The end of 2018 is just around the corner. Surprisingly, it has been almost half a year since I uploaded the very first post on this blog without telling anybody. I didn’t tell anyone then since I was too scared if it didn’t work out, but after I officially announced that I started this on my social media accounts in August, it turned out that everybody was a lot more supportive than I could ever imagine. I appreciate everyone here – If you read this every time I upload, or if you come here whenever you feel like it, or if it is your first time to be here – thank you very much! You are the reason I could keep writing for the past six months, and I can keep writing in the future.
Some of you guys might be wondering something like this… “What the heck is she doing these days?” “Why is she so obsessed with her blog?”
I don’t blame you, because I was too shy and even embarrassed that I was doing a blog at the very beginning, so I didn’t explain the real reasons why I started. However today, to celebrate Like a Tiny Flower’s (almost) half anniversary, I’d like to talk about 11 reasons why I started my blog.
1. I got bored with how NOT creative I was.
Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate what I have in my life, including my day job. However, it’s really easy for Salary Men (this is how we call people who works full time for a company in Japan) like me to stuck with routines. In the morning, we go to work, in the evening, we go home. Looking forward to the weekends, and feel sad when Sunday’s almost over. Especially since my job is selling industrial machines, which again, I appreciate all the opportunities it gives me, but I gradually started to feel like nothing about my job is really creative. We have nothing pretty, stylish, enjoyable to look at. Our work is not something makes people happy directly, so it’s hard to know if our work is making someone’s life any better. Basically, as a result of getting used to everything, I started to need completely new, different change or stimulation in my life.
Then I started looking for something – something I could get excited and want to commit. That’s when I realized that I knew nothing about Internet, Web, designing, everything related to computers, even though I live in this age! and I thought I couldn’t leave it that way.
2. I needed a creative outlet.
Nowadays, there are countless of people who are not celebrity but have much influences to the world through the Internet – so called influencers. They have some sort of creative outlet and that is making other people be interested in who they are, and what they do.
Honestly, I always thought they are cool and wished if I could be like them. That’s never because I wanted to be famous or popular, I simply but deeply thought the possibilities they gained by being influencers are amazing and fascinating. They know and are known by a lot of other amazing people, and as a result, if they come up with some cool idea, they probably already know someone who they should talk to or ask for help, or collaborate. And when they find someone doing a cool thing and wanted to be a part of that project, it would be easier for them to be welcomed if people already know who they are and what they can do. I started to wishing if I also could have that big possibility, and for that, I knew I needed my own creative outlet.
3. I wanted another name card, or portfolio that shows who I am as a whole person.
If I find something I want to try, I will definitely need someone’s cooperation. Or when I find someone’s doing something interesting, I might wish if there’s any way I can be involved. It is also possible that I run into a situation that requires me to prove that I am capable of doing it to someone. And in such situations, I will need something that shows people who I am and what I can do, as a whole person, not just about my position or title in the company I’m currently working for.
4. My life isn’t quite Instagrammable.
There are a lot of people who are using Instagram as a tool to show who they are to the world these days. I love seeing beautiful Instagram feeds and profiles, and I think it is the best social media for anyone to use as their creative outlet. However, when it comes to me doing that, it was hard. I didn’t really want to post selfies or photos of me, because I am not confident about how I look. Travel photos or flat lays seemed to be easier for me, but every time I was trying to make photos look stylish or creative so that people can enjoy, a part of me felt as if I am a fraud. There was always a voice in my head saying, “You are not that stylish, you are not living a life worth showing off to people…” It just didn’t feel natural right for me, and it only got worse as hard as I tried.
I do enjoy posting on Instagram, but only when I’m simply posting nothing-special-photos. Nothing fancy, nothing special, nothing stunning, but nothing fake, and not trying too hard. It was too difficult and a little embarrassing for me to try to use my Instagram account as my portfolio. I really, really respect people who are super creative and stylish, that people enjoy seeing them on Instagram!
5. I wanted to show who I am in a way that feels natural to me, by doing something I am good at.
The biggest reason I felt Instagram was not for me was because I always felt as if I had to hide what I am like in a real life, in order to make me look better and more interesting, even though I needed something that tells people who I am as a person.
