Wednesdays with Wilhelmina

It’s hard to believe a month has passed already since I parted ways with the Daily Yomiuri. (See: “Penn sans Paper” below for details). During that time, I took my first vacation outside Japan in ten years.  I’m still dreaming of those lovely Dutch daffodils here in Sapporo, where it’s cold and grey even in April. Yet, I have had to come to grips with the facts: I’m back, the Televiews column is gone, and the big question looms–so now what?  What do I do next?

I have to confess I haven’t missed Japanese TV at all. This month, I’ve watched little but news, sports and, of course, the occasional Korean drama. It is nice not to have to watch Japanese TV, nice not to face column deadlines nor the need to condense my thoughts into 800 words (although, on most topics, 800 words is probably much more than anyone wants to read of my thoughts).  So what conclusions have I come to since my return?

1.  I’m not going to sign up for Twitter. The lazier side of my nature was at first attracted to the idea of staying in touch with the world and avoiding regular blog entries by tweeting away in 140-character chirps. It sounded easy and, no doubt, it is for agile young brains. But after spending the better part of the last three days studying up on the Twitter vocabulary and following the public Twitter feeds of a few well-known personalities in hopes of figuring it all out, it does not seem easier than blogging at all. It seems way too easy to be confused by who’s talking to who about what when faced with an onslaught of tweets, retweets, comments and referrals. I could easily imagine my confused attempts to chirp quickly leading me instead into a downward spiral of shrill trilling and shrieking. Life is far too short to try to sort it all out. I have got to conserve the waning brain cells for actual content.  So no tweeting for me.

2.  My main project for the foreseeable future will be to drag (kicking and screaming all the way) into the digital world. I hope to make it an e-book publishing venture and will start by writing a little e-book sequel to The Couch Potato’s Guide to Japan–a short, final summing up of 25 years of TV observations and some guesses on the future of the medium that I hope to have ready this autumn. In that respect, the good news this past week was the announcement Amazon will start a Kindle e-book service in Japan before the end of the year. The details on just what this new venture will involve are still scarce. Hopefully, it will also mean a Japanese version of the Kindle Direct Publishing service <>. Now available in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, France and Italy, KDP allows self-publishing e-book authors to make their books readily available in the Amazon Kindle store. More details on Kindle’s Japan plans as they surface.

3.  For now, I’ll also begin blogging once a week on Wednesdays. It will be a general blog commenting on everything from TV and the Japanese media to current events and the inherent humor of the expat life, which doesn’t seem to fade even after almost 40 years. Hosting a lively Comments section seems to be one of the keys to having a successful blog  but I confess to having neither the time, energy nor IT expertise to smoothly monitor one.   I am interested in readers’ views and opinions though so if you would like to get in touch, you can reach me via this website’s Contact section.

Well, that’s about it for my short-term plans. Please drop by any Wednesday (Japan Time) if you’d like and feel free to pass the invitation on to anyone else you think might be interested.  Maybe someone could even tweet it for me.

Until next week, Cheers!  Wilhelmina Penn (aka Kathleen Morikawa)

PS: What will I be watching until then? So far, the only thing in the new spring TV lineup that looks tempting is the TBS Friday night drama “Mo Ichido Kimi ni Propozu” (I Will Propose to You Again) starting on April 20 at 10 p.m. <>. The series ponders the question of whether one can fall in love with the same person twice? When his wife, Kanako (Emi Wakui), suffers amnesia and forgets their five years together, car mechanic Miyamoto (Yutaka Takenouchi) sets out to win her love all over again. This pair were among the most popular stars of Japan’s golden age of dramas in the 1990s and that makes this series definitely worth a glance. (And that makes this column exactly 800 words.  Guess one can’t kick 25-year old habits overnight or even in a month).