A Sea of Umbrellas

Today’s journal entry is about the recent protests in Hong Kong. No matter what you think about what the protesters are fighting for, it’s hard not to feel impressed at the show of force of the people. Activism in general is often misunderstood as unwanted disruptions, but many of the things that we enjoy today are thanks to the people who rejected the status quo and fought for equality, freedom, better treatment.

“Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.”― Leonardo da Vinci

Enmity of Biblical Proportions

Today’s journal entry is about rape culture. I’ve been following the case of a woman who was a fellow in a national writing workshop claiming that she was raped by one of the panelists. I’m glad that writers and professors have spoken out about this, but it really showed me how issues like this can tear apart a community. If the accused is well-liked, successful, beloved by the people around him, it makes it that much harder to even imagine that maybe he made a terrible mistake. Of course everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence, but what’s more telling for me is the attitude towards the woman involved. Society has never been kind towards girls who don’t present as anything like the rape victims of noontime telenovelas. When women come out with their stories of sexual abuse, there’s always the attitude that implies they need to prove they didn’t want it in the first place. What were they wearing? What were they drinking? What time of the day is it? Who were they drinking with? Did she struggle enough? The way some people think, only chaste women get raped.

At church, how many sermons have I heard about Dinah making trouble for her family by walking by herself in a foreign land and getting herself raped? A lot. How many sermons have I heard teaching men NOT to rape? Zero. Literally, zero.

Looking at the attitude of some people towards the victim, I wonder why people can’t believe that more often than not, there’s not much to be gained by coming out with their accusations. This is emotionally exhausting for them, to be retraumatized and revictimized, and now in a very public way. With everything that women have to put up with when they come out with their terrible stories of sexual assault, the least you can do is truly listen.

Vietnamese Ca Phe Da

Today’s journal entry is about discovering Vietnamese ice coffee. It’s pretty easy to make, as long as you have the right coffee drip filter and beans. Everyday Coffee’s Vietnamese Lam Dong Espresso beans are the bomb. Ca Phe Da is quite different from the usual kind of cup that I enjoy, but I liked it a lot. It’s like cafe mocha, but stronger. Like coffee and dark chocolate. I didn’t like using the beans for latte, but for iced coffee, it’s perfect.

I’m glad I had some time to write this morning, I haven’t been able to sit and collect my thoughts for a while and I missed it a lot. Hopefully I can get back to my usual routine again.

Hobonichi Plain Notebook

I’ve been using a regular-sized Traveler’s Notebook exclusively as my journal for the past few years. I like the size and portability, and I like having different inserts all in one place. I do miss having a bigger notebook, though. So I tried Hobonichi’s Plain Notebook (A5) and it did not disappoint.

The notebook itself is pretty plain-looking. It has a mustard yellow-colored cardboard cover. Minimalist in design, it only has some Japanese characters at the front and the word Hobonichi at the back.

It’s not too thick, only 10mm with 288 pages using Tomoe River paper. I was so glad to find out that you can easily slip it into a Hobonichi cover, it fits really nicely. I only have one hobo cover, a plain black one from the 2016 collection. That was when I decided that the hobo cousin really wasn’t for me. Actually, I realized that I don’t enjoy writing in planners at all. So I put the cover in storage until I bought this plain notebook last month.

You might feel the outlines of the pockets and their contents when you write on the left side of the notebook for the first few pages. Several pages in, it doesn’t bother me anymore.

I love how the notebook lies flat. The binding (stitched and glued to the cover) feels really sturdy and well-made. I was a bit worried at first because they had no blank pages. I don’t like grids or dots on paper because my writing is really small and I like to crowd my lines together to save space. Regular-sized grids are awkwardly-sized for my handwriting. It’s a good thing that this notebook has 3.7mm grids, though. It’s the perfect size for me. The lines of the grid are light-colored so they don’t look too obtrusive on the page. The notebook is divided into 4 sections of 72 pages each, and each section has a different colored grid (red, blue, green, and purple).

Here’s a close up of the grids. I like that they’re not too obvious on the page. At Y1296, I think the price is well worth it. You can purchase it from the Hobonichi website. I purchased mine from a local seller, Joan’s Journals. I’m not sure that I would want this to replace my regular TN inserts as my default go-to journal, I think I’m just going to keep both. One can’t have too many journals anyway, amirite?

The Far Pavilions

Last weekend’s journal entry is about The Far Pavilions. The book kind is a sweeping saga. It reminded me of Gone with the Wind. It felt like going on a long vacation, or watching a telenovela. It’s very engaging, and touches on how difficult it is to find true tolerance among people. I enjoyed this book. Will probably review this soon, when I find the time.