Totally meant to do a Japan Trip #3 picture dump literally a year ago, which is when these photos are from. Then again, I don’t think I ever did a proper photo dump of our second trip in 2019. Whoops.
We booked and planned this trip a month before we left. Japan had just opened up to tourism and the yen was like, 150 to the dollar. We wanted to take advantage of the low crowds and being generally antsy to go somewhere outside of the state.
Obviously I need even more screens on my desk. Finally bought a laptop arm (rightmost side of desk) on Prime Day for my work laptop so that I don’t have to constantly shuffle the dice tower and whatever else is on the rightmost side of my desk whenever I join a meeting.
Not pictured: The canvas bag full of unorganized crafty/journaling things on the floor next to my desk and my GUNPLA backlog.
I think this may be my new favorite Luna photo. I still haven’t posted our Japan 2022 photos anywhere. You would think that after around 7 months I would have finally cleared my Lightroom editing and posting backlog, but sadly that isn’t the case.
A while back I came across Quest Calendar on Reddit/Kickstarter, a single-player RPG in the format of a tear-off day calendar; It’s a fun RPG that only takes a few minutes out of your day to play. It has also opened the door for me to explore the Solo RPG genre, which I was previously unaware had even existed. I have been playing Starforged on-and-off for a few months and it is positively delightful; It’s a PbtA (Powered by the Apocalypse) based tabletop RPG that can be played either solo, co-op or guided; My chosen method of play is sort of a blend between a tabletop roleplaying game and a creative writing prompt.
You see, I love journaling and drawing/watercoloring as a form of personal creative expression and I really like dice rolling TTRPGs. I also really really love world building but I really really don’t want to DM a game. Starforged seems to do a decent job of scratching the odd combination of all 3 itches. So lately, there have been more than a few evenings spent with my Traveler’s Notebook, a printout of some of the rules, dice, a cup of tea, and background music to set the mood. It’s also nice having other activities that aren’t in front of a screen or don’t require daylight and expensive sporting equipment.
One thing that I really like about PbtA systems (vs D20 based systems like DND) is that I feel it is a better balance of chunky stat things vs narrative based actions. The systems is also open enough to make it fairly easy to incorporate other role-playing systems. For example, I really like Stars Without Number’s method of sector generation as it’s more comprehensive so I have been using a blend of SWN and Starforged to generate new sectors and planets. I might integrate some of the ship building and ship combat rules, but I don’t want my campaign to get too mechanically “chunky” so we’ll see.
Here’s a couple of things that I have bookmarked that I either use or have bookmarked to look into:
itch.io Starforged Jam: Community created extended Starforged content. The Cyberpunk playkit interests me greatly as I am enjoying Cyberpunk 2077 play #2 (inspired by watching Edgerunners).
…I also really love how the community has officially unofficially adopted the standard sized Traveler’s notebook as an analog medium for this game. I have a notebook insert and folder with laminated cheat sheets that I use during play sessions.
I am not really great about updating this site, am I? I had a random actual/digital life update post sitting in drafts from way back in May but I think most of that is old news now. Anyhoo:
With the news that Japan would be opening up for tourism in October, we had quickly planned a November trip at the end of September. We actually just got back this week. Fabulous time as usual, I have a mountain of images to sort through, edit and post, which will be hopefully mostly done by next week because I kind of wanted to show them to family at Thanksgiving.
This is old news but my solution to needing a new personal computer and not wanting to deal with any GPU or CPU shortage was to just buy a MacBook Pro. A+, would recommend.
The bag that I use for my photography & adventure every day carry has once again changed, so I’ll make a post about that at some point.
A while back I came across a TTRPG system called Ironsworn and had bookmarked the site and put off looking into it. What I found interesting about it was that it could be played both solo and co-op. Recently-ish, Ironsworn: Starforged, a sci-fi themed followup RPG was released. I’ll make a separate post about this at some point but I have been playing it on-and-off in my spare time and it is very fun. It scratches a very specific analog creative writing/journaling, dice rolling, and world building itch. I’m really sad that I had missed the kickstarter.
I had this paragraph typed out in late May about how I had started up the Final Fantasy XIV trial again and was enjoying it but that phase only lasted about a month or so and I haven’t touched it since. Triple Triad for life though.
Finished reading Dragons of Deceit, the new Dragonlance novel on the plane trip over to Narita and started up The Expanse series. Slowly working through my reading backlog…
I recently ordered and received a customized standard-sized Traveler’s Notebook from Baum-Kuchen. I have been wanting to order one for a while so as soon as they had re-opened the service, I contacted their lovely team to work out the details of my request. I have always wanted a camel Traveler’s Notebook and have always wanted a customized Traveler’s Notebook, so great opportunity to fulfill both wants.
My Tokyo Station Traveler’s Notebooks is what I have been using as my main journal for the past couple of years. I kind of baby it because it is one of my favorite souvenirs from our first trip to Japan. As such, whenever I take it anywhere, it is usually in a canvas carrier to prevent it from getting scratched up; Which is fine, but that makes it kind of a chunky thing to carry anywhere and prevents it from developing a nice patina like my passport Traveler’s Notebook. I kind of just throw my passport TN in my bag since it functions as a planner and extended wallet. Because of that, the leather has become nice and supple and broken in with a lot of character.
So the Tokyo Station TN now houses all of my travel journals from Japan along with pamphlets and other ephemera and my new customized TN is now my daily writing journal. I took my scrapbooking insert out, leaving just my journal and the sticker paper insert. Doing so slims it down quite a bit and makes it so that it actually fits in some of my bag/backpack pockets. When I feel like carrying around my scrapbook insert or sketchbook insert I can easily add either one back in as I have my TN setup to make it easy to do so.
