Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Look Back at Nia's Wonderland

One year ago, a fifteen year-old girl named Nia created a blog. It was a small, insignificant blog with an insignificant picture and a lone, insignificant little post about a group she loved dearly. Now a year later, she is going to take a look back at what this blog has evolved and turned into and she's also going to stop writing in third person because I really feel awkward writing about myself in third person.

Has it really been a whole year? As in 365 days? Have I really managed to keep this blog going for an entire year!? It's hard to believe, it really is! Well, since it's kinda important to me that I've been cruising around the blogging wotasphere for at year now, I decided to do what I do best and write about it! It feels weird writing about myself instead of idols though... I guess the best place to start with is the beginning of my blog and why I decided to make one! At first, I just needed somewhere to post my top twenty Perfume songs. After doing that, I didn't really intend on coming back and writing more on this blog because I didn't think I'd be capable of running a blog anyways. I had no idea how to screencap PVs, I couldn't think of enough content to generate an entire post that had substance, and I was scared that if I attempted to do one, I'd fizzle out and grow bored with it too quickly. Besides, who needed another idol blog to add to the growing pile? There were plenty to go around as it is! I loved reading other idol blogs (mainly Hello! Sayunii which is more of a news site) and I'd started following other people's blogs by this point and soon this... desire began to grow in me. I realized that hey, I had opinions and I wanted to share them too beyond just commenting and being done with it! I think what really spurred my desire to post was when I disagreed with a blogger's opinion, strongly enough that I felt like I had to say something about it. However, since I had no blog to fully elaborate on my opinions, I remained mostly silent, stalking other people's blogs with the skill of Mayuyu the Fantastic Creeper. But as I found more and more blogs I thought to myself, "Man, wouldn't be cool if I was one of them too?" I wanted to be one of those bloggers that wrote long and detailed reviews like Janakya Mottainai or Okay! Musume Time because those were the kind of reviews I loved. The ones where the writers gave their opinions so well that even when I disagreed, they still backed them up. And then there were writers who gave strong opinions and weren't afraid to show them like Love's Spell, Fly in the F*ing Wine, and Idol Love. I wanted to have the same boldness that they did with their opinions. But in the end, there was one factor that sealed my decision to start a blog.

What a twist!

Like that's totally not obvious. And if you thought it was anything else, then you must be new to the Wonderland. There's a reason all my cover pictures have been pictures of Perfume. I may blog about other idols but from the beginning, my intent was to blog about the group I've loved since 2007 because I noticed there was a significant lack of blogs about Perfume. Other than the Perfume City forums, the only real blogging site I could find was Macaroni-i and unfortunately, that hasn't been updated since 2011. Yeah. I tried to find another blog that consistently wrote about the group, but other than one or two blogs that posted about them every once in awhile, I couldn't come up with much. So what else could I do other than take matters into my own hands? I loved Perfume, I wanted to start a blog, what a better way than to start a blog that would actively talk about Perfume? I suppose you could call Perfume my number one group; every idol blog seems to have that one group they're devoted to and mine is definitely Perfume. I originally wanted to post about Perfume and only Perfume but as I read more idol blogs, I realized that I wanted to talk about other groups too like Morning Musume and AKB48 and groups that weren't discussed as often like Tokyo Girls' Style. I've even found a few more idols recently I want to write about too like Passpo and Scandal (though they're not really an idol group) and even Kyarypamyupamyu! You'd think I'd right about her more since she's produced by the same guy who produces Perfume's songs but I didn't write about her until November. I'd thought of reviewing Candy Candy but it came out at a busy time for me so it went unreviewed... Anyways, my blog started because of Perfume and who knows? Maybe other fans of Perfume will see my blog and start blogging about them too! If you're a fan and you want to share your thoughts then please do so! Create a blog and write! Spread the Perfume love! Maybe if we blog enough about them, they'll start traveling to other countries outside of Asia! First Asia, then... THE WORLD! MWAHAHA- okay, I'm getting off topic.

