Naoko Kensaku

Geminian Rat. Carried by an Aries Bear.

June 2019 update

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This is one of those updates that are late, simply because life literally got in my way.

Or rather, my “small” mango, but that is an update for another day.

Today however, as late as it is, I want to recap what happened in June.

A reason for this is so that I have a memory of what happened in June, because otherwise I could forget unless a stray photo reminds me. For another, I have not had the inkling nor desire to journal for some time, so this is not a bad way for me to chronicle my month.

Image of pens in pencil case

June was kicked off in a big way by the Popular Bookfest. I went there to check stationery out, not intending to buy more than perhaps a pen or two if I saw something interesting, but as it turns out there were more deals than I expected.

Among the things I got were fineliners I had been eyeing, a Kokuyo pencil case for travel, new editions of the Duo Tone Pentel Gel ink, stickers (but of course) and some unexpectedly cute but super thick washi tape (which I instantly regretted in a “I should have realised it was this big” kind of way).

I had a ridiculous flu (which, in hindsight, makes me wonder if it was a sign of things to come) in the second week of June, but that didn’t stop me from taking my colleague to Stickerrific. Raya Hols are wonderful when traffic is clear (from Jaya One to Bukit Bintang in less than 40 minutes and this is with me getting lost is incredible timing!).

Stationery supplies

I also went to the Bookfest for the second time that same week to pick up the main deal and reason why I wanted to go there in the first place – Kokuyo’s large washi tape cutters were on sale at RM10 per piece. When the original is around RM18 – RM20 it’s definitely a good buy. I also picked up Tombows which I had been meaning to play around with, along with some really gorgeous and nice to use Juice Up pens.

The following week was me clearing my room, followed by celebrating my birthday. This year felt quite chillax compared to the years before, and I appreciated the husband taking me out to lunch and trying Xin Fu Tang with me. On another note, the bubble tea trend which started beginning of June shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. People do need to feed their sugar addiction I suppose (says the sugar addict herself).

Food collage
Actually looking through my photos for June, if there was one word to describe it, the word would be indulge. I took the opportunity to indulge and treat myself, from hanging out with friends to buying things for myself.

Remember I said I went wild with the stationery? I also bought a pair of Xiaomi Airdots (NOT the Redmi, those are black, mine are in white), which is a really nice pair of wireless earbuds. Reason I got them was because the ones I got back in September died. One side of the earbuds went kaput and the seller wasn’t willing to honour the warranty, insisting that if I wanted them to honour it I would need to pay for shipping back to China, so in the end I decided to blacklist them and just get a proper brand name that I would at least recognise.

Nintendo Switch

I was also “encouraged” by the husband to get a Nintendo Switch, which I did after coming across several good deals. Several days later I was told that another acquaintance could have scored me a cheaper one but eh too late.

Collection of cute animal postcards

June was spent in a haze of playing games, good food and hanging out with friends. Work was getting intense though, so I brought along some “friends” to work to make me smile.

As to my small mango well… that’s coming soon!

May Update (very late)

It completely slipped my mind till today, 4 June 2019, that I haven’t done my May write up. If you have me on Instagram or Twitter you may already know that part of this is because…


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Yeah, so when I mentioned that April was a bit hectic, this was one of the reasons why. The story is slightly anti-climatic; we originally wanted to get registered before a certain date to claim Selangor’s Marriage Allowance but we found out the project had been terminated as of November 2018, so it didn’t really matter when we registered.

However, since he was going to be travelling for quite a bit and we have sort of stabilised ourselves with our new routines and such, we decided we might as well get it done now. So we applied to get married in April and selected a nice date in May. Note, this is only the civil registration.

For those who don’t know, Malaysia has a pretty unique (or so I am told) marriage registration system for non-Muslims. It’s a part of a two-step process actually – the first (almost always) is the civil registration.

This is when you go to a National Registration Department (NRD) that can do weddings to register your marriage. Weddings/Registrations held here will always be on a weekday. Alternately, you can also do it at selected Chinese temples, which would allow you to have the event on a weekend. The only thing is you need to bring your birth certificate, just so they are clear that at least one of you is a follower of that religion.

So in April we stopped by NRD, filed some paperwork, and then took that paperwork over to the Temple to register. The temple provided their own Registrar but they needed us to do the initial legwork. Once we booked our date then that was all there is. We just needed to get a pair of rings and done… more or less.

The second half of the wedding is usually the actual cultural ritual. This may be a church wedding, a temple event or the famous Chinese tea-serving ceremony. It doesn’t have to be done on the same day of the civil registration, and in fact most couples opt to do it long after to both minimise costs and wedding chaos.

Registration prep

Took up a lot of time and a lot of space on my mind. I am glad it is over now though. The hardest part was finding rings we liked at a price point we were happy with, because it was either a nice design but really pricey or nice price but old fashioned design.

