Hi, I’m Toeps and I’ve been blogging since 2004. About my adventures, about things I think things about, and about my life as an autistic person. (And between 2012 and 2016 also about the world of models and photography, on my then platform Fashionmilk.com, which you may remember from the top model recaps.)
This blog has brought me many wonderful things: friends and girlfriends, a trip to Disneyland Paris and even a book. These days I mostly write about my life in Japan, where I live.
Hello, from a hotel room overlooking the train station of a rainy Hakodate. Hakodate is the southernmost tip of northern Japan, the island of Hokkaido. On Friday I flew to Sapporo, the capital of this prefecture. This is where the Pokémon GO Fest was held last weekend: a live event organized by Niantic, the makers of Pokémon GO. I saw the announcement in the app and thought, “Hey, I can just go to this!”
“Oh yes, and I need you to do one more thing…” Mikako, my bank account, visa and tax contact, walked me through the to-do’s for renewing my visa. “You have to take pictures of your office. From the entrance to the elevator, the front door, and then of course inside. It is important that there is a nameplate on your door. It’s even more important that it not only says Toeps Media, but also 株式会社.”
You know that feeling? When you want to clean out a closet, pull everything out, and then completely overwhelmed by the incredible mess you want to stuff everything back in? That’s what my life feels like right now. Everything is upside down. And everything is intertwined, like a big jumble of plugs, printer cables and mini-USB, somewhere in an Ikea box.
It has been over a month since I wrote anything here. My head is full, and even when I talk to my friends it gets in the way. Then I want to tell them everything, immediately, and then the conversation turns into one big monologue about bank accounts, tatami mats and bats, and that’s not very nice of course. Or well. Not very reciprocal. That’s why this is a good old blog; one-way traffic, information dump style. Maybe you have already seen bits and pieces on Instagram (really, that medium still keeps me somewhat sane), but here it is, neatly and with context: Toeps in Japan, the recap.
In my previous blog I promised to tell you more about the trip, but I’ve been here for about three weeks, so the trip can be summarized as: I got on the plane in Korea, got off two hours later in Japan,went through all the procedures at Narita and was allowed to take the train home. There I had to quarantine for another three days, after which I was allowed to leave early after a local PCR test.
For some time now I saw in the Amazon statistics of my English book that, after the US and the UK, Germany is the largest buyer of my book. I also regularly received messages from German readers, asking whether the book would also be published in German. They would like to have their family read it for example, but they are not very good at English…
“Do you actually still identify as a woman?” Roufaida asked me, after we talked about her podcast, which I had also contributed to. Grrrls was the initial name, but now that she had recently interviewed a non-binary person, the name really couldn’t be used anymore. Shortly before, my Instagram app asked me if I wanted to put my pronouns in my bio. “Go away, leave me alone,” I thought. But why did I think that, anyway?
It was the day before Riemer and I went to Disneyland that I decided to try Korea. I had been waiting for Japan for over a year, and it didn’t look like anything was going to change in the near future. And camping in Riemer’s living room, or in hotels in Utrecht even longer didn’t seem like a good idea. So it had to be Korea.
I had been wanting to go to Disneyland Paris for months, but kept putting it off, “because Japan”. I couldn’t plan ahead, I didn’t dare take the corona risk, or Riemer had to work. But after we did not go in November, “because Japan”, and Japan and Omicron screwed me over again, I was determined: we are going. On New Year’s Eve. That way I would be rid of the Dutch fireworks misery as well.
There’s been a lot going on online recently. An organisation called Spectrum 10K is trying to recruit 10.000 autistic people to get DNA samples from, for an in-depth study of the genetic origins of autism. (Read more about it in this article from Indy100.) Science-y me is immediately interested. I too want to know where […]
Recently I was strolling through the book store while waiting for my train, and there I found The Secret For A Long And Happy Life. Or well … I don’t know exactly who to believe. There is the Danish “Hygge”, the Swedish “Lagom”, or “The Way” of the Chinese.
While in the Netherlands the corona virus is taking hold, everything is closed and everyone has to stay at home, it is slightly less intense in Japan. Yes, certain things have been closed for weeks. But although everyone suspects the government of lying (because of the Olympics), it actually seems to be not too bad here.
It’s never the right moment. That’s what they tell people that want to have babies, but are not sure when. I’m talking about another kind of baby: my book, in English! Is this the right moment? Probably not. But I’m doing it anyway.
For some time now, Schiphol has had green lanyards with sunflowers, for people with autism, or other invisible disabilities. With such a lanyard, employees should know that something is going on with you, so that they can respond in a helpful way to meltdowns or other problems. My first experience with this “service” was during […]