Tag Archives: photography

Bookstagram!

img_4741I have officially joined #bookstagram –> Follow me @tsukisuki

If you’ve been keeping up with my posts on twitter, I am kinda hurt by some of the recent things that have been happening in the blogging community. As I wrote about in my last post, I’m having a lot of conflicting thoughts about reviewing. This is mainly an ARC review blog, always has been. I started this blog when I left my fashion/lifestyle blog back in 2012. This blog wasn’t even a book blog until 2013. And I turned it into a book blog because I wanted a place to put my reviews.

Do I blog for ARCs? No. Did I used to talk about more bookish stuff on here? Not really. I do have an amazing coblogger who keeps up with original content. She is amazing and creative and just has more energy for this than I do. I love to review, and I love to read ahead. I LOVE LOVE LOVE building buzz for new books that are coming out. I love to feed the hype when it comes to books that I believe in. And I will miss doing that. But, as I said, I do miss reading whatever I want, when I want it. I often find myself putting off books that I want to read because I feel obligated to read ARCs. 

I am torn.

So for the rest of this year I am going to go on a reviewing hiatus. I might read some 2017 books, I might read some backlist. I might even write a review! But I’m only going to do what I FEEL LIKE. My coblogger is going to do the same. And we are going to enjoy it! And then after the new year I’m going to take a look at what I have, what I’m still getting, and how I feel. I might cut back on requesting and only review things for very certain people. I might decide that I REALLY miss it and go back to reviewing eARCs 100%. I DO NOT KNOW.

But I do know that I am feeling like I’m falling into a rut lately and that I want to do SOMETHING creative. Winter is coming and I always fall into these depressive funks and I don’t want to do that. So I’m going to do NaNoWriMo next month. And hopefully keep writing after that. But I have also, very suddenly, very randomly decided to start a bookstagram.

I honestly didn’t think that I would have the time or patience for bookstagram. A friend of mine started one recently and I really like it and felt inspired to do it, but then I kept looking at everyone’s bookstagram accounts and they have SO many followers and SO many gorgeous images and props and I just didn’t feel like I could compete. But then another friend was super encouraging and gave me some tips and here I am. So far I’ve been really enjoying taking minimalist shots with a lot of white background and editing the images. We’ll see where this goes, but I’m pretty excited about it.

So that’s where I am. Not abandoning this blog, not quitting, but taking a break from REVIEWING. That’s it. But please join me on bookstagram! I would really love your encouragement!

River’s Musings

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Okay let’s give this a try. I find that a lot of the reason why I don’t post much is because I can’t post photos without a lot of work. My photos are all on my iPhone and by the time I’ve gotten them to my computer I’m just done. So here I am updating from my iPad.

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On Christmas Day my husband and I went for a walk around MIT’s campus. I never get tired of looking at it. I love it here. I do miss some things from Japan (food, the train, convenience stores, certain products that I used to get at the drug store that I can’t get here) but I’m really happy here.

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On our walk we found this outside one of the dorms. I took a few photos and this is by far one of the best photographs I’ve taken in my life.

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We rang in the new year with wine, the ball drop in Times Square (streaming live) and we shouted HAPPY NEW YEAR out the window. I even saw a few fireworks off in the distance. I started the year with my traditional re-read of THE RAVEN BOYS and set my reading goal to 100.

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I was so excited to have the chance to order a ton of books from Bookoutlet during their Boxing Day sale and finally got my books a few days ago. I am so excited to read them!

Lately I have been feeling a bit discouraged about blogging and reviewing. I feel that I’m at the point where I can reach out to publishers to make connections and I really, really want to review physical ARCs. I got my Kindle while I was in Japan for many reasons, one of them being that it was incredibly convenient for me. I also was able to review eARCs because of it. But now that my lifestyle has changed I actually am not able to use my kindle as much as I had in the past and that means that a lot of my eARCs are going unread and I feel like I’m REALLY missing out. So I started to reach out to publishers and I’ve gotten both positive and negative responses. (Negative mainly being ignored). But as I see books that I was crossing my fingers to get popping up in other people’s hands and my mailbox remaining empty I’m starting to feel discouraged. Do I keep trying? Do I give up and just let reviewing fall to the wayside? I’m not sure what to do. But I don’t want to give up this blog and I want to work harder at it and make it better. I want to be involved with the book blogging community.

