Blogging A-Z in April Theme Reveal!

Well, it’s that time of year again: the Blogging A-Z in April challenge has returned. I will be participating for the second time this year, and I am both excited and a little sad to reveal my theme.

You see, as you can tell from the tagline on my website, I live in Kyoto, Japan. I’ve lived here for five years now, and have loved every moment. But, with this theme reveal, I am also making a big announcement.

I am leaving Japan.

I will be going to Vancouver to pursue a graduate program in Publishing in 2016, and hope to have many more adventures in the great west, but in order to do so, I must leave this wonderful country that I have called home for so long.

So, in honor of all of the memories, and all of the people I have met, and places I have gone, this year’s theme is all about Japan. I will be choosing one part of the culture or lifestyle here for each letter of the alphabet (though I sometimes cheat and use the letter from Japanese instead of English, to keep it fresh).

I think I’ve got some great topics for you all this year. Have a look at my banners, and hope to see you there!

What’s your theme? Let me know!

86 thoughts on “Blogging A-Z in April Theme Reveal!

    1. Thanks so much, Tasha. I checked out Wittegen Press’s theme. Sounds fun. Always interested in where authors draw their inspiration from! 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Susan. Yes, I’ve loved Japan so much, but in the end, it’s hard to stay connected to the literature and writing community living in a country that speaks such a radically different language. We’ll definitely be “going out” with a bang!

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    1. Thank you, Anabel. I had fun making the banners (though some of them proved difficult!) I’m looking forward to life in Vancouver, though my girlfriend tells me that the rain is pretty constant.

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  1. Wow! I have never been to Japan and I do not know much about the country. How wonderful it is that I will get to know Japan better through you! The pictures and the letters out there in this post are wonderful. Great theme Alex!

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    1. Arigatou! I’m hoping that the intimacy of the posts offers a little bit of something for everyone. They’re going to be very image heavy, so at least there will be pretty things to look at!

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  2. Hi Alex, Good luck with your move. Hope all goes well.
    I have never been to Japan, so it will be great exploring Japan through your blog. I love the banners too.
    -Shantala

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    1. Thank you very much, Shanaya! The banners do seem to be a popular decision, haha. Glad I got them done ahead of time!

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  3. Good luck on your next adventure! Looking forward to reading all about Japan. And like someone above said, those banners are fabulous!

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    1. Thank you, Heather! Looking forward to WriteOn Sisters’ blogging as well. That theme caught my eye. 🙂

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    1. Thank you! We’re pretty worried about how to get all of our books and knick knacks across the ocean, but we’ve got a year to figure it out, haha. I’m glad you like the banners!

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    1. I still have to get accepted to the program, but I’ve always maintained that if you act like it’s already truth, it’ll happen. 🙂 Keeping my fingers crossed!

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  4. Love the theme and especially the artwork! This is awesome! Looking forward to the posts! This is my first year to participate at Down Home Thoughts :http://downhomethoughts.com/ Best of luck with Publishing and in Vancouver. I’ve only been there a couple of times, both short visits, but I really liked the town.

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    1. The girlfriend’s whole family is in Vancouver, so we have a lot of people excited to welcome us. I’m looking forward to it, though leaving Japan will be really bittersweet. At least it’s easy to visit again. 🙂 Following Down Home, and I hope others will, too! I love your theme.

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    1. Thank you, Jay! Looking forward to your theme as well (btw, somehow you ended up in my spam folder! Corrected now, but worried you might have this happen on other blogs, too.)

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  5. Your theme sounds wonderful and I LOVE your banners for each letter 🙂 I think it’s a great idea that you’ve incorporated words from both English and Japanese. An exciting month ahead of great stories to read 🙂

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    1. Thanks so much, Joanne! I’m really happy everyone seems to like the banners, haha. I love your theme, too, and can’t wait to follow along! It’s going to be a great year for A to Z.

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  6. Fantastic theme. Can’t wait to read your entires!

    And must be sad leaving a place you loved to stay. I remember when I left Ireland, and I wasn’t there for as long as you’ve been in Japan. I still miss Ireland after 10 years… but luckily, I often have occasion to go back for short periodes 🙂

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    1. Yeah, I’m definitely taking solace in the fact that we can visit in the future whenever the funds are disposable. But it’s for the best to head back to an English-speaking country, where our skills are more applicable. 🙂 Japan has been the longest vacation of my life, haha.

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  7. I actually said out loud, “Fushimi inari!” when I saw your entry for “S” and I laughed when I saw the vending machines. I still refused to try hot coffee in a can when I was in Tokyo in December. 😛
    I really look forward to your A-Z this year – love Japan. You’re so lucky to have spent five years there. But Vancouver is wonderful! 🙂 And studying publishing too!

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    1. Yes! Very nice! S is Fushimi Inari! 😝 The hot cans aren’t so bad. The weirdest one was corn soup in a can. Or red bean soup. The only thing I’ve ever regretted from a vending machine was orange rare cheese juice. YUCK. Thanks for stopping by, Linda!

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    1. Thank you very much, Lady Kell! We’re a bit nervous about the moving costs (yikes)… but we’ll make it happen some how! Looking forward to your posts in April, as well!

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    1. Yes, I will definitely try my hardest, Jeff. I’m going to miss this so much. Having to say goodbye to all of my students is also going to be really hard.

