The other day I went to what is probably my favourite store in all of Japan: Tokyu Hands. It’s a splenderifous place of wonder, filled with all kinds of fantastical things for creating anything your imagination can imaginate. I love to go there and browse for a couple hours, just looking at all the arts and crafts stuff and thinking about what I could make. I bought some things to decorate my apartment — some tiles to stick on the walls and a puzzle of Tokyo Tower.
If you are ever having a rough day, may I suggest taking 10 minutes to work on a puzzle? It will completely tune your brain out to anything else. All that matters is finding that missing piece.
The puzzle really reminded me of life in general. For example:
Sometimes you find a piece that looks like it’s perfect, and it should fit. It matches the pattern you’re looking for, and it even looks like the right size and shape, but when you go to put it down, it doesn’t quiiiite fit. It’s just a little off. It’s tempting to leave it there, because oh man it you were so excited when you found it! Yes, this is the piece, you thought. But you know that if you leave it there it’s just gonna screw up the rest of the puzzle. Besides, there is another piece somewhere in that daunting pile that fits perfectly.
Sometimes you find a piece and think, nah, this can’t be it and you throw it back and keep looking. But it nags you, and after numerous failed attempts you go back to it thinking oh what the hell, none of the other pieces are working might as well try and well I’ll be damned, it fits! I never would have guessed.
Sometimes you have an instinct about a piece. You haven’t really examined the pattern or the shape, but it kind of looks like it should fit in with the other pieces, so you give it a try and it slides satisfyingly into place.
Sometimes you get a piece that looks like “the piece”. It has the right pattern and shape, but when you try to stick in in place it’s all wrong. Huh? But this has gotta be it you think. You stare at it and stare at it, willing it to become the piece you need, you believe in this piece! Then it hits you: What if I just… You turn the piece around, and it slides snugly into its rightful spot.
Sometimes a piece just refuses to be found. In these cases it’s best to move on to some other area in the puzzle, an easier area where the pieces form a distinctive pattern, and eliminate some of the pieces. Before you know it that other piece, the piece the couldn’t be found, will be in your fingers.
And speaking of distinctive patterns, it’s the areas of the puzzle that are the most busy, that have the most contrast that are the easiest to put together. You ever try to make a puzzle of a cloudless blue sky? It’s a pain.