General Status Update

I feel like I should post something! Ugh, Sammy, you are the best for keeping this blog going. But maybe I am finally starting to get some free time. So here are 10 random things that have been going on lately.

1. I am ALMOST caught up with my goodreads challenge! I keep getting ‘on track’ only to fall 1-2 books behind. But that’s better than the 4-5 behind I was after moving. Remember when I was EIGHT books ahead??? (yeah probably not)

2. This: cambridge

3. I love my job! Like I really honestly truly ENJOY my job. I don’t dread waking up in the morning. I don’t spend the entire day wishing it was time to go home. I don’t feel my soul dying.

4. I’m trying to contact publishers about receiving physical ARCS! A few book bloggers on twitter have been helping me out and hopefully soon-ish I’ll be posting reviews for books that publishers have so kindly granted me permission to review (aside from my eARCS, I mean I love those, but I’d love some physical ARCs oh man would I love them). Wish me luck.

5. I might do NaNoWriMo next month. Might. I uh, have characters, and an idea. So that’s a thing.

6. This: halloween

7. Came up with a new life goal: swear like Ronan Lynch. (Jesus. beep. Mary. beep.)

8. I saw robots tonight. Legit robots. Like, robots that are probably some of the first robots that will even be close to achieving consciousness. Jesus. There was a red one and it’s face was like, an iPad or something and it was freaky.

9. I’ve been learning to cook all the Mexican food because for some reason that’s the food that my husband loves the most in the USA.

10. I READ BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE AND MY LIFE WHAT IS LIFE WHAT IS THIS BOOK WHAT IS MAGGIE. Oh Jesus. That book. I ordered a copy at work and had to short list it because we didn’t get any on pub day and then when it came on Wednesday my co-worker handed it to me AND I HUGGED IT. It’s a physical struggle to keep my hands from reaching for it because I want to re-read it so badly. GANSEY HAS A FANCY FACE AND I LOVE IT OKAY.

Snow Day!!!

IMG_4747Snow Mamegoma!

It snowed today! Which I know, for most of you reading, that this is NOT a big deal (especially if you are in the USA, which is like 95% covered with snow) and DEFINITELY nothing new for my better half (Sam is from Canada if y’all don’t remember) but I haven’t seen this much snow since 2009. It DOES snow in Japan (in the northern areas) but the main island doesn’t see that much snow. Tokyo usually gets hit with snow in late February, but for the most part the East, West and Southern areas are just cold, snowless places in the winter.

IMG_4757 IMG_4739IMG_4740Last night’s weather forecast called for snow and all of my students started to cancel because they don’t have ~snow tires~ (which yes, I know if the area isn’t used to snow that people WILL freak out about having to drive in it and that it IS unsafe, but the whole OMG NEED SNOW TIRES FOR TWO INCHES OF SNOW thing cracked me up) and my manager was worried about if the train would stop/ be delayed, so she gave me the day off! Yay for having a Saturday off! So Husband and I went out for lunch, took photos and built a snow Mamegoma!

IMG_4742 IMG_4745The wind is actually blowing so hard it’s making baby snowdrifts! Awww, it’s like back home (If y’all don’t remember, I’m from the lakeshore area in Michigan where they currently have snowdrifts taller than human beings).

Also, if you’re wondering why we’re wearing surgical face masks… it’s a thing that people in Japan do. Most people believe that the masks will help keep you from catching a cold or that if you have a cold you should wear one to keep your germs to yourself. They’re also INCREDIBLY good at keeping your face warm, so Husband and I always wear them when we go outside.

IMG_4750 IMG_4753A few years ago Husband and I went on a trip to one of the more snowy areas of Japan and we built a snow Mamegoma. We’ve always talked about having the chance to make another one and today was finally the day! We built this little guy on our front walkway. I hope our neighbors think he’s cute!!!

18820442Snow day reading!

And now I’m going to curl up with a cup of tea and read this for the rest of this cold, snowy day! Mannnnn, I was having so much trouble getting into anything this past week (three DNFs in a row!) so I decided to try one of my most anticipated 2014 books and mmmmmm this is GOOD!

