Dividing sick time.

I seriously just want to get back to studying Japanese language!

I did watch this week’s lecture, today…though not much else has gotten done besides my helping M with her homework, and refilling my fountain pen. And, yeah, eating, sleeping, drinking water, and blowing my nose.

I did realize that the Maruman Sept Couleur notebook I have is excellent for use with the Pilot Metropolitan (fountain pen) with Iroshizuku ink. Didn’t know it, though, until writing kana in it for M, and seeing the thick/thin lines that I was able to form with the nib (I’m using a Fine nib — I got this to be able to practice kana and kanji with something special). It’s something that hasn’t shown up on other papers, including the Kyokuto Expedient notebook I have.

Maybe it’s a sign that it needs to be cleaned? Maybe I’m breaking it in? Maybe I’m holding it at a different angle? I don’t know. 🙂 The variation in color, line width, and the feel when writing is different, though. I can actually tell what the pen’s orientation is when I’m using the Maruman, which I can’t, with the Kyokuto. The Kyokuto’s paper just feels more yielding. (This, in turn, is making me want to go back to my art, but I’ve been too sick to do much for the last couple of days.)

I’ve recently been enabled to post from bed now, though, and that’s the only reason I can get this out to you all. I should really be asleep, but I’m thinking there’s no chance of my being well enough to go in to work tomorrow, anyway. I’m aware they’ll likely need me; I’m also aware that I’ll need to sleep and that going in to work means I’ll probably expose others to whatever I’m battling, and possibly pick up a few more bugs while I’m at it. I DO NOT need to get pneumonia in an era of drug-resistant bacteria. (Neither does anyone else.)

I think I’m eight pages away from being done with the chapter reading for this week (which I’ve got to get in by Monday night); I still have three other readings and an assignment to do, there. I’ll also have to get up the nerve to touch my ePortfolio, though I suppose I should remember that I don’t actually have to turn in what I write in my first draft!

The weekend will be good for this, though. Tuesday through Thursday were pretty shot, for me (although it was more of a slow bleed, after the possible food poisoning Tuesday night, whatever happened on Wednesday [I believe this was going in to work sick], sleeping nearly all day yesterday and sleeping nearly all day today). Come to think of it, I had work Tuesday morning. I had no free time, then. And I may have started to get sick on Monday night, when I went to bed with my hair damp.

I don’t know what I was doing, Monday. I was probably watching people rush to get their homework in (or adding on to my own work for Collection Development).

Actually, now that I look — I was starting a plan for my ePortfolio Conclusion (particularly the part about plans after graduation). It took a few days of thought, but I have what appears to be a solid plan, and can now write that section in a somewhat prepared manner.

I also have three other sections I can deal with (FINISH) in the coming days. When will I do it?

I am not sure, but I have no set due date for this project. I just know that it’s better to get it done earlier, rather than later. I would write out a plan, but I know that I’m not going to stick to it, and that it’s going to worry me for the rest of the semester.

That sounds kind of fatalist.

I might get the nerve to crunch out a plan, over the weekend. The major problem is that all of this lies ahead of me; I don’t know right now how long any of it is going to take. Which is a reason to work on it as much as possible, now.

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Staying up too late. :)

Earlier tonight, drawn by the persistent question of making beautiful things, I started looking again at what Web Programming skills Web Design would require of me. The two things that I can really see needing that I don’t have, are solid knowledge of Javascript and PHP. On top of this, I could add jQuery, Git, and possibly Ruby.

This is alongside knowledge and skill in HTML5 and CSS3, plus Photoshop and Illustrator. I can’t really get on the Adobe bus without noting some drawbacks (like non-cloud versions breaking, which looks like an attempt to gain subscribers to Creative Cloud. I don’t want an everlasting subscription, though).

Didn’t I…post about Web Design, recently? Like how building in Search Engine Optimization from the start was a practical necessity? And how Marketing is likely inextricable from the process of designing?

Yeah, that…looks like it may be the case. Even so, if I like 80% of the work and dislike 20% of it, as I’ve heard others advise, it still might be a good fit.

