Emily By Novala Takemoto A collection of Gothic Lolita stories

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Emily By Novala Takemoto Published 05.08.16

I love short story collections at the moment I can’t get enough of them, from Zoo by Otsuichi to The Color Master By Aimee Bender (as reviewed by Wandering words)  I find short story collections hold so much potential to surprise you and open your reading journey up to weird and wonderful things which you might not get from a full novel. So when I came Across Emily, Another Japanese short story collection, on NetGalley, I just had to request to read it.  Emily is only the name of one of the stories in this collection, the others are  “Corset” and “Readymade” so, lets read the description and

description: A lonely high school girl finds nowhere she feels at ease, so every day she visits a famous shopping mall in downtown Tokyo, wearing the only clothes she can relate to, Emily Temple cute, a Lolita designer’s brand. After school she hangs out in front of the Emily Temple cute shop, identifying herself with that brand. Then she meets another lonely soul, clad in another designer’s brand. But this turns out not just to be an ordinary boy-meets-girl relationship. Both kids have their own miseries. They might look like quintessential Japanese Otaku nerds, but they’re only too human. Their awkward friendship builds as they each suffer from bullying and harassment, as well as worry about their futures.

The First story in the book is called Readymade, it is about the relationship between to office workers, it is written as an internal monologue of the female character, who is in love with the male character, although he seems to have a hard and cold demeanor. it is short but shows love from one side, the male’s motives, well, I will leave you to make that decision for your self. is he just as cruel and cold hearted as his outer shell shows, is there more beneath the surface. is the girl just obsessed, unable to look past any flaw. Is this love or infatuation. these are all questions that this story has left lingering in my mind.

The second story is called Corset, now this is a very difficult story to read, It is talking about suicide in different ways, first of all a suicide pact that only one person went through with, the guilt that the other person has to live with, Longing for someone who is at peace with themselves, only to find that they too are trapped with loneliness. Although I was not as Keen on this story there was a quote that stood out to me which kind of illustrates the whole theme of this story “The act of living means being restricted”  Depression and suicide is a difficult subject to write about in the first place but the author does well writing about such difficult subjects the way they are approached is diffrent to other stories I have seen about the subject. and I wonder if this is due to a difference in social and cultural norms between western societies ideologies about suicide and death and Japanese Ideologies about Suicide and death.

The Third story, holds the name of the book “Emily” Is about social outcast-ness this was the hardest of all three of the stories to read, (Trigger warning: Sexual abuse) mostly because of the topics that it deals with, the main character has a flash back of her being sexually abused while working for a children’s TV show, the other Character is Gay and is bullied for being gay and is also manipulated in a sexual way this story left me feeling sick and anxious for a while afterwards, this is not what I had expected from the story at all.

Although the last story was incredibly difficult to read it did fit in well with the theme of this collection of short stories. all the stories are well written and the writer has a way of opening the reader up to read about these hard hitting topics. Although the stories were difficult reading I would still recommend this book to those of you who are willing to explore these topics, if these topics are upsetting or triggering to you I would not recommend that you read these stories as they do hit home hard.

over all I feel that this story deserves a 4 out of 5 stars as the stories are well written and it was definitely an interesting collection of stories

 

 

 

The preparation of a year abroad.

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Year abroad, they say , is going to be the most exciting fun time of your life. I can belive that, after all the excitement of moving to a new country for a whole year, new friends, new places, new memories, Yeah it is going to be something pretty special ~ what they don’t tell you is how stressful getting prepared for a year abroad can be ( now this is based on my experiences on getting ready for going out to japan as part of my university programs, but I am sure some elements will be applicable to people on gap years or going on working Visa holidays)

The clock is now ticking down rapidly and within the next month I will be touching down onto Japanese soil. I have my suitcase and a mountain the size of mount fuji to pack – how on earth am I going to take everything that I need for the year in one suitcase. something you need to consider is what is the climit going to be like when you get to wear you are going, the area of Japan I am going to is known for being hot and humid, but cooler in the winter months, to about the temperature of a normal british winter – this means I am prioritising cool clothes, things that are light and comfortable for when that hot weather hits me I am going to melt like an ice cream. I am only packing a couple of winter things, Two thick Jumpers, a light weight style jumper ( i will pick up a hat and scarf while I am in Japan)  most of my clothes are going to be versatile all year round, leggings, t-shirts, skirts and dresses that are all suitable to be layered up when the weather gets colder but also gives me a varsity of things to wear. My major problem is shoes.  I have large feet (UK8) so buying shoes in japan where a UK6 is usually the biggest size stocked for girls could be difficult.
(Pro tip: Look up what your size is in the country you are going to different countries have diffrent sizing numbers in japan shoes are done in CM Diagonally across the  foot from big toe to heel and I am about  27cm)
Until i get to Japan it will hard to tell if I can acquire my shoe size but reports from other bloggers make out that it is difficult. so Shoes are going to be a main bulk of my luggage.

