Even though Melissa has a full-time Product Manager job at Microsoft, she still makes time to explore the magnificent land of Paris with her boyfriend Tyler, and write beautiful articles about her passions — traveling, fashion, and life in Paris. Nearly every week, she publishes her articles on her website called Melissa in Paris.
Now, let's get started on why I spend so much time writing articles.
I. Why Do You Blog?
Originally, I built my website as a portfolio of what I planned to accomplish, if I were fortunate enough to earn the Monbukagakusho MEXT Scholarship. Fortunately, I did receive the scholarship, and decided to make this an online resource for Japanese women who are thinking about starting their own business. And now, it's evolved into a collection of inspirational stories of Japanese female entrepreneurs, plus my musings of living abroad as an expat in Kyoto!
Honestly, it's very difficult for me to start writing unless if there is an upcoming assignment deadline for school or work. Like most people, I need the additional external pressure to begin writing.
Unlike school or work, I am always more energized after meeting with a female entrepreneur, as it's so profoundly interesting to me. With my innate passion for the topic and a desire to write the most impactful article that I can to promote the female entrepreneur, I can easily write for hours.
Overall, it takes me at least 8 hours to write, edit, add links and photos, obtain the entrepreneur's approval, and finally, publish it on my website, LinkedIn, and for the technology-oriented businesses, on Women 2.0's website. And it's worth every minute of my time.
Hopefully, with my blogs, I can encourage more women to follow in their footsteps.
II. What Has Been Your Favorite Post You've Written Thus Far?
While I don't have a personal favorite, I feel like I have steadily improved my writing skills and style with each article that I produce.
III. How Do You Find Inspiration for Posts?
The more I write, the more ideas come to mind. And the more I experience, the more I want to write. But honestly, it's most important to sit down for a few hours and force myself to start writing. Once I get the ideas flowing, I do not want to stop until I am done. The most difficult thing is to get started.
After meeting with an entrepreneur, however, I am so excited that I can't wait to start writing!
IV. What Is Your Favorite Food to Photograph?
How much do you think this meal cost?
2,000 yen! And in Japan, you don't have to pay for neither tax nor tip at the majority of restaurants, so you can often eat a high-quality, picturesque meal for 2,000 yen (~$17.5 USD).
Coming from San Francisco, this is quite a spectacular deal. Not only do you have to pay a ~20% tip, but you also have to pay a ~8.75% consumer tax, as well as a special San Francisco health tax at some restaurants. Without a doubt, San francisco is far more expensive for a typical meal out, than Kyoto.
V. Where Do You Usually Blog From?
One of my favorite places to write is in my graduate school building at Kyoto University. For me, I need a place where I can remain undisturbed for hours, a place where I can eat and drink freely, and have unlimited internet access. As such, my special spot fits all of my criteria and more!
VI. What Has Been A Pleasant, Yet Unexpected Outcome Since Starting Your Site?
I am always pleasantly surprised when brand new acquaintances share that they have read some of my articles! While I fully recognize that I share my writings on a public domain, I'm still taken aback when people I meet for the very first time, say that they have read some of my work. Maybe, I will eventually grow accustomed to it, but for now, I will remain surprised.
VII. How Do You Decide How Much Personal Information You Share Online?
I share quite a lot online compared to the average Japanese person, who is more private. For example, my cousin deleted her Facebook, does not have a website, and uses her Instagram as a platform to share updates only about a boy band that she adores.
Recently, I learned from a good friend who works at Twitter that Japan is one of the company's most successful markets, because of the mere fact that users can create multiple profiles. As a result, Japanese people on average have at least two profiles — one with their true identity, and another, for their persona. With their second profile, they create a fun, alternative, and unique personality — a side of themselves that they cannot normally share with the outside world.
While I only have one Twitter profile with all of my real information, I haven't yet felt a need to hold back on what I publish online. My personality is one that is a bit more trusting, as I have had a public Facebook profile since I was 15, serving in the role of Chief Photographer for my high school friends. Happily, I declared myself as the collector of memories, taking, editing, and publishing hundreds of photos online.
In retrospect, I may have taken one to many photos, but all of my friends truly appreciate that we have such a large collection of memories that we can view at any time. And while I do share quite a lot online, I use my social media accounts and website as a platform to share wonderful memories of life in Kyoto, and inspirational female entrepreneur stories.
