Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The Evolution of Passion and Chaos: a Novella by JapanLover.Me's Resident Mermaid

Aaaand, that title only took me fifteen minutes to come up with! OTL

Before I get into the meat of the “Countdown to the JapanLover.Me Launch” portion, I first want to tell you guys about how I came to be part of the project in the first place, and more importantly, who the heck am I anyway?


I want to tell you the story, because most of you would have heard about the project through Kaila, also known in the blogosphere as The Rainbowholic, and Chichi, the Tumblr-famous kawaii artist. Of everyone on the team (that is to say, amongst the three of us), I seem to be the most random, the person that almost no one has heard of.  And that’s okay, really, but now I feel like with the launch of the site, people are curious about who I am and what I do on JapanLover.Me.

Hi, I’m Mishie.

I met Kaila back in university. We were both Advertising Management majors and we took quite a few classes together. Seriously guys, if you think Kaila and I are silly now with all the craziness of JapanLover.Me, you should have seen the kind of things we were up to in college: presentations, crazy organization project planning, and just the general antics that we’ve done—it’s like it only made sense that it all led to this collaboration, years after we both graduated university.

Aaaah, sorry Kaila! *hides* |−・;)

Kaila was my “superior” in my college organization. Yes, even if she's younger than me, she was higher up in the organization than me; partially because I came into my advertising majors late (Advertising is the second of my two majors in college so her batch took foundation classes for advertising ahead), and partially because I am an introvert. Because I was so shy to interact with other people, I avoided every opportunity to rub elbows with anyone—even if it was for the good of my extra-curriculars.

Fast forward: I ended up on Kaila’s Creative Committee and I quickly found out that she was a big Japanophile like I was. She was more into the kawaii culture, while I was more into the history, language and entertainment culture. Needless to say, I got along with her quite well.

I should also mention that at this time, I had my own business. This business of mine was all about sharing the Kpop/Jpop love. I had my own “line” of tote bag and shirt designs, my favorite of which featured my favorite group (of all time. EVER), Arashi. And Kaila supported this venture of mine by buying a Nino Tote bag which she used to carry her sketchbook for our ADVISUA class. :)

I felt very grateful to Kaila in many ways, one of which was helping me overcome my introvertness. It would be too cumbersome to explain exactly how this happened, but it did and I’m happy to say that it helped me make so many new friends and has carried over after graduation.

But since we both graduated, we have not had the chance to collaborate to the extent we used to in our organization. So, I supported her in anyway that I could with her Rainbowholic Blog.


Now before this becomes a Tribute to Rainbowholic Blog (which, let’s face it, is due because she is the Founder of JapanLover.Me), I’ll get on to the JapanLover.Me part.

She emailed me about a super secret project she had with Chichi. Funny enough, I just had an Art Trade with Chichi a few months prior. I knew that she was Kaila’s official illustrator and wanted the chance to work with her. And now, I got my wish!

My art collaboration with Chichi! <3

I became a mermaid for the very first time! (Not relevant to

And so after the initial email Kaila sent me, I got really excited. If only you could see our paper trail of emails, you’d understand how crazy excited I was to have been chosen to come on board with this project.

I wasn’t sure what I was biting into. I’ve had incidents in the past before where I smothered myself with a lot of projects that I never followed through with because I was just on my own—that no matter how much passion I had for it, wouldn’t happen because there wasn’t anything else to pull me. So, as you can imagine, the fact that two awesome people were in this project with me only propelled my enthusiasm in a way that I don’t believe I’ve been able to before.

The Twins of the Dream Tweam! Get it? Tweam?

So, just what the heck do I do for JapanLover.Me anyway?

( ・◇・)?

Well, on internet-paper, I am the Head of Copy. “Copy” is a fancy Advertising term that refers to text (“copy” is the second half of the creative team, along with “art” that makes the creative portion of any bit of advertising or visual of a brand—some fancy-shmacy advert tidbits for you all). Basically, I’m in charge with every, single word that you see on JapanLover.Me.