So about a month after I'd posted my top 20 Perfume songs, I did a little post about this Mobekimasu sorter that had been floating around the blogsphere because I still wasn't sure if I would actively start blogging or not. After all, I still didn't know how to screencap PVs and I really wanted to do that because I loved it when other bloggers reviewed PVs that way and I wanted to do that too! So for my next two posts, I did write some about idol-related topics (a very shoddy best of 2011 list and a post about the outfits for PyokoPyoko Ultra) but I still hadn't done a PV review. Then one day, not too long after writing those last two posts, I finally figured out how to screencap a PV. I then felt like a complete and total dunce after taking so long to figure out such a blatantly simple solution but it opened up a floodgate of opportunity for me. I could do the PV reviews I'd. My first PV review was Hatsukoi Cider by Buono! and looking back, it's not anywhere near as in-depth as the reviews I write today but nevertheless it was still my first attempt at getting my foot into the door of the blogging world of the wotasphere. And I'm not gonna lie, I was absolutely terrified. For the first thirty minutes I was working on the review, I was pretty much staring at my computer screen thinking "How in the hell am I supposed to write this?" There wasn't exactly an "Idol Blogging for Dummies" book I could turn to for help; all I could do was look at the other reviews and try my best to work off those without imitating them. It was nerve-wracking doing my first real review but over time I've gotten the hang of it and even developed my own style of how I review! I mostly don't look at any of my 2011 writings because I was just getting started but they give a good idea of how much my writing has evolved and changed over the past year. I noticed especially over time that my PV reviews have gotten longer and longer; I look back at my review for Buono!'s Hatsukoi Cider PV and I can't help but think, "How did I write so little?"

One of my biggest fears when I first started my blog was that I wouldn't stick at it. I was so worried I was going to turn into one of those bloggers that started and just dropped off the face of the planet after a certain amount of time. I'd see that happen to so many blogs I liked and I didn't want to go through that too. That almost happened from March to June when school got hectic and I was bogged down with work. It was either my grades or my blog and I obviously had to chose my grades first what with them being the reason for getting into a good college. Luckily I bounced back in July and have been happily blogging and studying since then! And then another fear I had was that no one would read my blog. During 2011 I was basically flopping around like a flounder, not sure if anyone would give my writings the time of day, especially since I was the newb on the block. Man, I was a newb... But anyways, it's not like I knew how people read other people's blogs; I just knew that somehow when you made a blog, people read and commented on it! So I figured that the best thing for me to do was just start commenting on other blogs and crossing my fingers that they might check out my own. Besides, with a blog to write my own opinions, I just felt more... confident in responding to other well-known bloggers. So one of the first blogs I commented on was Chiima's of Okay! Musume Time because like I said before, it was one of my favorite blogs to follow (and it still is!). I really looked up to Chiima as a writer and now that I had a shiny new blog and a name for myself other than "Anonymous" I wanted to comment on her stuff! I think the first thing I commented on was something PyokoPyoko Ultra related and how I was happy someone else didn't like Riho's voice... Funny, isn't it? Mutual dislike DOES bring people together! But anyways, to my delightful surprise, she commented back on one of my own posts, a PV review I think... But I remember being so happy that she'd left a comment on something I'd written and from that point on, we hit it off. Chiima was one of the first friends I made in the wotasphere and she really helped me assimilate into blogging; she was so nice and opinionated and I feel like we bounce off each other really well! We chat a lot on Skype and she really is a sweet person and she has an AWESOME accent but that's off topic.

Anyways, I later found out that there was a website called Idolminded (formerly known as International Wota) that recommended certain posts written bloggers to their readers. Kind of like an almanac or a digest that compiled works! I really had no idea this site existed until my blogger friend Chiima linked an article she'd written about my blog to me and I found out she'd done more than just that one article! She'd "pinged" certain posts I'd written and because of her I probably wouldn't have the same amount of views and comments that I garner today! It just really makes me happy that she would take the time to recommend my writing! For that I really appreciate Chiima; she's done so much for me in this past year I've been blogging! I almost wish I could give something back other than a thank you because without Chiima I honestly don't know how long I would have lasted in the blogsphere. But honestly, I'm grateful for everyone that took the time to so much as look at my little Wonderland. I never thought that it would reach this point in time. I thought I'd last maybe a month, six months, but no, for one year, one whole year, I've kept this blog going! Over that year I've done over one hundred posts; it's just hard to fathom because it always seemed like a thing I saw bloggers doing. But when I got to my drafts folder and saw the post count I realized that this was my blog and yes, I'd really written that much for it. I wouldn't have made it far without all the people who took the time to comment, read, and just enjoy the posts I've written and it really makes my day to know that there's at least one person out there who's getting something out of what I've written, good or bad!

