Miscellaneous

Goodbye Zooming Japan: Hiatus notification

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. cute emoticon :(

 

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.

Some have taken off or deleted their blogs because of it. There are high fees, like REALLY high, if you don’t comply. A lot are simply scared. Others just think they’re safe and do nothing. Yet others try everything to be compliant but that means giving up on many things and also ruining user experience. For example, I’ve lost 80% of my newsletter subscribers because of this. You might have gotten millions of emails already from other blogs and services, all requiring you to give your consent again to their service, new privacy policy etc.

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. cute emoticon annoyed

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.

 

Goodbye ZJ

Goodbye everyone!

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. kaomoji waving heart

26 Comments

  • Sad to see you go, we always enjoyed your articles and your photos…

    John and Kikue

  • Hi Jasmine,
    お疲れさまでした!
    I’ve much admired your blog – the design, the photographs and in-depth posts. It’s very impressive and must have taken many hours.

    As you mention, there must be lots of hobby bloggers in a similar position so maybe something will emerge to cater to bloggers like yourself to take some of the burden away.

    I hope you enjoy your spare time!

    • Dear Rory,

      Thank you so much for your kind words. :)

      I really hope something will pop up that makes life easier for hobby bloggers, but at the moment it’s all just a huge question mark.

      Maybe once I’ve rested enough I feel like I can take on that challenge. ^_^

  • Oh no! I love your blog and check for articles every time I go to japan! Absolutely love it!
    So for now it’s atill up right? I’ll have to take a couple screenshots for my next trip. 😉

    However I absolutely understand why with all you have mentioned, and I must say thank you for all you have done and thank you for caring enough to try and keep it up to date. I truly wish like you it could just sit here frozen in time, but never thought of all the updating that still has to happen 🙁

    Will you still be posting on Instagram when you travel back to japan (or not)? Those moments truly light up my day, and you’ve made me smile so many times over the years with your photos stories and posts.

    So thank you 😘

    • Marty, thank you so much.
      It makes me really happy to hear that. ^_^

      Yes, for now it’ll stay up, but it won’t hurt to make notes or screenshots of some things. ;)

      I intend to stay somewhat active on social media, so when I go to Japan again, I’ll definitely post on Instagram. :)

  • Very sorry to see you go – you’ve been on my reading list for a long time! But also totally understandable. Thanks for all.

  • This is sad but I totally understand. I did want to comment and let you know how much I enjoy your blog regardless of post frequency and I’ve looked up previous posts for reference quite a bit. Thank you so much for sharing all of this with us.

    • I’m so glad to hear that some of my posts can be used for reference and actually help people.
      It makes me feel that all of that work wasn’t completely in vain. ;)

      Thank you so much for your kind words. :)

  • I’ve been a lurker on your blog for a few years now as I’m a huge japanphile. I finally had the chance to go to Japan myself last summer and your posts were really helpful, really glad I knew the existence of your website! I just want to say that I’m sad that the website might be down, but I totally understand your situation. I hope you’ll get to enjoy your life from now on, you totally deserve it! Thank you so much for putting so many efforts on this blog and I wish you good luck with everything!

    Take care!

    • Holly, I’m really glad to hear that.
      I hope you enjoyed your summer trip to Japan and I’m happy that my blog was helpful to you.

      Thank you for your kind words. I really appreciate them. :3

  • Hi Jasmine,

    I am sad to hear that, but understand where you are coming from. Hopefully one day you don’t need to worry about making a living and be able to do what you really enjoy. I deal with GDPR on the daily basis and the 5/25th deadline scares a lot of people for sure. Best of luck and hope to hear from you soon.

    • Hi Kenny,

      I also have to deal with GDPR at work, but at least we have a lawyer there helping us with everything.
      It’s truly not the reason why I decided to take this hiatus, because in the end I had to make my blog compliant after all.
      But stuff like that which keeps popping up all the time and keeps me from blogging is just driving me crazy at some point. ^____^;

  • Hi Jasmine, it’s sad to see you’re going on Hiatus but I totally understand that. I want to say thanks again for all your help, we had two great Japan trips thanks to you and we’ll never forget that. And your blog is a real treasure for planning a Japan trip, it helped us a lot. Hope you get better soon and wish you all the best.
    Mata ne, iris

    • Iris, again thank you so much for your kind words!!! ^___^
      I’m really glad my blog was helpful for your trip planning – it’s one of the reasons why I really don’t want to take it offline. :)

  • Hi Jasmine! I am really sorry to hear this. I know how much time and energy you have put into your fantastic blog, which is one of the best Japan blogs around. I have really enjoyed following your journey from the start and feel that we have connected through both our blogs and social media posts. Take care and I hope to hear from you again one day.

    • John, it has been my pleasure!
      I’m sure we’ll see each other at our social media channels.

      I really admire you for being able to keep up blogging for such a long time. I’m sure you truly understand what it takes and that it can lead to a burnout for some of us.
      I hope this break will help me decide what to do with the blog in the future. :)

  • Hi Jasmine,

    Thank you so much for what you have done.
    I truly enjoyed your articles.

    My best wishes to you and hopefully you will return in the future

  • Hello Jasmine,

    You did a great job with your blog. Thank you so much for all the effort you have put in your blog, it helped us plan our trip to Japan two years ago. Since then I am following your blog.

    Wishing you all the best,
    Marija

  • Hallo,

    als langjähriger Mitleser, dies wohl ab 2011 finde ist es bedauerlich das es zu diesen Schritt kommt. Kann dies aber nachvollziehen, da grade die neuen Datenschutzbedingungen machen das Ganze recht schwierig. Auch der Gesundheitsfaktor kann ich als IT´ler nachvollziehen.
    Im Hobbybereich hat unser Admin die Homepage auch aus Zeit- und finanziellen Gründen deaktiviert. Von verschieden technischen Späßen der Anbietern mal abgesehen.
    Vielen Dank für die gelungene Arbeit über die Jahre hinweg!