Those journals were where the girls wrote down their most important thoughts and short stories, as well as the occasional poem. They had tiny sketches in the margins, and things that they did not want to forget. Most nights, they would sit together and trade notebooks to read what the other had written. Sometimes they would write notes to one another. Cerys’s favorite note was when Himeko taught her a new kanji. Even though she had been born in America, Himeko’s mother honored their heritage and taught her Japanese. It would be a useful skill to have, she often noted.
Earlier that day, Cerys had finished her English assignment early and pulled out her notebook to write. Her English teacher, at least, was understanding of her; more than the other teachers, at least. If she finished her classwork, then free-writing was an acceptable way to fill her time. There was a story she was working on about dragons, and it was as entertaining to write as it was insightful.
“I really like this story,” Himeko told her as she took some rice crackers from the bowl in the middle of the table to snack on. “Have you thought of a name for it yet?”
“I was considering, ‘Switchblade Dragon,’” Cerise replied with a shrug, as though the name was not that big of a deal.
“Really?” Himeko asked. “I don’t think the teachers would like you carrying around a story with the word ‘switchblade’ in it. I know you pay enough attention to the news to understand why.”
“But it’s dragons!” Cerys protested. “It’s not about gangs or street fights or anything crazy.”
Himeko could see that her friend really did care about the name after all. She was good at acting nonchalant, but when it came down to it, Cerys could get really stuck on some things. “Well, it’s your risk,” Himeko told her, “but is it really worth all the trouble?”
“If it would help people learn the difference between someone who marches to the beat of a different drum, and someone who is actually dangerous, maybe it is worth it.”
Nodding, Himeko went back to reading the story. She did not want to get her friend started on her soapbox when she could be reading about two dragons, one Asian and one European, who get into a lot of trouble when they show up in the world of the ancient Aztecs. It was comical to see they way they tried to convince the tribal leaders of each village that they represented Quetzalcoatl, in hopes of getting some cacao beans out of them.
Himeko’s journal was more poetry than it was prose. She had been trying to perfect the art of haiku, and some of them there even written in both Japanese and English. She had several full-pages sketches, as well. The journal was a bit too expensive be just a sketchbook, but it was one of the few places where she could draw and not have her mother worry. Mrs Takamori did not want her daughter to end up a starving artist, so an arts degree was out of the question. Engineering or architectural design, she often suggested, and then maybe draw on the side. It was practical advice, but too often given.
What she drew was not at all typical; there were no manga-style line drawings. What Himeko excelled at were realistic drawings, with all the detail and shading that she could add. It was why she had been able to limit the number of drawing in her journal, knowing that they would each take a long time to finish.