It’s not as visually striking as Kaila’s (and our other JapanLover photo contributors’) photos, or Chichi’s adorable artwork but copy, while very, very subtle, makes a heck of a lot of difference. Just like a really well written novel, the right photos along with the right descriptions make the difference between a photo book and a photo stroll. We’re able to better flesh out the experience of being in Japan by adding words and insights from the people that contribute to the different photo strolls on JapanLover.Me.

And, whenever I can, I try to help in our social media efforts. Social Media is actually my day job. More recently, I managed Social Media for a kimono-rental company (yep, you may be jealous)! And while that just sounds like just being on Facebook and Twitter all day (yes, it does indeed involve that), it is also about understanding who we are as a brand, and you as our fellow JapanLovers. It also helps that everyone in the team is a JapanLover!


I signed myself up for this monumental project in January/February. In the months leading up to JapanLover.Me’s launch, there was a lot of content to go through. And, no, I don’t believe I’m exaggerating.

What my desktop looks like when I'm working on JapanLover.Me. Not an exaggeration.

When it came to my job, I saw the photos that went into our many, many, many photo strolls on the site. It wasn’t just a matter of writing down the physical descriptions of the places, but I also had to do a lot of research because, believe or not, I have never been to Japan. With the very helpful insights of our contributors, I comb through the insights they’ve given and connect it with the many pieces of information I research on the places we stroll through.

So, without ever having stepped foot in Japan, I can tell you the history of the Golden Pavillion in Kyoto, the different between a maiko, geisha and ouran, the best places to shop in Takeshita Dori *coughdaisocough* and where One Piece maniacs can find Mugiwara.

If anything, my job has the most enjoyable and painful effects. Haha! While I have the privilege of seeing and immersing myself in the photo strolls before anyone else (and sometimes, I have to omit some fantastic information that isn’t relevant to our photo strolls), I am also the first to be very jealous that I am not in Japan!

ヘ(_ _ヘ)

There was a point in time where I thought I might have bitten off more than I can chew. Every time I came so close to finishing one batch (yep, my work was in batches), I would receive another set of entries! It was a never-ending cycle! And while my body craved for sleep (believe it or not, I ended up having to take sleeping pills in order to regulate my body clock away from the 3-4am sleeping time), my JapanLoving spirit craved for more work, more photo stroll entries to get lost in.

And then there was the organization of the many social networks we were to be part of. Because JapanLover.Me is based on the internet (an answer to everyone that’s asked us “Where are you based in?”), we had to make sure that we were approachable anywhere on the internet that allowed us to interact with fellow JapanLovers!

So you’ll find us on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and soon, Vine!

And therein lies the magic of JapanLover.Me. We’re in no specific place, but we’re not nomads either. Kaila, Chichi and I are in three completely different parts of the world. We’ve had to remain organized despite our ridiculous time difference (Kaila is 13 hours ahead of my timezone and Chichi is 12 hours away). They’re in the future and I’m the past (literally)!

Dream Tweam Location Map

It goes to show just how passion, dedication and love can take you to grand places and reach so many people if you put in the right amount of effort. 

But the truth is, this isn't about me, or Chichi or Kaila. 

Now, we’re able to share that love with all of you. What's made JapanLover.Me a launch success is not because of the vision of the team, but the power of JapanLovers everywhere--regardless of where in the world you are from, be that Europe, South America or Antartica (any Antartican JapanLovers??)!

It seems to me now that this would be a good point to end this blog entry. But, I can’t. And that’s because JapanLover.Me is only getting started. Kaila, Chichi and I have been testing out this rollercoaster of a ride, and we’re just adding more loops and twists and turns.

So now, when it comes to JapanLover, I’ll share with you one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite books of all time:

“I’m on a rollercoaster that only goes up, my friend.”



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