Category Archives: books

Een juli megapost (brace yo selves)

Hoi allemaal! Het is wéér gebeurd: ik ben al meerdere keren op dat punt gekomen waarop ik zoveel te vertellen had, dat ik niet meer wist waar ik moest beginnen. Met als gevolg dat ik hier al meer dan drie weken niets heb achtergelaten. Eehhh, ja. Je zou toch denken dat het na al die jaren niet meer zo lastig moet zijn om te bloggen. Wel dus. Waar moet ik beginnen? Goed, eerst met wat fotootjes en een filmpje dan maar.

Ik heb het allemaal even achter een “read more” tag geplaatst, want dit wordt een lange post…


Posted in books, daily musings, stupid pictures, tunes | 30 Comments

DIARY or something

Home Decor

We have been living in our new apartment for almost a week now and every day it’s starting to feel more like home. Interior design is one of the things I really enjoy and for me the challenge of spending little money, but having great results, is always a fun one! I always like to spend a trip to the thriftstore first, because you can find the greatest things if you really take a good look. And all that for just a few bucks. As you can see I’ve been cozying it up big time. Candles, (fake) flowers, using all kind of things as candleholders (the one in the picture on the right is actually an old jar of jam) and re-using stuff we already owned. I might change it all again next week, but for now it feels good to have a little more stuff in here. Especially when both the walls and our bookcase are still a bit empty (we still have to get our books out of storage). Right now I’m thinking about what to do with our bedroom… hmm…


Posted in books, daily musings, homedecor,, tunes | 7 Comments

Looking for Alaska ✽

This book! Wow!

Looking for Alaska – John Green

I borrowed it from my sister yesterday and I read it this morning in about three hours. I loved it SO MUCH. It was so nice to finally read something other than articles about globalisation and historical landscaping (insert bored emoticon), especially when it’s such a good book. I won’t tell you anything about it (too afraid to spoil it), instead I’ll type out what’s on the back cover of the book:

“When Miles Halter leaves for boarding school, he goes to seek what dying poet Rabelais called “the Great Perhaps”. Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, self-destructive and dead sexy, Alaska pulls Miles into her labyrinth, catapulting him into an unimaginable future…”

Anyway, go read it if you haven’t already! :-)

Posted in books | 14 Comments

A Japanese obsession

My fascination with Japan probably started right after the first time I watched Lost In Translation (don’t know it yet? IT’S ONLY MY FAVORITE MOVIE OF ALL TIME. Click here for my review and here for a playlist). Which is kind of ironic if you think about the backlash this film received from the actual Japanese people. Although the director (Sofia Coppolla) said it was supposed to be a “valentine to Tokyo”, that was not how some Japanese perceived it. The film made fun of Japanese stereotypes, they said, and all in all was not a fair representation of how Tokyo really is as a city. You can read a bit more about it here. Nevertheless I must say I myself DID perceive it as an ode to that city, which maybe makes me a bit culturally ignorant, but also helped me create a small obsession with Japan and made me fall in love with it. I really want to go there some day!

It may have started with Lost in Translation, but it certainly did not end there. Here are some of my current japanese obsessions.


Pictured: the films Lost in Translation, Departures, Tokyo Sonata.

Already I talk way too much about Lost in Translation, so I will skip telling you about that one. The other two films have already been featured on my blog over the years as well, but those reviews are no longer online.
     Tokyo Sonata is a story about a family from Tokyo. The father loses his job, the little boy sneaks out to enjoy his passion (playing the piano), his big brother decides to change his life drastically and all the while the mother is desperately trying to prevent her family from unraveling. At first glance it sounds like a somewhat boring film. But nothing proves to be less true, trust me! What makes this film special is not so much the story, but rather the characters and how they deal with these changes. You can feel how the characters are suffocated by their own Japanese culture, where status and respect are everything. Above all the film is beautifully shot, has a great soundtrack and is great if you want to see a bit more of Tokyo besides the skyscrapers. I also feel you can learn a great deal about their culture by watching this film.
     Departures (or おくりびと, according to google translate – correct me if I’m wrong) is a lot different from Tokyo Sonata in the sense that it is a bit on the comedic side. Which sounds probably very strange when I tell you what this film is all about. When Daigo Kobayashi gets fired from playing in an orchestra, he decides to stop playing the cello and to return, together with his wife, to his native village. His mother left them a house, which makes if already a lot easier for them to survive. He still needs a job though, so he goes out searching for one. He responds to an ad that says “guiding the journey”. But that’s obviously a typo! At least, that is what they tell him when he arrives at the company. It should be: “Guiding the final journey”. When Daigo finds out that he ended up at a funeral home instead of a travel agency, his first reaction is to rush out the door. After all, he has never seen a dead man and how he should deal with such a job? But the boss, an eccentric Japanese softy, lures him in with a few bills and he decides to stay anyway. A film with lots of laughs because of the dark humor and also a small tear. And that beautiful cello… wow! This film actually won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2009 Oscars.
     Now, some of you will maybe find it a bit weird I have not spoken about the horror genre when it’s such a big part of Japanese cinema. I’ll be honest with you and tell you I really don’t like horror-movies. I used too, but not so much anymore. I’m a bit of a wuzz! ;)


