dear friend

Last Friday, I went out to buy new running shoes. The reason I needed new running shoes warrants a post of its own, so I’ll leave that for another time. Anyway, as I was already out, I figured I’d stop by at the Lifeline Bookfest. I’d gone the week-end before with a friend, but hadn’t found anything I wanted, so I left empty-handed. This was kind of to make up for that, and I was sure I’d find something.

After much wandering, I found a Russian for Dummies book, which will hopefully be a good introduction to Russian whenever I decide I’m finished with learning Persian and want to move on to Russian; and I also found a decent copy of The Hobbit, which I bought because I’ve been wanting to re-read the Lord of the Rings trilogy for ages, and had started Fellowship of the Ring earlier this year, but stopped after a few pages because I thought I really should re-read The Hobbit first. Continue reading

a capital autumn

I had written up a short post on Saturday morning, and I thought I’d published it successfully from my phone, but now I cannot find it amongst my published, draft, scheduled or discarded posts, so I have no idea what happened to it.

But, whatever, there wasn’t much in it. Just that this week has been a bit busy. Add to that an impromptu trip to Canberra, and it hasn’t left me much time to blog. Even so, I’m not ready to break my long-standing post-per-week streak (as tempting as it is, I think it’s also a matter of pride).

Hopefully back to “normal” next week.

And by “impromptu” I mean I booked the flights on Thursday night, and I was on the plane Friday morning. Don’t worry, it wasn’t for any serious emergency, unless you consider providing emotional support an emergency (although I think the trip did me just as much good as it did for my friend).

As it turns out, Canberra is really pretty in the autumn. My favourite sight was the trees with a gradient of leaves from green in the lower branches, to yellow then orange and red and brown at the top. Unfortunately it didn’t occur to me to take a photo at the time, but I got a few other magnificent landscapes. Here is one for now:

I suppose to most people autumn is a lacklustre time when everything and everyone is preparing to enter some kind of dormancy or hibernation, but autumn is actually my favourite season. To me, it’s full of amazing colour, vigour and vibrancy.

Seeing trees aflame with deep red leaves, or shimmering with golden sequins, or even to see ghostly bare branches casting intricate patterns across the sky – these are the sights that evoke wonder and intrigue.

not today

This week has been exhausting on so many levels. I spent most of today sleeping or lying down or sitting. The only productive thing I did was sweep and mop the floors, and go out to buy snacks for a party I’m going to tomorrow.

Getting out of bed this morning was a struggle, and not just because I was out late last night.

Eventually, I got out of bed, went to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, got ready for the day ahead …and then went back to bed (for 30 mins? 45? maybe an hour?) to contemplate if I really did need to eat breakfast.

Of course, the answer was “yes”; I always eat breakfast. Plus, I had a vague craving for cheese on toast, and not because I was hungover, but because I needed comfort food. (I was not hungover.)

The only other significant thing I did today was start writing a letter to my friend who’s going to start driving down to Canberra tomorrow morning.

It’s been a long time since I felt this… ordinary (to put it lightly).

I will see her again in about three weeks.

It’s funny how the first 3.5 months of this year have gone by so quickly, but three weeks seems like a dreadfully long time.

And we’ve known each other for only about 3.5 years. “Only”. Because 3.5 years is not a long time, is it? Feels like we’ve known each other three times as long.

a measure of absurdity

Just a thought that occurred to me the other day:

There are people willing to travel interstate or fly across the country to attend concerts, sporting matches and other live events. They might only stay for one day or one night before returning home, but, as far as I know, this is not generally considered a very absurd thing to do.

Essentially what these people do is pay a lot of money to go a long distance to see one person (or a small group of people) for whom they are but one in a crowd of thousands. Chances are they will not interact directly nor meet face-to-face. Yet, people still do this.

So is anyone then going to tell me that it is absurd for me to fly interstate just so that I can visit a friend for one day, one night or one hour?

Is it much different to attending a live event? Well, apart from being a more balanced ratio (one to one)

Yes, with technology, you can make video calls, send photos and whatever; but you can also watch sporting events from anywhere, and there’s bound to be concert footage on the internet somewhere. Still, it’s not the same, is it?

It’s not the same as being there in the flesh.


A very close friend of mine is preparing to move to Canberra in just over a week’s time. I have lost sleep thinking about how much I’m going to miss her. Just about the only thing making this easier is my confidence that we will keep in touch (we have already started making plans for visiting each other).

I think this will be both one of the hardest and easiest good-byes.

And if it is absurd, then I don’t care.

Sapporo Yuki Matsuri – part 1 (Odori Park)

Well, after all this build up, I’m finally at my Sapporo Snow Festival (Yuki Matsuri) post, so I won’t waste any more time. Lots of photos in this one too! (Well, it’s a lot compared to my usual posts. I actually took SO MANY photos, it was so hard to pick just a few to include in this post.)

This was February 6th, the first day of the 68th Sapporo Snow Festival, which would run for an entire week. Even after wanting to attend this event for so long, I don’t think I really knew what to expect. I mean, I knew there’d be impressive snow sculptures, but, honestly, I knew little else about the festival. But I was so excited, and I was probably on a high the whole day.

At the end of our holiday, when I asked KF what part of the trip was her favourite, her answer was Sapporo, which both surprised me (because she doesn’t like cold weather) and didn’t surprise me (because it was always going to be my favourite).  Continue reading

Japan 2017: Prologue

I really want to get stuck into writing about the actual trip, but I also feel really compelled to document everything that happened beforehand – everything that led up to my going to Japan – so that’s basically what I’m going to do. Sorry, no actual details of what we did will be included in this post. I had started writing this as the Sapporo post, but then realised that my pre-amble was getting big enough to be a post on its own, so here it is… (Just a word of warning: this post is almost 1300 words long, and has no pictures. I will not be offended if you stop halfway, or even here.)

Continue reading