It has been a year and a half since I started blogging. It took a lot of convincing from close friends to get me to start. For me, the big question was why. I couldn’t see an audience for what I wanted to explore. Because that is what I feel a blog is: an exploration. And oh what an exploration it has been!
There was so much to learn at the beginning. From navigating the user interface to design to creating content, and finally marketing. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but I like to think I’ve learned a few things as well.
One thing I didn’t expect when starting was the warm community that WordPress cultivates. An initial trepidation to joining an online community was my fear of interacting.
The most difficult part has been coming up with consistent content. I’ve faltered a few times but I’ve always managed to come back. Most of it has been a result of ignorance on my part. But as I live, make mistakes, make more mistakes, I see new things and new ways to develop content. At the beginning, NihoniGo was designed to convey my experience in Japan. I had big plans that were bigger than I could ever accomplish. It wasn’t until time passed on the ground that I began to realize the changes that were happening to me. Most Japan blogs focus on the historical and cultural aspects. I discovered that there was so much more to living abroad than history and culture.
I realized the other day how little Americans are taught about other countries, particularly those in other hemispheres. There’s a good deal about European countries but only how they helped create America. It’s not just an American problem because there isn’t much taught about America in Japan. I guess it makes sense. There are so many things to learn; it’s easier to learn about yourself. In a way, it can then serve as a benchmark to make comparisons.
I think using your own culture as a benchmark towards understanding another culture is slippery at best. We need that space, but relying on it only serves to perpetuate stereotypes and in-group vs. out-group thinking.
It’s the same with blogging.
We can become so caught up in our own little world we neglect the external experiences that are rushing by. It’s so easy to insulate yourself against the internet because it doesn’t feel real. Content comes from an invisible realm, showing up like magic. Nobody sees the hard work and determination so many people put into it. It appears easy. It appears as though their life is one great big party of creativity and inspiration. We must be careful making comparisons like that. They only serve to disappoint ourselves and undermine the substantial effort that goes into a blog.
But there is a person on the other side of that keyboard. Just like there is another person from another culture looking at you from across the street.
One of the most difficult things to do in this world is getting to know another human being. We fight and we argue and we misunderstand. Sometimes we stubbornly refuse to interact at all.
A lonely body suffers no change.
Because you never know when an interaction will become something special.