There are other things you need to consider, are you taking electronics, can they go in Hand luggage or do they have to be checked in,  ( when you do pack them in hand luggage make sure they are accessible and charged, as they will have to be taken out of your bag to go through the scanner if they think that your electronics are suspect they may require you to switch them on to show them that they are okay. not to mention, the text books I need to take ( have you ever seen the size of a Kanji dictionary they are huge!)  and of course those few home comforts and a couple of little gifts for your new friends/ host family/ language partner. Make lists and tick everything off as you pack it, you don’t want to be half way to the airport to realise that you forgot to pack the one thing you really need

for those of you who are going to Japan for a long period of time you will know that you require a certificate of eligibility (CoE) for certain Visa’s I am still waiting on mine to arrive so that I can go get my Visa. It is due any day now, and the waiting is so stressful ( Sundays are the worst – no post on sundays)  As soon as I have the CoE I can go get my Visa.  different countries will have diffrent Visa requirements Make sure that you have checked what you need to do for your year abroad)

Now I Have taken a risk~ Our Uni told us not to book our flights before the CoE Arrived as it can take a little while to get your visa and if you don’t have your visa in time you can’t go on your flights however I found an amazing price for a flight landing on the days told to me by my Japanese Uni that I should arrive ( so everything should come in time) . The price of the flight was too good to miss out on – after all being a student money is tight and flight tickets to Japan don’t come cheep.
so I have taken a risk, and am praying that I made the right choice and that it will all work out okay. ( each day that passes I am increasingly more anxious about it arriving) But I have faith that it will all arrive in time. so in this instance maybe don’t do as I have done, unless you are confident that you can get everything sorted out in time. but I am being honest with you because there is no point me preaching “don’t book your flights till you get the CoE” when I have done the complete opposite – do what feels right for you and I hold no liability for your own actions.
(Pro tip – Make sure you passport will remain valid for the entire year abroad – some Visa’s will have different requirements for how much validity will be needed on your passport)

So to summarise, I have a suitcase to pack, forms to fill in and a Visa to get and the day I leave is getting closer and closer ~ Japan I may be disorganised but I hope you are ready for me because I am coming your way really soon.

( If you want to take a year abroad in japan and it isn’t part of your University degree, all hope is not lost, you still have a few options.

If you have a degree in any subject  there is the JET program where you can live and work in Japan for a year applications open in October I belive  to go out to japan in the summer of 2017

There is also a working Holiday visa depending on which country you are in you can apply for a 1 year long holiday visa which gives you a permit to work in japan to fund your trip  – I have a friend who went to japan using this method and had a very good experience.

Of course if you are at university you can see if your university offers a Year abroad option.

But if you wanted to go for a shorter period a large amount of countries are able to enter Japan for up to 90 days without having to apply for a Visa ~ I did this a year ago  it is very straight forward – providing you are from one of the eligible countries you can just fly to japan and they will stamp your passport on arrival )

Oh Joy Sex Toy Comic Volume 3- Reveiw

Now, those of you who are easily offended by sex, or anything related to it you may just want to close your web browser / Mobile app down now as the following review under cut bellow contains talk of sex, sex toys, sexual education and other such things  due to this posts nature, it is also NSFW (not safe for work) Unless maybe you are a dominatrix . so read on at your own digression

Little’uns avert your eyes, this Comic is not for you ~

Oh Joy Sex toy, is a comic written by a couple the comics are available to read online, this link is also NSFW (Here ) they review sex toys and explore and aim to educate about different forms of Sexuality and different sexual preferences. it is a light hearted comic  and is ment to be taken lightheartedly.  If you don’t want to know any more about this comic, you can stop reading this post now.  but if you want to delve deeper into this world, keep on reading

The review is under the undercut,   view at your own digression  again, this is not safe for work and I can not be held responsable if you do keep reading while at work and get into trouble ;) you have been warned.

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The Japan Diaries: Wanderlust Special

This post was first featured on Wandering Words for her Wanderlust Week that runs annually in the first week of August. It is a week of travel related posts and you can also submit your own travel adventures to be featured on her site!