So as far as customizations, this is what I went with. Originally I had wanted the pockets in nude but one of them was out of stock in that color so I had chosen brown instead. Thinking back, I am so glad that I went with brown as it matches the color of my pen clip and just suits my taste better.
I chose the cardholder wallet pocket on the left inside cover to store washi samples and other random card shaped slips of paper. I added my Superior Labor double pen clip holder because it’s convenient being able to hold two pens (fountain pen, and either pencil or inking pen) and also because the brown leather on the pen loops matches the brown leather on the pockets perfectly. The brass clip makes the top card pocket on the left inside cover a bit too tight for washi samples but I have found that it is the perfect size for printouts from my Polaroid Zink sticker printer.
On the right inside cover I chose the zipper pocket, which currently holds: A small plastic ruler, a fake movie prop $100 bill, weird pictures, bird stickers, scraps of paper. It’s basically a catchall for random ephemera. There is ample space under each sewn on pocket to store more items. This setup more or less matches the setup that I used with the blue canvas insert in my Tokyo Station TN. It’s a lot easier to manage with the pockets sewn in vs being another insert.
On the cover I have a quote from one of my favorite shows embossed: “There’s coffee in that nebula.” I feel that it encompasses a decent range of things that I enjoy: Coffee, Star Trek, and exploration/adventure. But seriously, I am a huge Star Trek nerd.
Hello there, long time no post. I have this backlog of photos to edit in Lightroom and (maybe) post somewhere, but just haven’t gotten around to doing that for reasons. This post was actually written in July of 2021, sat in the editing queue for around 7 odd months until now, March of 2022. At some point I’ll post a picture dump of all of the cool things that we’ve done. Maybe.
So on the topic of biking. I figured out what was causing the saddle and hand pain whenever we went out to ride: The bike I was using was too big. I was using my husband’s old bike which is a men’s large. The seat to pedal distance was fine, so I figured it was fine but the problem was that it was too long, causing my to lean forward too much. Sold that bike to a friend who really needed one and who fit it perfectly, purchased a new bike which fits me perfectly. According to online measurements, I am between a small and medium, leaning towards medium. A small fit me perfectly so that is what we got. New bike has a 1×10 drivetrain instead of a 3×8.
We have gotten into GUNPLA (Gundam Plastic Model) building lately. I have always wanted to build one but for some reason, I was under the impression that the kits required painting and gluing like Warhammer or most other model kits that I have seen. Painting and gluing is beyond the barrier of entry for whatever effort I am willing to put into novice model building.
The kits are pre-painted snap fit. The only tool that you actually need is a nipper to snip the pieces off of the plastic runner and optionally, a hobby knife and maybe sand paper to clean up the nub marks. GUNPLA seems to be the natural evolution for web + likes LEGO and building things. Also a great, “It’s hot outside and I need something to do indoors” type of hobby. Many regrets not getting into GUNPLA before going to Japan or at least before everything was closed for COVID reasons.
Here is what we more or less did in May. I don’t feel like captioning each image so this will have to do:
We have been hiking a lot: The days are long and the weather is perfect. It’s going to be hot AF pretty soon, so we might as well take advantage of ideal outdoors conditions. In general, over the past year or so I would say that whatever activity we would normally do that would involve crowds of people or socializing has been replaced by doing something outdoorsy.
I had received a new camera lens as an anniversary gift, so we went out for an evening walk to take some long exposure shots and grab some ice cream. On the short to-do list is: Find a place with minimal light pollution and take some nice star and Milky Way photos.
We have also returned to cautious restaurant dining since we are fully vaccinated. Suffice it to say, stuffing our collective faces with sushi was fairly high on the to-do list.
These are the notebooks that I am currently using: My Regular Traveler’s Notebook for journaling and memory keeping, my Passport Traveler’s Notebook for planning, and the new addition discussed below. Not pictured is the black notebook that I scribble in (brain dump journal entries, grocery/to-do lists, etc). I had recently treated myself to a few goodies from one of my favorite stores, Baum-Kuchen, one such item being an A5 notebook cover to house the stuff that I am using to study Japanese.
Finally, after so much procrastinating, I am bucking down and redoubling my efforts to study Japanese. I took around 2 years of Japanese in college, but didn’t really keep up with studying it afterwards. Consequently, even though I still know enough to travel and hold basic conversations, I had forgotten more than I would like. My study goal is to relearn all of the kanji, vocabulary, and grammar that I have forgotten as well as continue my language education with a focus on stuff that would be useful for our next Japan trip (whenever that will be).
I am using the GENKI textbooks as they were recommended on Reddit and seem well regarded online. Instead of skipping ahead in the book, I figured I would start from the very beginning. Although I already know almost all of what I have covered so far, it is good to reinforce existing knowledge and to notate grammar, etc in my notebook for the sake of reference.
I have two notebooks in the cover; One tucked into the left side and one tucked into the right side.
The left notebook is comprised of A5 sized gridpaper. I was previously using this notebook as scratch paper and lettering practice but it has been repurposed for kanji study and practice. The postcard holds no significance other than it being pleasing to look at and to cover personal information that was written down underneath it. I do plan on printing out or writing out A5 sized (or smaller) reference sheets and either tucking them into the pocket on the left or clipping them to the front inside of the first notebook.
The right notebook is an A5 slim sized Washi SOSHI notebook from April 2020’s Stationery Selection box. The paper is an absolute delight to write with my fountain pens as I find that it’s the perfect texture (not too smooth, not too rough, no feathering). Sadly, I have been sitting on this notebook for over a year because that’s how long I procrastinated on starting this project.
Special mention to these highlighters. I bought them years ago off of Amazon and I use them all the time. I think they are Muji twin tip highlighters? One side is broad tipped for highlighting and the other side is fine tipped.