Why I Blog.

I have been blogging in one form or another for about twenty or twenty-five years now.  I was blogging back when the only way you could blog was mark up the HTML yourself and put it on a static page, then manually link to it.  Then WordPress came out and made it easier, and there are a few other blogging platforms that are probably better in one way or other.

I blog because I am curious and I like to share my curiosity.  I am, if not educated, at least minimally informed, in many different disciplines, including music, mathematics, linguistics/language, theology, science, physics, and a few other things as well.  In fact, this is so important to me and so central to my worldview that I actually define intelligence not by IQ (of which mine is somewhere between 130 or 150, though as I will soon point out, I don’t think that matters), but more by the ability to integrate, or synthesize, patterns or data across multiple disciplines.  This is something I am particularly good at, and teasing out patterns that very few people have discovered or understood before is something that is very satisfying to me.  In fact, one could easily and probably accurately say that it’s the only thing in this world that truly makes me feel happy.  Solving problems and succeeding at intellectual challenges is, perhaps literally, the only true source of joy there is in my life.

But this comes with some downsides as well.  I see the spectrum of human ability as a series of an indeterminate number of sliders, each one specifying another aspect of human ability.  The problem is, you don’t get to set each slider to 100.  Every time one slider goes up, another goes down.  It’s a very complex pattern of sliders, in fact, it’s so complex that no one person has the exact same slider configuration as another.  My slider configuration is very heavily weighted towards the rational, and against the emotional.  What I mean is, that I would much rather spend time trying to solve problems and improve processes than deal with the ambiguities of everyday life.  Being of that kind of engineering and scientific mindset, it is very easy for me to hone in on things that aren’t quite right and need to be improved.  But if something is already good, I see no reason to mention it, as it cannot be improved further.  I imagine this is seen as negativity on my part – and, perhaps, it is – but it’s more my seeing irregularities in the pattern, inefficiencies that could be improved, and generally my intentions in pointing these things out is that once they’re brought into the light, then they can be addressed.

It is very easy – too easy, in fact – to forget the fact that those with my psychological makeup are rare.  In fact, I know for a fact that companies out there – such as e-commerce companies – deliberately do not market to people like me, not only because we are rare, but we are mostly unmarketable.  We see right through their BS, and marketing is mostly BS, with just enough truth not to get them sued.  So why bother?

Personal integrity is also important to me as well.  So the question, in my eyes, becomes this.  Do I deliberately become something that is not true to myself in order to become more popular and stimulate engagement?  Or do I continue to be myself and put people off because I’m too blunt and clinical?  I know the techniques to improve this – I have been paying close attention to what Scott Adams has been saying, and he has some very good tips.  The question is:  do I want to?

That’s a question I have yet to properly answer.  But I do know that if I have any intention whatsoever of ever succeeding in the online sphere, I have to figure that out.  If not, then I may as well not bother, because “pissing into the wind” isn’t exactly my idea of a fun time.  And yes, I’m knocking it and haven’t tried it.


My Gaijin Life

I have launched my new project.  Well, “launched” is a pretty hefty word.  Perhaps it would be better said, I have thrown my new project at the world, while holding out a faint hope that the world doesn’t throw it right back.

It can be found at https://mygaijinlife.com.

In the beginning, I fully expect I will be making liberal use of Google Translate and jisho.org.  I will not be using Google Translate to translate English phrases to Japanese, as that would be cheating and contrary to the purpose of the site.  But I will be using it to make sure that the phrase at least passes a “smell test”.  I assume I will need it less and less as I become more proficient in the language.

I think this may be the best way for me to learn.  The lessons are helpful, but I’m stuck.  And maybe this will help me get out of my stuckness.

The point of the blog is to describe life in Texas to a native Japanese person, from the viewpoint of a native American (as opposed to a Native American, which is a different thing entirely).  I’m hoping the entries will become more interesting and complicated as I learn how to express myself better.  But I guess you have to start somewhere.  I think I have just enough knowledge of Japanese to start to bootstrap this.

