I like anniversaries. Because I like celebrating things. Cake? IN MY FACE. Streamers? CLEAN THAT SHIT UP! Balloons? HOW DO THEY STAY IN THE AIR? That’s how I feel about celebrating. And, seriously, how do balloons stay up in the air? That shit makes no sense. Stop floating, balloons! We get it. You’re magical. Who cares? I always think this when I’m at Disney. WHY BUY A BALLOON? You hold on to it. It floats. Cool. NOW WHAT? It does NOTHING. Except float… Magically (HOW?!?). Ugh. Balloons…
Back on topic: ANNIVERSARIES. So get this: 1 year ago, ON THIS DAY, I came with the idea to do something COMPLETELY INSANE (to a logical person): quit my job at Facebook and move to Japan to start my own business. OMGGGGG!
SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT: If you’re read my Becoming the Nihon Nerd series, you’ll know how I ended up here. So I won’t bore you again with those deets. But if you recently started following me (or if your memory is awful and useless as BALLOONS), then you may think I’ve spent YEARS devising this grand plan to move here to Japan. Nope. Quite the opposite. I HAD NO PLAN. At all. How am I even here right now? It’s magic. Maybe I’m a ballon? Dude…
Y’see, I knew I wanted to make a major life at the start 2017. So I thought about moving to Japan. But at the time, I had ZERO desire, interest, nor thoughts of coming here to START MY OWN BUSINESS. That’s insane. Who does that? Not me. Wait, I did that. Crap. Does that mean I’m insane? I guess so. AH! I’M INSANE.
But the irony? All of this never felt insane to me. Even before I decided to do my own thing. Because, as much as I wanted to make this major life change, I didn’t think I’d ACTUALLY do it.
That’s why I decided to email my friend Mark to ask him for advice. At this point, he had been living in Tokyo for a long-ass while. So I figured he may be able help steer me in the right direction. And he did! He’s the opposite of a balloon; he DOESN’T float! That, and he served a PURPOSE that was MEANINGFUL: igniting an idea.
But, again, keep in mind, at this point I knew I wanted move to Japan, but I had NO IDEA what I was gonna do here. Besides eat food. I knew I was good at that. Like the best. I can eat the SHIT out of almost any Japanese food. Suck it down my kisser like a Dyson vacuum that’s powered to FULL SUCKAGE. Too bad there’s not a job that pays to do that. Because I’d be a BILLIONAIRE.
So when when I messaged Mark, I knew deep down my options were gonna be super slim. By this point, I pretty much knew I wasn’t going to be able to work out of the Facebook Tokyo office (that would have been ideal). And any other job was likely gonna require some basic understanding of Japanese past ありがとうございます. Which meant I had ZERO chance. Still, I thought it couldn’t hurt to ask. WHO KNOWS? I know who knows: Elizabeth Mueller.
Elizabeth is awesome. She’s like me. Used to live in the States. Decided to move to Japan. Got here. Realized you gotta exchange MONEY for things like FOOD and HOUSING. Ugh. And upon this realization, decided she should to start her own business. Then, once she did that, she detailed her entire journey in an AMAZING blog. Mark serendipitously read that blog before I emailed him. Then he nonchalantly postscripted it to me in his reply back to my message. And I casually dismissed it…
At first. Because, come on… Me? Start my own business? I don’t even know how balloons float (SERIOUSLY, WHAT KIND OF BLACK MAGIC IS THIS?). So how the hell was I going to do something that seemed so seemingly… Impossible. Only, the more I read Elizabeth’s blog, the more I realized it wasn’t REALLY impossible. But it wasn’t POSTIVELY possible either. But it was POSSIBLY possible. And that’s ALL I needed at this point in my life: a possibly plausible chance at the impossible proved possible.
So it got me thinking: What can I DO to make it Japan? How can I live my dream? How can I get paid to do what I love the most when I visit Japan: go to Tokyo Disneyland? How can I… Wait a minute…
While it took me a WEE bit longer to come to that conclusion on this day last year, it wasn’t MUCH longer. Because, no joke, in the span of LESS THAN 24 HOURS I came up with the idea for what would eventually become Tokyo Kawaii Club. Looking back, it’s pretty crazy. I mean… Here I am. Writing this in my apartment in Naka-Meguro. Literally 1 year ago after I thought to myself… Maybe I can move to Japan and sell cute crap to people. HOW DID THIS EVEN WORKOUT?
Yet it did. 1 year ago a seed was planted. And now I’m a, uh, tree? Or a small tree? Sapling? Baby Groot? BASICALLY, I’M JUST STARTING TO GROW. And it’s just completely and utterly surreal to me. Hell, I’m already at a point where I’m worried I’m getting TOO MANY orders and may need to HIRE people. 3 months in! WTF? All of this because 1 year ago today a friend read an amazing blog, shared it with me, and I used it as inspiration to bet on myself. Wow. Almost as crazy as balloons. No, balloons are crazier. HOW DO THEY GET THE BALLOON INSIDE OF A BALLOON? IT MAKES NO SENSE.
But what does make sense? Following what you believe in. And, more importantly, believing in yourself. That’s what I did. 1 year ago today. Crazy. OK, bye!