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


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…


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!

6 thoughts on “Monthly Review: August 2018

  1. Welcome to the world of fountain pens!! I always have a bunch on my desk inked up with different colors – gray for to do lists and drafts (easier to mark up with other colors!), my favorite purple, a green to contrast with that. a bright color in an EF nib to make corrections… all very necessary, as you can see. 😉 If you ever want to talk pens or ink I’m your girl! 😀

    1. Thank you! I still have to make a collection of ink!
      I used to have a single pen, which was a Lamy Al-star with an M nib. I was frustrated because I could not write kanji with it in my Moleskine, haha. I had no idea at the time that things like EF nibs and fountain pen friendly paper existed! Now I have pens with an M nib dedicated to French and pens with a fine or extra-fine nib dedicated to Japanese! 😄

  2. My purple Al-Star is one of my favorite pens – yea Lamy! I do like Pilot F nibs for writing in Japanese though, nice and fine.

    Ink is one of my joys, and as a result I have more than I can use so it just sits, hehe. I would love to start your ink collection by sending some Goulet-style samples in plastic vials – it’d actually be doing me a favor by helping me work through my bottles! If you’re interested we can exchange addresses via email or Voxer or whatever works for you – let me know! 🙂

    1. My Lamy is a purple one too! I was almost tempted to start an Al-star collection, but then I saw all the limited editions I missed and dropped the idea, haha.

      Thank you so much for your proposition, I really appreciate it! 😊 however, I think that I would like to have my own bottles (fountain pens have revealed the collector in me!) so I’ll just walk my way slowly into the world of ink. But I see what you mean, finishing a bottle of ink has become a new entry on my list of goals! 😄

      1. Purple is the best! Mine is filled with J. Herbin Poussière de Lune and it matches the body so well 😍

        No worries about the ink – I won’t stand between you and your bottle collection 😉 Enjoy, enjoy!!

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