2021 Advent Calendar (Photo Challenge Edition)

The way I am posting this a month after Christmas… But here comes the 2021 advent calendar or the annual self-made photo challenge of my friend Selina and me. For those who have never seen this kind of posts on my blog before, Selina and I prepare 24 photography themes as our advent calendar. From December 1 to 24, we draw lots every day to decide the daily theme and take a photo for each theme. Sounds simple, but it is really fun to document what catches our attention or what we want to remember every day before Christmas.

This is our third year doing this photo challenge, but this time, I couldn’t completely stick to the rules of taking a photo every day. All the 24 photos were taken in December, but probably half of them were taken after or before theme reveals and I matched the photos with the right themes in late-December. I was struggling with thesis writing and trying to meet my academic advisor’s deadline around Christmas in order to get her comments before submitting the first draft of my thesis to my graduate school earlier in January. On some days, I wasn’t able to find an interesting subject for the theme because I holed up in my apartment writing and on other days, I was so tired or sleepy that I postponed taking photos until I had better ideas or inspirations. I lived off convenience store food mostly and even had to take a social media break near my advisor’s deadline because I was so burnt out and had no choice but to force myself to keep writing. Now I have finally submitted the first draft of my thesis to my school though and while the thesis defense and final revisions are looming closer, I still want to get this post out before that.

I am sorry for the long and boring rant, but before going into the photos, I also would like to write here—to keep it as a memory—that I am very thankful for my family and friends in Thailand and Japan as well as Selina (who lives in another country) for all the encouragement. Actually, my struggles will not be over until I submit the final version of my thesis, but finishing the first draft was still a big step and the mental support I receive from them is no less important than academic support. And in spite of all the stress I went through before sending my advisor the thesis in December, I had very memorable Christmas and New Year celebrations. For this 2021 Christmas, I celebrated with my graduate school friends, accomplished my first part-time job in Japan, and got to watch NEO CITY SEOUL : The Link, which is NCT 127’s first concert with live audience ever since the pandemic started. I was still stuck as an online audience since I am not living in South Korea, but it was still great to have been able to watch the concert. NCT 127 members had very packed schedules from the third quarter last year, but they managed to prepare for the concert in short time and delivered great group performances as well as solo stages (bias fangirling time: Doyoung co-writing the lyrics for his solo and Jaehyun composing and writing his solo and working with one of my favorite producers to prepare a special rearrangement of the song for this concert!). I gained strength and motivation from their performances and words during the concert. As for the 2021 New Year’s Eve and the 2022 New Year, I got to meet an old friend again, finally experienced the Japanese New Year traditions for the first time with him and our mutual friends, and watched NCT and SHINee perform during the online concert SMTOWN Live 2022: SMCU Express @ Kwangya.

End of rant and appreciation paragraphs. Let’s see the photos now. All photos were taken in Nagoya and I am sorting them in theme reveal order, not the actual dates I took the photos.

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2020 Advent Calendar (Photo Challenge Edition)

Last year, my friend from Europe Selina proposed a very cool idea about making our own photo challenge and turning it into our 2019 advent calendar. We came up with 24 themes for December 1-24, drew lots every morning to decide the theme of each day, and shared our photos with each other. We had a lot of fun last year and I ended up sharing my 24 photos here too.

This year, Selina suggested doing our advent calendar photo challenge again, which I was very thankful for because I had at least one fun activity to look forward to every day in this busy month full of assignments, plus an intensive course during my winter break… We also came up with all new themes for our 2020 advent calendar. Unlike last year where December wasn’t this hectic and traveling was perfectly fine, I took all photos in Nagoya and to be precise, 23 out of 24 were shot in my apartment, at my university, or nearby. Still, it was nice to explore my neighborhood and university more and it was also fun to challenge myself to be more creative or find interesting elements to add to my indoor shots.

Here go my 24 photos for the 2020 advent calendar in chronological order.

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2019 Advent Calendar (Photo Challenge Edition)

This post is different from my usual travel stories, but I am doing it anyway because I quite like the results overall.

Back in November last year, my friend Selina suggested we make our own advent calendar by taking a photo every day from December 1 to December 24 (24 photos in total) and share the photo of the day with each other. I think it is a very interesting idea. Selina lives in Europe and I am studying in Japan, so this is kind of like a cultural exchange plus sharing glimpses into each other’s daily life. We also decided to come up with 24 themes for our photo challenge to make it more fun, each of us suggesting 12 themes. Then we drew lots every day to decide the theme.

There were days where taking a photo that fit the theme was so easy and there were the more challenging days. I am not that satisfied with some photos, but like I said before, I like how they turned out overall. I also made some memories while taking photos of what I wouldn’t have taken without this 2019 advent calendar photo challenge.

Now I am sharing all my 24 photos for our 2019 advent calendar in chronological order. Most photos were taken in Nagoya because it is where I am living in, but since this is a travel blog, I will share the specific location of each photo (if I can) and if there is a place that interests you, you can find further information.

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