The time has come to review what has happened in the past year. Things are winding down in Japan and the holidays are upon us. I have had another eventful year with things stalling significantly. I had big plans and unfortunately they didn’t pan out yet, but things are still moving along at a glacial pace but they are moving. Once I get moving you can be sure that you’ll hear all about it here!
I have spent another year neglecting HinoMaple to the point that I am wondering if it is worth keeping it up. I still want to succeed with this project of mine but with an average of one group a year it isn’t really worth it. I had more inquiries than before but they don’t always pan out. I really want to show people the Tokyo and Japan that they truly need to see and I hope that more people will be able to see this beautiful city from my perspective and learn a lot at the same time.
My book sales continue to stall to the point that I made very few sales. I am not expecting too much but I hope some of you visiting will understand the value with this e-book and give it a try. I do have other books in my head but they are on the back burner as I have a very big project that is taking up all of my time now. Hopefully you can hear all about it in the spring.
On a private note, I have once again had a stellar year. I may not have done as much travelling as I had hoped but I did more than I should have. The first half of the year was really quiet for me and I went a little crazy. I finally got to my big Shimanami Kaido misadventure and it was epic to say the least. I am still trying to post about it and while the Shimanami Kaido section is now on this blog, I still have many more posts about Onomichi and Matsuyama to come!
I then had another long break between trips before going back to Vancouver for a nearly 1 month visit. I spent my time visiting various breweries and also taking a side trip to Portland. Those posts are coming in the New Year so be on the lookout for those!
In August, my brother came to visit me in Japan for a good 3 weeks. It was all a blur, and not because we did so much, but because we drank so much! It is always fun when he comes but I am almost always exhausted in the end. I unfortunately got sick afterwards and even did something to my rib and was in a lot of pain for a good month. Thankfully I’m healthy again with no problems.
In September, I had a few trips for silver week. It started off with a day trip to Saitama to enjoy the Beer Keyaki, and then another day trip to Matsumoto for the Matsumoto Craft Beer Festival. I then headed down to Mie Prefecture to watch F1 as well as to visit Ise. I was able to eat a lot of great Matsusaka Beef.
October was the end of my travels as I did a short day trip to see MotoGP. I love going there and it was an emotional day. The weather could have been better but it could have been a lot worse too.
Christmas has come and gone and my dreams have not come true yet. I have a lot of work to make them come true but I am happy to report that I am still very optimistic and working extremely hard to make them come true. I believe it will and I hope to have some good news for you soon. Keep an eye out on my Twitter feed for information.
Please forgive me as my Facebook Page and Google+ Page are no longer updated as frequently as before. I no longer have the time to keep it up. The blog is still updated automatically to Facebook but Google Plus is a little harder. Twitter is still a good place to communicate with me, unless you want to do more than a short message. The best place to see what I am doing is to go to Instagram. While my photos do end up on Twitter, Instagram is where I am most of the time, so be sure to follow me there!
The blog has been seeing a steady stream of visitors with an average of 137 visits per day. This is slightly up from last year but things don’t seem to be improving anymore. 2013 was still my biggest year and I have yet to see a significant improvement. I’m still very happy to keep writing and hopefully more people will enjoy this blog.
I must say hello and thank you to the people from Japan (11,000+) for coming here; you are the largest market for me followed by America (9,000+). I guess a lot of expats and curious Japanese people want to know more about what I do here. America is pretty understandable as this blog is in English. In third is Singapore (6,000+) but if you combine SE Asia, it is actually bigger than the US. It goes to show that Japan is really popular for people from SE Asia. Of course, hello and thank you to everyone from every country around the world who has visited!
Aside from search engines, Japan-Guide.com continues to be the biggest contributor to traffic here. My main page HinoMaple is also a large contributor these days. Other social media also continues to dominate with Facebook in the lead.
When it comes to regular websites and blogs, Lina’s Urutora no Hi was top this year with Rurousha coming in second. Merry Witch’s A Hundred Views of Edo didn’t do as well this year and Beer Loves Company did squeak into 3rd place.
For 2015, my posts haven’t been as popular as the top 3 but they will probably be more popular in the future. My Goshuincho post from the start of the year is the most popular and my Shimanami Kaido Bicycle Rental post came in second. Somehow my Maid Cafe post made it into third. If anything, these posts are timeless and useful to help people get things done so I expect them to only get more and more popular in the future.
That has been my year in review and I’m sure that things will continue to chug along in 2016. How has your year been? What fun and interesting things have you been up to? Stay tuned as next week we take a look into the future with everything that I will be doing.