Then I started thinking what could possibly be the tool, and how I can show me to other people in a way that feels natural to me, in a way I can feel that I am allowed to be myself. I also hoped I could do that by doing something I am good at – and that was when I thought writing could be it.
I had never won any prize for writing when I was in school, and I was not really a book warm. However, I always loved putting my thoughts, ideas, and feelings into words, very carefully so that there is no gap between what’s on my mind and what people can see through my words – and I always did that with so much love. Then I started looking for something could be a tool which I can spread my words to the world, and Twitter and blog came across my mind.
6. Twitter was not enough, in many ways.
I’ve been on Twitter for quite a while, but I was not a big fan of its limit of the numbers of letters we can put on a one tweet. We can put only 140 letters for one tweet. I know that it could also be a reason why Twitter is fun, because it requires us to be more creative to put what we want to say into the very short words, but reducing and cutting words can change the details. When the details are changed, sometimes it could tell a whole different story. I could not help thinking that there was always a gap – which looks small but actually huge – between what I really want to say and what I wrote in a way that people might enjoy and react.
More importantly, the words I tweet on Twitter is my words, but it becomes Twitter’s words too. Every creation belongs to me, but they belongs to Twitter at the same time. And there are too many people who copies other people’s tweets, including photos and videos. Moreover, if Twitter becomes outdated just like mixi and Myspace did, what I built on Twitter could fall into just good old memories.
For those reasons, I wanted to have something I can always say “this is my creation, and it belongs nobody else but me.” I made “Like a Tiny Flower” using WordPress – not other popular free blog – by taking a domain name and paying for the rental server, because I want it to be mine.
7. I always hated that I over think and can’t clear my mind until I put my thoughts into words – but I wanted to find the way I can like it.
I am basically a person who over thinks about everything. If somebody tells me something, good or bad, I can’t stop thinking about it until I take enough time to think about it, fully understand it, and finally figure out how I can deal with it. That also happens when I have something I want to try, or when I have something I have to decide, what I always do first is, to THINK. I can’t move before I think.
There are so many people who acts as they feel. They seem more casual, natural, and cool to me. I always wanted to be like them, and wondered why I can’t. However, if I change how I see myself, this tricky characteristic of me can also be described that I am always trying very hard to see things and people carefully and thoughtfully, so that I can really understand them.
Whenever I had something that stuck in my mind, I always try to put them into words – sometimes I wrote on a paper, sometimes just in my head, or sometimes I post it on social media – so that I can sort the complicated thoughts and feelings out throughout the process. And surprisingly, when I tell somebody what I figure out through the thinking and writing process, people told me that they could finally figure out what was going on in their heads, or that they simply sympathized with me, or that they found something. Then I started to think my character may not be what I should hate or try to fix, but what I could possibly use in a good way.
8. I wanted something that can prove my English level.
When people say that they can speak in English, if it is the second language for them, their level can be completely different from person to person. Some people might be as good as native speakers, some people might know only a few phrases. I was born and raised in Japan, and I had never been to abroad or had never had any friends from other countries until I graduated from high school. Nevertheless, from when I just started learning English for the first time in my life, I already knew I wanted to do something with English as my career in the future. (Just for your information, there are a lot of parents who try way too hard to make their children be fluent English speakers in this country, but my parents were never like that. They always respected and understood what I and my brother were passionate about.)
However, as I grew up, I realized that even if I have high TOEIC score, it’s not enough to prove my English level sometimes. When I found some projects or jobs that seemed exciting to me, and I applied, or wanted to applied, for example translating job for a web page for tourists from overseas, or for my favorite YouTube channel, my TOEIC score could not prove enough what I could actually do. I don’t blame anyone, because how can you trust someone is capable of translating creative contents if that person doesn’t have any experiences of translating or even for living in a English speaking country for a certain time?
