A Toast to You [Happy New Year!]

2011 has been a crazy year. A good one, a busy one, but also a year of tragedy, hope, and new life (literally, for my husband and I). I feel immeasurably blessed, and writing Surviving in Japan has brought about so many great opportunities and allowed me to connect with people I wouldn't have otherwise connected with. I'm a rather shy, introverted person in general, even if it doesn't seem that way, so the many connections I've made with you this year (and last year) mean a lot to me. I'm humbled.

Your comments, emails, messages, tweets, and notes all encourage me to keep going when I have down days or doubts, or when I feel discouraged. I can admit that, right? I truly enjoy being able to help people out in some way, and it's amazing how willing people are to help in return. I've learned more and more that this blog isn't just a blog I write, and not even a comprehensive resource for living in Japan (though I'm sure you'd agree it is that too), but this has become more about community. The expat community in Japan of course, but also Japanese and foreigners alike.

I hope to continue this sense of community in the coming year, and hopefully integrate it further.

Surviving in Japan has also grown a lot between 2010 and 2011; some stats from this year:

75,475 Unique Visitors (out of 118,223 visits)
294,177 Pageviews
63.10% New Visits
4,185 Twitter Followers
900+ Facebook Fans

Not that numbers say everything, but these are all HUGE jumps from last year and I'm still amazed. Thanks everyone. :)

To the guest bloggers on SiJ...
You have really helped me out this year (especially after I had given birth), so I'd like to thank you all and recommend the rest of you to check out their sites!

Erica of Expatria, Baby (one of the most amusing blogs I follow)
Caroline of C. Life in Japan (love her style, inside and out!)
Amanda of Whoa I'm in Japan (insightful views of life in Japan and she always tells it like it is)
Sara of Japan Healthcare Info (a very helpful and recommended resource)
Ali of Haikugirl's Japan (lots and lots of info about Japan - working, living and playing!)
Paul of Just Another Day in Japan (another good source of info about living and working in Japan)
David of Japan Dave (amazing HDR photos from around Japan)
Nadia of Ethical Nippon (info on ethical living in Japan)

To those who've interviewed me...

I'd like to extend a special thanks to you for the opportunity to be interviewed (and more recommendations for the rest of you to check out).

Bad Communication Podcast - I had a lot of fun with these guys, and if you like podcasts and Japan, their show is a lot of fun, and definitely interesting.

Time Out Tokyo - They are the go-to source of information in Tokyo, I think, particularly for events and such.

AJET - If you're a JET (or even if you're not but curious), they cover a wide range of topics about the JET Programme, about JETs and JET alums, among other Japan-related topics.

Jet Settlers - For expats on any continent (or for anyone interested in a mobile lifestyle), this newer site covers a wide range of topics (and also looking for submissions).

Tokyo Podcast (Coming soon) - Another fun podcast, focused on Tokyo, but still with good info and interviewees relevant to anyone in Japan.

To other blog hosts... 

Many thanks to the following sites for being gracious hosts this year:

Budget Trouble - They hosted Show Me Japan several times, and though I wasn't able to participate every week, it was great of them to host for everyone.

Japingu - They host the monthly J-Festa (another I haven't been able to join as much as I'd like), and also have a list of Japan-related blogs and sites.

Kaley in Japan - She gathered a whole bunch of suggestions from everyone this summer about places to check out in Japan, "What Bloggers Have to Say About Japan."

If you've ever commented on Surviving in Japan...

I truly value your input, ideas and suggestions. I've honestly learned a lot from you this year. I appreciate the comments some of you have left praising the work I'm doing and thanking me. Those comments always come at the right time, usually when I'm feeling discouraged or down, so they mean a lot. I also appreciate any constructive criticism or corrections. Honestly, if you've taken the time to leave a comment, I know how valuable your time is, so I appreciate it.

If you've tweeted or retweeted any SiJ posts or anything I tweet from @survivingnjapan...

Some of you are such huge supporters and friends, sharing regularly and/or offering your own thoughts to questions I've asked, and I'm happy to be a part of your Twitter circles. I enjoy the conversations and hearing more about your lives and work. I also appreciate all the support after 3/11 - I think I ran myself ragged tweeting constantly for 2 weeks straight, but it was a dire time and like probably many of you, I felt like it was one way I could help at that point in time. Thank you for answering others' questions I've retweeted, and thank you for offering feedback to my questions for research, etc. And thank you, for the tweets thanking me for SiJ and sharing info on Twitter, because they always make me smile and brighten my day.

If you've liked Surviving in Japan on Facebook, shared, liked or commented on SiJ content on Facebook...

I feel as if I'm just starting to really get to know you Facebook folks, and it's great! Thanks so much for your advice and comments that have been so very helpful to me and to others. I'm looking forward to more good conversation with you in 2012!

If you've shared any SiJ content on any platform, ever...

I'd love to thank you all individually, but I usually only know of shares on certain platforms, so unfortunately I can't. I'm glad you've found the content here helpful, and I appreciate that you spread the word. Many thanks to you!

If you've ever sent me a personal email or message...

I absolutely love hearing your stories and hearing more about your lives and because I'm rather introverted, I appreciate the connections we've made. I don't currently live in Tokyo or another major city, so I'm not always able to connect with a lot of other expats very easily, so I do appreciate it. Thanks also, for your patience when my responses are delayed (sometimes I get more email than I can handle in a week, and I stress over replying within a reasonable time frame). I'd really like to meet those of you who've offered to show me around your part of Japan or meet up for coffee, etc., so I'm hoping that will be able to happen sooner than later!

If you've linked to Surviving in Japan or mentioned it on your site or blog...

I'm honored! Many thanks to you. I'd love to list everyone who has mentioned it, although that may take a while. :) Definitely let me know if I haven't already left a comment and/or shared it on my social networks though.

If you subscribe to SiJ and read these posts...

I'm glad you're here. Thank you for reading and following. My hope is that you will always find something helpful or useful here. You're the reason I write and research this blog, and also because I know how difficult it can be at times to navigate things here in Japan!

Finally, a huge thank you to my husband, David, for all his support since I started Surviving in Japan. Honestly, without him, I wouldn't have gotten very far. He encourages me, comforts me and celebrates with me as things go along. He watches the little one when he gets home so I have time to work and cooks dinner too. He doesn't complain when a post takes longer than normal and I'm up far later than I originally planned to finish it.

He also helps check the Japanese when I need help, does research when I need help, reads over many of my posts before I publish them, and always gives useful feedback.

Seriously, if anyone deserves a "husband of the year" award, it's him. Thanks love.

David and little baby Ai-chan

I think that about covers it, but if I've missed anyone, do let me know.

Best wishes to you all for the new year and I look forward to seeing you on the other side: 2012!


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