Japanese people can watch me grow in the language, I suppose.  Or ignore me.  Probably better off doing the latter, honestly.

Anyway, that’s my new project.  Enjoy or not.

Note:  I mentioned before that I use the word gaijin deliberately, even as some gaikokujin find it offensive.  I understand the difference.  I do not see myself as a gaikokijin.  I see myself as a gaijin.  And not just when it comes to Japanese culture, either.  I’ve posted about this before.  Just wanted to clear that up.

100 posts

I started this blog on a whim, not really knowing what I would even do with it.  Honest truth is, that hasn’t changed.  I still have no idea.  I just write about what I feel like.  Sometimes it’s good.  Sometimes it’s crap.  Sometimes it’s crappily good.

But here are some interesting insights.

My most popular post is 5 Reasons J-Pop sucks.  Interestingly, that was an experimental post.  Everything in that post was designed to be popular.  I put in a “5 reasons” tagline, I had an emotional conclusion that would draw people in, I even added a photo!  And, well…

I guess it worked.

Not sure what to do with that, though.  I’ll have to think about it.

The top country viewing this blog for this year is the USA.  Followed by Japan.  That’s a little surprising to me, as I didn’t think I was getting much Japan traffic, but it’s a pleasant surprise.  Last year, the second most popular country was Germany.  That is surprising.

I made a post once entirely in Japanese.  I honestly don’t think anyone’s even seen it.  That’s disheartening, but not surprising.  If I’m going to to Japanese, I’ll probably need to choose a different medium.  Or get better at Japanese.  Or both.

Nearly all the traffic comes from search engines.  I have generally no idea what people are searching for, because google sucks.  But that indicates that if I want, for some reason, to drive more people here, then I have to do some kind of SEO.  That, of course, has the premise of wanting to drive more people here.  I have mixed feelings about that.

The honest truth is, I’m an introvert.  I’m not good with people.  Other than the odd experiment, I’m honestly not too interested in selling out for popularity.  But on the flip side, that means this site will likely never be popular.  Am I okay with that?

I don’t know.  Guess I have to experiment some more.  Wish me luck.  But here’s to another hundred posts.  Hopefully of higher quality than the first 100.

Endings and Beginnings

I have mixed feelings about blogging, to be honest.  I’ve been doing it since before blogging was a thing – a while ago, I found a blog that I’d written nearly 20 years ago out of pure HTML – wordpress didn’t exist back then, and all I had available was a web server.  I’m glad that blog’s gone – but the point is I’ve been doing it a long time.

And I don’t feel like I’m very good at it.

Blogs have come and blogs have gone in my life, and each time, I’m never happy with the quality of writing, with the topics I come up with, and I feel as if any audience that I have is pissed off as often as they’re interested.  I’ve tried to keep this blog as high quality and on topic as possible, but I don’t really feel like I’ve succeeded.  And if you toss in the fact of my depressive personality and a rather aimless and scattershot learning technique, what you get is a blog that’s rather aimless in its topics and tries to be at the same time too many things and not enough.

I’m not quitting blogging here, but I’m seriously thinking about what I’m trying to accomplish.  Why do I blog in the first place?  And why do I blog about this topic in particular, when my interests are spread far wider?  Why not blog about sports cards?  Why not blog about theology?  Why not blog about piano, or classical music?  Why this, why now?  And am I blogging about J-Pop?  Japanese culture?  Japanese language?  All of the above?  Apparently, I have no idea.

So I’m not quitting this blog, but I’m going to reboot it.  I start a Japanese class at community college at the end of the month.  This marks a transition, a graduation, if you will, from a scattershot, exploration based approach to learning to an actual, methodical approach to learning.  It also marks a transition from me doing it because it interests me to me actually taking it seriously.  Who knows where it will take me now?  Or, conversely, who knows where it will not?

As I take the studies seriously, so will I take this blog. I will think carefully about what I want to accomplish, and that is where I will go.

The petals have fallen from the sakura trees, and where do we go from here?

Ikimasu.  Ganbarou.