About Bianca Toeps
Hi, I’m Toeps. Web developer, photographer and writer. That may seem like a random combination, but actually it all makes perfect sense. Computers interested me as a kid – I remember ten-year-old me “drawing” in MS Paint, creating my first website with GeoCities, and reading articles from Encarta, the digital encyclopedia, for fun.
Fast forward ten years later, and I discovered photoshoots and being an extra: sitting inconspicuously in the background of films and commercials – or standing, partying or whatever was on the schedule for that day of shooting. Not much later I enrolled in the study Communication and Multimedia Design, where all these things came together: media, marketing, photography and code. Yay!
After working as a fashion photographer for a couple of years, I started working on Fashionmilk, an online magazine about the Dutch modeling world. The platform ran on WordPress, and I built it myself. I also photographed, wrote and designed for the platform. Our tapmaddel (aka Holland’s Next Top Model) recaps were a huge success. In addition, I had been blogging in a personal capacity since 2004. At some point I quit Fashionmilk, and the platform merged into what then became Toeps Blog. I started using the WordPress experience I had gained with Fashionmilk for others around this time.
When I was 26, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome (now Autism Spectrum Disorder). For some time I kept this quiet, but this resulted in a writer’s block – so I decided to be open about my autism and started writing about it. This sparked the interest of a publisher, so in 2019 my first book, But you don’t look autistic at all, saw the light of day. The book became a huge success, with over 40,000 copies sold. It has since been translated into English and German, and adapted into a children’s book called Ik ben autastisch! (I’m Autistic!) More about my books can be found on this page.
I first came to Japan in 2008, visiting my friend Maan. Later I photographed there, blogged there, worked on myself and my book there, and from 2016 I was staying in Tokyo for about three months a year – the maximum period on a tourist visa.
And then came covid. I was in Japan when it started, but I had to leave. Just when I was planning to look for something more permanent, so I wouldn’t have to keep sending my stuff to friend Kei when I left. I decided to dedicate myself fully to this plan, because honestly, I didn’t have a whole lot better to do during lockdowns anyway. My visa application was quickly approved, although it then took another fourteen months for the borders to open. But now I live in Japan! My book about this move, Deze autist ging naar Japan – en wat er toen gebeurde zal je verbazen (This autistic girl went to Japan and you won’t believe what happened next), will come out in September. The English translation will be available around December or January.
I also love Disney parks (coincidentally, they have the best ones in Japan!), thrift store shopping, tinkering with Polaroid cameras and donating all my money to Starbucks – even though I don’t drink coffee at all.
I’m not much into pigeonholing or identity politics, but if I have to describe myself: I’m pan (so I can fall in love with any sex/gender), polyamorous, and I don’t identify very much with my femaleness, but even less so with the non-binary label or newfangled pronouns. You can read more about that here. Riemer has been my partner for about eight years. He does not live in Japan, but in Rotterdam. Jean-Jacques* is my Frenchie in Tokyo. I was born in 1984, which makes me 39 years old. (But if you’re reading this later and I forgot to update this page, which is likely, you’ll have to do the math yourself).
On this website you’ll find my photography and web portfolios, information about my books, and blogs: personal pieces, travel blogs, and opinions – aka rants, as blogging was once intended.
Mails about this blog, PR collaborations and/or free vacations may go to email@example.com. Do you want to ask something about my book or autism, or book me for a lecture, interview or other event? In that case, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.