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    1. Thank you! I’m really stoked for your Epics theme, as well. April can’t come soon enough!! See you there. 🙂

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  8. Five years? That is a chunky commitment to another country that included a heck of a lot more than simply getting used to the mystery meat on offer. You guys have made a life there. Japan has shaped you and your thoughts and certainly your writing. It will be a very challenging umbilical cord to cut.
    But … oh the excitement of the next chapter, Alex. I’m hugely happy for the two of you and hope the final months in Kyoto will be full of joy and lasting memories.
    Life unfolds again. Just someplace else.
    And what a spectacular banner and theme!

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    1. Yes, definitely all of those things, Shelley. It’s going to be so hard. From it being the first place where we both lived together for the first time and grew into post-college life (and now I’m returning to it, haha). Saying goodbye to our neighbors, boss, and students is going to be unbelievably hard, but saying goodbye to Japan as well just makes it that much harder. It’s been a life-changing, amazing experience, and if there was a way to (responsibly) stay and take care of our futures as well, we totally would. Unfortunately, it’s not in the cards.

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    1. That’s definitely the hope. But I know a lot of the theme won’t mean much to others, so it’s a photo-heavy theme to offer something for everyone. 🙂

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    1. Yay! Something in common! I’m glad my theme can be exciting for you, because I’m really looking forward to yours, as well. ^_^ I have so, so, so much yarn I need to use, haha!

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  9. You’ve got everything planned, graphics and all! Yours should be fun to read.

    Congratulations or condolences on the move. I know you’re going to miss Kyoto, but I’m sure you’re looking to get back to school.

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    1. Yeah, I’m looking forward to learning a trade from professionals. It’ll be great, but there’s definitely that bittersweet feeling for leaving Japan, which has been so wonderful to us. It’s just not sustainable, and our “peak” is now. Time to jump to the next landing and make what we can of it. 🙂

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  10. Wow, congrats and good luck with your graduate program. I know Japan is such a beautiful country. It looks like you have some great posts lined up for the challenge. So I’ll be sure to check back. 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Lanise! I’m not accepted into the program yet, but I’m an optimistic thinker, haha. I did meet with the advisor though, and my chances are good. 🙂

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  11. Hi, Alex! I’ve taken courses in publishing and enjoyed them a lot. All the best to you with the move and your new program. I am looking forward to reading those posts as we journey through A to Z.

    And I just have to ask…what do you do to create those fantastic banners? Your pics are always so awesome!

    Sue Archer
    Doorway Between Worlds

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    1. Hi, Sue!

      Thank you very much. I’m really hoping I get accepted into the program. It would be a wonderful field to work in.

      I made all of my banners in Photoshop. I used photographs I’ve taken over the years, and set layers on “Multiply” over them, to give the transparent effect. 🙂 Hope that helps!

      Looking forward to seeing more of you, in April!

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    1. Yay! You should definitely come. Japan has been absolutely amazing, and I am seriously sad to be leaving. If I could only transport my career of choice here, I would stay forever! Looking forward to your travel blog. 🙂

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  12. Hi Alex – I love this theme because I’m such a Japanophile! Can’t wait to read your posts and I’m especially looking forward to V for Vending cos I’m utterly mesmerised by their vending machines too LOL Gan batte!

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    1. Hai, ganbarimasu! I’m glad you can enjoy this year’s theme, A J. Can’t wait for yours, as well. 🙂 I will miss the vending machines, here…

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    1. Thanks! Super huge honor to have you checking it out! ^_^ Looking forward to your theme, as well. April is going to be a blast!

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  13. Wow! That’s a HUGE move. I hope you find success with the graduate program. I feel like you will 🙂

    NIce banners, and releasing the topics is possibly a smart thing to do. I know I’m stoked after reading this!

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  14. Hi! Excellent theme! I loved Japan, Kyoto and Miyajima especially. I hope to go back some day. I am looking forward to your posts! As a Canadian and a grad student, early welcome to academic life in Canada!

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  15. Now this is how you do it! 😀
    Such a STYLISH reveal, Alex! In more ways than one…
    I LOVE the banners!
    Your theme should be really interesting.
    I don’t know much about Japan, so for me, your posts will be entertaining and educational.

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    1. Thank you very much, Michelle! I’m glad you liked the reveal! I had a ton of fun making the banners. 🙂 [The little square letters aren’t the right size for my blog theme, haha…]

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      1. I wouldn’t have known that the size isn’t right… to me they look okay. The fact remains that you MADE these awesome banners. So you must be a techno-whizz of sorts… 🙂
        (I’m partially techno-challenged *sigh*… will spare you the gory details…)

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  16. What a poignant theme especially since you’ll be checking out another part of the world with your studies. Good luck with your move and the challenge!

    betty

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  17. I very much look forward to reading all of these posts, though I am sad to hear you are leaving. (I was so hoping to meet you in person when I get to Japan, which will be hopefully either spring or fall of 2016 haha) I hope that the adventures to come will be grander than ever!

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    1. Yes, I am terribly sad, too! And I got your letter!!! I am just so busy right now I haven’t had time to respond. I will soon, promise!! 🙂

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  18. 日本と日本語 が好き です。I’ve been learning Japanese for about two years, and don’t know when, or even if, I’ll be able to visit the country. I look forward to reading about your time there.

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    1. すごいですよ!喜びます。(^∇^)

      Looking forward to seeing you around! Love your theme, too!

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