Who is my blog. What does it stand for. What is it really about?
Shinjuku West was originally created in February 2011, well before I’d even heard of the COETAIL class. At that point, my blog was a place for sharing sights to see and things to do in West Tokyo; a virtual version of an airport tourist information booth — for the very few tourists who venture out this way. The “about me” page was altogether different too, as there was almost nothing there about me: no picture, no professional info, no self. Like an information booth, I was trying to provide useful information about a topic, without getting personally involved.
Come COETAIL, the blog started with a makeover, then moved to a new identity and purpose. I was going to be graded on this!, (and pointers about ramen shops in Fuchu wouldn’t bring home an A.) Admittedly, I struggled at first in figuring out how to present myself on-line. But eventually I realized this was a unique opportunity. I had almost total control of the image and messages I wanted to convey (unlike non-virtual life), and opportunities for on-going relationships with people I might never meet or even know who they are. Here was my chance to reinvent myself, at 40 something.
The result of all this is a blog for tying together different parts of me, both personal and professional.
For starters, as much as I want the world to know that I have a pretty awesome family, I feel the need to protect my children from uninvited exposure. Their digital footprints are not vast right now, and I’d like to keep it that way. So, I won’t write much about them — unless they do something really outstanding that I can brag about.
I would like to share a bit of personal history. My Chinese grandparents immigrated to Japan in the mid 20’s and settled at Yokohama’s Chinatown. My grandmother was not schooled, spoke broken Japanese, and operated on the lunar calendar. She worked long and hard at her Chinese restaurant, the only job she could really do. I don’t think she took one day off until she closed the store in her very old age. Her labors paved the way for my father to go to college, become a professional, and move far off into the outside world.
My mother is Japanese, and my father Chinese, an unusual combination in 1960’s Japan. Even though I was born and raised in Japan, I was required to carry a Chinese passport until 1984, at which time Japanese law finally changed so that children could take their mother’s citizenship. So at age 18 my last name changed from Li to Kikuchi, and I changed from being Chinese (though I’d never been to China and spoke 3 words of Chinese) to Japanese.
By age 13, I had also lived in 3 different countries: Japan, Mexico, and USA. I hated moving, felt very lonely outside Japan — and still hate moving and never want to feel that lonely again.
I speak both Japanese and English, and hope to include a page in Japanese on this blog. Writing in both English and Japanese would be a fair, and fairer, representation of me.
Professionally, I am an elementary school counselor, and love what I do. I want to use this blog for sharing what I do in guidance classes, in parent presentations, and working in an international school in general. I’ve been a school counselor in a very large school for a very long time, and some day would love to help a small international school get its own counseling and guidance program off the ground.
I am also a tech/geek wannabe… a central reason for taking this class. For now, this blog offers a record of what I’m learning and thinking about technology, education, and digital citizenship.
So there it is, me in a nutshell. I hope you have some sense of what kind of person I am, and that it syncs with how I’m trying to come across.