Where Do We Go from Here?

Happy New Year!

The transition from one year to the next is always a busy time, but I wanted to take a moment and thank the people who have been following as well as casually dropping by this blog. 2017 has been a year of growth for Tokyo Past 3. It remains but a humble and small blog, but I’m happy that it has managed to reach more people in the past year.

Cluttered Beginnings

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Machida Squirrel Garden, Spring 2015

When I first started Tokyo Past 3, I was fresh out of grad school and had started a job that I had no passion for. Grad school life was very busy, especially since I was doing a part-time job at the same time. All I knew then was that I wanted more time to actually live my life, rather than go from day to day trying to meet deadlines and make ends meet.

As to what I wanted to do, two things were clear to me when I graduated. First, I wanted to continue writing about Japan, but not with the stiff words and the confined world of an academic; second, I wanted a space for my creative pursuits.

As I opened a new chapter in my life, I tried to rekindle old interests. I started out with English translations of Japanese songs. After all, a good five-year chunk of my internet life was spent on translating lyrics, news, videos and all sorts of things for a certain fandom. As much as I love languages, however, I quickly found out that in this new chapter, I wanted to write my own words rather than be a medium for somebody else’s.

Stepping Into the World of Travel

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Okuoikojo Station: as of yet my favorite train station in Japan.

It’s funny how it started. I have always had a heart for adventure, but growing up, I was always the clumsy one. The one who always gets lost. The one who gets herself into all sorts of mishaps because her head is in the clouds. And because of that, I settled on experiencing adventure vicariously through RPGs and fantasy books.

All of these characteristics I mentioned above remain true to this day. I’m still clumsy, my sense of direction is a hopeless case, and goodness, all the mishaps! (The latest one was losing my house key in Kyoto…) But all these are not reason enough to miss out on travel opportunities.

The first time I realized I was capable enough to go on my own adventure was when my friend Mihyun (yes, the ever-so-cheerful Korean girl), couldn’t go on a hiking trip we planned. She got sick on the day we were supposed to go, and I thought of just forgetting about it. But something in me said that I shouldn’t pass the opportunity up, and I ended up making my first solo hike ever.

It was also in the same year, in the summer of 2016, that I changed professions and wet my toes in the travel industry. It only took a few waddling steps before I dived in completely. Travel became both a career and a hobby, and until now these two worlds intertwine. I found myself surrounded by dreamers, adventurers and all sorts of creative people who keep the fire in me burning.  It was this accumulation of experiences that ultimately transformed Tokyo Past 3 into the travel and lifestyle blog that it is today, tiny as it may be.

Where to next, Mizhelle?

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Captured: a man trying to take a photo of his wife on a rickshaw

When I started blogging about my trips, I was largely unaware of how big the travel blogging community is. In the past year, however, I’ve come to chance upon, read and follow other blogs and channels, and in the process be familiar with the templates that make a successful post. One thing I realized is that it’s very easy to get lost in the world of marketing. I mean, that in itself is fun—testing out what sells and what doesn’t. I do marketing for a living after all.

But that’s not what I want Tokyo Past 3 to focus on.

As much as writing/making videos of where to go and what to eat is fun, I want to share more stories that move and stay in people’s hearts. You see, travel, for me, is not about glamour or luxury. It’s not about crossing out must-see spots on a list and having the bragging rights to say that I’ve been there, done that. Travel, for me, is about finding the beauty in the fleeting moments, whether it’s an old man trying to take a photo of his wife, or a young mother taking her two sons out. I believe that more than anything else, what makes a place truly special is the meaning we attach to it.

Tokyo Past 3 is about heart. It always has been. And I want to share more of that with you. In the coming year, I will continue to write travel guides and reviews, but more than anything else, I want to share stories that resonate. I hope you stick around and share yours too.

So here’s to a year full of stories. Here’s to a meaningful 2018!

With heart,
Mizhelle

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11 thoughts on “Where Do We Go from Here?

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  1. Right, travel is always about stepping into spaces that are not yours, lives that are beyond the known ones. If you blog because you travel and not the other way round, travels will keep surprising you and making you wiser. Stay focussed and keep travelling. Happy New Year!

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  2. Congrats on a big 2017, and on your milestones with the blog, I bet it’s such an incredible feeling to have achieved your dream of writing your own words! I love your focus on finding beauty in the fleeting moments; we try to do the same in our trips. Looking forward to seeing where 2018 takes you!

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  3. Japan has been on my mind recently. I’ve been lucky enough to go the past two years in February and am a bit upset that I don’t have a 2018 trip planned yet. I’m happy I discovered your site for when I do get that next trip planned. Keep writing and exploring, no matter how small your audience may seem. We all have to start somewhere!

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  4. Welcome to the blogging club and yes it can be overwhelming with the number of bloggers and how big the community is but that’s probably the best part. Most of the bloggers I’ve interacted with since starting my own blog, have been so supportive! You’re doing a great job and I wish you all the very best for your adventures in 2018.

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  5. It was such a nice experience reading your expectations for your blog. It’s inspiring. I think Japan has a lot to offer in terms of resonating posts, so you’re covered. I love every bit of Japan and Asia and will be glad to read about them. Keep traveling! Keep writing!! Keep being you!!!

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  6. I love how you describe your blogging journey so far. And yes, you are so right, it isn’t always about marketing or bucket lists or promotions… you should always write about something that comes from the heart. Those words are the most resonant and inspirational!

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  7. This is such a beautiful and adorable post – well done on your journey so far! I think whilst there are many travel bloggers around, everyone’s experience is different and writing from the heart always wins out. I’ve never travelled to Japan, but when I do, I’ll reach out for your advice!

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  8. I loved this really heartfelt recap. Good for you for pursuing and achieving your dream of writing about Japan! I also love that you describe yourself as a clumsy traveler because I feel like I can be that way as well. Plus, those clumsy moments make for some of the best stories. I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store for you.

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  9. Happy new year! It sounds like you had a great 2017 and achieved a few milestones along the way too. I loved Japan! Such a beautiful place and the people were so kind and helpful. Heres to a great 2018!

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