Mainichi Junk: Enkai Hard

Tonight is the bounenkai (忘年会) for the teaching staff at the school where I’m currently working. Directly translated bounenkai means “year-forgetting party”, and while in essence the same as any structured company festivity it serves the additional purpose of getting people tremendously drunk to ring out the old year and ring in the new.
As this will be the last chance to gather with my colleagues in a festive setting before I leave in January (five more days of work after today, all told) I’m expected to give a speech to the assembled partygoers. I haven’t quite figured out what this will entail… it’s been a long three and a half years, and it’s easy to whip up a frenzy of nostalgia about the whole thing when looked at from a certain rose-tinted perspective. I’ve had it good here, to be sure, and moving on will be more like graduating from college again than making a transition to a new job. A daunting proposition.
Before drowning the ups and downs of 2006 in beer, sake, shochu and whatever else the restaurant has in stock tonight I thought I’d take a look back at what HD has been through since the beginning of the year.
In early January 2006 the blog moved from its tyth.net location to a sparkly and new heiseidemocracy.net. I was full of energy and ideas for the new site, and loaded with thirty-ton vats of elbow grease managed to crank out the posts with a speed and furiosity unmatched (personally) to this day. I picked up a new camera and started reviewing figures; attended and posted a comprehensive review of Wonder Festival Winter 2006. HD was the first blog to report on the Haruhi anime, weeks before it aired… looking back I marvel at the sheer bulk of information I was processing.
I found myself gradually slowing the pace, and broke stride completely with the purchase and construction of a new computer in April. This resulted in technical and psychological barriers to posting that in retrospect were what doomed the steady cadence I had established to that point; new computers have always been slack enablers for me, and this one was no exception. I switched much of my free time from blogging to gaming.
As summer vacation approached in July I was feeling pangs of the need to blog and reassert HD’s presence online, to really create something great – bigger than a mere blog really, a destination in its own right that would attract contributors and perhaps become something to rival Akiba Blog or Moeyo. Big dreams. Heiseidemocracy.com launched to much fanfare – and even more stumbling out of the gate – in early August.
Things went well for the first few weeks, with the Negative Campaign drawing over one hundred forum members in a single day. Needless to say I wasn’t prepared for the onslaught, and still hadn’t acknowledged the disjunct between my desires and my ability to carry them out. Left to my own devices I dreamed up this great contest, and totally botched it – the prizes are still sitting on the floor of my room, and I don’t know what’s going to happen with them at this point. That’s one of the biggest millstones hanging around my neck right now as far as the site is concerned.
In early September I began negociations that would eventually lead to the position I’m taking up in January. The prospect of work on the blog eventually leading to employment was an exciting one, but conversely acted to remove a strong incentive to post – with a new lease on my life in Japan, and the arrival of friends from back home to take up job positions nearby, my attention turned away from the online life and toward offline concerns and activities.
This is still the basic position I find myself in: a sudden expansion of offline concerns, coupled with the release of several very engrossing games, has effectively decimated my blogging activity. A rather ignominious way to ring out a year that began with such promise.
I remember looking back on 2005 at the beginning of last year with the ability to unequivocally call it a good year. I can’t do the same for 2006… it’s a year littered with the discarded, broken husks of many small aspirations and good intentions. I accomplished some significant things with the help of some really good friends, made more in the process, and am newly employed to boot – so on balance the year wasn’t a failure by any means. But it could have been so much better.
I still have hope that HD will find its proper place in the blogosphere again, and that I’ll be able to reach a level where I can stop lying to myself that I’ll get certain things done that I don’t have the time, energy, or willpower to do. It’s going to take better time management skills and a good dose of zen on my part to bring everything together again, and some things will be left by the wayside – I can’t patrol a forum or run a wiki by myself – but there are certain improvements that could help manage workflow and provide greater value for everyone involved, and I’m committed to seeing these implemented in the near term.
So what does 2007 hold for HD? Frankly speaking I can’t say. I’d like to think it will be the year where I finally find a reliable, regular update schedule, a unique voice and niche in the community where what happens here will be useful and valued. Sadly, it’s almost as likely that things will trail off into weekly or monthly updates such as this one with lots of emo tripe and no interesting content. The most likely scenario, though, is that things continue much as they are right now – the occasional flurry of posts (usually concentrated around payday… a coincidence? I think not) followed by a week or two of sparse activity and another round of otagasm.
My current thought is to use the physical move to a new apartment over the next few weeks as an analogue to a transition to a new, more focused and organized way of life – or at least way of blogging. As mentioned before, interruptions will be likely during this period due to questionable internet availablity and other unknowns, but new surroundings – and an excuse to dust off all those figures I haven’t reviewed yet – should do wonders.
Anyway, enough of this rambling. HD, meet 2007. 2007, meet HD. I’m sure you’ll get along splendidly. I’ll leave you two at it.
It’s time for a bounenkai.

0 Responses to Mainichi Junk: Enkai Hard

  1. Randall Fitzgerald December 22, 2006 at 4:19 pm #

    Haha, drinking away the sadness. Just bury it deep down in there.
    CAN I BE FRANK?! When I revamped ikimashou in January, I was expecting to peter out by May at the latest. That’s my normal MO. But for some reason things clicked and I find myself happy to update every day even when it takes a few hours to get through everything. I mean, I think that’s the key. I mean, I assume you know this too.
    As for HD, I sort of feel like the position that you guys fill is the more casual one of lengthy, interesting articles when the time is right. I LIKE IT THAT WAY! And it’s comfortable for you, and people still love you! Plus, you have street cred. DON’T GO WASTING IT!!! Live your life and be happy! BE HAPPY, SHINGOLICIOUS!
    But yeah, I think the want to have a more organized life is something that you either do naturally or it just doesn’t happen, I think. I always resolve to do this or that, and I end up being resolute right at the beginning and just slipping off into something else. It’s NOT WORTH THE STRESS, MY FRIEND! NOT WORTH IT!

  2. Anonymous December 22, 2006 at 9:52 pm #

    Stop writing about how you’re not writing >_

  3. Adun December 22, 2006 at 11:20 pm #

    It sure has been a long year, and nearly a year since I met you, lol. I find myself in a similar position as you are. As I’m currently looking for work I do realise the amount of time that I have to blog will indeed significantly decrease.
    Everything that you write I enjoy reading and I do hope you can continue on with your usual style.

  4. *shrug* December 23, 2006 at 12:57 am #

    So, how about that Genshken anime episode 13 and manga volume 9?
    Any plans to do a review?

  5. Alexiel December 25, 2006 at 8:05 pm #

    Hey Shingo,
    I totally appreciate your honesty in regards to keeping yourself accountable to your readers and the site you run. I think everyone suffers from what you are going through, but all it sometimes takes is a change of pace, whether it be in reality or on the net. I think you have that going for you in reality. So do your best to use that as a new motivation to continue forward. Remember how much fun you had when you first began HD, and never sacrifice that for anyone. Much of what I’ve learned about figures and Akiba locale was from you. I even remembered you when I waltzed upon Toranoana the last free day I had in Tokyo.
    I hope 2007 brings many wonderful things for you and HD. Though I hardly know you, it would have been great to have met up with you at Akiba. In any case, best to you in your safe move, your new work, and a renewed fervor for your otaku status!
    I’ll keep doing what I can to stay tuned. ^^

  6. dude January 17, 2007 at 3:42 pm #

    “otagasm”. lol.

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