Recently, I've started doing my own little promotion on Tumblr which has actually been a rather smart move, especially when I post links to my AKB48 content! Those Tumblr people love AKB48! My UZA PV review got over 300 views thanks to Tumblr! And thanks to Tumblr, my Scandal album review also generated a decent amount of views! Same with my Hikaru Monotachi PV review! It's really been quite nice! Of course, Tumblr has also affected me negatively, especially when it came to the post about Youtube idols. I didn't really talk about this since I didn't want it to turn into some overblown melodrama but after I posted a link to the article on my Tumblr, Ms. Cruel, having one herself, quickly found out about my little article and replied to it. Thus commence everyone from Oishii! Project finding out about the post but hey, what's journalism if you don't piss a few people off? Besides, most of them seemed like very level headed and nice people! As for Ms. Cruel, I sent a formal message back in regard to her reply and I haven't heard from her since. So I just assumed she took my advice (or ignored it...) and went along her merry way! Anyways, that's old news... you know, I just realized that was my first "controversial" post I had for this blog and probably the one I was most unsure of posting. I worked my butt off to write it even though I knew it would probably piss a few people off so was it worth it? But then I realized that this is my blog and I have a right to my own opinions, not matter how different or controversial they might be. The Youtube idols post was an eye-opener for me and I most certainly don't regret writing it even if I did become public enemy #1 of Oishii! Project for a short period of time!

Some stats of my most viewed posts

Aside from the post about Youtube idols, another post I enjoyed writing a lot was the one about which front girls I'm okay with in certain idol groups. It just felt good to write, you know? Very positive and I could easily explain all my points and reasons for liking certain front girls that often get bashed for being, well, front girls! But do you know what's ironic? The one I wrote about the front girls I'm not okay with is my most viewed post on the Wonderland and it's probably one of my least favorites posts I've written. Even today, it really didn't turn out the way I wanted it to; my explanations felt clunky and awkward and I just didn't have the same enthusiasm I did for the first post. Of course that would be the most viewed post I've written! I don't know; for a month or so now I've been strongly considering re-writing it so that it sounds more cohesive and my statements are clearly backed up. In fact... yes, I think I will do that! Eventually. And then there are the PV reviews. I have loved doing these so much that it's hard to pick which ones I liked reviewing the most. I think of all the PVs reviews I've done (40 to be exact!), my favorites to review were probably Kataomoi Finally, Manatsu no Sounds good!, Gingham Check, and surprisingly, PyokoPyoko Ultra. I know that last one sounds particularly surprising since I've lambasted that song and PV on more than one occasion but it was still my first negative review I'd done on my blog! And that was when I discovered that ranting is fun! Unhealthy but fun! Honestly, over time PyokoPyoko has become that kind of PV that I love to hate, somerthing I can really dig my claws into and have fun doing it! Does that sound sadistic? Oh well! Kataomoi and Manatsu were fun to review mainly because they had so much substance to them that I could easily analyze. Both were really good PVs with a ton of symbolism to look into and I'm such a sucker for stuff like that! As for Gingham Check, that PV still holds the record on my blog for longest screencap (I think it was around 80 pics or so...) and I loved screencapping every second of it! It was such a fun PV and it totally makes up for the blandness of the song! And naturally I loved reviewing the three PVs Perfume released this year (Spring of Life, Spending all my time, and Fake It) but then again, I just loved talking about Perfume on this blog. Hell, the whole reason I started this blog was for the sake of Perfume. Of course I'm going to enjoy writing about them! Even if I did get a little rant-y with Spending all my time...

