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.
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.
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.
Come rain or shine
It’s quite the distance, from Sapporo to Hakodate. The train ride, not on a shinkansen but on an express train, took about four hours – and cost me almost 70 euros! After such a long ride, I figured I probably wouldn’t feel like exploring the city, so I decided that I would stay two nights in Hakodate. I had booked a room at the JR Inn hotel, which turned out to be an excellent choice: the hotel was literally right above the train station.
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.”
Greetings from the chaos
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.
From the bat cave
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.
I like to be well prepared. And well informed. For months I’ve been following the Facebook group “Seeking entry in Japan” closely, because I can tell you, sometimes the best info has actually been on Facebook.
Korea for the gram
I owe you an update. “How is Korea?” you keep asking me. I couldn’t answer it because that wouldn’t be fair. Korea cannot do well, and that is not because of Korea, but only because it is not Japan.
“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 went to Disneyland Paris with an Autipas (and in the middle of a pandemic)
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.
The Japanese secret for everything
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.
Toeps in Takamatsu: Tour de Hard-Off
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.