In the end we found what ticked both boxes at Wah Chan – we have also learnt that yes, you do need to walk into different jewellery shops (even if they are the same franchise!) to find your rings because they all vary.

Journalling high

I… bought quite a few things because there were various sales happening. One of the things I am most glad was buying this huge digital gadget bag with portable dividers for my stationery. Made it easy to carry them around.

** Friends may laugh at me because in June I ended up buying another pencil case to keep my mushrooming collection of pens, but that is an entry for next month.

I also began experimenting with layouts and sticking various things in my journal. There was also very serious considerations of getting a printer, but I think I probably will not unless they go sub RM200 or something for an ink tank model (yes I know this is not going to happen anytime soon).

Having a lot of pens actually made me think of restarting my podcast again. I stopped it due to time considerations (and editing, but holy crap am I lazy at editing despite being a part time voice actress shhhh) but I feel like these pens don’t get enough love and yes, I do really enjoy working with them.

This also means that in the last few journal entries, I have been focused more on writing rather than layout and design, though I have dabbled with a bit of art now and then. Writing is still the most therapeutic form for me, though simple doodles and colouring have also played equal parts, to the point where I actually just draw random stuff in my journal instead of actually writing.

My journal my rules lol.

Junior went missing

In the last week of May, Junior, our family dog, went missing. He was out for his regular walk and never came back. Someone said they’d found him but let him go due to space constraints, and we’ve been scouring the neighbourhood for him since. ;_;

As of today, it’s been approximately 27 days since he went missing. And yes, we did the whole social media and posting of posters thing. Still no sound after the initial message from the person who found him that first night. The other leads did not pan out. 🙁

Actual date this entry is posted?

Yes, probably towards the end of June. Things have been super hectic as I fell sick quite a bit in June and work ramped up to insane levels. There’s organised chaos, and there’s organised chaos. For once I think I will be glad to see June’s out. It was, like most Gemini things, a month of chaos, but May was just the hint of the storm to come.

April Update

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Oh wow it’s May already.

Entry’s a little late this time because work has just been kicking my ass. That and there was a spate of public holidays in the last two weeks of April, so my sense of time has been a bit more off than usual. Which is funny because I know I used to be one of the time sensitive people I knew.

But April overall has been good to me. Work’s been increasing in load and tempo, and the last week especially was quite a hard one to get through. I sometimes wonder if I made the right choice and whether they feel I’m actually worth my weight. Fun thing though – my boss thinks I’m doing a great job.

A quick summary of things in April:

  • Watched AVENGERS: ENDGAME the Thursday it came out and managed to both avoid spoilers and from accidentally spoiling others
  • Had an awesome tea with the ladies, complete with some spilling of tea too, though the location itself was just meh
  • There was also journal jam the next day – that was a great dinner spent with the girls and discovering new methods to journal (stamps are dangerous)
  • Went up to Genting with mom, auntie and her husband. That was a fairly trying trip
  • April was also Ching Beng. This means visiting the graveside of my maternal relatives. It was a very eye-opening experience this year, especially since there has been quite a lot of changes on that side in the last year alone
  • There was also a lot of travelling but not for me – the bear had a work trip and part of my April was spent going solo where I tried to continue my Konmari efforts
  • Oh, and I also got myself a new watch! I picked up the Galaxy Watch Active as recommended by the Bear – it’s much lighter than my Pebble with quite a bit more functionality (quick replies are a godsend!) Battery life is significantly better than I anticipated with about 2 days
  • Also bought crane-themed and Japanese-themed washi from an online store I’d been meaning to buy from. One of the best purchases I’ve made in my journalling journey

Overall, April has been… hectic to say the least. My Google Maps showed I travelled quite a bit in April, mainly doing a lot of family trips and running around. There are quite a few opportunities I made the best of, I feel, and a few more I think I should have capitalised on, but it is what it is.

And now onwards to May!

March Update

A plate of realistic fruit-looking choco desserts~

Thank god it’s March already.

WAIT what do you mean it’s March already? The first quarter of the year is almost gone? Noooooooo!!!

^ That up there describes my feelings as I’m writing this post. The period after Chinese New Year has been quite the polarising time for me. I have a sensation of staying in place while running around madly at the same time.

They say the more things change, the more they stay the same.

As March draws to a close, I’ve made peace with a few things in life. Or rather I’ve closed the door on some things for now and opened others.

Shot of a plane wing while in the air

Let’s start from the most recent series: I just came back from a whirlwind trip to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It was a work trip and I got to meet with my colleagues from Australia, Manila and Ho Chi Minh. It was also a very exhausting trip because it was a “fly in Monday, fly out Friday” kind of schedule.

We were very packed all throughout. There were many one-to-one reviews, workshops and on top of all that we still needed to get our regular work done, though my bosses and team leaders were really excellent at ensuring we didn’t have a crazy load of things to complete on the trip. Being able to sit with my colleagues to have discuss things in person rather than through a call was really great too.

