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…

The end of a Starbucks

François and I were standing in line for the Starbucks in the shopping center of Keio-Hachioji station, when a poster caught his eye. One of those posters with big red and yellow letters, and something in Japanese that translated as “clearance sale.” I had seen the poster before, but since my brain still doesn’t automatically translate Japanese, I hadn’t given it a second thought, and assumed it was just another advertising poster. But François’s Japanese is better, so he asked the barista, “Clearance sale?” – “Yes,” said the barista, “everything closes on March 31. We’re leaving too, the whole building is vacating.”


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.


A few weeks before I flew back to the Netherlands, I was already not feeling very well. I was overworked, stressed, and a bit directionless after the publication of my new book, Deze autist ging naar Japan. I had just hired Olga, mostly because that would look good; a business manager who doesn’t manage anyone, of course the Japanese immigration bureau thinks that’s odd.

Lost and found

Last month I photographed Cynthia. Among the internet veterans perhaps better known as Miss Lipgloss, but nowadays blogging under the name, because we’re all not 15 anymore, and that sticky substance your hair got caught in is more than welcome to stay in the 00’s. So, Cynthia. A surprising development for some, because eh, you didn’t like each other much, did you?

Interviews and press, and how these things actually work

Thanks to the launch of my new book (and a cringeworthy opinion piece in Trouw that we had to respond to), I have been in the papers, on the radio and even on TV over the past few months. While I was generally pleased with the coverage, I also worried from time to time, as some of the headlines were somewhat unsubtle. Although I invariably did my best to emphasize the diversity of both Japan and autism, that didn’t always come across well.

The future was here

“Yukarigaoka, city where you can see the future,” read the inscription on the 40-year-old people mover (often called monorail, but it’s not the same) making its rounds through the town. Yukarigaoka, or Eucalyptus Heights, was built as a feat of urban development that Walt Disney dreamed about in his EPCOT days. High-rise buildings with lots of greenery, large malls with facilities and, to keep it all car-free, a largely elevated people mover that runs circles to and from the main train station.

Eight things I do to plan better

As an autistic person, I sometimes find it difficult to manage stimuli. It is often too much, and if I go beyond my limits I sometimes have to recover for days. In my book I wrote about how I learned to create structure by planning. Now you may be thinking: Sure, planning is good, but how exactly do you do that? While I don’t think there is one method, and I believe everyone has to figure out what works for themselves, I have listed eight points below that have perfected my planning over the past ten years. I hope you find them helpful.

Pill-o-talk 3.0

The day before yesterday, I had surgery. This was no surprise to me, and nothing serious either, because I had already planned this operation six months ago. In January of this year, when I was also in the Netherlands for a while, I went for an intake at the Bergman Clinic.

A new book, friends, The Netherlands and a social life

In four days I will fly back to the Netherlands for a month. My last visit was in January, so it was about time. I have to, because my little brother is getting married, and of course I have to be there. The wedding is not in the Netherlands, by the way, but in the south of France. Good, we’ll fly there too.


A few men in my book, not entirely coincidentally men with whom I once shared a bed, were given pseudonyms. I thought long and hard about these names and sometimes even consulted with the man in question, because the new name obviously had to exude the same vibe as the original. You’re not gonna replace William with Kevin, you understand.

Japanese joke

Hooray, my visa has been extended! I heard a few days before Riemer came (and we were going to travel around southern Japan), so I rushed to the immigration office, and an hour later I had an extra year of Japan in the pocket. And, also not unimportant: finally a somewhat normal visa, because with such a six-month thingy, most companies can do exactly nothing. Time to switch to a real phone provider.

Background processes

Hello, greetings from the saddest spot in the local Starbucks. In the back of the store, with no windows, in a corner. A one person table against the wall. I’m sitting here with my laptop because I wanted a change of scenery. A moment of no distraction from all the stuff around me, so I can write this blog in peace. At least, as long as the battery of this laptop lasts.

Sapporo and Pokémon and stuff

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!”

Signs and lines

“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.”