お久しぶりですね – おひさしぶりですね – Long time, no see!
2021 was a bit of a mad one, I’m sorry it’s been so long since I was last active and posting. *Just checked Instagram* it’s been since last March that I posted haha oh dear not good.
Well, 2022 is in full swing and I’ve decided to give this part-time fun project of Hai! Hiragana a real go. So I wanted to start by quickly summing up where we’ve been, what we’re doing now and what we have planned.
Edit* It was a long post so here is the super short version as a Haiku.
We became students – Now we’re back and working hard – Lots of stuff to come
Where we’ve been
2021 the year that we (and pretty much everyone) dropped off the radar. As many of you know my girlfriend Charlotte and I moved to Japan on a working holiday visa at the start of 2020. Basically, a week after we arrived the border closed behind us and there we stayed for nearly two years.
The first year flew by and our visa was expiring, we had three choices. 1. Return home, 2. Ask for an extension or 3. Change visa. Home didn’t look like much fun at the time… So we applied both for an extension and a student visa, hoping one would be accepted. As the expiry date drew close we had only heard back from our student visa so decided to accept that. Just two days later we found out our extension had been accepted after all, but it was too late the gears were in motion and we were going back to school.
Juggling schoolwork, work work and a side project proved a lot for us so I decided to take a step back on Hai! Hiragana and just managed the customer support in this time. I enjoyed going to school more than I thought and the number of hours it made me put in really did help, but man were we burnt out by the end. This brings us to…
What we are doing now
We moved back to London end of 2021 and have taken a bit of a breather on studying it has to be said. Now I’ve decided to see if I can turn our side project into a full-time thing and have cut my day job work hours down to two days a week to allow me to create more content for Hai! Hiragana.
I’ve given myself the next year to see if I can make it a sustainable income so I can dedicate more of my time to the project. Whatever happens, we are really proud of what we’ve achieved so far and all the feedback we’ve gotten is super encouraging.
What we have planned
So so much! We’re definitely not short of ideas but at the moment it is just me (Lewis) focusing on it 3 days a week, with Charlotte illustrating in the evenings when she can. So I’m trying to be smart about managing my time and focusing on what will be most useful to you and most enjoyable for us.
First off were amazed to say we sold out of the first edition print of Hai!Ku 😀 I’ve been working on the second edition which will now include the stroke order, an index and a few other tweaks which were suggested by our readers. I don’t want anyone who supported our first book to feel left out so I will be putting these together as a free printout for you to practice writing with the stroke order. Keep an eye out for a future post to get a hold of this. A preview of what I’m putting together is below (only 150 more kanji to go haha).
The next project on our sights is of course Hai!Ku book two (electric boogaloo). We’ve been requested so much for the next edition which is really great. Right now I’m wrapping my head around which Kanji this should include and if I need to update the format so it can fit in more. As each N level has progressively more Kanji and I want to build on what you learn, so it’s a bit of a puzzle putting the contents together first.
I also want to make a companion workbook that you can write into and be more focused on practicing writing both the Kana and Kanji. This will be like the free printouts I’m working on but more fleshed out with games, mnemonics, history and tips thrown in.
I’d like to have the workbook done by July as we will have a small stall at Hyper Japan which is making a return this year in the new location of Battersea. I’ve spoken with the organisers and it sounds like it’s going to be a little smaller but with the same good content/food/performers as usual. So we hope to see you there!
The big new project we have in mind is to create a Hai! version of a beginners exercise book. This will be a massive undertaking and we aren’t planning to do it alone and have been talking with a lovely Japanese sensei that reached out to us to work together. The plan is to slowly create content for this one subject at a time and test out a few methods as we go. Once we have more we’d love feedback so let us know what you’d want to see or are frustrated with current exercise books (for me they often have little context and start visual and quickly become text-heavy the more advanced you get, so I want to change that!)
We also have loads of travel-related ideas (maps, guides, look and point, phrasebooks, etc.) from our time in Japan which we’d love to create. We’re waiting for borders to open before focusing on that too much.
I also like the idea of making a board game to learn while playing and make it fun so you can enjoy it whether you’re a beginner or an expert.
There are loads more ideas but I’m trying to stay focused on one short and one long project at a time to make sure things actually get made. I also plan to now post a new blog weekly and 2-3 social posts focused on travel, learning tips and more.
I hope you enjoy what we create this year and it helps with your studies of Japanese.
Here’s to 2022 the year of the tiger.
Lewis & Charlotte