Kingdom of Tulahan

Greetings fellow reader!

Today I bring you an update that’s a bit out of the ordinary. I’m here to announce my latest blog going public, the Kingdom of Tulahan!

So, what exactly is the Kingdom of Tulahan?

I’m glad you asked.

Basically it’s my world-building interest that has finally taken solid form in the shape of an intricate fantasy world, complete with a multitude of compendiums and collections of short-stories and informative texts on characters, beasts, plants, artifacts, world-orders, relationships, prejudices, power-struggles and legends all taking place in the realm of Tulahan, a world created by the weird and wicked mind of yours truly.

If this sounds interesting, check it out here.

It’s been a side-project of mine for many months now, and after going back and forth between launching it already or not, I decided that it was time. There’s still a whole lot of work to be done before the core information is in place, but I couldn’t wait to share it with everyone! If you’re as nerdy as me, enjoy fantasy short-stories, or just find magic, dragons and beasts to be awesome; then I promise you’ll fit right in.

Updates will be rolling out daily, and the small gold-fish that is currently the world will soon have evolved into a massive leviathan of the sea.

See you there!

 

On a side-note: Next part of my Nightfall series should be hitting the blog in a day or two as long as my cat does not eat up my manuscript, for some reason, paper is a delicacy to him.

Advertisements

An Unexpected Experience

A normal evening that turned into something extraordinary

Chris Wilsson posted an interesting article today where he was given the rare opportunity to encounter both a Geisha and a Maiko by mere chance on the streets of Kyoto.
He even got some marvelous photos out of the experience, if I may say so myself, and it reminded me of one of my very own fondest memories of Japan.

It’s funny how these kinds of chance encounters can enrichen a trip. Oftentimes they are the ones you tend to remember the most.
They could be in the form of a festival you didn’t know of beforehand, an old man passing by when you’re in Nara who gives you seeds and nuts to feed the deer with (a story I’d love to share soon enough), or maybe it’s simply that vibrant butterfly whom accidentally lands on your shoulder.

It could be events that weren’t planned at all. Events that surprises you. Events that wouldn’t have been as extraordinary should you already know of them the moment you put your foot outside the door.

IMG_2644_EditJPG

The event that Chris’s article reminded me of was when I was in Kyoto myself, nearly a year ago. I was travelling with my significant other and a couple of friends, and we had planned to stay roughly a week in Kyoto.
“A week?” you might say to yourself, chuckling, and you’d be right to.
Soon enough, as you can imagine, we realized a week was not nearly enough time.

Long story short, the Gion District had to, unfortunately, be cut from our schedule, successfully rendering our hope of encountering a Geisha (or Geiko, which is the local name) or Maiko to vaporize into thin air. But here’s where the story begins rather than ends.

One evening we were walking down the Kamo River (the smaller river that runs through the center of Kyoto, not to be mistaken with the Katsura River) looking for a bar, as we had yet to discover how a typical Japanese bar was like. We went up and down the streets, right and left, searching for that perfect one. That traditional, cozy yet classy place, a place we thought would capture the essence of Japanese culture.

IMG_1571_JPG

Selective as we was, we spent at least an hour or two walking the streets of Kyoto, turning away from the riverbank, in order to find the perfect bar. Yet we never found a place we deemed worthy of our expectations. Our expectations, that at this point, was sky-high and in hind-sight, frankly quite unrealistic.

At one point we came to a conclusion and a mutual agreement was struck: we would never find the perfect place that could reach our combined expectations, and it was meaningless spending the whole night searching for the bar of our dreams.
We decided to just enter the next bar we stumbled upon, and go with it.

Soon we were standing outside a modern wooden house. The design was quite modest, simple, the entrance covered behind some trees and bushes, almost as if it was purposely hidden. The sign on the wall said one word: “Bar”. Nothing else.
Well, this is it then, we thought. It didn’t look like much to the world yet we had come to a decision. This would be the place, and we hesitantly entered.

