Monthly Review: August 2018

August, or summer in general, is not a good time to study… at least to me. I have struggled with books and haven’t read as much as I should have. I blame my lack of productivity on Korean summer heat and hope that writing this monthly review will put an end to this Summer curse, chase away my laziness and put me back to study!

Monthly Review - August 2018
August hasn’t been a productive month

Books

Do you sometimes have moments when you don’t feel like reading at all or start several books and feel unsatisfied with them and unable to go beyond the first 20 pages? August has been this kind of month to me.

First, I started 『往復書簡』by 湊かなえ (みなと・かなえ)and loved it but was disappointed to find out that it was a collection of short stories. I stopped after the first story and decided to start another book instead, one from my reading challenge list. I picked up 『悪と仮面のルール』by 中村文則(なかむら・ふみのり). I haven’t even talked about it on my blog because I only read around 20 pages before deciding that this book was not for me. It is not what I expected, and I found the beginning both strange and hard to read in Japanese.

Then I thought that the best thing to do would be to read another novel by Kanae MINATO, and chose one that would be a novel beyond doubt (and not a collection of short stories). I chose the novel 『リバース』but here again, I had a hard time getting into it. The first time I started it, I understood very little. The second time I gave it a tried, I could understand it quite easily (I must have lacked focus the first time) but did not feel interested by the story. Finally, I let it down during these two weeks when I haven’t done any Japanese. I was tempted to start another book, but I was afraid I might let it down too, and three defeats in a raw would have made me feel like a complete failure, haha. I even thought of reading a Keigo HIGASHINO, which I love, but I was afraid it would be cursed too, so I preferred to stop reading in Japanese altogether. But I think that I will take 『リバース』 again and give it another try, so it will certainly appear this Wednesday as my “currently reading” book.

The only success I had was  『ちょっと今から仕事やめてくる』by 北川恵海 (きたがわ・えみ).

I don’t know if I should blame the books or myself. As I haven’t gone very far (just reached Part II) of Atonement by Ian McEwan, I guess that I am the one to blame. I mean, you cannot possibly blame Atonement! This is a masterpiece of prose, the kind of novel that instantaneously killed any pretention I might have had to write a novel myself. I love reading it, but for some reasons, I am very slow at it.

So I guess it is just me, I didn’t feel like reading this month. It happens, I guess.

Fountain pens

I was much more successful in pursuing my newly born passion for fountain pens. I acquired a Sailor and a Platinum (both Japanese brands) when some months ago, I would have considered utterly useless to have more than one fountain pen.

One good thing with the fountain pen hobby is that it makes me want to write. Sometimes, I just don’t feel like writing in Japanese or taking notes about what I read, but then I thought “but I could use my newly acquired Sailor Shikiori Yozakura to do it!” and I end up studying Japanese!

Also, I focus on Japanese brands, not because I think they are better, but because it relates to my learning Japanese. And seeing breathtaking Maki-e on Pilot pens really fed my fascination for Japan and Japanese art:

(I spent too much time watching Brian Goulet’s videos…)

I will never be able to buy these pens but just looking at them somehow makes me happy.

Last but not least, I am training myself to become ambidextrous, at least, only for writing. I have always been fascinated by people who could write with both their hands and I have always wanted to train my left hand to write as well as my right hand but never really had the patience to do it. What helped me this time is that I have learned an alternative keyboard for French two years ago. It is called “bépo”, and I am using it since then, even when writing in English. And learning it was frustrating too. It took me weeks, maybe months (I can’t remember) to use it comfortably. In the beginning, I could only type very very slowly, it needed patience and regular practice. Well, I think that training your non-dominant hand to write requires the same process. It is frustrating, but as I know I succeeded with the keyboard, I know that I can succeed with my left hand too!

Monthly Review - August 2018 1.jpg
I didn’t know there was such a thing as a “Fountain pen hobby”, now I am completely in it…

Conclusion

I had a lot of fun this month with my fountain pens, and I enjoyed practicing my handwriting with both my hands (I also want to improve my handwriting with my right hand.)

I hope I will soon go back to study, or at least read in Japanese. I need to catch up with the news too, especially with the LDP elections approaching… I have a lot of words stocked in my electronic dictionary that wait to be added to my Anki deck… I also want to go back to my History book that I haven’t read for quite some time now… and so many other things!