While it may be somewhat premature for a young blog like this to be involved in a discussion about legacy, this blog, which has undergone a couple of early revisions and refinements in its “vision,” now has a clear focus. That focus is Japanese culture.
The national culture of a relatively tightly knit, economically advanced, culturally robust nation is something with a great deal of facets.
In modern times, there is certainly anime and manga, which were my original routes to Japanese cultural knowledge. There is also modern fashion and school culture. For me, there is also the Japanese language itself, which is, for me, a clearer window into Japanese society. Through knowledge of the language, I am much closer to understanding the culture as Japanese people experience it.
In times past, Japan underwent radical societal and cultural changes, followed by long stretches of slower change, making Japanese history divisible into periods. We have the legacy of the samurai and the warring states period, the era of prolonged civil war; we have the Meiji Restoration, which dragged Japan into the modern era, where it came to thrive beyond the reformers’ wildest imaginations before breaking against the shoals of conflict in World War II. This brought Japan into the form it is known by today.
The chief legacy of this blog is to be a witness to events past and present. Insofar as culture is concerned, modern popular culture combines the old (samurai) with the new (schoolgirls) in entertainment without so much as a conscience. Western culture influences Japan greatly, but Japanese culture influences the West as well. You cannot spit two feet and not hit a Naruto fanboy these days, after all. Then there is Pokemon. In times past, there was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, full of Japanese cultural ideas intertwined with… mutant turtles, New York, and pizzas. Truly a modern combination!
Really, though, the idea behind this blog was to take my past as a translator, my present as a writer and blogger, and my hoped-for future as a more extensive teacher of the Japanese language, and give people a reason to care about Japan. After all, language is merely a bridge, or as I said, a window into another culture.
Culture is a reason to care. It is a source of inspiration that gives us the motivation to look beyond the shallow and embrace a more rewarding and more fulfilling depth that brings us closer to a richer, more vibrant life. You don’t need to be Japanese for this; I certainly am not. I simply bring Japan to me, and embrace some very nice parts of it with my heart.
So, I want the legacy of this blog to be, at once, entertainment and food for the mind, and showing people greater depth and a vibrant array of stimuli to inspire a hunger for deeper knowledge. That knowledge – in snippets, anecdotes, stories, features, and so forth – deepens the enjoyment that readers can derive from Japanese culture.
Thus, when I think in terms of legacy, I don’t think in terms of Google cached blog posts or readership numbers (though those are nice) or even money (which is also nice), but in terms of etching something invisible, but real, in the hearts of the readers. I want my legacy to be carried on, and improved upon, long after I log off.