I am currently In the run up to starting my Year abroad in Japan, so watch this space for new comics soon

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Words And Geeks Bookclub: August First Impressions

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Wow, you know I must be tired when I forget to even tag my post (this is referring to the review for One last night) this is a reminder folks don’t blog while sleep deprived. So august is here, and that means two things. One That means I fly out to Japan next month and that is terrifying, watch this space for more Japan diary comics and musings, and secondly ( more importantly) it is time for the start of another Words and Geeks book club. This month we are looking at Norwegian wood By Haruki Murakami. Now I really can’t claim to be a good student of Japanese having never read a Murakami book now can I?

murkami.jpgMurakami is known to be one of Japan’s most popular Authors world-wide, his books have been translated into 50 different languages, and if something gets lost in translation, then Murkami’s books must have been out of this world in the original Japanese language. Now, my japanese skills aren’t quite high enough to be reading a novel of this caliber, ( although I would love to read the original japanese text one day) and so Like Emma and anyone else joining us I will be reading along in English, but feel free to read along in any of the 50 languages that suit you – it would be exciting to compare notes.  so shall we take a look at what Norwegian wood is all about  here is the blurb.

When he hears her favourite Beatles song, Toru Watanabe recalls his first love Naoko, the girlfriend of his best friend Kizuki. Immediately he is transported back almost twenty years to his student days in Tokyo, adrift in a world of uneasy friendships, casual sex, passion, loss and desire – to a time when an impetuous young woman called Midori marches into his life and he has to choose between the future and the past.

unlike a lot of books we have read for  words and geeks, this book is venturing outside of the world of YA books a slightly more adult sounding read even if it is about a world of casual sex in the teenage years, It will be interesting to get another perspective upon these teenage/ young adult themes from an ‘adult’ book

from the first lines we already get a sense of the tone of narration:

I was 37 then, strapped in my seat as the huge 747 plunged through
dense cloud cover on approach to Hamburg airport. Cold November
rains drenched the earth, lending everything the gloomy air of a
Flemish landscape: the ground crew in waterproofs, a flag atop a squat
airport building, a BMW bill
board. So-Germany again.
I feel that the book is going to have an amusing tone, ( this made me laugh just from the way that he described landing in germany, however, it does hold a sadness too, the gloomy air, and pathetic fallacy, feels like the setting the tone for the book over all. humours, but drenched in sadness Already. I am wanting to know, why germany, why again, why do I get the feeling that this place is unsettling for Watanabe ( A quick note, if none of you have read a japanese novel or no nothing about Japan, often the surname is used to address people unless you are close, so our main character will be refered to by Watanabe his surname or Toru by close friends and family members – just to spare you any confusion)
The cove gives the book a rather eerie feeling and I wonder how this will carry on through the book, the blurb suggests that Watanabe has to choose between the future and the past. a theme which is often filled with difficult topics and/or feelings.
I am looking forward to finally reading a Murakami book does this make me a fully fledged  Japanese student now?
Head over to Wandering words to see what Emma’s first Impressions of Norwegian wood by Murakami are and as always, Leave a comment and let me know what you think of it in the comments.

Words and Geeks Book club :July Reveiw

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This book. Yes, this book right here has skyrocketed its way up my list of my favourite books. This month Words and Geeks Book Club was reading One by Sarah Crossan. and it was something special. from the way the book was presented in poetry style verses, to the characterisation and the themes that the book dealt with all came together to make this book something I would love to read again and again.

 

One

One was a very quick read, I read it in a day, and it was not put-downable, I had to keep going to find out what was going on in the lives of conjoined twins Grace and Tippi. the story was emotional beautifully written, for those of you who didn’t read the introduction post on the 1st of July or if you haven’t read along this month here is the blurb for you to get a little bit of a taster

Grace and Tippi don’t like being stared and sneered at, but they’re used to it. They’re conjoined twins – united in blood and bone. What they want is to be looked at in turn, like they truly are two people. They want real friends. And what about love?

this book covers all the bases, the usual teenage difficulties, and sisterhood issues, but also looks at the medical difficulties and the personality difficulties that the girl face, the story is well paced never dragging and leaving you with all sorts of emotions. the story is told from only one of the twins point of view, and I think that this works really well, you can see how the actions of her sister are affecting her and how she struggles with the choices that they have to make.

This book has moved me in a way that I haven’t seen in a long time, for me this book is a 5 star over and over again.  I can not sing this books praises highly enough.

but if you want a second opinion head over to Wandering words and see how Emma got on with this book

30 Days of confidence – Time for a catch up

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Hi Everyone, How are you enjoying your summer and our 30 days of confidence challenge,
I haven’t posted for a little while so I thought I would give you all an update of what I have been up to and how this challenge is going for me.

I have learnt a great number of things while doing this challenge; first of all producing daily content is really tough! I admire those bloggers who sit down to make content for us all every single day.  I have learnt that long term daily content at the moment really doesn’t suit the way I am running this blog. I have been so stressed this past week for having not posted anything to keep you all up to date with what I am doing for this challenge that ended up just postponing posting longer and longer.

