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Meta On Something

On Something

I’ve been itching of late to start a new writing project on this ol’ site of mine. In recent years there was when I started blogging about Japan again, for a few months — I stopped because it was starting to bum me out to be writing about all these things that I couldn’t experience myself anymore. I think the last one was the shortlived “Game Boy” column I wrote in 2018.

I’ve always enjoyed launching projects throughout the years. I’d often kick off the year with a post on January 1 listing a few new things I was going to try. In the early years many were tied to the “Tokyo Boy” monicker I used a lot, and so you’d get stuff like TB.Grafico for a photolog, TB. Musica for music, TB.Movel when I was moblogging (wow, remember moblogging?) — I guess I had some sort of Portuguese fetish. There are also plenty of things I’d do at Cafe Pause in Tokyo — gallery shows, week-long events, and of course PauseTalk. I think the one I was saddest about ending was my online magazine, SNOW Magazine, although the favicon I use for this site is the logo that my friend Luis Mendo designed for that project.

So what next? I’ve been wanting to do more writing here, but need to find the right theme or structure to do it, an I think I’ve hit on it. Inspired by the monthly design column I wrote for The Japan Times for over a decade that was called “On Design,” which eventually inspired them to launch other columns using that nomenclature, I thought I’d write short posts about various topics I’m interested in, and so you’ll get On Games, On Comics, On Japan, On Wrestling, hell, “on” pretty much anything I feel like writing about. I’m note sure yet on the frequency (I want there to be a regular pulse though) and I’ll experiment a bit at first with the format, but you’ll be able to find them all under this category.

Oh, and what’s the name of the “project”? (I’m still calling it a “project” because I’m not sure what else to call it, as “column” doesn’t feel right.) I started writing this post still not having an idea what I wanted to call it (the umbrella title), and just typed “On Something” as the title in the meantime, and you know what, I like it.

So there you go, here’s the start of something new.

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Meta Personal

May 2019 Writing Challenge

I’ve been feeling a bit bad lately that I haven’t been writing much here — something that I like doing for myself, as a continuation of what I started way, way back in 1998. So just like I gave myself a challenge to get back into reading books in a bit of an agressive way (2 books a month, which I’m still pretty much on track with), I’m giving myself a writing challenge as well, and that’s to write at least five posts a week — long and short — until the end of May. I’ll be off from work for the next six Mondays in a row (something I did in August of last year, that I found to be quite enjoyable), starting this week, and so hopefully that’ll help give me more time to write.

Here goes.

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Meta Personal

Twenty Nineteen

Changing the look of my blog used to be something I loved to do, whether it was creating a new look from scratch or heavily customizing themes and templates I would find online. I’d do it on an almost seasonal basis. This “design” aspect of blogging is something I’ve lost interest in along the way, with the only thing keeping me going being the desire to write. For that reason, when I started blogging more heavily again a few years ago, I was fine with using the default “Twenty Fifteen” WordPress theme.

This past weekend when I went into the back-end to write a couple of posts, I saw I could upgrade to version 5 of WordPress — which I did — and with it came a brand new default theme, “Twenty Nineteen,” which is what you’re seeing now if you’re reading this post on my website. It’s simple and minimalist, which is how I like my design, with some nice typography, and so I’m happy to switch to it. I still want to customize it a bit more (just tweaks that are baked into the customization options), and will add a few new pages to flesh things out (like an “About” page, which I haven’t had for years).

Part of the customizable aspects of the new theme that I liked was to have a little tagline at the top, following the site’s title.

Blogging since 1998.

Writing that, I realized that I didn’t really commemorate the fact that as of last year, I have been blogging pretty regularly for over 20 years. The archives on this site go back to 2002 (this is the first post), but that just marks my start of using Blogger as a proper engine for my blog (which later changed to Movable Type, and then to WordPress).