And I can’t help but want to design things that are both functional and beautiful. As I found today, if I’m helping sell something that is useful or wanted or needed…it’s not as big a deal for me. Like I had to get some new shoes that I could walk in all day today, and the people helping me were obviously trying to help me. Getting paid wasn’t topmost in their minds.

It’s possible I have a kind of wonky relationship to the market (and to unscrupulous big corporations) that’s kind of my own problem. The thing is, the market isn’t totally made of unscrupulous big corporations.

I actually ran across a couple of posts on the Reader tonight that had images in watercolor…not really too straight-laced, but still pretty cool! It kind of made me want to experiment with colors, again. In particular, one post had some paintings of cacti which I appreciated. The forms were modeled beautifully, and it kind of gave a hint of what can be accomplished with shape and color (and possibly liquid frisket).

I also put the freaking watercolor lightfastness swatch test back in the window, after it fell out two or three weeks ago. Irritating. The amount of time it took me to pay attention to it again, was irritating. But I think I’m now ready to get back to using my office as a study space.

In other arenas, I did succeed in going back to Japanese language study, tonight. I needed to — I was beginning to lose vocabulary (again). I also realized that I had forgotten the stroke order for both hiragana and katakana “se”, which is really irritating.

In my exercise book, I also found a study paper which went over which kana I did not have a total grasp of (most of this dealt with memory); “se” was at the top of the list. Both versions of them. Maybe I should just start writing “sekihan” and “sensei” and “zettai” and “omakase” and stuff in kana (not kanji) just to remember how to write the freakin’ things.

Seishuu sensei, kono omakase no sekihan wa zettai oishii desu ne.

Yup.

I don’t even know if I did that right. I’m sorry. 🙂

Inspired, after a trip to Japantown.

It’s been a few days since I’ve written, but with good reason. I had to take some time off to reconnect with physicality. I thought that if I wasn’t going to be actively working, I should be actively resting, so I put some time into re-learning how to knit. Tomorrow, I’ll be going in to pick up some multicolored solid fabrics on which to practice more needlework (specifically, embroidery).

I guess if it’s just to unwind and have fun (and do something I actually want to do, or self-soothe using fine motor movements), it doesn’t have to be marketable.

I also, today, just got off of coming from Japantown…where I got the first fountain pen I ever bought for myself. It’s a Pilot Metropolitan (Fine nib) with Iroshizuku ink. I’m pretty sure the ink is some kind of Phthalocyanine color, because I stained my hands filling it (It’s a familiar problem), and fountain pen inks are known for being highly water-soluble. (Solubility may be a different variable than staining, though.)

But the set is…really nice. I found that the Pilot CON-40 converters work with the Metropolitan, so I’m using that instead of the little squeezy converter that came with the pen.

I also found a number of craft books, and remembered why it was that I wanted to learn Japanese in the first place: It’s tough going into Japanese bookstores and not being able to read over half the titles! Anime and manga were just a start: there’s just so much I don’t know, and I want to read it!

I’m also to the point where I recognize certain kanji even if I don’t know what they sound like or signify — and I’m up to the point of being able to get a gist of the meaning of snippets of speech, even though I haven’t been taught all the rules of grammar, technically. I’ve also started reversing the speech in English-dubbed anime to try and figure out what the original speech might have been.

Also, I now have a nice pen…with bottled ink…and a point fine enough to write some decently complicated kanji. And I will have to use that pen, in order to keep it in working condition. (I’ll also need to clean it at least once a month, I think.) I picked up a dotted journal so that I could have some help in writing Japanese. I’ve started reviewing this, in hopes of continuing hardcore.

I’m thinking that if reading English has become so easy as to no longer feel magical, learning another language could disrupt that…until I become highly proficient and fluent. It would also allow access to a different culture (I need this — I mean, I really think I do), which happens to be one half of my diaspora.

In the future, if I had a background in Japanese language (and culture), learning Korean or a version of Chinese could be a second step (and both of those, interest me). Then, if I wanted to work in an East Asian library, I could take a second Master’s in Japanese Languages and Literatures. After I build my skills with kanji and get up to fluency, that is.