Pictured: the books Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami & Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Norwegian Wood was the first book I read that was written by a Japanese author. Which turned out to be a great place to start, because Haruki Murakami is one of the most well known writers of Japan and for a good reason: he has written a lot of best-sellers. Norwegian Wood is the only book in which he ventures into realism. It is a coming of age story about a boy called Toru and his life as a student in Tokyo. A real must read if you ask me! The rest of his books (like Kafka on the Shore, Bird Wind Up Chronicle) can be called fantasy. Not fantasy in a Lord of The Rings kind of way, but fantasy in a surrealistic sense. He has a way of writing that manages to captivate you and lure you in to his world.
     Memoirs of a geisha is a book Anne recommended to me (I borrowed her copy, which almost falls apart because she has read it so many times) and I was pleasantly surprised. A great and fascinating story, well written and (with the risk of sounding like a book marketeer): truly captivating. I couldn’t stop reading. It tells the story of a girl who grows up to be a geisha in the Gion district and although it isn’t a true story, it sure feels like it. I knew near to nothing about geisha’s before reading this, but I felt this book to be a perfect way to start my education on the subject. There has been some controversy around this novel, so I think it would be a good thing to read this book with the clear notion of it being fiction in the back of your mind.
     Other book recommendations: Kafka on the Shore and 1Q84, both by Haruki Murakami. 1Q84 I still have to read myself, but I heard great things about it. Also, Never Let Me Go is written by a Japanese author called Kazuo Ishiguro and therefore I think I can mention it here as well.

What I would visit/do in Japan

Pictured: the skyline of Tokyo.

Things I would do or places I would visit in Japan: ♥ Visit Kyoto and walk around the temples ♥ I loathe karaoke with a passion, but for Tokyo I would make an exception! I want to visit one of those little cubicles you can rent and sing a long till deep in the night (can you tell I watched Lost in Translation way too many times?) ♥ Obviously I would want to see a bit of the beautiful nature this country has ♥ I would be on the look out for good Japanese music. I know absolutely nothing about that yet. Maybe some of you can recommend me something? ♥ Observe the locals. How they act, what they wear, what they eat… ♥ Take crazy pictures in those giant photo booths and visit an arcade ♥ Eat sushi (OF COURSE) and other delicious Japanese food in a small restaurant instead of the big chains we have over here ♥ Try to learn the language! It looks really difficult though… ♥ Ride the subway while listening to a part of this soundtrack ♥ Just walk around Tokyo for hours and hours with a camera in my hand ♥ Buy a travel guidebook on Japan before I go ;-)

I hope you enjoyed this post and maybe discovered some new obsessions yourself. It seems to me that a visit to Japan will be a real culture shock and I think that is part of the reason why I’m so attracted to it. If you are from Japan or have visited it, you may think this is all a bit superficial and stereotypical or culturally ignorant of me: I hear you. Seriously, I would find it funny as well if someone would write a post about the Netherlands and all he/she did was talk about windmills and wooden shoes, because that would be a very untrue representation of it. Nevertheless I can’t wait to find out if my idea of Japan in any way resembles the real thing. In the meantime I’ll just enjoy the good things that come from it and dream myself away. Maybe I’ll see you there? ;)

さようなら! (bye!) (according to google translate)

Posted in books, cinema, granny hobby, inspiration, obsession | 6 Comments

Such a hard knock life

Whenever I meet up with a friend and they ask me what I’ve been up to lately, I have to think really hard to try and remember how I’ve been spending my days. It must be so annoying, but I really can’t help it. Nowadays I have little to no structure in my life. Sometimes I even forget what day it is! Yes, I do have a job and I’m also taking driving lessons, but other than that the past month has been one long vacation: taking out the canoes when the weather is nice, reading books, watching an episode of some mindnumbing tv-series during a bubble bath, going to the movies, cooking, spending time with friends, taking long walks, enjoying the town and it’s public events, working out… Everyday I have been busy with fun stuff. Obviously I’m not complaining!

