It’s been a week since I last wrote anything on here, but if you follow IKIMASHO! on Facebook you’ll have read that I’ve been super busy in work. Right now is ‘Summer School’ for our kindergarten students, a special programme where they do two full days of games and learning with us. This year’s theme is ‘Space Adventure’ and so we’re making rocket crafts, playing games featuring aliens and learning about stars, astronauts and other space-related stuff. It’s completely different from the normal kindergarten set-up – and as many kids are out of their element there are a lot of tears and tantrums when they arrive at the kindergarten on day one. Especially the younger kids – three years old – who I’ve been put in charge of. We will do this programme about six times over the next month across different schools in the Kanto region.
As I have written before, I enjoy my job, and I honestly can’t imagine working in an an office environment any more, even in the creative industry. This is essentially my fifth year being a kindergarten teacher in Japan, and I’m happy with the balance I’ve been able to maintain between working and my hobby of IKIMASHO! Because that’s what it is, a hobby. I have never tried to make a living from this site as I know there is a real risk I would start to not enjoy it. But over the years I have been able to build up my portfolio of writing for other publications, and I can now travel for free in a lot of places, staying in hotels I would never ordinarily be able to see. This site has allowed me to do all that.
I think websites and blogs grow best when you have no expectations from them and you allow them to grow naturally over time. If you start a blog with the intention of being noticed overnight and making thousands of dollars, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Not only that, but people will see right through it. Write because you want to write; draw because you want to draw; take pictures because you want to take pictures. Of course there are ways to monetise your site, but at the start this should be your secondary focus. You need good content before you can expect anything in return.
As long as I still have a passion for travel, for Japan, for random creativity, I will continue this site and expect nothing in return. But ironically that’s when things start happening.
Justin / IKIMASHO!