There may be a terribly high number of individual kanji to, “memorize,” but each of those kanji are often made of individual radicals in unique combination…and I commonly see the same set of radicals used over and over again. So the different-appearing ones, stand out and should be relatively easy to memorize. And even without memorization, context helps a lot in deciphering what the meaning could be.

Or — after learning Japanese — I could head towards a different region of the world, and learn something like Hindi. I’ve checked this out before, because of Devanagari script’s similarity in appearance to Sanskrit. I got curious about Sanskrit because of my interest in Buddhism, though at this point I don’t think Buddhism is particularly, “true,” especially where it comes to the existence of a personal essence. This is a place where it significantly departs from Hindu beliefs.

I also am interested in the latter, which in turn are kind of tough to learn about without some knowledge of Hindi; at least, some key terms, which in turn — if it’s anything like Japanese — are likely tied to cultural aspects which I’m not fully familiar with. (Diwali is an obvious example, topmost in my mind.)

My first dotted journal went to become a Bullet Journal (which I need to start up again as soon as I possibly can: I need to set up a timeline to get the e-Portfolio done), and the second went to become my travel notebook (basically, what I use whenever I need to write, on-the-go, and have no other paper: it’s pretty torn up, right now).

With classes starting shortly, one of the notebooks I purchased today will be for my ePortfolio notes and writings, and the other will go to Collection Management, which is my final normal class. I think I’ll use the cheap Kraft-paper covered notebook, for the latter. The new one is just too nice not to use it for my portfolio. And it will be speshul. Just for that. The cover matches the color of the ink in my new pen.

What’s cool, too, is that a family friend has offered to teach me Japanese! So if I really need a conversation partner, I have one (who is a native speaker) waiting for me. Since my interests do lie, largely, in culture — arts, writing, spirituality, stuff like that — actually, learning a new language and new customs does seem like a good fit.

If I went after that and became multilingual in languages of cultures I’m interested in; reading — I wouldn’t say it would be a, “piece of cake,” but it would become very interesting! Much moreso than if I stayed confined to just English!

If I did that, I might not mind living in Hawaii, because I’d have plenty of opportunity to learn and practice Japanese language. If I knew that, travel to other places on the Pacific Rim become possible (and possibly, likely).

Anyhow, that’s kind of…a lot. I’ve only got about four months of this stuff with being an Aide and in classes, left: if, that is, I do my work. I don’t have too much further to go, where it comes to the Library Science program. I’ve just got to self-motivate, which I think will be easier if I let myself not do and not think about some of this stuff, for a while. That is, I need to be active in my rest, like I’m active in my work. Not just sleeping and glazed-over in front of the computer, because that isn’t really rest, when it comes to this!

Feelings on Japanese culture

This post is about my internal conflict (as a mixed-race, fourth-generation [yonsei] Japanese-American person [nikkeijin]) as regards learning Japanese language (nihongo).

This majorly has to do with tensions around widespread equation of race to ethnicity; past insecurity about being a legitimate member of my ethnicity; being part of a wider Asian-American community including other A/PI (Asian/Pacific Islander) people; mixed feelings over the popularity in America of Japanese pop culture (over the output of other cultures); historically-based Japanese racism; internal family tensions bridging off of that history of racism; how my own identity has been shaped by intra-familial racism; and ideas about cultural appropriation, or who has the “right” to display what ethnic signals (or to represent Japanese-American people).

On top of that, I now have ambivalence over describing myself (as I have for most of my life, and has been implicitly encouraged by my family) as more Japanese-American than African-American. I was raised with my Japanese-American family, while my extended African-American family is relatively distant. While relations with neither side are perfect, the methods of relation are markedly different. Seeing the problems now arising on the Japanese-American side of my family, as well, causes some tension in my knowing that I don’t want to follow in their footsteps (with the possible exception of my father and brother — though I know very clearly that I am not my brother).

