Back in the States, spring is unfolding, but in Japan the school year is ending and people prepare for new jobs and adventures. All of this palpable change has gotten me thinking about creative goals, particularly connected to writing and this site.
When I first started this site, I was interested in travel writing and experiencing as many things and places as I could. I hoped to find unique sites, restaurants, and coffee shops that would be interesting and appealing for other people, and I wanted to find ways to do it on a budget. The site provided me with reason to explore the towns I lived in, whether Tiverton, Brunswick, or Bologna. While I’m grateful for the adventures I sought while working on the site, lately I’ve felt my focus change.
Not having a specific focus in what I cover, I have felt that writing blog posts about weekend or day trips feels oftentimes vapid and overdone. On the one hand, I only scratch the surface when visiting Hokkaido’s tourist sites like Niseko or Otaru. Lacking local perspective, I can only share that which I intuit in such a short visit, which, more often that not, already exists on the Internet. On the other, writing similar posts about Takikawa often feels inaccessible. The number of people who come visit Hokkaido is already very small and mostly made of Australian skiers and Asian tourists. Of that number, very, very few will come to Takikawa as a tourist. As a result, I feel that writing about restaurants or fun things to do here exists more for future JETs than for people in different countries who will never come visit here and have no reason to care. Moving forward, I have a few different visions which are taking form.
Travel and exploration are still some of my greatest joys, but I don’t feel the need to write blog posts about it. Instead, I plan to further develop the City Guides feature of the site. After visiting somewhere new, I’ll add more details onto that place’s guide and share more detailed location-specific advice. I hope that readers can find all the insider tips and recommendations in one, neat guide instead of sifting through blog posts to piece together their own travel guide,
While living in Japan, one direction I’ve wanted to take MWM is towards more writing from people living away from their “home” country whether studying, working, or living there temporarily, indefinitely, or permanently. I’m interested in gathering voices on anything from food, friendships, visas, homesickness, belonging, race, difference, politics, and beyond. So many people live away from the country they identify as their home, and their stories can be helpful or inspiring to others. Though daily life in Buenos Aires, Paris, or Takikawa might be vastly different, people living overseas may have relatable experiences to share.
Travel stories and essays instead of blog posts.
Finally, the last major change I want to make is perhaps mostly stylistic. Moving forward, I hope that the content I post will exist more in the vein of stories and essays than blog posts. For me, writing blog posts has been draining and lacking in purpose, tending towards overshare instead of insight. Looking ahead, I plan to share stories inspired by and rooted in place, from travelogue to essay to short fiction.