Once again, dear readers, it has been a while. Alas, this blog has well and truly settled into its post-retirement years where half the posts are me apologising for not posting. Anyway, I’d like to fill you in on some things that happened in the last couple weeks.
First off, after five years of living in Tokyo, I’ve moved back to Australia. The long and short of it: the COVID years took their psychological toll on me, so I’ve moved back to my home country to be closer to the people I care about. Fortunately, I still have my job at Anime News Network. I was in the very privileged position of being able to work from home well before the pandemic struck, so my day-to-day life hasn’t actually changed all that much. I am very, very grateful for this!
The other major thing is that I released a free doujin novella over the weekend: Approximation of a Brother Complex: A Sibling Love Story. The last story I posted on this blog was an isekai, and this one is a tribute to the nostalgic genre of little sister romcoms! Lemme drop the cover and download links:
I was quite surprised by all the positive reactions this little story got on Twitter, but I’ll talk about this (and other fiction writing-related things) in a later post.
Right now, I want to talk a little retrospectively about my life and what those five years in Tokyo meant to me. Honestly… I’m super satisfied. Because of anime, I learned Japanese from scratch and lived in Japan as a pop culture journalist; I feel like I achieved everything my teenage self ever wanted to do. My passion for anime and light novels is still the same as ever, but now I’m in the middle of searching for new dreams and things to be excited about. What can I do now to express this burning love still inside of me? That’s what I’ve got to figure out now.
And, you know, there are other things I somehow managed to accomplish that the younger me dismissed as impossible. Things like falling in love with another person and getting married. Right now, I’m diving headfirst into the most impossible thing of all: mortgage loans. For the first time in my life, I’m starting to feel like a true adult in all the ways that entails.
I still have terribly vivid memories of the me who struggled to even leave my house or talk to other people. I remember how I threw myself into the worlds of books and anime during the years when, out of misguided concern for my wellbeing, my parents never even allowed me to go outside alone. This might be a rather morbid thing to say, but my mother was always telling me that I would get raped if I left the house. When finally the opportunity to leave came to me, I was so nervous about taking that first step. I spent so many days feeling sick in my heart and hopeless. They said I would come crawling back in a few months.
But I managed to live five years in another country, speaking in my second language.
So even though there are some who might say, “What a disappointment that you had to move because of the pandemic!” I don’t feel so hung up about it. Of course, I’d love to visit Japan again when the world is in a better state for travelling, but I’m also comfortable with closing this chapter of my life and starting a new one.
Thank you to everyone who has ever been kind to me or cheered me on. I don’t think I could have made it this far without the help of so many supportive people.