There are a lot of complicated feelings here, so I can’t be sure I’ll be able to get them all out in this posting. I can’t assure anyone that what they read here is going to be accurate to what I’m thinking; I’ve realized that my English communication skills have been a bit overestimated. Nor can I really assure anyone that they won’t be upset by reading about my experience, but I ask that they own their own emotions and look at why they feel what they feel. If what I write is anything, it is a catalyst, and a way for me to express my own reality (which is likely different from everyone else’s).

It’s been a while since I’ve last studied nihongo (Japanese language). I have been involved with this since middle school, at the earliest, when I learned to read and write kana (Japanese syllabary). It is — or has been, since I was young — a life goal of mine to learn Japanese. In the beginning, I realized that I meshed much more with media emerging from Japan, than I did with American media. I’m fairly certain that a lot of this had to deal with the gender fluidity exhibited in shojo (girls’) anime (animation) and manga (comics).

As someone who was nominally female but who did not fit into feminine gender norms (at the time)…this, and the compassion displayed toward the “villains” in anime (who were actually relatable, and in some ways respectable), caused me to really kind of attach to anime. In turn, this caused me to seek out manga, which helped push me forward when it came to writing fiction, to drawing comics, and to beginning to learn how to read nihongo.

Since I was little, I’ve been watching Fuji TV and now NHK World. It’s something that has been kind of like PBS, and has helped with my comprehension of spoken Japanese.

When I was in my first years of undergraduate study, I chose nihongo as my language of choice, to fulfill my Foreign Language graduation requirement.

In any case…this entry is about my now being ambivalent in my drive to learn this. I’ve started to question my motivations, that is: what they’re based in. I’ve also started to question whether I even have a chance of being considered as human, should I ever travel to Japan. Maybe “human” isn’t the right word; there is a lot about rank and status in what I know of Japanese culture, so being considered “equal” is a more American ideal.

Maybe the question is whether I have a chance of being respected and accepted in Japan, as a mixed-race person, when one of those races originates in Africa. Then that leads me to the place of why that dialogue should ever come into my head; why it should even matter, because I know that it’s stupid. (After all, all humans originated in Africa.)

But humans aren’t known for making sense, not in any country.

I also realize that a lot of this concern arises from some of my experience with my own family (particularly those who don’t know me very well, and my late grandmother), and my experience with one particular clique in middle- and high-school. Whether it was because of the fact that I didn’t fit in genderwise (I was more active than any of them; they probably thought it was because I was boyish) or that I didn’t fit in racially (I was the only half-Asian)…most of them never really accepted me, with the exception of one, who is still a friend.

Of course, it’s also possible that there were interpersonal things going on that I was unaware of, which ironically, I think I’d be better able to understand.

Going off of one of my readings, by the third generation in the U.S., the original diasporic language — in this case, Japanese — is lost (as happened in my family). Going off of what I’ve seen, by the fourth generation, partnering only to people of the same diaspora ceases to make sense. That is, by the fourth generation (yonsei), mixed-race (hapa) children start showing up a lot more frequently.

I think because of this, it’s a lot more understood for Japanese-Americans to be diverse, in the U.S. And because of that…I actually feel understood and accepted in a place like Hawaii, which has a very large A/PI population.

And I’ve wanted to learn Japanese, to be able to get back to my roots and get deeper into that of my cultural heritage which is GOOD. It may be because I’ve been reading into historical documents…by this I mean 1950’s English-language books about Japan and Japanese culture…but it’s reawakened some of those old, negative feelings about the source of my diaspora. Particularly the bitterness over how certain members of my family were not, “good enough,” for my grandmother, due to the region of the world their ancestors were from.

Then there is the giant World War II legacy, which is complicated on a number of counts: both the Japanese Internment and the fact that the former Japanese military was famous for war crimes. I suppose it could be said to be penance that the country no longer has any Armed Forces…but to be honest, even though I personally had nothing to do with this, it’s still visible that there are race tensions in Japanese pop culture. Which doesn’t make it necessarily non-problematic to deal with.

