Just as the new year will bring bring great things for us, so too will it bring great changes for this blog. Starting from now, this blog will be about everyone but myself.
Removing the “Self” from “Self-reflection”
As I have touched upon in many posts before, innumerable new opportunities and fresh starts have been presented to me in coming here. From teaching my first classes to my first Halloween in Shibuya to my first Sports Festival, each experience has brought new lessons in some form or another, and I have done my best to catalog my lessons here.
But as 2019 has approached, set up for, and finally left the starting line to make the first steps in the marathon, I have been thinking about what I want from this blog.
It is only natural for a creative project to evolve throughout its life, so this comes as no surprise to me. When I started the blog, I had ideas of writing a new post every week, and in these posts I had hoped to provide my own take on the seemingly dull parts of expatriate life. I expected to eventually begin to run dry on experience from which to draw my posts’ inspiration, but that fruit came to bear far sooner than anticipated.
It became apparent very quickly that talking about the mundanities could only be done so many times before it itself became mundane. The blog was formed with the intent to provide insight into life in Japan as an outsider, and while I have been writing posts since then, I have not been adhering to my original vision; or, at least how I now see the original vision.
Instead of trying to examine the particularities of being a foreigner in the most homogeneous nation in the world, I instead wrote all about how these new opportunities have brought forth new revelations for me, routinely ignoring the possibility of expanding my posts’ purview to include more comprehensive analyses of those revelations’ relevance to other Gaijin.
With this thought in mind, I will completely alter my blog this year.
Creating a Community
This blog is meant to be a place to share stories and insights about life abroad, and that means getting other points of view. So far as travel experience goes, my own is incredibly lackluster when compared to that of my peers.
I know people who have taught English in Korea, people who have loved and lost while backpacking across Europe, and people who are first-generation immigrants to America and have made a life for themselves in spite of it, just to name a few. All these stories and more are out there, and I would much rather relay those stories to you, my audience, than ramble on about my own.
Additionally, I would like to start taking deeper dives into why Japan is the way it is. In the simplest terms, I want to talk about culture. How it was, how it is, how it has changed, and how it has affected Japanese society throughout its history. In my mind, I picture these being well-researched examinations of specific pieces of Japanese culture, and I will work hard to find the sources necessary to make this idea into a reality with each post. As such, these types of posts will be infrequent in my posting schedule, most likely monthly.
However, at the end of the day, this is still my own blog. These posts will certainly include personal anecdotes, and some of them will revolve around those anecdotes. Yet, whereas the earlier posts were twinged with an air of self-aggrandizement, these posts will not reach those levels of self-absorption; I don’t want them to.
This blog is meant to be a community for travelers from all walks of life, and my ego will not obstruct that.
To achieve this, I intend to use my anecdotes as jumping off points for smaller discussions that I have with my peers, both locally and abroad. With this in mind, I believe it may be a somewhat common occurrence for posts that release near each other to have an unofficial focus or bend towards a specific aspect of Japan. Only time will tell.
With all of this in mind, here is the monthly posting schedule that I will set forth hereafter:
- 1st Week: Gaijin Interview
- 2nd Week: Cultural/Historical Research Piece
- 3rd Week: Gaijin Interview
- 4th Week: Personal Anecdote
I fully expect there to be times where I will deviate from this formula, though I have no intention of making those deviations the norm. With this schedule for myself, I expect that I will be able to maintain my weekly posting schedule. Instead of arriving at the end of the week and determining which experience was the most impactful, I will instead set goals and milestones for this blog, goals and milestones which I intend to meet and exceed at every opportunity.
In the Land of the Rising Sun, the New Year’s celebration is more than a capstone to the year. It is a total cleansing of the spirit and preparation for the New Year, complete with a host of traditions and religious ceremonies. Theses ceremonies and rites allow people to begin their next year with a clean spirit, effectively being reborn at the dawn of a new day. As we move forward together into this new day, I leave each of you with this message:
To those of you who have continued to read this blog since I began it five months ago, thank you for your continued support. I hope you will continue to read through my ramblings as I make my way through this ongoing process.
To those of you who have just found this blog, I hope you have found this place to your liking, and I hope that you are able to find a community that welcomes you with open arms.
And to those who have yet to read this blog, I hope you may find your way here one day, and enjoy the camaraderie of your fellow Gaijin as you make your way in the world and find a path to places exotic and stories untold.
Comment below what kinds of topics you want the blog to cover, and share with your friends for them to see!
Song of the Week
“Death of a Bachelor” by Panic! at the Disco
This was my most played song of 2018. I don’t know how many times I played it, but I still doubt it was a sufficient amount. This song celebrates the future while lamenting the loss of the past, and it only feels appropriate to inaugurate the coming posts of 2019 with it. This bachelor is far from dead, and I will use this year to show just how alive I can be.
If you would like to listen to this song or any of the other prior Songs of the Week, check out the Spotify Playlist linked above!