The beautiful thing about blogging…

A lot has happened since I began blogging last year. Perhaps the most surprising thing is the amount of people I have met. Who’d have thought that sitting in front of your computer would get you doing so much? As part of the blog’s birthday celebrations, I thought I’d share some of its highlights and encourage some new people to blog.

To quickly summarise my life in the past year: I graduated from university, took a couple of unpaid internships, moved to London for a paid internship then stayed there for three more months looking for my next job. After finally realising that London was just too competitive and too expensive, I moved back to Manchester. A month later I got my job in a B2B (business to business) scientific and technology PR agency and have been there for four months. The blog has been a constant thing all the way through and it kept me busy when I was really down about applying for job after job and getting nowhere. Of course, I wouldn’t be blogging when I’m busy and happy if I didn’t enjoy it!

So, how can blogging get you a job? Well, it’s not an instantaneous miracle for sure. First, you need a theme, one that you’re interested in and one that you can write about for a long time. If you don’t think you’re much of a writer, take photos or draw instead. Second, you should spend a bit of time investigating – what blogging platform to use, how to spread word about it and so on. Expect a lot of changes along the way. If you look back at my old posts you’ll see there used to be a very rigid ‘weekly list’ structure, which meant hours of writing and a lot of skimming for the reader. The getting a job bit comes after a lot of patience and perseverance. Having something that you are passionate about and willingly spend a lot of time on for free is a good trait in a potential employee.

Rather than give you a long chronological passage saying ‘this happened, then this happened’, I’ll quickly run through the high points of Sophie’s Japan Blog and some goals for the 2012-2013 year!

  • Being approached by Yatta Magazine to repost my blog
  • Interviewing voice actor Vic Mignogna at MCM Expo
  • Writing an article on the Takarazuka Troupe for Diverse Japan
  • Taking part in Tokyo Podcast
  • Interviewing Peter Payne of J-list
  • Getting a press pass to Hyper Japan and writing a review in Cosplay Gen magazine
  • Receiving an email from a reader in Russia saying how much she enjoyed the blog! :)

Goals for the next twelve months…

  • Actually go to Japan and blog about my trip!
  • Interview some more voice actors (dream candidates are Troy Baker and Patrick Seitz)
  • Feature some more guest authors on the blog
  • Go to a Japan convention elsewhere in Europe (suggestions below!)

If you’re thinking of starting a blog yourself, go for it! Also, if you’re already a blogger, please leave a comment below and share your own story.

Next week’s post … we’ll be rounding up Britain and Japan in the Olympics! Don’t forget to enter this month’s special giveaway if you haven’t already.

Week 12: MCM Expo – a review

Most people who are fans of anime, manga, comics and film will already know what the MCM expo is, so I won’t give you a long explanation of what it is. Basically, this is a weekend event held at the ExCel Centre in London twice a year and it’s a honey pot for geeks, cosplayers and collectors. I had not been to one for a long time but, seeing how I was 20 minutes away on the tube, it seemed crazy not to go.

Apparently my blog gives me more sway than I’d imagined because, when I went to the press office to arrange interviewing one of the guests, I was given a free press pass! FREE! I saved £16 and was mingling with the stars… sort of. I got to sit on TWO interview panels. I’ll get to that in a bit…

Here is a photo of my business cards! I gave away a good number that day.

The usual suspects were in the exhibition hall; media groups such as Manga Entertainment and gaming groups like Tecmo Koei. Incidentally, I went to one of Tecmo Koei’s launch nights a few years back for the release of Ninja Gaiden 3 game but that’s a different story! I’m not one for shopping at these events but I came across a truly unique stall that’s worth a mention: Nanairononiji. A lovely Japanese couple were selling prints of samurai, geisha and so on. I bought two, then came back with two friends who then bought some prints… and was given a discount when I bought my next one! £25 well spent!

Anyway, the real reason I had the press pass was so that I could sit in on the guest interview panels. The first one was with popular American anime and video game voice actor Vic Mignogna, best known for the role of Edward Elric in Full Metal Alchemist. Whilst everyone else seemed to have professional cameras on tripods, I felt like the imposter with my standard camera and camera phone. Here is the interview below, although unfortunately about 5 minutes are lost because I switched between the two cameras when the memory ran out. I didn’t ask any of my own planned questions because I was too polite to interrupt anyone but everyone else got the important questions in about Vic’s career as a voice actor. Enjoy the video!

The second interview panel I sat on was the Torchwood one! Of course, my Japan blog didn’t give me a proper reason to sit on this panel but I felt I might as well make the most of my press pass. This interview is split into two because it was much longer and is unfortunately jittery as I am not a professional camera operator. Maybe I should consider hiring a cameraman…

Click here for parts 1 and 2 of the Torchwood panel. Very entertaining!

All in all, the expo was made excellent by my press pass! I had fun showing it off in front of my friends. The highlight would have to be riding in a lift with all the people I interviewed but, of course, it would have been boring had I not had friends to share it with.

Final thoughts

Next week’s blog will return to the regular format but week 14 will be another review of the Doki Doki Festival in Manchester! Hopefully I will see a number of you there – look out for the girl handing out business cards.

Hopefully you’ll have noticed that I’ve spruced up the website. Whilst I still can’t get dropdown menus for some reason, all of the side menus on the homepage have gone, making for easier page scrolling. For a complete list of all the weekly features, check out the ‘of the week’ list tab. I’ve also added a new monthly feature – the book of the month!

Obligatory shot of my wonderful mascot, drawn by the-dazhrak-lady!