2012 Dru’s Misadventures – Year in Review

Tokyo Sky Tree in December

Christmas is over and the year is coming to a close.  This year has been a big year for me.  It started very quietly but ended with a bang, so to speak.  For this blog, the biggest change was the address.  Last year I hinted at big changes coming to Dru’s Misadventures and in April, we moved over to HinoMapleHinoMaple is my ambitious dream to start a company and in April, Dru’s Misadventures migrated to HinoMaple’s servers and away from WordPress servers.  It was a coming of age for me and a brand new format for this blog.  I love the look and I can’t give enough thanks to the people who helped make it possible.   Dennis Lo Designs came up with the general look and iGEN created the code and provided the server space.  Without both of their help, this site would still be stuck on WordPress servers and I would not be where I am today.  The change from WordPress to HinoMaple made a huge difference in recognition.  Within 4 months, my work was recognized and I was asked to write for Travel Wire Asia.  While all of my posts were originally written in English, many of them were written for the Japanese market and translated into Japanese.  It was a joy to work with them and I can only hope to work with them again in the future.  August was also a big month as I decided to expand Dru’s Misadventures from a weekly post to a bi-weekly post blog.  It has been both great joy and a great challenge.  While my Friday posts are supposed to be quick ones, it is very hard for me to actually keep things short and to the point.  I am going to try to keep things short but there are no guarantees that will be the case.  Lastly, after my trip to Vancouver in November, I was encouraged to start using Instagram.  Originally, I didn’t want to do it as my plate is already very full with blogging, travelling, working, and even Facebook.  The last thing I needed was something new to take up time.  I am now giving it a try and showing various things from around Tokyo.  I’ll try to update Instagram every day but I’m not sure how much longer I can keep it up.  If you forgot where everything is, here are the links to all of my social media and how I’m trying to keep in touch with you all.

HinoMaple/Dru’s Misadventures Around the Web:

Vacation in Kuala Lumpur

Personally, I have been pretty busy as well.  The first couple months were pretty quiet.  I went to the Tokyo Auto Salon for the first time in my life and it was a lot bigger than I ever expected.  It was also very difficult to get around with so many people there.  In March, I had family visit me so I went down to Kansai for a quick trip before heading to Malaysia to watch F1.  I then had a long break without any trips before I took a short summer vacation during obon.  I went to Hiroshima to enjoy sake as well as see an old friend of mine.  September was the start of my busy season as I had 3 weddings to attend to over a 1 month period.  I had met some new friends at the end of September and went to a good friend’s wedding in Kobe.  I took the opportunity to see my first ever women’s football game and I went to more Hanshin Tiger’s games this year than in the past.  Finally, in November, I returned to my hometown, Vancouver, and had a great time seeing my old friends and family.  The year has finally come to an end and my wallet is infinitely lighter.  Hopefully next year will be as much fun as this year, but with more money remaining in my wallet.

Sox at Tokyo Sky Tree (September)

This blog itself has been doing well.  Due to the move in April, the statistics of my blog has been very difficult to quantify.  There are many people who are using old links and there was a transition period as people moved from the old site to this one.  In April, the old site reached 2700 hits.  By comparison, HinoMaple had 350 hits in April.  This has steadily changed as HinoMaple continues to grow in hits while WordPress continues its slide.  In November, WordPress had less than 450 hits and HinoMaple had over 2800 hits, a record month for this blog!  The highest date so far was November 29 with 155 hits and that week alone getting over 850 hits.  As of writing this post, Dru’s Misadventures is currently receiving at least 70 hits a day with an average of 70-130 a day.  That’s the fickle nature of the internet.  One day you are popular, the next you are not.  Overall, I do have a couple people to thank.  First, I have to thank japanbloglist.com for referring the largest number of people to this blog.  They beat out my WordPress blog as well as WordPress itself.  Lina is next as her blog “Urutora No Hi” has sent me the largest number of visitors from a single blogger.  She has a great blog with a fresh look on Japan.  It doesn’t hurt that she is also very friendly and will respond to everyone.  For the non-commercial blogs, Japan Times linked to me once and beat out the next two, Ru and her blog “Rurousha” came in a distant second and Lisa and Alex at “No Techno Stuff Allowed!” came in third.  Ru is a great blogger with interesting tidbits about temples and shrines.  We both share a love affair for Tokyo Sky Tree as well.  While Lisa and Alex have a nice blog, I’m just not into arts and crafts and that is pretty much all that their blog has.  It does look great though, but just not for me.

Out with the old, in with the new. Taken at Tokyo Station on opening day.

As you can see, it has been a very busy year yet again.  I have even more on my plate for next year.  I am actually writing a book and I hope to self-publish it in the spring.  I still have a big project that I am working on with a friend but that has entered limbo for nearly the past year.  Deadlines have been passed and there really isn’t anything I can personally do.  For now, I’m content to just let it simmer and hope things get done.  In the meantime, I will work on my book and then my next business project.  While not officially launched, I am offering my services to anyone who wishes to visit Japan.  You can e-mail me to find out more for now.  Hopefully the official HinoMaple website will be opened in the coming months and hopefully at the same time my book is finished.  Like all plans, things can be put off or delayed.  Hopefully this isn’t delayed as I hope to really move forward with it.