Lockdown, domain names and hindsight


2020 was certainly… a year to remember. And 2021 is looking very much like it’s going to be a terrible season 2.

For those of you who do/did follow this blog you may have noticed that my posts trailed off in 2019 and stopped at the beginning of January 2020. Without going into all the details, I’d been losing the ‘zest’ for blogging for some time, and felt I was recycling the same ideas and that the blog itself was losing interest. There was also a bad day where someone went through and one-starred a load of my blogs and left some pretty *oof* comments, which I hate to say topped it off.

I should also add that I’m now thirty (dun dun dun), work takes up a lot more time and I didn’t have the capacity to invest in improving the blog. I was also paying what was definitely far too much for a WordPress premium package, which felt like a waste of money given how little I posted, so decided not to renew it. Given how I started blogging in 2012 it felt like the right time to quietly ‘call it a day’.

So what’s prompted this coming out of retirement? Well, turns out that not renewing my WordPress package and not retaining the original website address sophiesjapanblog.com may not have been the best idea. An eagle-eyed Twitter follower (a massive thanks to Matthew Humphries) messaged me and said ‘I think your blog’s been hacked…’

So, sophiesjapanblog.com now advertises something to do with Lionel Messi in Japanese because the domain name was up for grabs. Cue me being incredibly embarrassed. Thankfully all my blog content is still there (I’ve been backing up my favourites of my 400+ posts), though I am tidying up the really old stuff because my image space is at its limit…

Thanks to a lot of help from Matthew teaching me how to do basic internet/web design stuff, from now on this is sophiesjapanblog.co.uk!

So lesson learned – there are much cheaper ways to register a domain name.

I’m not about to go back to my weekly blogging schedule by any means but in case any of you ever wondered why the blog suddenly went quiet, there’s your answer.

That said, I will give a brief run down of what I’ve been up to in 2020 – hopefully to inspire those of you who need something new to keep themselves busy as ‘these unprecedented times’ continue…

Reading… a lot

I mean, what else can you do at the moment? Reading is my ultimate downtime and if you need some inspiration check out my Goodreads account.

Writing

My age-old journey of ‘get a book published’ still continues. Again, I lost my writing motivation in the first lockdown and buried myself in the Nintendo Switch, but finally have a new book idea and am making progress with that. I’ve sent four stories off to agents now and the last two actually got some agent interest, so I guess that’s progress. THIS WILL BE THE ONE, I SWEAR!

Playing the Nintendo Switch 

Seriously, help, I am addicted to Fire Emblem: Three Houses and have played far too many hours of it. I debated doing a huge blog on my experience of playing it but there are so many other blogs/Youtube videos on that already I didn’t think I’d have anything particularly revolutionary to say. If you are looking for an addictive tactical JRPG that will keep you entertained for literally hundreds of hours, I highly recommend this game. For those of you who do want to know, my favourite house is the Blue Lions (though Golden Deer has the best overall story) and my husbandos are Dimitri, Felix, Sylvain and Yuri. Also, Shamir is best girl.

Listening to the Trash Taste podcast

I mentioned I’ve spent a lot of time on Youtube and was already a big fan of ‘animetubers’ Gigguk, The Anime Man and CDawgVA, so when they created the Trash Taste podcast last year I was very excited. Each podcast is about two hours long and it’s a regular accompaniment to my walks. You can either watch the podcast on Youtube or listen to it on Spotify – or do a mixture of both!

Climbing Mt Fuji (virtually)

I only recently discovered the Conqueror app but highly recommend it for those of you who need some extra motivation to exercise via a rewards-based system. The virtual challenges have several different famous walks (I’ve started with Mt Fuji at 47km) and all your walks/cycles/runs etc are logged into the app to move you along a virtual route. Not only do you get virtual postcards and help to plant trees when you hit key milestones – you can also zoom in on street view to imagine yourself there. At the end of it you get a medal too!

If you’re interested in trying to Mt Fuji virtual challenge or another challenge you can use my 10% referral code here.

Not… watching anime

You would think not being able to go out much would mean infinite time for anime and Netflix but… not so much. I completed Demon Slayer, The Great Pretender and Bungo Stray Dogs and am currently watching Attack on Titan and Dr Stone but that’s a lot less than all the shows I used to review every year. I’ve spent a lot more time watching Youtube channels and listening to podcasts, so I’m not sure if that’s a sign of ‘growing out of anime’ or the general sense of ‘not knowing what to do with my free time in 2020/21’.

Imagining my next holiday abroad

I mean, who hasn’t? Japan’s obviously high on the list, along with a Caribbean beach.

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