Most of all, it is awesome not having a school-deadline annoying me in the back of my head. Around this time last year I just came back home from my semester in Sweden and at the same time I was busy finishing up my thesis. SO MUCH STRESS. To everyone who is going through it now: good luck! You can do it! I myself am treasuring these last few stress-free months. Only three left till september…

My “year off” is not over yet, but I think I can already conclude it has been a success. Like a quote I found on the web: “There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.” And although the past year has not been exactly calm (trust me: moving twice is no fun at all y’all), I did have the time to “stand still”. Sort of. Because I do not feel like I’ve been standing still AT ALL. I’m not going to go all “I NOW KNOW WHAT LIFE IS ABOUT” on your ass, because that is certainly not true, but the past year did give me a chance to catch a break. A welcome one indeed :-)

Anyway, like we would say in dutch: let’s go with the goat. I’ll share some ~objects of my affection~.

This thread on reddit about strangers you still think about is such a good read ♥ Like you can see in one of the snapshots above, I’m reading Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. I’m a bit of a slow reader at the moment, so I’m not that far in yet, but I’m really loving it already. Just like Norwegian Wood it has an atmosphere of mystery which really manages to pull me in. ♥ THIS PICTURE. I CAN’T EVEN… (I found it on reddit, but I can’t find the original post) ♥ Pretty Little Liars season 4 has started! I feel a bit bad for still following that show, but I really can’t help it. Those outfits they’re wearing though… horrific. ♥ How amazing is this woman? 13 hours, wow! ♥ Kim visited me this week and it was so nice to see her again. So, yes, not an object, but definitly a lot of affection there :) Also: happy birthday today Kim!! Sorry I can’t be there! :( ♥ I’ll have to wait till august before I can see The Bling Ring… pfff… has anyone seen it already? How was it? ♥ My internet connection sucks over here (hence the lack of updates… seriously, I already tried to post this entry like five times): a lot of hearts for good working wifi out of the house ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

And here is a playlist of my fav songs of the moment. It turned out to be a bit of a weird and nonsensical one. Oh well.

Have a nice weekend everybody xx

Posted in books, daily musings,, lana del slay, playlist, tunes | 6 Comments

Please Book Lovers United, don’t be mad at me for putting them on the ground

(A not so random selection from our bookshelf. Yes, I was totally judging these books by it’s covers – all for a pretty picture, right?)

A long long time ago, I used to read A LOT. And when I say A LOT, I really do mean a lot. It was my way of escaping from my boring everyday highschool life and creating my own exciting world. Curling up with a Harry Potter book and imagining I was right there, going to Hogwarts with Harry and Ron (most of the time I ignored Hermoine and replaced her with myself); I LOVED it. I guess we’ve all been there, right? No? (Am I crazy?)

But then I grew up and university started and life happened and suddenly I did not read as much as I was used to do. Sure, I plowed through all the boring university stuff and read a lot of interesting non-fiction, but just losing myself in a book only happened on very rare occasions. The last REAL book I read (a few weeks ago) was Norwegian Wood, which was so good and really made me realise how much I had missed it. (Reading, I mean. Not that particular Beatles song.)

Now that I have more time on my hands, one of my “sabbatical-year resolutions” is trying to read more. So, I went to the bookstore. Which almost backfired, because somehow I ended up with a few non-fiction books again (I’m a sucker for international affairs!). Luckily I did manage to buy something that will help me with my resolution as well. I just have one problem: I read really fast. Currently The Casual Vacancy by queen J.K. Rowling is laying on my bedside table, but I need to replace it soon. And because somehow I don’t think that just following Oprah’s list is the best way to go, I really wanted to ask you guys for some book-titles. So, let me know! What is your favorite book and why?

One of my absolute favorites is A Single Man. I loved the film (by Tom Ford) and when I read the book I was amazed at how an at first sight simple and short story can turn out to be such a beautiful and meaningful read. I definitely recommend it!

(Now, before you all go and suggest I’d try reading Fifty Shades of Grey: after reading this tumblr I think it will be absolutely impossible for me to read that book without snickering at every paragraph. To each it’s own of course, but it’s just not for me. I would love some other suggestions though! Please leave them in the comments!)

Posted in books, daily musings | 33 Comments