Happy snow day!

River’s Winter Vacation

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So my winter vacation was NOT for Christmas, but for New Year, since Japan cares a million times more about New Year than they do Christmas. I had six days off (my husband had 9!) This was the FIRST winter vacation in years that we’ve had totally FREE from studying and preparing for my husband’s grad school applications. It was SO NICE. Our first night we went out for ramen and beer and stayed up late watching TV.

The second day we slept in and then went to Mito (just a few stations away from where I live now. Mito’s the capital of Ibaraki and one of the biggest cities between here and Tokyo) and walked over to Semba lake, a famous lake near a famous park in Mito. My husband wanted to ride the sawn boats, but they weren’t in operation (it was way too windy and cold) so instead we just walked around and enjoyed the day. And took a bunch of photos.

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After we finished in Mito we got on this tiny little steam train and went to Ashigaura, which was the last stop on the line (there were like, seven stations total). Last year we rode this train to go to the nearby fish market, and we were going to go again, but I wanted to keep riding the train (we had a GORGEOUS view of the ocean), so we just went to the end. There wasn’t really anything near the station, so we walked out to the ocean and found a really big (and famous) hot spring!

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We went inside the hot spring (but didn’t go into the actual baths) to eat dinner. Ibaraki is famous of ‘anko’ (angler fish), and we really wanted to try it (it’s only available in the winter). So we went into the dining area of the hot spring facility and ordered ‘anko nabe’ (boiled angler fish in soup with boiled vegetables). It was REALLY good, and we had a GORGEOUS view of the ocean.

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I love the color of the ocean at sunset. The water was SO pretty. This photo doesn’t do it justice.

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We stayed until sunset and then went back to the station and rode the train home. We had to go to sleep early because the next day we had plans to go to a Hawaiian themed spa and amusement park!

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Hawaiians (the spa and resort) is only 45 minutes away by train, so we woke up around 10 am and rode up there. When we got there husband and I both changed into our swimming suits and went around to the different pools that are offered. It was pretty crowded, but some of the outdoor pools were empty, and the hotter, more ‘hot spring’ style pools had less kids. We stayed in those for a few hours before we got hungry so we went and ate ramen and then walked around and watched some hula dancing shows. Then we went swimming again until about 4pm.

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After swimming I was STARVING, so we got these tasty pancakes and bubble tea (as it’s called in the USA, in Japan it’s call tapioca drink). I had manga juice and husband had strawberry milk.

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I highly approved of it.

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We got dressed (it was freezing walking around in just our bathing suits), and walked around taking photos and looking at the shops. We didn’t end up buying anything (I hate carrying crap around) and then we went back to the station and got dinner before heading home around 9pm.

breakingbad

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The next day was New Year’s Eve, so husband and I just relaxed. We went out for lunch and chilled at Starbucks but then we came home early and I worked on reading the ONLY two books that I read during vacation and I started watching… BREAKING BAD. Husband is OBSESSED with it and has been telling me to watch it for WEEKS. So I finally started (I’m on Season 3 now). We rang in the new year with some sparking wine and went to sleep early.

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On the first day of the year most people go visit the shrine or temple to pray for happiness in the coming year. So far husband and I have managed to go to the local shrine (no matter where we are) on New Years Day. This year we went in the afternoon, hoping it wouldn’t be too crowded. And it wasn’t! I mean, there were a lot of people, but the line to enter the shrine wasn’t too bad, and we were able to grab some yummy food and head out to the ocean without having to deal with too many people.

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One of my favorite things about where we live right now is the ocean. Last year we went on New Years Day, but it was at night, so we got to see the ocean under the moonlight. This year we saw it in the daytime and it was just as breathtaking.

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Spring

ImageImageOn Saturday the cherry blossoms in Hitachi reached full bloom… only to be attacked with a huge rain and wind storm…

ImageImageImageAfter the storm there was a beautiful slice of rainbow stretching down into the ocean, which was filled with angry waves.

ImageImageBut I was lucky enough to enjoy the cherry blossoms in Tokai-mura after the rain finished. The cold wind remained so K and I weren’t able to stay too long… but at least I got to see them!