Hanging out with the locals really made a difference, because my Vietnamese colleagues brought us to places I’d have never realised otherwise. Something momentous – I found a beer I actually liked the taste of, though that was merely a sip instead of a full glass. HCM’s craft beer scene is pretty fun.

That said, the trip was very exhausting, and it didn’t help that the red tide made a visit after I came back (that was considerate, at least). I have been spending the last one week recuperating from it, hence low energies and a sort of apathy that’s only beginning to lift now.

Shot of East West Craft Beer's Saigon Rose

We also moved locations in the office into another spot, and with it my poor money plant suffered. The move happened about a week before the trip and I couldn’t find a new location for it before we flew, so when I came back, it was very yellow, almost white. I’ve found a new location where it can be sunned, and since then I’ve been leaving it there for a few hours at a time. Leaves are now turning that palest shade of green, so I have hope!

I have also picked up brush lettering, though what I am doing now a lot is mainly practising strokes. If there is anything I have learnt, it is that I am extremely lacking in discipline and perseverance. Routine is something I struggle with, in the sense that the time period between novelty wearing out and second nature taking over is the most sensitive of times.

On the weight front, I am gaining and not losing. Considering how things have been I am not surprised. There’s a lot more work to do especially with the next weigh in coming this Friday, but I will count myself as doing well if I can lose even just one kg more.

Getting back into the routine is probably going to be the hardest for me, but I am thinking of switching things up. Specifically I am probably going to change gyms for a bit and see what that does to my brain. I also need to keep a closer eye on my sleeping habits – they’re currently a bit shot from the Vietnam trip.

Looks like a pear, tastes like chocolate

All these have led to me dropping a few things. I’ve decided to drop podcasting for the time being. While I have a bunch of things I want to say, the last two weeks have been a struggle for me to get to the editing stage. The quality is not where I’d like it to be, and I have to admit it is partially due to me feeling that what I have to say is really nothing much in the scheme of things.

It makes more sense for me to take a step back when I can and reconsider where my time can be put to better use. I like podcasting though, and I will go back to it, but I don’t think it will be anything in the next 3 – 4 months.

Which has led me to the next realisation.

I do best when I have clear goals and a sense of purpose (who doesn’t?). In my line of work this manifests when I have a clear brief with questions. Otherwise it involves me doing quite a bit of work for research. Thing is I have fallen off the wagon recently, and a lot of it is due to facepalming and not wanting to dig beyond the surface.

Yes, there’s a barrier I did not realise that still existed in my heart. Now that I know it’s there, I can formulate a plan to face it head on. This doesn’t just apply to work though – I had the same issues with wanting to write for pleasure.

I seem to have lost the spark to imagine things, to make things up and write a lot of things randomly. A lot of the work I have done in recent years have been very reality-based. My flights of fancy have been grounded. There are reasons for this but I know I am capable of much more.

Sleeping cat

So part of the goal for the next few months is to focus back on my foundations. I’ve begun refilling the creative well but it is very slow going and shallow when you are only drawing from one source. Currently I am only reading light novels but I think I can soon start drawing from physical books again soon.

I am also planning to start playing computer games again. There’s also Netflix, which I intend to subscribe to next month. It feels a lot like I can breathe and look forward to the future again now, at least once I’ve written this out.

Thank you for reading this long-ass update. I’ll see you all on the next one.

Pre-CNY update

… Yes, January was nuts for me ahaha. Then again most of last year was. Spent it head down in work, reading, and just dealing with several personal lifestyle changes.

On a nicer note, I’m going to be leaving some small positives for myself so I don’t quite completely lose track of the year like I did before. Here goes:

Scheduling habits

Been trying to put some systems and habits into place to accomplish some New Year’s resolutions. For the podcast, I seem to be heading on track – I’m about an episode ahead now, and I think I can continue this momentum. It’s fun!

On the downside, getting the gym schedule to work is still hit and miss. I had two massive flu/allergy attacks that pretty much sapped me of will to continue during the last few weeks, and now that I think about it, both coincided with visits to a particular gym. May need to switch even if it means going further but we shall see.

Benefits of applying for an all-pass yo!

Podcasting experiences

So the podcast seems to be doing swimmingly. It’s got about 5 – 6 listens an episode, with some higher and some lower. I think I may have made a mistake by creating a new website for it instead of using RealName site, so I may move things back over to RealName site and just do a straightforward redirect.

This would help me build RealName site more and probably benefit from SEO. I am still considering this.

Also: Tiny win for me – I HAVE POSTED MORE EPISODE SUMMARIES on the podcast site. Been procrastinating so yes this is a tiny win for me.

Decluttering project

The initial declutter sprint went well, but now I have to continue. Holy crap do I not want to. The fun thing is that the schedule is also meant to help with this. I think I can do it, but it is a matter of building up the willpower.

Work nail bites

My one to one review will be up next week. I am not looking forward to it.