My origins of writing regularly on the web started in 1998 (in the summer I think) when I launched a site to celebrate Acadian culture (the French-speaking culture from where I grew up), and as part of the content for the site I wrote a weekly column about my life in Japan (I had moved there in May of that year). That site lasted about 3 years, and since I wanted to continue writing regularly about my life in Tokyo, I launched my own site, jeansnow.net. For at least a year, I continued to write and code everything in HTML, until I came across this thing called Blogger that looked like a pretty great way to automate a lot of what I was doing.

And now, over 20 years later, here I am writing this post.

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General Meta

State of the Blog

Back when this blog was the most active, I liked to kick off the new year with a post that shared some of my intentions for the coming year. Although it included things I wanted to do with the blog, it went beyond that, and would lay out projects that I was hoping to make happen. As 2018 comes to an end, I’ve been feeling like it’s time to do something similar, focusing on this site.

As I’ve written before, after this site was on what amounted to “life support” for quite a few years, I started writing again regulary a couple of years ago. In part it was by merging my media consumption diary with this site (it used to live on Tumblr), and then it was by blogging about Japan-related happenings again. I eventually tired of the latter — it just wasn’t the same when not there, and made me miss my life in Japan more than anything else — so I stopped, and tried to focus on things that touched my current reality, i.e. being a game developer here in Montreal. I launched what was to be a weekly column called “Game Boy,” but as much as I enjoyed writing those posts, I started feeling like I needed to write something “proper” (meaning more thought out), and then I started procrastinating a bit, which led to no new posts. At the same time, my media consumption diary (called “Debaser“) started building a huge backlog, to a point where I just stopped updating it, other than adding the movies that make up my movie marathons (as I like collecting them in a post when I’m done said marathon).

What to do?

For the foreseeable future, I’m doing two main changes. First is that I’m no longer going to log all of my media viewings like in the past, and instead will just continue to write-up the movies I watch as part of my various marathons (or whatever content fits the bill, as I did for my October horror marathon). I’ll also keep doing my seasonal anime posts, which I started doing again last year (here are this year’s winter, spring, summer, and fall posts).

As for the rest, I’m going to combine my old blogging style — quickly written short posts — with my current gaming interests and life. I’ll still tag them in the “Game Boy” category, which will make them all easy to find.

I do still like the exercise of writing regularly — whether anyone is reading or not — and so I just want to find a way to do so that is interesting and fun for me, and doesn’t feel like something I need to do or that I’m behind on.

In the meantime, I invite you to check out my “Favorite Media” list for the year, an annual post I quite enjoy putting together, and that I’ve done for 9 years now (20102011201220132014201520162017, 2018).

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Meta Personal

Analoging Into 2018

The start of a new year is a fun time to lay down some new initiatives. Call them resolutions, call them whatever you like, but I find that writing down something like this in the new year helps to focus on what you want to prioritize.

The biggest thing for me is something that I began doing in recent weeks. Over the past few years, I’ve found myself trying to digitize most of my media consumption. Leaving Japan marked the biggest push in that I got rid of most of my belongings — meaning all my books, games, CDs, etc. — and since being back in Canada I’ve felt like keeping that “luggage-less train” going.

I don’t want to suddenly start buying lots of physical goods, but I have been wanting to start rebuilding my board game collection — I’ve bought a few things here in Montreal, but mostly small 2-player card games — and in terms of books, I’d like to start building a nice reference collection of game-related books (like the nice coffee table style retrospective books I’ve drooled over in recent years).

I also want to write more. With a pen. On top of taking lots of notes in a notebook/notepad again — something I used to do a lot, but did digitally instead in recent years — I picked up a paper agenda for the year, something I haven’t done in years (I got this one).

I also want to get back into doing personal projects. It’s something that was a big part of my life in Tokyo, but then with the big move and change in career, it was put aside to better concentrate on this new personal journey. But as I wrote recently, attending a few events have rekindled my interest in being part of that sort of thing, and so we’ll see what happens — among other things, fingers crossed on a relaunch of the PechaKucha Night series in Montreal happening.

As for this site, following my return to blogging in 2016, I think it’s time to find a new thematic focus for the coming year. As much as I still love so many aspects of Japanese design and culture, it’s no longer my everyday reality, and I’d like to write a bit more about things that are part of my current “world.” I’m not quite sure what that’s going to look like, but it’s something I’ll be exploring over the coming weeks and months.