Secondly I have learnt my confidence can and has grown in the space as little as a month, not only have I increased my body confidence ( I wore a bikini to the beach for the first time in my life and felt comfortable doing so) I am more ready to get up and go do things, taking the first step is the hardest part.

Thirdly although this challenge was just set in the idea of fun, it is amazing the difference that just 30 days can make. There have been ups and downs but overall looking back I feel like I have actually achieved something. There are 4 days left of this challenge, and although I won’t be posting daily for this anymore, it will still be in the forefront of my mind. And my biggest challenges of going abroad still lay in wait (Lets not think about how scary flying around the world solo is shall we let alone moving to a whole new country)

How far has this 30 days taken you?

 

 

My thoughts on PokemonGO Live in the UK (At last)

This morning all my other plans were thrown out of the window as PokemonGO was finally launched in the UK. (I have been waiting and waiting -trying not to cave to the walkaround ) I sat holding my phone excitedly as I downloaded the app and created my character. then I went for a walk around the block, so that I could have Pikachu as my Starter Pokemon ( the Pikachu starter hack is legit, walk away from the 3 starters 4 times and they come back with a pikachu)

So making sure my phone was fully charged i got out and about, I noticed other people were also playing, at first i was shy, we would catch each others eye and grin knowingly probably both in thought ” you are playing PokemonGO too aren’t you”

Later Some people asked me if I was catching Pokemon and this was an ongoing trend, PokemonGO seems to be bringing people together, so many people I have spoken to today that i would have otherwise just walked past, and for the first time in a very long time i felt comfortable playing this MMO ( if it can be classed as that), As I noted in a previous post, I don’t like playing MMORPG games because i find them very stressful and always feel like i am being judged, but today, I felt welcome, and I felt there was a community growing between the PokemonGO players.

just as a side note, if we keep asking each other “are you playing Pokemon?” does that make us or them the NPC’s?

Have you played PokemonGo yet?
Is it out in your country?

Leave a comment about your experiences Bellow

30 days of Confidence – weekend Catch up

30 days of confidence

Doing a content challenge that requires posting everyday can be tough and it makes me admire those bloggers or content creators who do create work every single day, because life is never straight forward, but sometimes when plans do go awry, it can open up new doors for you.

This weekend I was unable to keep up with the posts due to another project that came cropping up, but it is also thanks to 30 days of confidence that I now have the confidence in myself to go forward with this project.

I am planning on creating and selling my art. this is more than just my comics which are more like doodles of my thoughts, I am selling som of my original canvas paintings.  but selling work, requires making work to sell – basic supply and demand logic , and so I have been sat creating art for the past 3 days, which has been very rewarding, but  left me so caught up in the creative process that blogging hit the sidelines.

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Here is a sample of some of the work in progress which will be going up for sale

I have also been commissioned by another Blogger to create a guest post to feature a comic on her webpage – this is all very exciting and the first time I have created work for another blog. something I would have been afraid of doing before.

so although 30 days of confidence hasn’t been posted to for a few days, It has still had an impact this past weekend, as I have learnt to say yes to more things and belive in my self.

what have you found yourself opening up to since the beginning of 30 days of confidence – if you are stuck for Idea’s check out this list bellow – don’t forget to leave a comment :)

30 things you could try

 

30 Days of Confidence Day 8

30 days of confidence

Today has been a creative learning process kind of day. I have been planning to make an introductory Vlog for my year abroad video channel ( Vlog, Blog and a comic – way to overload yourself Emi)  but it is something I have wanted to do , but have been afraid of doing, because the videos I watch are so well-edited and produced, it feels that YouTube is no longer for the armature but for the professional. which is funny because I remember in those early days of youtube, all those pixellated blurry low quality videos filmed with webcams and low quality cameras put together with Windows movie maker or other default programs.

so today I braved the camera, and put together a video, editing it and playing around with it in my video editing software, before uploading it to YouTube, and discovering, to my dismay that my Camera had filmed in the wrong aspect ratio ( 4:3 instead of 16:9)  which means that the video has a black border around the edge. I tried refilming, but the naturalness of me just talking to the camera was gone and I couldn’t re-produce those same lines without it sounding scripted. so after getting the opinion of a few friends reminded me that this is 30 days of confidence, and that this month is all about embracing the goodness in imperfection. so I closed my eyes and held my breath and clicked Publish.

So here it is, the finished product.

 

today has been one of the hardest challenges so far.

are you joining in with 30 days of confidence?

check out some ideas of things you could try bellow

30 things you could try