I confidently think it is at this very early stage.

(Props to Eliza, who described reading part of it with ‘I’m just gunna die laughing in a corner now’ which is exactly the reaction I was hoping for!)

I did make time last night before I went to sleep to read Simon Armitage’s ‘The Unaccompanied’ which isn’t my favourite work of his, that title will always go to his translation of ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’. While he’s an excellent wordsmith, and this is particularly true when looking at his translations, I find sometimes that his original poetry sometimes loses some focus, having said that, I was particularly fond of the ‘Ode to Poundland’ as I find he shines when there’s a level of absurdity to his work. One of my favourite original pieces of his is one story about an graverobbing expedition with Richard Dawkins. I suspect also that I would have liked this more had I not read ‘the princess saves herself at the end’ which is still lingering in my soul.

Finally onto my teas for the day. After the disappointment about the white tea last night I have moved away from white tea for the moment, I have of Scottish ones that I want to try again but I might save them for a day when I can share them with someone. So today I went back to my two current favourites, blue and green tea.

The blue I was drinking is one I received in a lucky bag from Mariage Frères in Tokyo, so it wasn’t one I ordinarily would have bought for myself, but I think I would have missed out had I not had it unknowingly thrust upon me. It’s described as having an amber note with a softness of pea flowers, but when I drink it, it’s the amber note that really shines. It gives it an almost woody flavour without being overbearing on the tea itself. It’s rich and polished and I savoured every drop.

The green tea I chose to drink was a sencha, that I will admit I bought purely for the name ‘Genji Monogatari’ or ‘The Tale of Genji’, which is widely considered to be the first novel ever written and a favourite story of mine. When I was in Uji, which is the home of Murasaki Shikibu and also of very fine green tea, I stopped in one of the many shops that sold green tea and bought this and a gyokuro. I’ve struggled a bit since I bought them and I’ve had to teach myself the kanji for each tea so I know which is which when I go to prepare them. For a green tea, it borders on a richer flavour than sencha is generally known for, there’s more of that taste of leaves and fresh cut grass that is normally associated with gyokuro. I would suggest that perhaps it wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste, there’s a strong umami associated with it that’s common in Japanese tea, and I know for some that can be quite off-putting but what I was longing for yesterday. It’s a very fine tea and I’m very glad I bought it, if only for the name.

I’m so pleased that I decided to do this, because it’s given me a real sense of accomplishment and it was something I didn’t know I needed as much as I did.

Onto Day 5!


(Also fun fact for the day- My cat Sai got his name from Fujiwara no Sai, a fictional character, named for one of the ruling families of Japan. The picture today is of Byodoin Temple which was built by the Fujiwara family in Uji.)


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