The True Sea

The human mind, old films, literature and podcasts.


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6 Things I Love These Days

6 Things I Love These Days | The True Sea thetruesea.comSafe bet books
Recently, I got out of the habit of reading every day simply because I didn’t feel excited about the books on my reading pile. So I got a few novels that are safe bets. I really enjoyed Herman Koch’s The Dinner. His new metafictional thriller Dear Mr M sounds like it will tick all my boxes. Japanese crime fiction and horror never let me down, so I also got Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama and Ring by Koji Suzuki which surprisingly, I’ve never read.

Preparing for 2017
I’ve started writing down my goals for next year. Creating a home in my own place, spending more time with the people I love and changing day jobs to do what I’m passionate about are my top priorities. My wellbeing is more important than anything else. I also want to focus on learning new things, relaxing better and establishing more healthy routines.

Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories
A beautiful life drama series based on the manga Shinya Shokudō. A chef referred to as ‘Master’, only opens his little restaurant between midnight and 7am. He has a very small menu, but he will happily cook whatever his customers ask for as long as he has the ingredients for the dish. This is a thought-provoking show about the interactions we have and the relationships we form over meals. You can watch it on Netflix.

Laughing every day
It helps me de-stress and take life less seriously. When I’m not working, I listen to comedy podcasts and watch fun stuff. I’m really enjoying Maron and Brooklyn Nine-Nine at the moment. Mascots is one of the funniest films I’ve seen in a while and I highly recommend it. It’s basically Best in Show, but with mascots instead of dogs.

Ruminations by Conor Oberst
I’ve been listening to Conor’s new album in bed with my eyes closed. Everything he creates evokes such a wide range of feelings and memories. There’s sorrow, nostalgia, happiness, melancholia, hope, comfort, affection, determination, acceptance and love. His music feels like home to me in a way that no physical place ever has. It makes me feel safe.

Making myself feel good
Doing things that I’ve been putting off. Sorting through and organising my belongings. Becoming a Cats Protection sponsor. Donating stuff I don’t use to a Mind charity shop. Selling clothes I never wear. Finally paying off my student loan.

How about you? What things do you love these days?


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6 Things I Love These Days

6 Things I Love These Days | The True Sea thetruesea.comMy mala necklace
Mala necklaces are traditionally used during Japa meditation where a mantra is repeated 108 times – one time for each bead. I couldn’t find quite what I wanted, so I decided to make one myself out of rosewood, turquoise and lapis lazuli beads. I’m so pleased with how it turned out.

Anything that makes me feel cosy and safe
Snuggling up under a throw with a big cup of cherry blossom or mango green tea and a Japanese crime novel in the evenings. Watching an old horror film in bed by candlelight with a box of chocolates. Taking a long Epsom salt bath while burning a rosewood scented candle. Writing my thoughts out while listening to Nine Inch Nails.

Spotless
A CANAL+ Création Originale genre-bending drama series about Jean Bastière, a crime scene cleaner who lives in London with his wife and their two kids. One day, his estranged, wayward brother Martin turns up at their house and asks for a huge favour. Things escalate really quickly from there. It’s dark, gory and satirical – everything I want from a tv show. You can watch it on Netflix.

Being alone with my thoughts
For a while, I haven’t allowed myself to simply sit and think. When I’m stressed out and my thoughts are racing, I use constant distraction as a coping technique to prevent my OCD from triggering thought loops. Even though I’m still under a lot of pressure at work, I’m back to normal now, allowing my thoughts to pass through as they wish, visualising the future and letting myself daydream.

True Crime Japan
A podcast about true crime and mysteries from Japan. To my delight, the hosts cover some cases that haven’t received much attention outside of the Land of the Rising Sun. My favourite episodes so far are The Suicide Website Killer and The Psychic Spot Disappearance (The Spirited Away Hotel). There hasn’t been a new episode in a while, but I hope they’re intending to make more.

Patricia Highsmith books
I can’t believe I haven’t read any of her work until now. So far I’ve read A Suspension of Mercy and This Sweet Sickness. The latter had a big emotional impact on me. Next up is The Cry of the Owl. Patricia’s exceptionally well-written psychological thrillers very much get under your skin and inside your head. Her characters blur the line between imagination and reality in such a fantastic way that even the reader isn’t sure which is which.

How about you? What things do you love these days?


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Taking Stock

Taking Stock | The True Sea thetruesea.comEnjoying: days of alone time.
Listening: to The Unresolved Podcast.
Wearing: my 2nd chakra symbol necklace every day.
Making: peace with my past.
Drinking: Clipper Green Tea with Raspberry and Ginseng.
Feeling: slightly blasé about this year.
Reading: Silence Once Begun by Jesse Ball.
Looking: forward.
Wishing: I had more time to write.
Liking: how visiting Sweden always reassures me that I’m on the right path.
Waiting: for the next season of American Horror Story.
Snacking: on cinnamon almonds.
Learning: to be more patient.
Loving: wandering around a bookshop for an hour.
Watching: Stranger Things and Happy Valley.
Admiring: Rose McGowan. Always.
Getting: lots of blog post ideas.
Noticing: my negative thoughts and redefining them.
Giggling: at BoJack Horseman.
Bookmarking: Creepy Catalog articles.
Deciding: to be kinder to myself.
Wanting: to move into a house.
Thinking: about the connections we choose and the ones we don’t choose.
Knowing: that I’m conquering my commitment issues.

