Note: The banner image that’s been chosen for the feature is the official 25 Days of Manga banner. I do not own this image, nor do I claim any ownership of it. Instead, I encourage you to go and support the official Twitter, and maybe -after reading this post- consider joining in either (or both) Instagram and Twitter.
The middle of November is always a hard time for me. The sun comes up later, sets earlier, and is generally not as bright as even a month ago. The skies are cloudy, rain comes more frequently, and in general, the colors of autumn begin to fade into the drab shades of a wet Winter.
This year is no exception, though that might also be an understatement. With the on-going American COVID pandemic -and rising numbers- I’ve felt increasingly anxious about going out to the shops, even when it’s necessary. It’s compounded my anxiety into a tight knot that sits heavy in my stomach, even as I work.
On top of that, my struggles with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) are starting to make themselves known as the the holiday cheer start to become a bit less bright. I can already feel how hard mornings are: getting out of bed is becoming physically hard. My sleep cycle is complete off. I get tired far earlier and have fewer usable hours than before.
Basically, SAD is really starting to affect my life in a way that’s incredibly unhelpful.
So this year, since my holly isn’t so jolly, I’ve decided that I’ll be doing something to assist: joining the 25 Days of Manga read-a-thon.
So, what is “25 Days of Manga”? Well, here’s a quick little video from the creators: I think that’s better than me explaining the event.
As you can see, it’s essentially a read-a-thon centered around manga! Or, if we go with something more holiday-centric: a readable advent calendar to tick off the days of the holidays really get started! Please note that this event is open to everyone: it doens’t matter if you celebrate Christmas or not. If you like manga, then this might be the event for you!
The event runs from the first until the twenty-fifth, and promises a pretty good, bookish time. Bonus: there’s giveaways, though honestly, just knowing I’m reading with a bunch of people is more than enough for me.
This year, there’s a lot of really charming boxes to mark off: particular favorites of mine include “a gathering for food”, “a cozy sweater”, and a few challenges that really suit the season like “read a digital only manga”. I can already think of some manga that might suit them quite well!
(Can you tell that I’m a bit excited?)
You might still be wondering, “Why this?” Why this event when I’m already quite busy, especially in light of my pending re-location this weekend. Why this event when December tends to be a busy month, pandemic or otherwise.
Well… it’s partially what I said above in regards to my struggle with SAD. It’s also because I’m trying to complete my 2020 Goodreads Reading Challenge. I’m currently sitting 117 out of 200 books: a lofty goal, but still achievable. With a lot of reading -and really, a ton of manga- I should be able to hit 200 by the end of the year.
Still, that’s not…entirely my reason. Really, why I want to do 25 Days of Manga is because I want to start using my Instagram account again. (I also want to finally learn how to use stories!)
Back when I lived in Japan, I regularly used my account. Very rarely did a few days go by without a snapshot detailing my life in Fukushima and the Japanese countryside. Whether I was cooking, eating, shopping, biking, or just going somewhere, it got captured, and usually, ended up on my Insta.
I catalogued four years of growth on there: four years of trips, friendships, learning, and community. Four years of cozy meals, thoughtful gifts, and quiet moments. I really, really miss that too: sharing things like that satisfied that little something tucked inside my heart that comes from sharing something memorable and important.
At the time of this post, my last Instagram post is from July 17. That was mere weeks before my departure. In many ways, that was so, so long ago. Yet when I put a number to it, it’s simply 17 weeks ago. Still, that really was a long time ago. I was a different person than I’ve become over the past three months.
But this is my life now: freelancing, editing, writing, localizing. It’s a life that I chose: willingly chose. I want to better embrace it, even though I’m still reeling from my initial relocation. While it’s still a very difficult year mentally and emotionally, I still think I have a right to celebrate my new journey.
So why not embrace it with two things I love: manga, and taking pictures?
I have no clue if I’ll read twenty-five volumes of manga. I know I’ve certainly got enough manga in my physical and digital TBR (to-be-read) Pile to probably fill out an entire bingo card, and then some. Regardless of how many boxes I check or how many books I read, I think I’ll be in for a very good time.
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