At one time, I had to take a break from dealing with anime (for a number of years), in order to be able to feel good about my own racialization. Because there was no one in those anime who represented me. The ones who supposedly came close, were being made fun of (though I still appreciate Cowboy Bebop for disrupting this).

On the up side, I have a lot of respect for the work ethic of so many Japanese artisans and craftspersons. I know that the people who were on the islands of Japan during the War were not the ones doing the crimes. There is so much beauty and aesthetic sophistication in so much of what I’ve seen come out of Japan. The language itself is beautiful. And I doubt that much of what is published in the English language about Japan can even hold a light to what is published in nihongo, itself (from library translations, and what I’ve seen coming out of Kinokuniya Books).

I don’t know what to think about there not being stronger laws to protect women and sexual minorities in the nation, but I know that as someone seen as both, I may not be safe there. The history of Japan is full of war and violence inflicted against its own people, and that it would spill outside the country at some time, was near-unavoidable. It’s a cultural difference that interpersonal interactions are more important in what I know of Japanese business, than supposed merit.

There is a lot of difference, culturally, between California (outside of Japanese-American community) and Japan. That doesn’t mean California is necessarily better. That means I’m between cultures, and find myself exposed to both. Am I actually navigating both? I am not sure.

I think I’ve just had a taste of Japanese culture, and that, while being initially enthusiastic about that exposure, I’ve now matured to the point of being able to become ambivalent about it.

While it is, undoubtedly, better to choose to accept the good and reject the bad, trying to disentangle those two, as in trying to disentangle the good and the bad in American culture, may be more of a full-time job than it seems. I do still want to learn Japanese. I just am not positive that I will ever be able to use it comfortably, in Japan. The thought of that possibility is difficult to deal with.

Then again, I don’t think the 2020’s will be the same as the 1950’s. Looking toward the future, there is always hope.

Feeling unproductive.

Today, I wasn’t able to get done what I wanted, to. The most obvious and most mechanical point of action I have is to create a set of hyperlinks to my different classes for each of my required Learning Competencies…so that when working on any one, I won’t have to search around through all my archives, trying to find something which fits.

Luckily, I already have my competencies-to-courses, mapped out. I just need to create a shorthand to each folder in my file system.

I did move outside of what I had thought I would do, to get a notebook and …ponder starting to write out my Statement of Professional Philosophy. I had a better idea of what I would write, last night at 2 AM. I’m hoping that writing here will make working up to this, a bit easier. I need to write, something.

While I wouldn’t say the day was totally wasted, I did end up not going in for extra hours at work. Also, biological imperatives stated that I sleep for a while…and I still need to shower.

People around me say that I’m doing really well, though for me it’s hard to see, when I have days like this.

I guess I just have to remember that not everything has to be done NOW NOW NOW. But if I get a Library Assistant position and I’m doing that as well as my capstone class and Collection Development…I might be better off as regards future jobs, but it might really be tough for the next semester.

Which is why I’m trying to mitigate it, now.

I wasn’t expecting for the call to go out for new Library Assistants, though I see that last time it happened, it was around the middle of July, last year.

There’s some more going on now — actually, a lot more — that I think is stressing me, a bit. We’re considering moving out-of-state, in addition to everything else…which is tough for me when my proficiency at working with the community is contingent on knowing the community.

There’s also some family business to attend to, which I think is coming up because we might not be in this location for much longer. Not to mention that I have questions about my great-grandmother which may go unanswered, unless I actually get up the nerve to ask.

Things are just feeling a bit unstable for me, at the moment. Especially knowing that I may not be able to get a library job in the place we may move, to; at least, not a gainful one, and at least, at first.

I guess a lot is heading up to change in my life, really quickly. And I’m not in control of most of it.

That could…possibly be a reason for a little bit of distress.

The upshot of this is that I’d be moving to an area with a larger Asian population, which will make it immensely easier to learn Japanese, and not lose it. There also might be a lower cost-of-living, considering that prices have inflated so much here that it’s ridiculous. I’m looking at an average $10,000/year pay cut by moving, though…but unless the housing market changes, we may not be coming back.

