Sunday, January 29, 2012

Japanese Literature Challenge Wrap Up

 Sadly the end has come to the Japanese Literature Challenge 5, hosted by Dolce Bellezza. This time round I don't feel I have achieved my personal goals for the challenge. Essentially these were to

  • read more Haruki Murakami
  • read more Banana Yoshimoto
  • read another Japanese Author
  • read another Japanese History
I did read another Murakami (posted here) and another Banana Yoshimoto (posted below).
And I'm currently reading a new Japanese Author, Kazuo Ishiguro, although I'm a little out of sorts with this one as it seems to be set in the UK?
 The Lake, by Banana Yoshimoto: I read this late last year and as it's been so long since I read it, my review probably wont be as passionate as I was when I was reading it. Many reviewers have raved about Banana's writing style, and I can see what it attractive about it. She seems to capture the emotions of the moment, in a way that makes the fictional every day just like my everyday... in this story she depicts a lost sole, a young woman who has recently lost her mother and has an estranged relationship with her businessman father. She moves to Tokyo to begin her own new life, and while alone, she finds solace in watching a young man from her window. A chance meeting of said man, soon turns into a loose fitting relationship and develops into something stronger. He's a strange man in himself, having grown up in a cult like world. The two of them weave together and have some interesting encounters, including some visits to a fortune teller.

I was captured in this short story - I recall finding it difficult to put the book down, and I will try and find other Banana Yoshimoto novel to read this year. Any recommendations?

Farewell JLC5, Thank you Dolce Bellezza for hosting, yet again a worthy challenge - one that encourages a learning of a different culture, the immersing of oneself in writings that come from a different world. I'll be there for JLC6 if there's one..

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Australia Day 2012

January 26th is Australia Day, and what a better way to celebrate than to post about my recent trip to Adelaide to see the Aussie Cycling Team win the Tour Down Under (4th largest tour in the world, behin Tour de France, Giro d'italia and the tour of Spain (I think)).
It took us 2 days to drive to Adelaide across the Hay Plains. While my partner was driving, I was enjoying the scenery and history.
And while in Adelaide, we visited family and enjoyed the opportunity to watch the cycling races around the state.
 The Greenedge Boys taking the corner in Style..
(Greenedge is the first ever professional Australian Team and they won their first big Tour at home!)

We also joined in a community ride with 8,000 other cyclist - the chance to ride a complete stage of the Race - we rode 138km (+the 12 km to the start) of Race Stage 4, to raise money for cancer research. I really enjoyed the ride, that took me 6 1/2 hours of cycling, and felt terrific at the end ( surprised myself).

Now home, it's time to get back into other loves of my life... gardening, thinking, reading, and yet I must maintain my cycling training as I have another big ride coming up in March..

Posts to come soon ; Vintage Furniture, Japanese Lit Challenge review, and gardening plans.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Pic. Rohan Kelly (from The Telegraph picture gallery)

Where were you on New Years Eve? Were you with friends or family? Were you in some stunning location  viewing fireworks such as these? or were you at home enjoying your own space and company of pets and loved ones? 

I was in Queensland visiting my Parents along with my sister and her family who are currently living in Christmas Island. So it was a lovely NYE and once kids were put to bed and oldies snuggled in for the night, my sister and I escaped to go an watch the local fireworks on the beach of the Sunshine Coast. Now if I was a techno geek I would offer you a map right now to show you the distance between the Sunshine Coast on the east coast of Australia and Christmas Island somewhere in the Indian ocean near to Indonesia than Western Australia. Anyway, it was just a treat to spend some time with the family. 

Now, I've been aching to do a post 2011 and pre 2012 post, but my head has been/ and continues to be torn by my current commitments. I am about to go on holidays, heading to South Australia for a week to watch and ride some of the Tour Down Under - one of the worlds Grand Cycling Races. My man and I are registered to do a charity ride for the Cancer Council. The ride is the full course of Stage 4 of the race (only we're not racing) but it is a mammoth 138km ride. I hope to achieve this in under 7 hours of pedalling, so I've been out training, training and training..... any day the sun is shining and my legs are OK to go out. Most weeks I've been riding 4 times a week, for anywhere between 2 - 4 hours at a time. (not bad for a middle age women who really only got a road bike a year ago!). 

So I will post real soon summing up 2011 and laying out 2012 hopes.... And for now, wishing all my blogging friends and visitors a HAPPY NEW YEAR! PS. This was my 200th Post!