「耳をすませば」- more commonly known as Whisper of the Heart, is undoubtably one of my favourite Studio Ghibli films – or films of all time. I urge you to watch it this very moment if you haven’t seen it already.
I found the Cinema Comic book version in a Japanese bookstore today.
Am I being delusional? I asked myself as my eyes landed on the book. I couldn’t believe it.
Having the movie in a tangible format; pictures that I can touch and read over and over to my heart’s content: intimacy only the cordial words and illustrations of a book can offer, is quite honestly, the best thing.
I thought I would do a little series on this blog that may be somewhat helpful to those thinking of travelling to Japan, seeking to learn more about Japanese culture, or eager to learn Japanese!
Next month, I will be travelling to Hiroshima, Kyoto, Osaka and Nara with my friend for roughly two weeks. I will be documenting my travels on this blog, including recommendations and tips which, perhaps, could be useful for any of you plan to travel there! As a photography enthusiast, I will also be sure to post my photographs (taken with my trusty Nikon D7000 and my iPhone 6s).
Apart from that trip, I will be staying in Tokyo until June this year, and so I will be posting regularly (hopefully) on what I get up to!
Feeling slightly nauseated by the swaying metro carriage, I try to soothe my thoughts by listening to Ennio Morricone’s Love Theme over the pounding echo of the train’s movement. The overpowering moan of the wind and sound of small talk envelopes me.
Walking through the all-too-familiar streets of Akasaka, I try not to trip, or bump into a stranger as I type this note. The blurred, overcrowded shop signs overhead are what I see when I look skywards.
I decide to turn into a backroad, sick of the people walking absentmindedly in the street. I walk towards a small shrine and then turn left, and stop. I feel a small burst of elation when I come across a small alleyway which is most probably dismissed and ignored by the many onlookers that pass by.
Biting through rice and some sort of white fish wound with a thread of seaweed, the excruciatingly bitter and painful taste of wasabi crawls through my nose, and lingers.
Wound up in an unusual situation, I sit between two drunk people. Drowning in drunk slurs of attempted conversation, I try not to breathe too heavily – trying to avoid the sickly smell of alcohol and ill-fated conversations.
It’s currently 2:23am in Japan. And they’re playing Studio Ghibli music on the radio. And I think I’m in love.
It was beautiful. I had never thought that so much thought went into the art of tea.
Since I arrived in Japan last week, I have experienced so much, yet, I feel this was one of the experiences that really encapsulated the essence of traditional Japanese culture and authenticity.
As with most customs in Japan, deep thought is put into every step of almost anything you could think of. It is at times overwhelming, but extremely refreshing.
Here are some photos I took!
Taken with the Nikon D7000
2016 seems to have arrived unwaveringly, striding through the threshold of time without once looking back. But before beginning this year, I wanted to take time to thank 2015 for all the opportunities and new experiences it has given me; I am very grateful.
What would a new year be without slurs of resolutions and talks of new beginnings? Newly regimented exercise schemes that are never started, aims to study harder never really accomplished – the list goes on.
Everything comes gradually and at its appointed hour.
Above is a remark made by Ovid, a long time ago.
Instead of failed resolutions and disappointment, know that some things are destined and some are, well, not. Be patient and content and confident; the course of nature will find its way to you. I have been inspired by Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’, which I am in the process of finishing. It has given me hope – a mere fable, but a story so touching and profound. It has been a great start to the new year.
It’s odd to think that this new year really will mean a new adventure for me. I leave to Japan in early January: the beginning of my true gap year. I look forward to what fate has kindly predestined for me.
Olive trees and lemon trees were painted across a rustic landscape as I made my way to the secret garden. As I drove, the summer-coloured fruits of the many thousands of fruit-bearing trees streamed past my vision, like vivid dashes of watercolour on the pages of my sketchbook.
I really miss those views. Sometimes, I think that all I have left of them are old pictures and the paintings in my crumbled notebook that I took with me so often upon visiting.
When we arrived, I sat in my usual spot: under the aged, now withering grand olive tree. He had looked over me for almost two decades growing up. I dug out my sketchbook and started, as I always did.
I can never quite forget my last glimpse at him. There was a sense of betrayal. His impenetrable resistance to my attempt of conciliating his anger pained me.
As time went by, I had produced pages filled with oblong leaves, dotted with its ovular fruits. Splashes of rich green and yellow hues, and flecks of gold coalesced to create its form.
I one day wish to return there, to my secret garden. But for now, I will relive those moments through my drawings.
- Mediums used: watercolour, pencil
Reading Khaled Hosseini’s ‘And the Mountains Echoed’, I was reminded of the symbol of my childhood – my olive tree. It rests in my old countryside home in Sicily, and I wish to draw it once more.
“Out beyond ideas
of wrongdoing and right doing,
there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.” -Rumi