Hi, I’m Toeps!

New: This autistic girl went to Japan

When Bianca Toeps first set foot in Japan in 2008, she just knew: “I’m going to live here someday.” Flash forward 15 years, and she’s finally traded her tiny apartment in the Netherlands for an even tinier one in Tokyo. But it wasn’t always easy. Between that first visit and now, Toeps was diagnosed with autism at age 26, suffered several burnouts, and switched careers a time or two (or three) before becoming a web developer and a best-selling author. And just when she was all set for the big move, the pandemic derailed everything.

Read more about my new book, This autistic girl went to Japan – And you won’t believe what happened next here!


The Ikea haters

“Ikea furniture is not made for moving. It will break.” The Japanese gentleman from the moving company looked troubled. He spoke in Japanese to Google Translate, and then his phone spat out the translation in Dutch. Just before, he had asked if all my stuff was from Ikea, to which I cheerfully replied, “yes.” I love Ikea. The Japanese do not.

The apartment next door

Those who have read my new book know that, when I had just arrived in Japan and was still sleeping in my office, I wanted to rent the apartment right next door. It seemed so wonderful: a three-second commute, a shared internet connection, vacuum cleaner and pantry, and (after dismantling a partition) a very long balcony, so that I could even go “round the back” from home to office and vice versa. But alas, I just missed it, settling instead for an apartment on the other side of the building, and five floors up.

Buongiorno and konnichiwa

It’s-a me, Toeps, business manager. This blog is a selection of the things I have done in recent months. Because a lot has happened, and a lot is still going to happen! What exactly, you ask? Well…


Two big things are happening this week. One, the physical version of the English translation of my new book comes out tomorrow. The digital version came out last week, but because of Amazon’s annoying procedures, the paper edition had to wait another week. I also haven’t received an author’s copy or proof yet, because they don’t send those to Japan. Instead, I had Riemer look at it, and film it, and I made final adjustments based on that. For tomorrow’s festive photos, I just printed a color copy at the convenience store. 50 yen and some advanced origami magic, and it’s just like the real thing.

Nine struggles you’ll probably recognize when you’re autistic

This article was initially written for Flow Magazine. They asked me: What do you struggle with when you have autism?

We went to an abandoned island near Nagasaki. No, another one.

If they’re good at anything in Japan, it’s…. Anime? High-speed trains? Bustling metropolises with illuminated billboards everywhere you look? Sushi that took ten years to study for? Finding your ikigai? Well, yes, also maybe, but today I wanted to talk about that other talent of Japan: leaving places and buildings behind and then letting them decay.

Just over a year and a half ago, when I had traveled to Korea while waiting for the Japanese reopening, I visited coastal city (and second city of Korea) Busan. I wrote about it in this blog, and later in my new book.