Now, I am showing people my English and Japanese writings through this blog. Since I write, proofread and revise my posts by myself, there is no way I can fake my English level. I like that there is no room left for excuses. If I want people to believe that I can do something with English, I have to improve. Even though there might be some (or many) errors or immaturity in my writings now, it just gets better as long as I keep going. Constantly writing with considering differences not just between the two languages but also between cultures and writing styles in each language, is more difficult and challenging than I imagined, but a lot more fun, interesting, and helpful than any other way I learned both languages before.
9. I wanted to find the right answer to a typical question “What do you want to do by using your English ability?”
I’ve been trying so hard learning English, and now I think, as a Japanese girl born and raised in Japan, I am a relatively fluent English speaker. I often help people, even my colleagues and boss with English. However, I still get comments or questions like this: “If you are only good at English, that’s nothing.” “What exactly are you going to do by being a bilingual?” “English is just a tool, right? Tool doesn’t really help if you don’t know how to use it and what for.” And people who say these things to me don’t speak English really well.
Even though I know that they didn’t mean to hurt or insult me and they are just curious, to be honest, I hate those comments. Do you know what I hate the most about it? I do not know the answer yet.
This blog is one way I am trying figure out the answer. Blogging is something different from what I did before. Before this, what I was doing was translating from one language into another. Especially when it comes to writing, I was just translating what other people wrote. But when I blog, I can be more creative, by thinking about what I write about, and what people can get from reading it.
Not only that, I always write a post in Japanese first and then translate it in English, but it is not just translating. It feels more like building the whole post from a scratch in each language. Writing in both language makes me see things from two different point of view, so I can review and understand more about what I am writing about. Writing brushes up my thinking.
This is something I have never experienced before, and I hope this could gives me some hints about the answer I am looking for. Those comments and questions will never able to make me like English any less, but I am curious any way. I just want to see where this blog and learning English can take me to.
10. Some people gave me compliments about my writing, and I decided to take them seriously.
Some people gave me really nice compliments about my writings. Normally I find it hard to take compliments, because I can’t help thinking like, “This person is saying this to me just because this person is nice and kind.” “I should know that I am not good enough, so that I keep trying hard.” But this time, I decided to take those compliments seriously, because some of them are too good to ignore or forget!
When I was working at a clothing store and its head company decided to transfer me to a different store as a part of training, I wrote letters to every staff of the store to tell them how much grateful I was for them, and how much I enjoyed working with them. Days or weeks later, when I met one of them, she smiled and told me “What you wrote about me in your letter made me so happy that I even let my parents read it!”
When my friend musician was struggling with writing her introduction to put on flyers of her gig, I wrote it just right there when we were hanging, out and gave it her (because it was too easy for me being a big fan of her). I told her that she don’t have to use it if she doesn’t like it or she should change if there is something you don’t like, but she liked the whole thing I wrote and put it on the flyers.
Some of my friends told me what I said on social media was encouraging to them, or it caught their attentions, or it helped them to clear their mind.
In a English writing class I took when I was in university, a teacher who doesn’t usually sugercoat what she says to the students once told me, “You have a skill to write consistently and logically.”
11. I wanted to share what I could learn through both English and Japanese.
For example when I was struggling with something, and what someone was saying in English saved me from my struggle, I always wanted to share that with other Japanese people who were also struggling with similar problems.
Also when I have something I learned because I can understand Japanese or because I am living in Japan, and if that can possibly help anyone who don’t understand Japanese language, I would love to share what I have with them.
Sometimes, someone like me, who is really into learning languages and cultures of other countries, could be misunderstood as if we don’t like Japan or Japanese culture, but that is not true at all. What I am dreaming about is, connecting people with something they didn’t know before, or something they would never have a chance to know because there was a distance or a boundary – and I believe blogging will help me become someone who can do that.
So… these are the 11 reasons why I started my blog. I started this as a result of all these thoughts and experiences.
It has only been six months, but I already know that starting this blog was one of the best decisions I made for a long time. I will share what I experienced through blogging – what is good and what is hard, what changed in my life, whether there is anyone actually reading this, and more – in a future post soon.
If you have any questions, I would appreciate if you could let me know in comments, or just text me!
Again, thank you very very much for reading this and being supportive.