Haikugirl’s Japan: 2013 in Review

Another year is drawing to a close, and it’s hard to believe I’m sat here again trying to find the words to sum it all up. 2013 has flown by, and it has been an absolute whirlwind of awesomeness. Haikugirl’s Japan has now been running for 6 years and 7 months, and I’ve written a total of 1,057 posts! In 2013 my blog was viewed about 120,000 times (slightly less than 2012, which was about 127,000), and overall Haikugirl’s Japan has been viewed around 474,300 times!

Haikugirl's Japan

In 2013 I posted 173 new posts, managing to keep up my promise to post at least once a week. In fact, throughout November, I managed to post every single day as part of NaBloPoMo (now that was tough!). The busiest day of the year was 17th February, with 2,932 views (an average day sees only about 200 – 300 views). The most popular post on that day was Haikugirl’s Japan on TV!, which received 106 comments. Yes, dear readers, I made it onto a TV show about how us Brits just can’t get enough of Japanese culture, which was aired in the Tokyo area. Filming it was a lot of fun and, although I’m not sure I’m a natural in front of the camera, I wouldn’t say no to doing it again! A lot of new readers came to my blog because of that show – thank you all for stopping by, and I do hope some of you have stayed for more.

Tokyo, Boy

Tokyo, Boy

Despite Haikugirl’s Japan on TV! being such a popular post, it wasn’t only the 9th most popular post this year with just 1,143 views. The top 5 posts this year were actually mostly written in 2012, which is interesting. Here they are:

1. Happiness is… (August 2013) – 2,896 views
2. Weekly Shiritori #18 [Randoseru (ランドセル)] (May 2012) – 2,864 views
3. Adachi Institute of Woodcut Prints: Demonstration and Ukiyo-e Workshop (November 2012) – 2,388 views
4. Making macarons with On Cookery School (November 2012) – 1,857 views
5. Marie Claire article about anorexia in Japan branded “stupid journalism” (May 2012) – 1,738 views

Interestingly, the post about the Marie Claire article also made it into the top 5 in 2012. Perhaps I should write more posts about controversial topics? Or maybe I should just write more silly posts, like Happiness is…, which was really just an excuse to share this great cartoon from the Last Lemon Archive of Total Global Happiness:

Happiness is

Visitors to Haikugirl’s Japan came from 180 countries this year (that’s 13 more countries than last year)! Most visitors came from the UK, with the US and Japan not far behind. In 2013 Haikugirl’s Japan has had 25,415 views from the UK, 24,737 views from the US and 22,997 from Japan. Coming in fourth with 4,487 views is Australia, and Canada is fifth with 4,061 views.

Where did they come from?

I love receiving comments and interacting with my readers, so a big thank you to everyone who has taken the time to leave a comment this year. 2013’s top commenters were: zoomingjapan, lovelycomplex22, JayDeejapanaustralia, and UK Seikatsu, but thank you also to everyone else! The post which received the most comments this year (and in fact since I started the blog) was Haikugirl’s Japan on TV!, with 106 comments.

People arrive at Haikugirl’s Japan through many routes, with Facebook and Twitter being the most common referrers. The most common search terms which brought visitors to the site this year were: school uniform cartoon, happiness is, macarons, ukiyo-e, and rilakkuma 10th anniversary. I massive 930 views this year came from people searching for ‘school uniform cartoon’, and yet I don’t think I’ve ever written much about Japanese school uniforms. Maybe I should…

It’s been harder than ever to keep up with social media this year due to being so busy and not always being connected (I don’t check Twitter and Facebook whilst I’m at work, so I miss a lot!), but I have continued to maintain Haikugirl’s Japan on Facebook and continue to post on Twitter when I feel the urge (follow me @Ali_Haikugirl). I have 560 likes on Facebook, and 1,057 followers on Twitter, as well as 532 subscribers of to Haikugirl’s Japan here on WordPress. Thank you to all of you, and to those of you who don’t subscribe or follow, but prefer to casually drop by. I really do appreciate it!

I couldn’t sum up the year without a mention of Japan’s biggest news this year: in September Tokyo won the bid for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which is wonderful news! It’s going to be really interesting to see how Tokyo prepares for this massive event.

Tokyo 2020

(Image source: Culture Japan)

So, 2013 was quite a year. In May I moved from London to Bristol to start my dream job as a Japan-specialist Travel Consultant. I was worried about leaving London behind, and I knew I would miss all of the cultural events and opportunities to see Japanese art and eat Japanese food, but I’m managing to get back to London from time to time and I’m trying to find more interesting things to check out in the West Country. Bristol does seem to be a little lacking in Japanese culture, but I’m sure I just need to look a bit harder.

Cherry blossom in Castle Park, Bristol

Cherry blossom in Castle Park, Bristol (May 2013)

So, what will 2014 bring?

Well, 2013’s A to Wa of Japan weekly series proved to be quite popular, so I will be back in the new year with brand new weekly series. As before, this will also include opportunities for you to participate, and I hope you do! I will also continue my promise of posting at least once a week, although for a few weeks around May/June these posts might be more like postcards, as I will be travelling in Japan and won’t have time to write at length. Don’t worry, I will eventually catch up and share all my travel tales with you though! I’ll also continue to try out new Japanese recipes each month, and still welcome suggestions from chefs who would like me to try something from their book or website.

You can always contact me! Of course, I will also be continuing to attend as many Japan-related events, exhibitions and shows in the UK as I can, and will bring you news of those whenever possible. If you’re reading this and would like me to help promote an event you’re running, review a book you’ve written or a CD you’ve released, or mention anything else related to Japan on this site, please do get in touch and I’ll see what I can do! I’m also keen to run more giveaways in the new year, so if you have a shop selling Japan-related goods and would like to talk about running a competition, just drop me a line.

Once again, thank you all for making 2013 a great year for Haikugirl’s Japan! See you in 2014! (*^_^)v

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