Tuesday, November 20, 2007

It's Not All Japan

Naming your blog when you first start it is a difficult task. You do not yet know what you're going to write about or what shape your posts are going to take. Mine started as a vague wish to document my thoughts and experiences so I could share them with family and friends as well as track my own perceptions and thought processes. It wasn't really my wish to educate or enlighten anyone about Japan though it's a bit difficult not to sound that way when you're noticing a lot of differences between you and the people around you. Ultimately, such things are going to be foremost in your thoughts and part of any log of your ideas and musings.

This is my roundabout way of saying that I don't present any of my ideas or anecdotal experiences as gospel on Japan, its people or living here. This is just what I think, feel, and believe at this point in time. Part of the point of writing it all down now is knowing that my thoughts will change as time goes by and I'll have the chance to look back and compare how I've changed.

That being said, not everything in my life relates to being in Japan. In fact, a lot of things don't relate to it and sometimes I think this blog, because I tend to favor writing about developed notions rather than random thoughts, misrepresents the extent to which my life is entangled in the cross-cultural experience. Most of the time, life is just a sequence of normal tasks and events which consume time but are unremarkable.

My daily routine, aside from the fact that it involves living in an environment which is rather different from the one I grew up in, is relatively similar to that which others might live back home. I get up, make breakfast, help my husband prepare for work, clean dishes and house, work a bit, use my computer a bit, shop a bit, do laundry, attend to my personal needs, and sleep. Occasionally, a cross-cultural point will snag my attention and I'll roll it over in my mind but the truth is that this happens no less with issues which aren't related to life in Japan in particular. Often similar ideas or notions which set me to pondering occur in relation to life back home or elsewhere. I just don't tend to write so much about those things, but perhaps I should to show more clearly that it's not all about Japan. Part of the reason I don't cover these points is that it seems like there's so little time to write each day (particularly these days) and those other random thoughts seem less important to recollect and are less likely to significantly change as time goes by.

The truth is that I'm extremely unhappy at how I named my blog because I feel a bit confined by it at times (and I think it's painfully trite). That being said, it's not exactly inaccurate and I'm pretty sure being labeled as a "Japan blog" probably drives a certain amount of traffic my way and attracts people who can offer me their insights about living in Japan so, on balance, it's probably a good thing.


Jammin' James said...

Hey Shari, I started reading your blog a few weeks ago, and I really like it. Its both relaxing and fun to read, especially since its daily life mixed in with some Japanese eccentricities. I actually tried your link of deep discount DVDs but it just wouldn't finish loading for me.

Anyway, I just started a blog at http://japhappening.blogspot.com, and if you have any criticism or comments, I would love to hear from you.


Shari said...

Hi, James, and many thanks for reading and taking the time to make such a kind comment. I'll be very pleased to have a look at your blog, though I generally don't criticize people! ;-)

ターナー said...

I know the feeling. Part of the reason I redesigned and renamed my blog after about 7 months in Japan.

heng said...

I came via either core77 or treehugger, don't really remember which. One's a design based site, another's environmental based. I believe it was the post regarding japanese apartments.

After that I spent some time going through the rest of it and quite enjoyed the content. It lets me see my current environment through another foreigners' eyes, which is quite helpful. I don't really notice the differences that much, probably because I don't stand out being asian and having lived in a somewhat similar culture.

Shari said...

Turner: I mustn't have seen your blog before the change though I think I recall your mentioning it in one of your posts where you said some of your initial opinions of Japan were based on Gaijin Smash posts. I vaguely recall that you may have removed your former site (or at least some posts) because you said some things about your former work that may not have been taken kindly by your former employer. I think those things can be very interesting to reflect back on even if you feel you were "wrong" before.

Many thanks for your comment!

Heng: Many thanks for your kind comment. I appreciate it. Sometimes I envy people who don't stand out and experience Japan in more of a normal way. I think there's got to be this "world" I can't experience which is rather different from the one I live in. It's an interesting lesson in life though. It shows that perception and experience are shaped two ways rather than in one direction. That is, it's not just about how I perceive things but about how I'm perceived.

Helen said...

I understand about no longer liking the name of your blog. I'm in that boat too. Or rather, in my case, it just doesn't apply anymore.

When I first came to Japan I did live a crazy life...karaoke a couple of times a week, lots of late nights....lots of going out with students and co-workers. Then, I got married. For a while, Living La Vida Loca did apply to that...it was hard and seemed crazy. But lately...my life isn't so crazy. When the most exciting thing to write about in my life is that I got my hair cut or we bought groceries...my blog name just doesn't seem to apply anymore.

Still...I still like the song and occasionally do sing the song it's based on at karaoke, so I'm not going to change it, at least for now.

Roy said...

You can get a new domain. Import all your content into that one, and post a link here to that one. Many people do it.

If you want to get fancy you can embed some javascript redirect in all of your posts here to redirect to the new post in your new domain. And then just leave this one.