After living/studying in China in 1997, I moved to Tokyo in 1998, which impacted the following 15+ years of my life. Twenty years later, in 2018, I’m in a very interesting place professionally (I can’t wait to get back to work tomorrow to continue on the various initiatives I’m involved in there, and seeing what else I can do to shake things up), and I’m excited to push myself even further on various fronts.

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Meta Personal

Back in the Saddle

A year ago today, I rescued the archives of this site, and the process of going back and fixing all of those old posts (I wasn’t able to rescue all of the images, and so had to manually replace them with the aid of Archive.org) got me wanting to blog again about my love for Japan culture, and I’ve been doing it pretty regularly since.

For years, updates on this site had become quite rare — if you look at the archives now you’ll see plenty of posts each month, but that’s just because I imported my Debaser diary (previously on Tumblr, in which I write-up the media that I’m consuming), and so it makes it seem like I was consistently writing here. But that wasn’t the case. After a couple of posts about the rescue efforts (which ended up taking months), this was the first post that felt like a traditional JeanSnow.net blog post.

A year later, I sorta have a routine now where I mostly put up new posts on the weekend, saving stuff I want to highlight until then, and putting them all up in one batch. It would probably be better to parse them a bit more, scheduling them to go up on a daily basis, but I guess I don’t really care about doing it that way.

A couple of days after that return post, I wrote this, saying I had no idea if I was going to continue doing it or not, but I’m now happy to still be doing it. Blogging like this is how I started my professional writing career, and even though I’m just doing it for fun now, I like that I’ve come full circle, doing pretty much the same thing I was doing 15 years ago — although it’s not quite the same in that I’m no longer based in Tokyo.

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Meta

New Home for Debaser

I’ve been doing my Debaser “media consumption diary” for a few years now on Tumblr, and a couple of weeks ago I decided to import all of the posts I’ve written there (over 700) to this blog, as I figured why not just bring everything to just one site. I still wanted to keep it separated in some way, so they all live in the “Debaser” category, which you can access through its own page here — I’ve installed a plugin that lets me set it so that these posts don’t show up on the main feed of the site, for those who just come for the Japan-related news stuff (but they still get mixed up with everything if you visit monthly archive pages — you can’t win them all). Oh, and that means that I’m no longer updating the Tumblr blog.

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Games Meta

On to 2017

As I’ve been going through the entire archives of this site over the past few months, I noticed how I used to often kick off the new year with a big “intent” post. I don’t want to go that far, but I think it’s nice to welcome the new year with a little salute here, and so here goes. And although it’s the year of the, ahem, cock, I’ll let the Mario Bros. welcome us into swingin’ and rockin’ 2017 (courtesy of the imagery produced for the upcoming Switch event in Japan).

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Meta

Mission Accomplished

Well, it took 4-5 months of work — doing it here and there, mostly on weekends — but I’ve finally managed to go through all of the 7500+ posts on the site (since rescuing my site archives back in August, but with most of the images missing) and got the images back in. There are posts here and there where it was impossible to get the image back, but I’m pretty satisfied with what I was able to rescue — and as I’ve done a million times, I give great thanks to Wayback Machine.

There’s still stuff I’d like to do, like go back and add proper tags to older posts, and incorporate some posts that were part of my moblog, or maybe even incorporate all of the posts from SNOW Magazine (my one year web magazine experiment), but I think I’m going to take a break for now, and explore doing that sometime next year.

But man, sure feels good to have my site back with proper archives, and I’m glad I was able to finish it before the end of the year.

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December Gonna Be December

So following the return of my regular blogging here, November marked the first dip in number of posts — down to 62 from the previous month’s 85. I don’t think it’s a sign of anything in particular, probably just didn’t have as much time to devote to writing posts.

One thing I am looking forward to preparing this month is my annual “Favorite Media” post, which I have been doing for the past few years (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015). It’s a fun exercise, taking the time to look back at what I enjoyed throughout the year. I’ll probably start working on it soon, and post it within a week or two.