Hi guys,

How are you? I really hope you’re doing well.

At the end of every year, I try to sit down and think about the past year, my blog and what I want to do in the coming year. It’s a little ritual that I cap off by writing a letter to all of you. It’s usually a little confusing and unclear because I’m a bit of a confused person but it’s still dear to me. I like taking this time to center myself and to talk for a moment with you all. Even if it is in this somewhat one-sided way. I think we can get to connect a bit through comments.

reading comments is always the best part of the post!

Last year when I wrote this post, I remember thinking boy, 2020 was a tough year. And it was. Not for me specifically but just in general. It was an unprecedented calamity. The world was literally on fire and we had a global plague on our hands. Let’s face it, things had to get better, they just did.

Except not really… 2021 has been a bit better, I think. I should mention that I’m an extremely introverted person and I have been generally enjoying confinement. I hope to keep it up for as long as I can. But I’m not enjoying what it’s doing to others. I think we got a little better at dealing with it this year but I’m not sure.

I was hoping that this would bring us closer together. That seeing millions of people die would naturally push us to cooperate and care about our fellow man. But some people are still adamantly and very vocally refusing to take any safety precautions at all, even in large cities that have declared that they are officially out of pediatric hospital beds for the first time in history.

But I’m getting lost in sadness. That’s not what you’re here for and it’s not what I’m here for either. Because you can’t let the few drag you down. And it’s not over. Sooner or later we will get out of this. Maybe we’ll find a more powerful vaccine to completely irradicate it or a drug that renders it a bit more trivial. Maybe herd immunity will finally kick in or we’ll adjust to living in isolation. Either way, if we look out for each other, we’ll get through it.

you’ll see

And you know what, 2022 is here now. It’s a new day. And I can try to be better than I was in 2021. I can try to be more understanding and more patient. I can muster the courage and energy to stand up for what I believe and go to bed just a little proud of myself.

And as silly as it may sound, both this blog and anime are a part of that for me. Not the deep political beliefs or anything. This blog is about drinking games and watching pretty moving colours. That’s way too profound and important to sully with silly little politics.

But you see, watching anime and talking to you all about it makes me happy. It brings a little entertainment and joy into my life. I giggle alongside characters and then share jokes with my readers and just like that, my day had some laughter in it. I cry because I’m a crybaby and desperately try to convey my emotions on a page, miraculously someone out there gets it. They tell me they had the same experience or maybe that they had a completely different one but still they share something with me. And I get a bit more empathic. If I’m lucky and smart enough I might even learn something that day.

Writing, even if it’s just silly little shallow posts, is an introspective exercise that helps me figure out who I am and who I want to be. And I find that the readers along the way make that exercise a little easier and way more interesting and rewarding.

awww yeah!

So now, after being a bit beaten down for a long time, I’m going to try to figure out who I want to be in 2022.

As far as this blog is concerned, I want to be more appreciative. I have made such amazing friends through this blog. There are people that I have now exchanged thoughts with on a very regular basis for years. That’s amazing! I may not know their real names but there’s no way I won’t consider them friends. And there are new people who I look forward to reading their thoughts each time they drop by. I get excited to see they have commented on something. And even when we disagree, it’s always a great convo.

That’s always been the best part about having a blog for me. And sometimes I lose sight of it. I start fretting about analytics, I get offers for paid advertisement and start thinking maybe I should finally monetize. I start putting time and energy into aspects that really don’t have anything to do with the anime or you guys. And I realized that it doesn’t really make me happy. I’m too lazy and too busy to really enjoy shows I watch and earnestly try to share them with you while also turning my blog into a business. Any blogger that can manage it has my respect. I just can’t seem to do one side without making the other side suffer.

not that monetizing is a bad thing…

So instead of going off in 100 different directions because I’ve gotten a bit weary and everyone is a bit stir crazy, I’m going to remember what I loved about blogging in the first place. I miss my friends that have moved one, but I love the new ones I have made along the way. And at the end of the day, if I start a new series that gets my heart racing and has me staring wide-eyed and slack-jawed in awe at my screen, I really want to be able to share it with you all. I want to extend that precious experience by trying to bottle some of that magic on the page. It might not always work and maybe you guys won’t always be interested in the shows I like (‘cmon, boy idol shows are brilliant!) but as long as we all have a little bit of fun it’s a success.

I talked a lot about myself here. Like I said, I’m very introverted, also I’m pretty resilient and very privileged. I have to figure that if I’m feeling a little ragged, some of you guys must have it much worse. And that really does make me sad. For what it’s worth, I hope from the bottom of my heart that 2022 will be better for each of you. For all of us really. I hope that you will discover a passion, old or new. That you will find some peace and regain motivation. That you’ll magically stumble onto a recipe that’s pretty easy to make and the most delicious thing in the world and not even that bad for your health!

I hope that next year when I write this post, I can tell all of you, WOW 2022 was an amazing year wasn’t it? And I’m going to work hard to make that come true.

Thank you so much for making a rough year better.

30 thoughts

  1. I am going to echo Crow and you a little in saying that the “lockdown” has been kind to me. Not much change for us, except the monthly date night is still cancelled due to concerns over COVID. But we can get anything and everything delivered these days, and wonder of wonders, most of it actually gets delivered now (I think someone somewhere must have had a few words with the delivery people who were stealing drugs and food from disabled and elderly people here – or maybe karma and their likely habits kicked in and COVID killed ’em, clearing the way for more honest people to replace them) so overall there is very little change in our life, and actually, things are a bit better due to the fact I finally got old enough to “officially” retire and that increased our income enough for us to afford a car again. Finally.