And boy was I glad we did.

The bar had just opened; actually, it was their opening night. Its owner, together with what we later on learned was his apprentice were standing behind a small counter. And that was basically it, a bar counter with stools for maybe eight or nine individuals in a very narrow room. There were hangers for the coats on the wall behind the bar stools, and a window down the furthest end of the bar. Apart from this, there wasn’t much else. A couple of other guests were there, looking at us apprehensively.

The place was classy, mind you, a lot more classy than we had expected, and I can imagine we looked quite silly in our colorful shorts, sandals and loose t-shirts as we entered. Would we be thrown out? Even more importantly, had we insulted the bar owner? Luckily, it didn’t seem so, as he merely smiled at us.

After a moment’s hesitation, we nodded towards the owner and sat down beside the window. The owner’s apprentice offered us peanuts, and we ordered our drinks. We soon learned that both the owner as well as his apprentice was quite adept at English, and we ended up speaking for quite some time. After a while the guests struck conversation with us as well, and the evening that had gone towards disaster slowly morphed into a delightful experience.

Yet this wasn’t even the best part.

IMG_4205_JPG

The best part was later that very same evening, at the very same bar, a Geiko walked in.

She wore the most beautiful kimono, carrying her own with a regal dignity, only moving with slow, controlled movements; her hair in a traditional shimada that could only be described as a true work of art.
You could feel the atmosphere in the room changing as she entered. It was mind-blowing, almost as if some long forgotten princess of old had entered the room. My companions and I was completely speechless, our jaws donning the floor.
Now mind you, this wasn’t a neighboring street to the Gion District, so the whole experience was unexpected to say the least of it. The Geiko had come specifically for this very bar.

Apparently, the bar owner was quite famous in Kyoto, owning multiple bars and restaurants, some of them in the Gion District. The Geiko was an old friend of his, and she was there to visit him on the opening of his new bar. While some of the owner’s attention shifted towards his new visitor, the apprentice kept talking to us, explaining the whole thing.

Midnight had passed hours ago when we finally, and reluctantly, decided to take our leave. The evening had been, and in fact, still was, magical, but every day arrives at its end at some point.
The owner thanked us before leaving, giving us his card and encouraging us to visit him again. We returned his appreciation, thanking him for everything before we bade farewell to the guests and the Geiko – and left.

IMG_2046_JPG

Its funny how these kinds of chance encounters takes shape.
Had we found the perfect traditional Japanese bar we were looking for?
No, not at all, the bar honestly looked more Western than Asian.
Thinking of the initial quest we were embarking on, I’d say we failed miserably.

Yet somehow we’d met a local celebrity on the very opening night of his new bar, tasted some of the finest whiskeys I had in my life, got to meet a wonderous Geiko, and even exchanging stories and experiences with other locals.

We’d failed our plans and the evening was nothing like we’d hoped for – yet it turned out to be one of the most memorable nights of my life.


 

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and please let me know of your own chance meetings or unexpected experiences!

Greetings – and a deer

I welcome you; you as a fellow writer, artist, entrepreneur and craftsperson.

You might be wondering why I did not greet any doctors, nor any engineers. Or perhaps what reason I had for not greeting any of you students out there.
It’s not that I have a beef nor a grudge with the Doctors of our world – I like Doctors as much as the next guy, especially whenever they fix my broken arm which frankly is, way too often.

But here’s the thing: I’d like to think of everyone as an artist.

We’re all artists in a certain way. We’re the designers and the painters of our own lifes. Of our own fates. Painting the picture that is our life.
Each and everyone of us starts out with the exploration phase – this is the part were we go on a journey within our own mind and feelings, to figure out what it is we want to paint; what we want to create. The Idea.