I suppose that with so much of my life being based around the internet…maybe that would be something that would hold stable. But my friends and work, being part of this community; I think I’d miss it, at least at first.

It’s just, what a time to uproot, right?

I’ve had some internal conflict about my reasoning around learning Japanese. Hmm. But it would go better in a different post.

I feel silly for posting this, but:

I do keep talking about the Japanese language study, and toying with handwriting, and this.  So…it could be interesting for me to log my progress on the writing front.  Maybe it will help motivate me to keep going back to the books.

vertical lines of Japanese text read "watashi wa genki desu."
(by the way, this just reads “I’m healthy/in good spirits,” over and over again.)

I’m shrinking the size of this down just to make it clearer.  As this is on my screen, it appears to be almost at the size at which it was written (yes I used tiny pens).

I was seeing what I could get out of my pens, in addition to practicing kanji (some of which, like the “-ki” in genki), I’ve not totally gotten a handle on, yet.

And…I’ve realized why nib sizes in Japanese fountain pens run narrower than in Western-style fountain pens:  at a certain point, writing with a thick nib means you can’t write kanji legibly at a small size.

So…I’m pretty sure that the tiniest of these (rose and green) are Copic .003 Multiliners.  Then I tried a .005 and a couple of Microns (the latter of which made the sepia-tone marks on the left), along with an ultra-micro Uni-Ball Signo.

I’ve also got to remember to store my pens horizontally, not vertically in a marker stand as I had been doing.  I had a couple of Pitt metallic markers which totally lost their opacity and sheen (one of which made the aqua-colored writing in the center, there), possibly from the ink separating out.

Also…it appears that Gelly Roll pens have a shelf life (my silver one died and wouldn’t make any mark which wasn’t largely suspension fluid).  And I had to toss a white Uni-Ball Signo because the ink was doing something bizarre (the rollerball would divide all the lines it made).  I’m not sure why.

Japanese writing in light colors on a black background.
Large characters read “Tokyo dialect;” the rest are variations on, “Am I healthy?/Are you healthy?”

The good thing is that now I know what I have, and I still have some sweet stuff.

I tried not to blow up the image to the right too much, because most of it was written tiny to begin with.  This is the back of my Supracolor swatch, which I repurposed into a test paper.  (Trust me, no one will be able to tell.)

And — hey!  The Photoshop Levels adjustment makes black tone appear deeper, too!

I’m pretty sure the four phrases on the right are all Derwent Graphik Line Painters (the ones with the hollow nibs which I’m not sure will continue to be made).  I think “Snow” is the white one and “Fox” is the silver one on far right (I love how opaque that one is!).

As a note, when Japanese writing is vertical, it reads right-to-left, although I was writing stuff down wherever (and tend to still write — and habitually read — left-to-right.  I’m getting better, though.)

The bit saying “Tokyo dialect,” or tokyo-go, as my friend put it (see upper left corner of the above image), was written with one of those metallic Pitt bullet-point markers:  one of the ones still viable, that is.  My teal one turned transparent on black paper, where it should have been opaque, as above.  I didn’t think it was worth keeping.

And then there are a bunch of Uni-Ball Signo metallic gel pens that I have, that still work awesomely even if the gold doesn’t, say, look like it’s actually made of gold.  🙂  At least I don’t get weird ink flow issues like I did with the odd white one, which I think I may have ruined by drawing with it on top of a watercolor painting.

Come to think of it, that could be why my white Gelly Roll pen died, too (I’ve just gotten a replacement).  Hmm.

I should probably do some schoolwork or go to sleep, at this point…although!  I’m nearing the end of Unit 1 in my Kluemper text!  (I found this out randomly last night.)