Taking Stock is a feature inspired by the lovely Pip of Meet Me At Mike’s.


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6 More Things I’ve Learnt This Year

6 More Things I've Learnt This Year | The True Sea thetruesea.comThis has been a bizarre year so far to say the least. Some days, I feel like we’re all in an episode of The Twilight Zone. Though with the latest plot twist (this is likely as political as I will ever be on here), it seems more like an episode of Black Mirror. Yet I’m learning lots about myself and how things are connected. Here are six more things I’ve learnt this year.

Reading gets me out of my head when nothing else works.
Books have always been my escape. Listening to a podcast or watching something can still allow my thoughts to wander or loop when I’m in a stressed or anxious state. But picking up a good book always distracts me from my internal monologue. The instant I become completely engrossed in what I’m reading, my thoughts stop.

It’s okay to not want a busy social life.
I’m not a people person. My favourite person to hang out with is me. I do love spending time with people I like, but truth is I don’t like a lot of people, and it goes both ways. I’m fine with that. There’s a limited amount of time I can deal with social interaction before I need to recharge my batteries alone, and that’s okay too.

I need to do what I love for a living.
Spending only my free time doing what I love isn’t enough to keep me happy. I loop back to this over and over again. A means to an end job just isn’t something I can do long term. I always end up frustrated and questioning my life choices. Frankly, I admire people who don’t lose their minds doing boring work. But I need to accept that I’m never going to be one of those people. I need to do what I love full time. I need to write, and work with books and words.

No one has the right to expect anything from me.
It’s not my job to live up to the expectations of others. If people don’t want to accept me as I am, that’s their problem. I don’t change to fit anyone’s assumptions. The older I get, the lower my nonsense tolerance gets. Healthy relationships and interactions are unconditional. And those are the only kind I want in my life.

Happiness requires constant work.
I know this, yet I still slip up every now and then. If you are, consciously or unconsciously, looking for negative aspects, that’s invariably what you’ll focus your attention on. Life isn’t meant to be good, nor is it meant to be bad. It isn’t meant to be anything. You decide how you interpret the world around you. Your life is only as good as you believe it is.

The best is yet to come.
I never reminisce about days gone by. Things weren’t better back then. They’re better now, and they keep getting better. The present is fine, but the future will be amazing. That’s where the really good stuff is. Every day I’m getting closer to living the life I want to live.

How about you? What things have you learnt this year so far?


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Lately

Lately | Chiaki Creates chiakicreates.com1. I read The Tokyo Zodiac Murders by Soji Shimada in just a few days and I was absolutely blown away by how clever the plot was. The other night, I started Coin Locker Babies by Ryū Murakami. His books always leave me feeling satisfied. When I went to Northern Ireland a couple of weeks ago, I started the crime novel All She Was Worth by Miyuki Miyabe. It was a very enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to reading more of her books.

2. I listened to the audiobooks The Dark Tourist: Sightseeing in the World’s Most Unlikely Destinations by Dom Joly and Going to Sea in a Sieve: The Autobiography by Danny Baker. Both were very entertaining and had me in tears laughing. I’ve also been listening to loads of true crime podcasts.

3. I’ve been thinking a lot about the people who I have that special bond with – the bond that can never be broken. I consciously choose to spend a lot of my time alone because I see no point in wasting time on people who I don’t feel a strong connection with. That kind of socialising exhausts me. On the same theme, I’ve been thinking about the concept of family. Not only defined by blood or legal bond, but also by emotional connection. I come from a very small family who practise sporadic contact and I’ve always wanted to be part of a big family who celebrate together. One day.

4. I’ve also been thinking a lot about the future and what fulfilment really is. There is no one thing that can magically make us feel fulfilled. It’s all about adding small pieces to a big puzzle. It can be achieved through following your passion, being intentional, trusting, addressing your needs, taking time off, reflecting, pushing past your fears and so on. I’m choosing to pursue fulfilment.

5. I watched season 2 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. The first few episodes are slow but it picks up. I find it really inspiring and Tina Fey’s character is hilarious. I watched season 2 of Better Call Saul and the Tina Fey/Amy Poehler comedy Sisters. I also watched the dark comedy series Flowers and I highly recommend it.

6. I’ve been buying things that make me smile: a writing desk, Japanese crockery, books, David Bowie picture discs, a mosaic tea light holder, two beautiful acacia wooden trays and green tea with mango.