    I’m quite glad you are still enjoying blogging because I’m certainly still enjoying reading your posts. I probably do engage a little less because I’m on the Internet less. Doing more creative things, and playing tons of Nintendo. I think my country has not yet reached bottom, but they’re headed there for sure when health care and who survives becomes political fodder, and all you get from the media is propaganda. You can’t discuss anything with anyone anymore in a remotely reasonable way. All the more reason to play more games and watch more anime! I’m glad there are a few corners of joy left on the Internet at least – and your blog is always one of them. Thank you for being here. Blessedbe.

    1. Home date night sounds just lovely!

      Thank you so much for your comment Foovay. You know I always love reading your thoughts as well. I think they are one of my favourite parts of blogging.

      So, what are you playing on Nintendo?

      1. Asphalt9, Brawlhalla, and Pokemon Sheild mostly although I also have mahjongg and a jigsaw puzzle game for a quiet start to the day. I can’t imagine my thoughts are all that interesting or if they are then I’d better keep them to myself! Sorry, a little tired of this world where every comment starts a shitstorm of controversy or a freaking fight in RL. LOL

          1. I actually finished it the other day – although I haven’t bought the expansion – I do plan to later this year. It was my first “real” Pokemon experience. I played a little Pokemon GO but it didn’t work well on my cheap phone. Anyhow – I really enjoyed it. 😀

  2. I have to say that discovering your blog, exchanging thoughts with you, getting your (sometimes) hilarious responses to my posts, seeing you “like” one of my posts, and having the privilege of sharing a collab piece with you this year has made me happy each and every time it’s happened. Love your work, Irina, long may it continue. ☺

    1. Aww man, now I’m embarassed… I feel the same way and I look forward to another year of blogging fun

  3. I had a notable drop in anime and manga consumption in 2021 due to being drawn away by other stuff and going “urgh” at the pile of unfinished anime from 2020, but rest assured I’m still around, watching anime and reading manga. I owe far too much to those media to ever leave them for good.

    To chain off Fred’s comment:
    – I realised these past few years I’m extremely, almost painfully introverted and now COVID is just giving me an excuse to socialise more “on my level” if I can make the choice (as in, I’d rather only meet up with one person I feel I know well, rather than an entire group I don’t know so well).
    – My lifestyle wasn’t hampered much – if anything, it helped my poor sorry ass stay afloat in class, haha.
    – As I said in one of my recent blog posts, I blog because for me, it’s more effective than private journalling, even if I have to shroud my words in vagueness to do so.

    …Recently, I was asked why I didn’t have commissions or something similar for translation, even though I do some translation work for no monetary cost (see, for instance, the translated 2 part interview I posted in January 2021 to the Spellbook). The reason is /I don’t trust myself on anything more than a volunteer effort/ – my understanding of the Japanese language is actually quite flawed and my peers, both online and off, are just so much better than myself at what I do (so it’s not just my own self-denigration, but a matter of translation accuracy, which warps people’s understanding of things). That last point above is similar with blogging, I think – the moral conflict of “I can make money off this because I put so much effort into it, but /should/ I?”.

  4. Irina
    Happy New Year to you. You know you’re a hard-core introvert if the various covid protocols don’t change your life all that much.
    I always like reading your stuff because you give me a different view of the various anime you touch on. I don’t comment much because, you know, introvert, but you’re on my RSS feed and I do read everything you write. So keep up the good work. お疲れ様

  5. I actually watched less anime during those last two years than I usually would, mostly because lockdown’s messed with my habits. I used to watch shows before I go off to work and when I came back from work, but with lockdowns and reduced business workhours were all out of whack and unreliable, so I dropped more shows than usual, and was binging fewer shows, too (replaying old games instead). To be sure, 2021 was a pretty good year for top-end anime that have their unique voices, so there’s that. I definitely had lots of fun with what I did watch.

  6. Happy new year Irina. Thank you for the amazing post you put out always. Been a treat going through them, even if I was a few days later in reading them as they went up. Looking forward to what you put out in2022. Take care!

    1. I have to admit, your comments are always so great. Thank you for taking the time to chat with me, I really appreciate it!

      Happy 2022!

  7. We’re both members of the introverts club. My posts may not seem shy but at most social functions I tend to recede into the background. When I share something it is almost always something I did alone. Socializing can be fun in controlled doses and with the right crowd but I work best alone. It is when I recharge.

    I don’t think lockdown and COVID had a big impact on my lifestyle. Certainly, since I retired I have been cocooning a lot. Now my wife has retired and she has gone into cocoon mode too. It doesn’t hit us like it hits the exclusive extroverts bit it still wears thin at times. I’m not a hermit.

    Why do we blog? Some blog for money. For the rest of us, what does presenting our writing to the world provide that keeping a journal would not? Isn’t it a way to show a side we don’t get to share with other people IRL? Perhaps a way to “bottle that magic we felt” and hope it becomes infectious.

    This is my world. Welcome to it. Hope you enjoyed it!

  8. That was a breath of fresh air! Reading this was a nice way to start the day.

    “I hope to keep it up for as long as I can. But I’m not enjoying what it’s doing to others.”

    You know, now that you came out and said this, I have been feeling the same thing. I feel guilty for being so happy that I’ve been able to work from home, when others seem to suffer because of it. But if I had my way, I’d work this way until I retired.

    Thanks for the well wishes. Hope 2022 is good to you and everyone!

  9. I think I would have completely lost my mind had I not continued to watch anime over the last couple of years. Hope we have an all round better year next year. Cheers 🍻

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