Yeah, I should study:  I have assignments (that have to actually be turned in) coming up, soon…

But I do want to note to myself:  don’t use water-based marker on watercolor paper and expect it to dry quickly.  That’s what happened with the smudgy section in the first image, which is bordered by red lines.  The red lines are fine; the fact that I got a fistful of ink on my hand when I tried writing on my paper — after a decent amount of time — is not.  I’m just thinking that the paper absorbed the ink so much that it trapped the water and didn’t let it dissipate at a normal rate…

Experimenting with papers and water-based media:

I think I’m getting better at the digital photography thing.  As I’ve been able to alter my camera settings for the quality of light, I’m having to do less cleanup work in Photoshop.  Even the Photoshop work has become routine, at this point…I should see what more I can do with it (aside from prepping photos for the Web).

So, these two photos are my sketches of a Bok Choy Mue, with color.  I do have lineart photos of these (before the watercolor), but I’m not sure if it would be overkill to post those.

Ah, whatever.  It’ll be good for me to see the bok choy in process, as well.  This is what they looked like before I hit the paper with transparent watercolor:

Really, the point of posting these is to let you see how the paper handled with water.  It does warp appreciably with large areas of wash (like the Payne’s Grey shadows in there), but for small areas of light watercolor work, it does better than I expected.  (I’ve seen worse from papers which say they can take light washes, including another variant of paper produced by Maruman.)  And it’s fairly decent as a drawing paper, as well.

As I said in a prior post, you’ll likely want to tape these down to a flat surface before you hit them with water at all.  This is something that I didn’t think of doing until I realized that, having taken the paper out of its pad, there was nothing whatsoever to stop it from curling.  By the time I got to these with the Artists’ Tape, though (it’s low-tack and relatively easy to remove), they had already begun to warp — and to dry (to set) in a warped form.  I’ve left the borders around these images visible so that you can see what actually transpired.

I’ll have to see what happens when I tape the paper from the beginning.

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Ah — and, I almost forgot to show you what the cover of this pad looks like.  I bought it from Maido, a stationery store right across from Kinokuniya Books in Japan Center in San Francisco’s Japantown.  Because I had never used it before, I got a small size…and right now I’m thinking that next time I go back there, it will be OK to get this type of paper in a larger pad.  Here is a detail of the lower left corner:

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On looking up what “Zuan” is meaning to refer to, I see a listing on Amazon which says that “Zuan” means “Design,” and is likely the brand of this specific type of paper, while Maruman is the manufacturer.

“Postcard size” means what it says…this is a tiny pad!  Almost too small to work with, and probably easy to blow through, if you’re like me and you find out you like this paper, and you can only fit one object on each page–!!!

What I’m posting below is an example of Holbein gouache on top of Strathmore ArtAgain coal black paper.  This was also a relatively small test:  ArtAgain paper is not cheap!

3565w2

I’ve cropped things so that they don’t read as…well, weird.  Hahehehe.

The shine on this paper is also something that I’ve run across multiple times while trying to photograph it.  I’m not really sure what I can do about it, other than use an actual nice camera with a polarized lens…but I’m not that advanced, yet.  Otherwise, I’d have to get away from an angle where the light is bouncing into the camera lens, without blocking the light source itself…(sunlight, in this case).

Everything in this photo that is bright white (other than the “J. Herbin” label in the upper left, which is from a Uni-Ball Signo white gel pen, and the circle at top left, which was drawn with a toothpick used to stir up my Daler-Rowney Pro White), is Holbein Permanent White gouache.  The pink and blue marks are Alizarin Crimson and Peacock Blue gouache, mixed with the white, respectively.  The translucent whites are either Pro White ink (as with the surprised spiral), or watered-down gouache (I can’t remember which one the snake on the right side, is).

And as those of you who can read kanji know, I’m very early into learning how to write these things!  (I’ve written, “Japanese language,” “bright,” “as for I,” and “person,” here…in what makes sense, at least.)  It is much easier to write nihongo with a brush than it is to write English with a brush, though (you can see my jacked “Holbein”), likely due to Japanese language being designed to be written with a brush.  (I honestly don’t know what English language was designed to be written with…)

I think that’s all I’ve got, for now.  Work was positive — they didn’t even expect me to come in!  But it was really nice to get some of the backed-up labor out of the way, meaning tomorrow will be much easier…

I’ve just got to assemble the ingredients for my homework, tonight…