Then, slowly, we begin with the sketch. We start sketching out the overall picture – at this point we pretty much know where we want to be in the end. What our final goal is with the painting.
But this phase is often the hardest part: Actually beginning. Putting the first stroke on the canvas. Approaching the dark and intimidating unknown  can be a hard task, daunting and scary.

After our first steps most of us feel either one way or another:

  • You feel great. This was the most amazing idea ever. You’ve finally found your place in the world and nothing can stop you now. You’re ready to move onward into the coloring of the painting. The rendering.
  • You feel uncertain. Confused and regretful. The idea was so terrible that you decided it would be best to simply start the whole thing over. Begin anew on a another painting.

– or maybe you feel something completely different, perhaps something in between.

If, however, you’ve decided to move on – to commit to the painting and finishing it – the next phase is the actual painting.
This is the part where you add all the colors, all the details. It’s finally possible to see what the painting is going to be all about. You add the theme, maybe a car, maybe a house or a dog. Maybe a tiger, and a big van, with everything you need to travel the world within it.

This is the part where we feel somewhat at peace. It’s possible to relax and just enjoy the ride, all the while looking forward to the finished painting. A sense of safety is achieved.

Then – one day – we’re finally there. The painting is complete! The house has the most polished wodden wall, or did you choose to paint it in bricks? Or maybe, once again, perhaps you decided to build it in a whole other way – with marshmallows for walls.

Perhaps the house isn’t a house at all.

Anyhow – everything looks just the way you want it to, and it’s time to hang up the painting on the wall and admire it. To feel satisfied with your life’s work. The painting you’re looking at is the blood and tears of your hard work and you should feel good about it. You deserve it.

Some of us, however, aren’t as satisfied with the final piece.
How on earth did that fine-rendered azalea in the garden become like that?
Disgusting.
It looks like something Hades himself crapped out after eating rotten dog food. That’s not the flower you intended it to be. This is not the painting you originally aimed for, it’s nothing like your original idea.
At this point you will most likely frantically dig into your painting. Desperately clinging to your finished piece. The idea of what it could have been is preventing you from giving it up. Maybe, just maybe, if you add a little bit of a purple hint or, perhaps, if you paint another brushstroke in a different direction – then maybe, you can fix it.

The truth is – you rarely can.

Beating a dead horse, as the saying goes, is not very productive. The horse is not going to magically resurrect and fix the painting for you. It’s just going to lay there, as it’s  dead.
Often times it’s just better to start over from scratch. Something was most likely fundamentally wrong already in the sketch phase, you just didn’t notice it in the beginning. You’ve learned so much over the years that you’ve become so much more experienced and knowledgeable since you began that it’s first now you’re able to see all the faults in the original sketch and you think it’s too late to fix them.

It isn’t. It’s just not possible to fix it without starting over. And let me say this: It’s never too late to start over. If your painting is completed when you turn fourty years of age, it ain’t too late. Hell, if it’s not even completed before the time you turn eighty it’s not too late for change, or for the rediscovering your dreams, for that matter.
Just don’t be too afraid of the unknown. I know, the unknown can be scary. But it isn’t nearly as scary when you’ve actually entered it. When you’re inside the dark forest it’s not nearly as terrifying as it was from the view  from your own house.
But I know the feeling. The feeling you have inside your pleasantly heated living room, your cosy scented candles and that fresh cup of tea feels so safe and delightful that there’s just no reason to leave it.

And maybe you’re right. Maybe there is no reason to leave that impregnable fortress of yours.
But then again, you’ll never get to experience the dazzling beauty of fireflies in the night. You’ll never get to watch the sparkling stars in the night without interfering street-lights.
Neither will you experience the wonders of a dark, serene forest.

The wonders of a new painting.

But then again, what the heck do I know. I’m just a random person, sitting on my couch, writing my thoughts out on the internet.

Welcome to my blog. The blog of a placid writer.

And finally, I’d like to share this photo of a possessed-looking deer a friend of mine took on our trip to Japan.

possessed-deer