Hello to anyone who’s still reading “Zooming Japan”.
I know this blog has struggled with regular updates for the longest time now. And there’s a reason for that.
I’ve been putting this off for quite some time now, but it needs to be done.
The original purpose of “Zooming Japan”
You know, I started this blog in 2011 because I wanted to share all of my life and travel experience I gained in Japan. After all there aren’t that many people out there who’ve travelled to all 47 Japanese prefectures. The main purpose of this blog was to share my photos, travel experience and knowledge with others. I wanted to help others and also keep track of my travelling.
However, as things are now I rarely get to do what I originally wanted to do. Share stuff with you guys. Write blog posts and just publish them.
What I really do all the time is repairing broken plugins, do other technical maintenance, get headaches because of tax declarations. Things break all the time and it takes forever to repair them. Laws change all the time and it’s hard to keep up with them to be “legally safe”.
Why I need a break!
I’m just a little hobby blogger. I have a really demanding full-time job where I sit in front of the computer writing emails all day long. And then I get home just to sit in front of the PC yet again to write a blog post, reply to your comments and even more emails. And I don’t even get to do this because of the things I mentioned above.
I use all of my free time and put it into this blog!
Also, maintaining this blog costs money. I pay for the domain name, for web hosting and now also for the theme (layout) – and sometimes for other services or WordPress plugins. That’s why I try to earn a bit of pocket-money with this blog to pay for these expenses. As some of you might have noticed I use Google Adsense and also Affiliate links (e.g. Amazon). But even if you just earn a few cents, you have to do a LOT of paper work for tax declarations and stuff. Yet something else that’s causing headaches.
This has become such a chore, especially because I have to do things I hate (technical stuff, privacy data laws, tax declarations, fix broken links) 90% of the time and only get to do the things I really enjoy for about 10% of the time. And by the time I could actually write a blog post, I’m so exhausted and my eyes hurt from sitting in front of the computer the whole day, that I skip that part.
I simply need a break for my own health and I really hope you understand that.
New data privacy laws
I’ve already decided at the beginning of this year that I need a break from my blog.
I just wanted to keep it up and running, but then a few month ago the hobby blogger world went nuts because a new data privacy law (“GDPR”) has been issued. This is meant only for the data privacy of European users, but as pretty much every website and blog allows European users to access it, we all are part of this. However, there’s so much work involved in ensuring conformity with this new law, that I was about to just take off my blog from the internet completely.
I truly don’t want to take it offline as I’ve put so much work and so many hours of my life into creating this blog and its contents.
Although I’m really burnt out already, I tried to comply to the new law. Depending on what will happen in the next few months, I still might have to take the blog off. It’s really unfortunate that this is happening now, because I need to monitor my blog to make sure I know of any changes in the law and modify my blog accordingly. And this is not how I imagined my hiatus. I just wanted to be able to ignore my blog for several months completely.
What does the blog hiatus really mean?
So, I’m not sure how this hiatus will end up or for how long I’ll be gone.
For now, I’ll soon turn off the comments because I won’t reply to them anyway. I’ll also turn off the contact form. I’ll leave my email address behind so people can contact me if there’s anything urgent, but I won’t reply to the typical requests (e.g. helping with a travel itinerary etc.).
Obviously there will be no activity on this blog (e.g. no new articles). But at least I wanted to keep the content up for you to read in the future (e.g. when planning a trip). But whether I can leave it online or have to take it offline also depends on how the privacy law discussions will proceed in the next few months.
It’s a hard time for hobby bloggers.
Basically you’d also need a checkbox for comment or contact forms which you as a user have to click if you want to submit something. Because the new law requires you to give your consent every single time. A lot of people stopped using Gravatar (profile pics) for the same reason. And if you use any tool to check how many visitors you have, you best turn that off as well. Social sharing plugins? Uhh … any of the most common WordPress plugins such as Akismet? Uhh .. nope!
It’s really very complicated and as a mere hobby blogger you’re scared and overwhelmed. If you also run a blog and haven’t heard about this new law yet, better google it immediately.
But be assured that this has nothing to do with my decision to go on a hiatus. This came after I made up my mind. But it’s the tip of the iceberg … and it’s really a stupid timing.
That being said, I really don’t know for how long I’ll be gone.
I’ll probably still be active on my social media channels (esp. when travelling in Japan), but I’m not 100% sure about that. It’s probably going to fade step by step, but at least you have a higher chance of reaching me there.
I truly hope you understand my decision and I hope you still stay tuned.
I really don’t want to give up this blog!
Thank you so much for everyone who stayed tuned until this day.