7. I’ve decided to let things take their time. I refuse to let impatience diminish the joy of the present moment. My focus is on improving what’s within my control. The rest will come when it’s supposed to come. In the meantime, I’ll be working hard for the good stuff.


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7 things I’ve learnt this year so far

7 Things I've Learnt This Year So Far | Chiaki Creates chiakicreates.comI need to allow things to be good.
I’m so used to struggling just to keep my head above water that I don’t know what to do with myself when life is good. As human beings we get used to things being a certain way, and we tend to want it that way because it feels familiar and safe, even when it’s unhealthy for us. Some days, I feel terribly frustrated and crave a challenge because that’s what I’m used to, but I’m learning that it’s okay to be bored. (Thank you, Geenie.) Things being good is a good thing. It just happens to be something that I’m not fully used to yet.

Deep, unconditional love is the most important thing in life.
Distance is irrelevant and the commitment is real. As much as I enjoy my own company, I need those super connections too. They’re vital for my well-being. I’m focused on nurturing my close relationships, and I thrive on the deep love I have in my life. I feel so blessed to have people who I can trust and who love me unconditionally.

Consuming refined sugar makes me feel like I’m suffering from exhaustion.
Throughout January, I felt exhausted. I slept a lot more than usual but I still woke up tired. At work I was half asleep. It got so bad that I started worrying that I was getting seriously ill. Then it dawned on me that I was eating sugar almost every day. Let me explain. I don’t experience a sugar high; I head straight for a sugar crash. It’s like I’ve taken sleeping pills. It’s bizarre. If I can’t sleep, I just have a biscuit and go right to sleep. Completely cutting refined sugar out of one’s diet is hard, so I’m happy to have managed to drastically limit my intake of the white poison.

I can survive in a world without Bowie in it.
Losing Bowie was a tough blow. He was a father figure to me and his guidance has always been there. I felt so broken and lost, like I had lost myself. I still cry, but I know that I can and will go on. Somehow, in the collective conciousness we all seem to have thought that he was immortal. His legacy didn’t die with him though and after all, he was only visiting. He truly is one of the most wonderful men and talented artists to ever have walked our planet.

Dedicating one day a week to self care elevates my well-being tremendously.
After a long work week full of social interaction, I need a day of being with myself and doing lots of nice things for myself. Some of my favourite things to do are: taking long essential oil baths by candlelight while listening to true crime podcasts, treating myself to some new lingerie or beauty products, writing or reading in bed while drinking cherry blossom Sencha or Gyokuro, writing in my self empowerment notebook and watching comedy or horror films in bed.

Writing needs to actively be made a priority.
Having a full time job makes it hard to find enough time to focus on my raison d’être. A change of scenery is a good idea so I’m contemplating places I could go to get some peace and quiet. I want to make more time for writing personal essays and articles. Reliving my troubled past is tougher than I thought it would be, so I’m letting my autofiction book take its time and come out organically. It’s something that needs to be written.

I’m fully capable of breaking unhealthy behavioural patterns.
My past behaviour doesn’t define me. Just because I used to behave a certain way, doesn’t mean that I have to keep it up. This ties in with the first thing on this list. Just because I used to accept, and even create, chaos in my life because chaos feels familiar, doesn’t mean that I have to keep on doing it. Every now and then, I have a dream in which I mess everything up and I wake up feeling awful and guilty. These nightmares are reinforcing my determination not to do it.

How about you? What things have you learnt this year so far?


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Taking stock

Taking Stock | Chiaki Creates chiakicreates.comEnjoying: being alive.
Listening: to Nine Inch Nails.
Wearing: my lucky elephant necklace every day.
Making: more time for reading.
Cooking: white miso ramen.
Drinking: orange and lotus flower green tea.
Feeling: hopeful.
Reading: Evil and the Mask by Fuminori Nakamura.
Looking: forward to the days I’m taking off work to write.
Liking: that the cat next-door at work comes over for cuddles almost every day.
Waiting: for slightly warmer weather.
Snacking: on Cocoa Brazil nuts in raw chocolate.
Coveting: Gyokuro from Whittard of Chelsea.
Hearing: lots of episodes of Those Conspiracy Guys.
Learning: things about myself.
Loving: my new Japanese cherry blossom perfume.
Watching: season 3 of Bates Motel.
Wondering: if it really is supposed to be like this.
Noticing: how important it is to always have things to look forward to.
Giggling: at Comedy Bang! Bang!.
Bookmarking: anything about Chip-chan.
Deciding: to start getting up earlier to get more alone-time before work.
Hoping: to visit my dear Geenie very soon.
Contemplating: when to visit my friends and family in Sweden.
Wanting: to go and stay in a hotel because I love hotels.
Thinking: about forgiveness and letting go.
Knowing: that all my dreams will be fulfilled eventually.

Taking Stock is a feature inspired by the lovely Pip of Meet Me At Mike’s.