You could call them New Year's Resolutions that don't take place on New Year's! So one thing I really want for this blog is to find more idol groups to write about that interest me. But I do like the groups I'm reviewing so far! When I follow groups, I always try to consistently follow them, at least as much as my schedule allows me to. Of course, I always have the one-shot groups I review like Weather Girls but I do try my best to set up a certain handful of idol groups I'll write about. Currently, that's Perfume (always Perfume), Hello! Project, ALL48, Tokyo Girls' Style, Kikkawa Yuu, BiS, and Passpo! There's not much variety and I can't always write about everything these groups release but I can at least try! That brings me to another thing I want for my blog: I want to successfully balance my school work and the stuff I write on here. Believe it or not, I do actually have a life outside obsessing over Perfume! I have school, extracurriculars, school, friends, community service, as fun as this is, blogging is still just a hobby. Finding a balance for all that was a problem for me earlier this year due to a stressful schedule and even now, it's difficult to find a proper balance between school and blogging. I'll start applying to colleges next year so I have no idea what that means for my blog but for now, I'd just like to enjoy it while I can! Who knows? Maybe in this next year I can magically balance everything in my life! Oh man, wouldn't that be the day... Something else I want to do is read other blogs and meet other bloggers! I've already chatted with bloggers like Chiima and Brett but other than that, I don't really interact with any other bloggers beyond comments. I've always thought it would be really cool if I could get a bunch of bloggers in the same room and we could just talk about... stuff! I guess part of me is really worried that it's just going to turn out to be really awkward and forgettable so I never really bring it up but man, that would be so cool! Maybe one day it'll happen... speaking of other bloggers, I'm hoping that in the next year, I can find more Perfume blogs and that more people will start to blog about them. I feel like they get a little overlooked by more regular idol bloggers because they're not really idols and you either love or hate their techno sound but still! For now I'll just keep looking for more!

So in conclusion... I still can't believe I reached this point. Over the past year, my blog has gained over 23,000 views. That's quintuple digits! How crazy is that!? I just never imagined that I would still be here, writing this and reflecting on blogging for a year. Most importantly of all, I couldn't have kept this blog going without the support that so many people gave me through reading, commenting, and the relationships I've built with other bloggers. You have no idea how much it means to me to know that there are people who give my thoughts the time of day. My blog is still young and I have no idea how long I'll keep doing it but right now I don't want to stop. Maybe in a few years, a year, or even a few months I'll have to stop but that's the future. Today my blog has been through one year of idol madness and I have loved every minute of it. I've discovered this world of people who have the same interests as I do and it's been such a fun ride. Falling into the blogsphere was like falling into Wonderland and the madness is addicting and fun! I really feel like a part of the community instead of just a bystander like I did in 2010 and 2011. My blog has definitely changed for the better since 2011 and I absolutely don't regret my initially hesitant decision to start one. I hope that in the next year not only can my own blog grow more but that I can also find other new blogs to read.

And so to sum this whole freaking post up, I just have one more thing I want to say... or show in this case:

Forgive the ditzy stare. I was NOT expecting a flash.

Seriously. Thank you so much, guys. 

5 comments:

  1. Nia, you made me cry... I love your blog and I love you, and I PING your blogs because you deserve it. Ray did it for me, and I want to return the favour to the bloggers that I love and enjoy reading. You are my lovely blogging friend, and holy hell woman, get on Skype... actually, I need to get on Skype too, but I miss you ;A;

    HAPPY BLOGGING BIRTHDAY SWEETY!!! xxx

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  2. I'm so flattered to see my blog up there~~~ * . *

    Gosh, this was such a great read! I'm glad that you've been able to create such good(and maybe bad, teehee) memories for your year of blogging! Honestly, it seems much more eventful than my own 3 years LOL.

    Happy Anniversary, Nia's Wonderland! :D

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    1. Well it's there for good reason! Your blog was one of the first ones I started actively reading and today it's still one of my favorites! Blogging has left (mostly) good memories and it was just great to find other people who share the same interests that I do. Thank you so much!

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  3. Haha, did you speak in 3rd person? XD And this is why I don't like Beckii Cruel. She seems to think whatever criticism she gets, it's going to be terrible -_- urgh.

    Push past that, it's amazing to see your blog reach that many views within a year! ^^ It means whatever you blog about really takes notice by other people and they love it too so keep it up :)

    Happy anniversary Nia's Wonderland :D I will continue to follow your blog because you post really interesting posts!

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    1. Nia never speaks in third person. If she were to do so, she would most likely cause a rip in the fabric of space and time!

      Oh, I kid, I kid XD. As for the Beckii Cruel Incident, it was always amusing to me from the start. In Cruel's defense, I wasn't exactly nice to her in my post but I do wish she had been a little more... open to my criticism instead of pulling out a machine gun ready to defend herself.

      But thank you for the comment! I honestly can't believe this blog has so many views; it seems so surreal. I try my best to make things that are worth reading but still... it's just crazy! I've always liked your comments since they're very in depth and are great responses! Thanks again for reading!

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