But I do have one rule — I never publish or share anything that I view as negative, as I believe in the power of positivity and attracting more good fortune into my life.
VIII. What Are Your Top Three Destinations on Your Travel Bucket List?
I absolutely love this question! First, let me share how I save money on a daily basis, as I am living on a limited budget. And I want to make sure people understand how I have the luxury to travel so often.
After my mom visited me in Kyoto for over a week, I realized how much I save by:
- Traveling ~30 minutes by bike to buy groceries at one of the least expensive supermarkets in Kyoto.
- Never using the hot water, except when I take a quick shower. For the same reason, I have not yet taken a bath in my apartment, as it would eat up too much energy.
- Always unplugging all electrical cords anytime I travel.
- Spending months searching for the most convenient, well-equipped, and inexpensive apartments in Kyoto.
- Rarely purchasing new clothing.
- Never purchasing water when frolicking outside, instead relying heavily on public fountains and kind staff.
- And finally, rarely using the heater / air conditioner.
Now, back to my bucket list for 2017 – 2018.
I really want to do an inexpensive, yoga retreat that my friend recommended to me for at least a week, and then visit other areas in Indonesia such as the Gili Islands.
Every August an dearly September, I plan on escaping Kyoto to avoid the sweltering and unbearable heat. One of my good friends even cried while walking around in the mind-numbing heat due to frustration. Believe me, when I say it's hot!
This summer, I want to spend over a month in Hokkaido writing remotely for a company, teaching English, and potentially working at a resort. If any one has any ideas or connections, please let me know!
Ideally, I'd like to visit for the second time as part of a Kyoto University research group. We shall see!
IX. What's Your Favorite Book?
My favorite book of all times is called the Confidence Code by Kerry Kay and Sherry Shipley, as the authors do a magnificent job of pinpointing various topics such as self-esteem, self-love, etc., while also routinely weaving in expert advice and scientific evidence to back up what they say.
With scientific inquiry into the psychology of confidence and even the psychological benefits of power poses, the authors helped me understand the topic on a deeper level and helped me make a determination to improve my own confidence.
By sharing how much I love the book, I've been able to encourage two of my good friends to read the book, one whom loved it so much that she bought it for her entire staff of 25 members.
And I plan on writing an article about the book with specific quotes soon, so stay tuned!
X. What Advice Would You Give to a Brand New Blogger?
Find a niche, and go for it!
It's always better to start writing and take positive action steps towards your goal — whether it's creating a blog, launching a creative project, or even starting a business. Instead of spending hours worrying about a billion small things, which will inevitably lead you farther and farther away from your goal, it'd be wise to take ~10 minutes out of your day to start working on your goal today!
XI. What Sort of Creative Project Do You Want to Tackle Next?
I've nearly complete an article about a wonderful female entrepreneur I met in Tokyo, who owns a fashion design studio called Kana and sells her women's clothing in high-end department stores in Japan such as Takashimaya.
And this weekend, I will be meeting with an entrepreneur who owns an etiquette school for ladies, and re-interviewing a good friend, Mariko Fukui. Next week, I will be participating as a journalist for the Slush Tokyo Technology Conference. There, I plan on interviewing at least a handful of female entrepreneurs, some of whom I will write articles about.
Thank you for reading all the way until the end.
Info about the Sunshine Blogger Award
This nomination is from bloggers to bloggers. The award is given to those who inspire and bring sunshine into the lives of their readers and fellow bloggers.
- Thank the person that nominated you and post a link to their blog on your blog.
- Answer the 11 questions from the person that nominated you.
- Nominate some other bloggers for this award and give them 11 questions to answer.
- Notify the bloggers you have nominated.
- List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo.
Now to pass the torch, I nominate Jake Wallace for writing captivating stories about life in Kyoto!
- Why Do You Blog?
- What Has Been Your Favorite Post You've Written Thus Far?
- How Do You Find Inspiration for Posts?
- What Is Your Favorite Food to Photograph?
- Where Do You Usually Blog From?
- What Has Been A Pleasant, Yet Unexpected Outcome Since Starting Your Site?
- How Do You Decide How Much Personal Information You Share Online?
- What Are Your Top Three Destinations on Your Travel Bucket List?
- What's Your Favorite Book?
- What Advice Would You Give to a Brand New Blogger?
- What Sort of Creative Project Do You Want to Tackle Next?