2024 Weekly Journal 01


Promised to update weekly, but couldn’t keep up with it. Using being too busy as an excuse feels hypocritical because deep down, we all know that being busy is just a matter of different priorities. I ended up prioritizing other things, and as a result, couldn’t stick to the weekly updates.

So…How about adopting a weekly update series? I felt guilty when I abandon a series, so that might work!

Speaking of when I first started blogging, I had many hesitations. I envisioned being like the famous Taiwanse Science-topic KOL (YTB) who set up everything perfectly, with beautiful templates and an image for every post. However, reality didn’t quite align with my aspirations, mainly due to laziness.

Back then, I was using a Windows laptop, and uploading a photo to a GitHub folder required me to first upload the image from my iPhone to Google Drive, download it, and then convert it because of file format issues. Moreover, due to limited online space, I had to compress the images…

Fast forward to switching to a Mac, things became much simpler, but the previous posts’ formats remained inconsistent. I decided to keep the approach of posting whenever I felt like it. After all, perfectionism can sometimes evolve into procrastination, and I wanted to start by addressing my procrastination.

Finally, I found the time to introduce a categorization feature here. The number of articles here has grown enough to warrant categorization. Going forward, I also plan to write more about product development and share reading notes. Categorizing will make it easier to find articles, and I won’t have to worry about not being able to write translation-related posts anymore. Now they will have their own category.

Last week, back in Taiwan, I stumbled upon a book I translated, “Anna,” at a bookstore.

When I was a kid, seeing my name in print was fantastic, but after becoming a translator, I discovered that I don’t really enjoy revisiting my own work. I fear finding typos and cringe at unfamiliar expressions, signaling too many edits or my own lousy translation. (We’ll know this is just me trying to scare myself…)

However, this time, the response was surprisingly positive. Friends I hadn’t heard from in ages spotted the book in a store and sent me photos all the time.

After all, “Anna” is one of the few novels I’ve translated, and unexpectedly, it looks good after a long time. It lifted my spirits.

However, translating “Anna” was emotionally challenging for me. It wasn’t due to difficult vocabulary or tricky inversions but because the book portrayed more realistic and painful situations than the Korean drama of the same name.

At that time, I was working on my graduation business project and job hunting, and the depiction of financial struggles hit close to home. Nevertheless, I appreciated the author’s storytelling techniques, and I later assisted in editing and translating some of the author’s interviews. Watching those interviews inspired me to want to pick up writing fiction again, something I hadn’t done since high school.

In January and February, I found myself on a plane every weeks, flying back to Japan on New Year’s Eve for a few days at the company, then back to Taiwan to vote. The longer I stay away from Taiwan, the more I realize its importance.

I have another draft lying here, writing about the process of applying for a Swedish visa in Thailand. Because the process was challenging, I plan to publish it after the results are out.

This week, back in Japan, I started handling all administrative procedures and looking for a place to live, engaging in what some call the intricate board game of adulting. From registering my address to getting a phone number and opening a bank account, it’s hard to believe it’s already my third time doing this. However, having experience doesn’t necessarily make it smoother because every country is different.

Experiencing the start of a new chapter in multiple countries makes comparisons inevitable. For example, in the Netherlands, while registering an address required an appointment and obtaining a residence permit involved a trip to another city, surviving without a local bank card was challenging, but at least you could apply for a bank account and a phone number directly online.

In Japan, although you need to fill out a lot of paperwork, things are slowly becoming more digital. Obtaining a residence permit upon entry is convenient, and when getting a phone and opening a bank account, there are friendly service personnel who assist you from start to finish. This allowed me to start looking for a house with peace of mind on the second day after arriving. The progress bar is moving smoothly, and I just hope to become a better Tokyoite.

Tokyo gives me a surreal feeling. It’s the first city I arrived in when I traveled abroad for the first time. From the novelty and language barrier of the first visit to the somewhat understanding today, spanning over a decade, I still haven’t fully grasped it. I can’t imagine what my life would be like living here.

I saw someone on Thread writing about feeling suffocated in Taiwan but surprisingly comfortable in the United States.

“How is that possible? The U.S. is so expensive! It’s so unsafe!” The comment section was buzzing, but I somewhat empathize.

It’s mainly due to memories. The emotions and experiences at the time deeply influence our memories of a place, and I am no exception. Just like when I was in Utrecht, there were no shadows of work in my head. The joy of learning and curiosity about life allowed me to experience what it’s like to be completely absorbed. Eating a sandwich by the riverbank, I wouldn’t think about anything—it was a blank slate. Days like that are rare in life. We’re either worrying about bills or dealing with interpersonal difficulties or work obstacles.

These memories might make me consider going back to Utrecht for a weekend in the future, enjoying the time canoeing on the canal. However, the sense of frustration of walking into a supermarket and not knowing what to buy, and the memories of being hungry but unsatisfied with anything, and finding a hyped Asian restaurant on the internet only to find it not tasty, hindered me from settling down.

Years ago, I would also use “suffocating” to describe Taipei because I was going through the worst days of my physical and mental health in university. I was depressed without realizing it, working day and night at a photocopy shop, barely sleeping a few hours every day. Just graduated, broke, and embarrassed, my entire being was uncomfortable.

Now, things are much better, and Taipei seems much lovelier.

Seoul, for me, is a place where colleagues and I faced challenges together to create something. After work, we would share a meal and vent frustrations or I would walk alone to the nearby cinema, watching one movie after another. I could walk home even past midnight, grabbing a late-night snack at a noodle shop. On weekends, I would take a stroll along the Han River and watch performances. These memories gave me the most vivid life experiences. Because I didn’t experience the reality of needing to buy a house or work in a traditional Korean company, my impression of Korea isn’t negative like others.

So, this time in Tokyo, I should rebuild a sense of life. I want to join a book club, regularly participate in knitting gatherings, and there are many things to look forward to.

It’s been two months since I started working, which is terrifying. I thought three months would be enough to accomplish many things, but two months seem to have passed between my constant travels. The honeymoon period of my job is ending soon, and I feel a bit stuck.

PS: I haven’t proofread this piece. If there are typos or it’s too verbose, I’ll fix it next time.

Leave a comment!

Contact me: