11th Anniversary Post

Years before I started this blog, I fantasized about blogging.

I read various blogs voraciously starting in 2008. (Though my choice of blogs changes over time, I still read a ton, it wouldn’t surprise me if I spent on average over an hour a day reading blogs over the past decade).

How could I not imagine becoming a blogger?

In my daydreams, I could be as successful as I wanted. Oddly, my daydreams didn’t involve me making money as a blogger. They didn’t even involve me becoming famous, exactly. No, I daydreamed about writing mindblowing blog posts. Sure, I fantasized about receiving praise, but the focus of my fantasy was not the reactions of others, but the quality of the posts themselves.

In late 2011 and the first days of 2012, I thought a lot about becoming a blogger. So, I took the plunge.

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This Blog Is 10 Years Old

When I started this blog, I didn’t know it would last ten years. Yet here we are, at this blog’s 10-year anniversary.

I picked this blog’s scheduled time based on when I felt ready to publish the first post while sitting on the brown plastic-fake-leather sofa in my taofang in Taoyuan City, and I’ve stuck to that same time every week ever since.

I feel a pressure to do something grand to mark this occasion. But what is this really? Ten just a number, and a year is just a measurement unit of time.

The celebration is the blog archive. What matters is not what I do at this moment when this blog becomes a decade old, but the body of work spread over the past ten years—and the work to come.

Will this blog last another ten years? I don’t know. But for now, it’s moving forward, on the same schedule.

Ninth Blog Anniversary Post

For so many years I’ve been astonished at how long I’ve kept this blog active that, this year, I’m no longer astonished. I’m saving my astonishment for the 10th anniversary next year.

What has gobsmacked me is that ten years ago to the day, I first arrived in Taiwan. It still feels like yesterday. How did ten years pass so fast?

If ten years pass so quickly, my life has little time remaining. Unless some extraordinary advances in increasing human life spans happen soon, my remaining life expectancy is measured in decades at best. Fast-moving decades.

The one major change I’m making to celebrate this anniversary is banishing the ads. I finally got so sick of the WordPress ads (is it just me, or did they get more annoying every year?) that I finally upgraded to a paid plan.

Recently I’ve been studying self-editing and applying what I’m learning to new blog posts (and sometimes going back to old blog posts to practice my editing skills, I’m fortunate to have so much material for practice).

My recent foray into self-editing reminds me of the early years of this blog when I held myself to a 500 word maximum. I learned a lot about self-editing by imposing that limit, but not as much as I’m learning now by intentionally studying the techniques.

Thank you, all of you who read this blog, whether you’ve been a frequent reader for years or only now stumbled on this humble little blog.

Eighth Anniversary Blog Post

Eight years and a few hours ago, the very first post in this blog was published.

I don’t think I imagined that I would really keep up a at-least-once-a-week schedule for eight years when I started. But now, I’ve been in the habit of blogging at least once a week for so long (eight years!) that I no longer really remember what it was like to not have a weekly blog deadline looming over me. It would be weird if this blog stopped being part of my life!

I wish I had some fantastic insight to deliver to you all for the eighth anniversary of this blog, but to be honest, I don’t. At least not this year. I had a more worthy insight last year.

Lacking some wonderful new insight for this year’s anniversary, I will instead note that, out of the five post popular posts of the previous year, four of them (FOUR) were published in 2017. Not the top five most viewed blog posts of all eight years of this blog, just from the previous 365 days. And the other post in the top five was published in 2018. So they aren’t my oldest posts, but none of them were published in 2019, which I find mildly interesting. If you’re curious, the five most viewed blog posts of the previous 365 days are:

“Mortality on the Pacific Crest Trail” (this is by far the most viewed post on this blog ever, a lot of people want to know about death on the Pacific Crest Trail)
“The Valley of Life and Death: An Wuxia Novel with a Female Protagonist who May Be Aro-Ace” – I really would not have expected this post to be in second place. I suspect it gets so many views because it catches the attention of both the wuxia fans and people looking for aro-ace themes/representation in fiction
“Instructions for making a Climashield Apex Quilt” – I hope that this post getting so many views means that people are making awesome quilts that are serving them well. This is also the only post in the top-five-most-viewed-in2019 list which was not published in 2017
“Does My Palace Cause Cancer” – I hope that the popularity of this post means people are becoming more aware of the toxic chemicals present in camping gear
“A Life of Fighting Is But a Dream” – Taking a Tour through Sinophone Pop Culture with “Dao​ Jian Ru Meng​” – Yep, another 2017 blog post which was really popular in 2019

I wish to thank my readers for spending some of their precious time on my blog, and I look forward to another year of blogging!

Sixth Year Anniversary Post

As of today, this blog is six years old. To quote the very first paragraph of my very first post on this blog:

I had been thinking about starting a blog for years. However, I never had ‘enough time’ to maintain a proper blog. Finally, I realized that I will never have ‘enough time’ to blog, so if I am going to blog, I have to do it now, when I don’t have ‘enough time’.

Six years later, not having ‘enough time’ still has not stopped this blog. Huzzah!

While I was writing and posting that very first blog post, I was reading the novel Shén Diāo Xiá Lǚ for the very first time. Since it was only the second book I had ever read in Chinese, my reading speed was very slow, and since it is more than 1500 pages long, it took a lot of time to read. I spent about 2-3 hours per day reading, and it took me several weeks. On top of that, I was also spending about two hours a day studying Chinese in other ways, such as watching the classic Taiwanese TV show Meteor Garden, so that I would develop my listening and speaking skills, not just my reading skills.

The first time I read this novel, this was the edition I read. I preferred the editions which came in smaller sizes and only about 250 pages per volume rather than the editions with thicker books and fewer volumes because a) the smaller volumes were easier to carry around b) I was not confident in my Chinese reading skills at the time, so being able to complete a volume faster (because it was much shorter) gave me an extra motivation boost.

The fact that I was reading Shén Diāo Xiá Lǚ and studying Chinese (as well as working at my job, sleeping, taking care of chores and errands, etc.) was one of the main reasons I did not have ‘enough time’ to start a blog. Somehow, I started this blog anyway.

At the time, I would not have predicted that I would be referencing Shén Diāo Xiá Lǚ so often in this blog, even six years later. Heck, the post which was published yesterday mentions Shén Diāo Xiá Lǚ. Meanwhile, I rarely (or even never?) reference Meteor Garden in this blog, even though that was the TV show I was watching when this blog started.

Do I reference Shén Diāo Xiá Lǚ so much because of the Jin Yong Jolt? Partially, perhaps, but if that were the case, I would probably be referencing The Deer and the Cauldron, which is without question the most WTF???!!!! of Jin Yong’s novels, even more often. Yet I rarely mention The Deer and the Cauldron in this blog.

Do I reference Shén Diāo Xiá Lǚ so much because I headcanon the protagonist as ace? That definitely has a lot to do with it, but I also have brought up Shén Diāo Xiá Lǚ in a lot of posts which aren’t about asexuality.

Something about this specific novel really stays with me in a way that few novels do, and it’s been reflected in this blog for six years.

Oh, and I recently watched the 1983 TV adaptation of Shén Diāo Xiá Lǚ. That means there are going to be even more blog posts referencing Shén Diāo Xiá Lǚ in the near future.

It’s the 5-Year Anniversary of This Blog Already?

Yep, this blog is 5 years old.

For once, nothing important is happening in my life on January 4-6. It started in 2011, when I left the United States on January 4 and arrived in Taiwan on January 6 (crossing the international date line meant I never experienced January 5, 2011), and then on Janury 6th, 2012, I started this blog, and then on January 6th, 2014, I moved out of my apartment in Taiwan, and last year, I quit my job on January 6th, 2016. I guess nothing particularly interesting was happening in my life on January 6th, 2013 either. Or January 6, 2015. What will happen next year on January 6th?

For the first year of this blog, it was super obscure. Now it is, well, not in the first tier of ‘asexuality’ blogs in terms of prestige and popularity, but certainly in the second tier (at least among ‘asexuality’ hosted on WordPress/Blogspot). This blog has gotten as much attention as it has primarily because it’s been regularly updated for years, and I have posted close to 400 posts by now, and during all of that time and with all of those posts, there have been more opportunities for readers to stumble on something that interests them.

In fact, this is now one of the oldest continuously updated ‘asexuality’ blogs around now which hasn’t been rebranded/relocated (which I find incredible, since I still tend to think of this blog as being ‘new’). I’ve been to pull this off mainly because I’ve set up this blog in such a way that I do not need to put in too much effort to keep in consistently updated, which means I can keep it going even when I am busy or have unreliable internet access, and I don’t get burned out.

This blog is part of a cohort of ‘asexuality’ blogs which started in mid-2011 thru mid-2012 (the most famous of these blogs, of course, is The Asexual Agenda. One of the most prominent blogs of my cohort, A Life Unexamined, retired in 2016. Jo made a much deeper contribution to asexuality blogging than I ever did, and I pay my respects to her blog as I wish her good luck in her future endeavours.

Will this blog last another five years? If a) I am still alive five years from now and b) I continue to have a sufficient level of internet access and c) this blog doesn’t become too expensive (I have a free WordPress account, but under certain scenarios I would have to switch to a paid account, and though unlikely, it is not impossible that I might have to pay more than I am willing) I expect that this blog will be around for a 10th anniversary.

Who would have thought that this blog would last four years…

This is the four year anniversary of this blog, and throughout these four years, there has been a new blog post every single Friday.

This is also the 302nd post published on the blog. I was trying to time posts so that this would be the 4-year anniversary *and* the 300th blog post, but then I felt I had to write and publish “An Asexual Perspective on the play IN LOVE AND WARCRAFT” in a hurry. I could have forced it so that this would end up being post #300 anyway, but I decided it was better to let the blog continue its natural course rather than try to artificially align the 4-year anniversary and 300-posts-published anniversary.

In honor of the 4-year anniversary, I am making two lists of highlights.

First, based on a combination of site views, search terms, and comments, these are the most popular posts published on this blog (in the order they were published):

Non-sexual Nudity
Female Characters – Without the Romance
Can we reserve ‘sleep with’ for when we literally mean ‘sleep with’?
Why Identify as Panaesthetic?
My Experience as a Teenage Ace
The Pirates at the Top of the Escalator
Why Are Sex-Indifferent Aces Assumed to Be Open to Sex?
December 2014 Carnival of Aces Roundup

Though none of my wuxia posts are individually as popular as any of the above (“Yang Guo As an Asexual and Disabled Character” is a few spots below “My Experience as a Teenage Ace” on the list of posts with all-time highest site views), overall, I am surprised by their popularity. Most of my wuxia posts are in the top fourth of all posts in terms of popularity. I would have expected them to be in the bottom fourth. A significant portion of the search terms used to find this blog are wuxia-related, so that is apparently driving the traffic to those posts.

There are posts which are significant to me yet not particularly popular, so I am making my own list of highlights from the first two years of this blog (excluding the posts which already appear on the popularity list). Why just the first two years of this blog and not all years? I don’t want to overwhelm the readers or myself with a list of highlights from all years in a single post. I do intend at some point in the future to compile highlights lists for 2014 and 2015. Feel free to suggest posts which should be added to this list (2012/2013) or to a future list for 2014/2015.

Sara K.’s Choice: The First Two Years of the notes which do not fit:


My Asexuality and My Mother – This is one of my earliest posts because it is something which matters to me, and that it why I keep on linking to it more than any other post I wrote during the first year.

A Persistent Fantasy of an Ephemeral Evening – I simply like this post.

Memories of a Special Education – I use my own memories to see how society has shaped my own attitudes about disability.

This is Difficult for Me to Say – This post about sexual harassment was difficult to write, and I think it is one of the most important things I said during the first year of this blog.

No Such Thing as a ‘Guilty’ Pleasure – During my first year, I wrote a lot of short, reflective pieces, and I think this is one of the best of its type of post.

Asexual Themes in Shēn Diāo Xiá Lǚ – This was the fist major, ambitious series of posts I wrote for this blog. It was the first time – at least for this blog – I felt the urge to write out a string of ideas which would not fit in 500 words, and I felt I had to write them out in a relatively short time frame rather than stretch it out over weeks. Also, it was the first time I ever submitted something to the Carnival of Aces.


As an Asexual, I Find the Idea of Grey(a)sexuality Useful – I think this is one of the best things I have had to say about asexuality in this blog.

Clearing Up Doubts by Reading about Others’ Experiences – This post really gets to what compelled me, after spending years wondering whether I should start a blog, to actually go ahead and start a blog. It also came close to getting a place on the ‘most popular posts’ list.

We Need the Power of Irrationality – I think this post gets at a deeper issue than most of what I write in this blog. I do not think I got the best grasp of the idea, but at least I tried.

Is Taiwan a Great Place to Be an Ace-Spectrum Expat? (My Answer: No) – This is a blog where I discuss some issues which affected me for much of the first two years of this blog.

Monks, Nuns, and *ahem* Celibacy in Wuxia – During the first two years of this blog, I was both reading a lot of wuxia, and reading a lot about asexuality and aromanticism, and this is a series of posts where I made a bridge between those two different sets of ideas.

The Coo of the Pearl-Necked Dove – I wrote this post at a time when my life was going through some major flux, and it shows. I also like the way re-reading this post evokes my memories of my apartment in Taoyuan City.

The Beidawushan Series – This is a series where I tried something new for this blog – travel blogging with lots of photos as I tried to find the deeper meaning in the journey (okay, it wasn’t completely unprecedented). I think this series captures not just what the hike up Beidawushan meant to me, but what all my adventures in Taiwan meant to me.

This Blog’s 3rd Anniversary!

This blog has been running for exactly three years, and by now I’ve published over 200 posts. YEEHAAAAAAAA!

I had delayed starting a blog for so long because I wasn’t sure if I could maintain one in the long-haul. Apparently, I can.

As I did in my first anniversary post, I would like to point out the importance of the 500 word limit to this blog. The 500 word limit makes me write in a more concise manner than I would otherwise, and makes me throw out a lot of nonsense during editing. Finally, writing 500 words a week is not so difficult, which means I can keep this blog updated on a regular basis even when I have a lot of things going on in my life. I am much looser about the 500 word limit than I was during the first year of this blog, but I still try not to go too much over 500 words.

Speaking of things going on in my life, at the beginning of 2014, I wasn’t sure if I could keep this blog updated. I knew I was going to spend most of 2014 travelling, and that sometimes I wouldn’t have internet access. I wrote the Beidawushan Series in a rush so that I wouldn’t have to worry about writing for this blog for a few months, and I figured I could write additional posts when I can and somehow have at least one post a week. Furthermore, I kept a supply of older drafts which I could edit quickly and post if I wasn’t able to write anything new for a particular week.

Well, it worked out. I tended to comment on my travels this year since that is what was on my mind. And because I had to manage the timing of the posts to ensure that there would be at least one post per week, I sometimes ended up posting something months after it was written (I think the funniest example is the post about cherry blossoms, which was published way out of season). These ‘travel-themed’ posts include:

A Trip to Japan
Takarazuka for the Women (note: I include the Takarazuka posts because they were inspired by my physical visits to Takarazuka in Japan)
Takarazuka: Passionate, Yet Non-Sexual
An Observation about Ryukyu Culture
National Parks in Hokkaido Photo Week: Rishiri-Fuji, Rebun Island, Akan, Kushiro Wetlands, Shikotsu-Toya, Shiretoko, and Daisetsuzan
Why Do So Few Foreign Tourists in Japan Visit the Countryside?
Takarazuka’s Women-Presenting-as-Men Jolts Me When…
Island Fever (note: since I wrote that post, I’ve been to a few more islands)
A Second Trip to Japan
Why Cherry Blossoms Are Such a Big Deal in Japan

As you can see, these posts are all about Japan. If you want to know about my travels in South Korea, you should visit my new blog dedicated to my travel experiences in South Korea, S.K. in S.K.

Another theme this year is I discussed veganism and the ethics of eating much more than before. I think this is also because of my travels. When I was living in Taoyuan, I basically only went to vegetarian restaurants, and the people I associated with either never saw me eating, or knew I was strict vegetarian/vegan (it is much easier to convey the concept of ‘strict vegetarian’ than ‘vegan’ in Mandarin) and it didn’t need to be discussed that often. When I was constantly moving on to new places, and had to make my inquiries about ingredients over and over again, and kept on encountering people who found out I was vegan and were curious, I had to be a lot more conscious about it than I was in Taiwan, and thus I was more inspired to write about it.

The veganism/ethics of eating posts:

Taking Responsibility for What You Eat
Language Learning on a Restricted Diet, or Why Chinese Menus Don’t Seem Too Hard
Making Veganism about “Health” Is a Distraction from the Ethics
Being Vegan Does Not Mean I Am an Animal-Lover
Buying Dairy Products from the United States Funds Sexual Assault

This will be my first year blogging in the United States, living with my parents (I think it is very unlikely that I will move out of my parents’ home this year). How will that affect this blog? We’ll see.

And finally, a very big thank you to all of my readers! I try to avoid paying too much attention to this blog’s stats, but knowing that people are interested in my writing does encourage me to write more.


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One-Year Anniversary

This blog is already a year old … time flies when you’re having fun.

When I started this blog, I was determined to make it a regularly updated blog, so I vowed to have a new post up at least once a week. And, lo and behold, I did manage to have a new post up every single Friday.

One of the things which had delayed me from starting a blog for so many years was my tendency to write very long pieces, which took a lot of time and energy, and thus burned me out quickly. I became acutely aware of this while writing my first round of guest posts at Manga Bookshelf, Why You Should Read Evyione Part 1 and Part 2. It’s one thing to pull out the stops for a one-time guest post, but I knew there is no way I could keep that up over the long haul.

So, when I started this blog, I put a word limit on myself. 500 words per regular post, period. I sometimes let myself go over the word limit for special posts, but I even try to avoid that. If I can’t fit an idea into 500 words, the idea needs to be split into multiple posts.

Without that 500 word limit, this blog would have been a *lot* less regular. In fact, it’s quite possible that without the word limit this blog would have already gone silent.

It’s forced me to make my writing style more concise. I think this has even spilled over into my It Came from the Sinosphere column – though I don’t put a hard word limit on that, if I hadn’t trained myself to make my writing more concise, I think it would be even harder for me to keep that feature updated regularly. And people who follow both that column and this blog must have noticed that this blog, with the hard word limit, has been more regularly updated.

But it’s not just conciseness. When I have only 500 words, instead of expressing a complex idea, I have to break the complex idea into simpler ideas, and present the simpler ideas one by one. This forces me to choose which (simple) ideas to express, and consequently, I think it’s made my writing clearer.

I had hoped that, if I could keep this blog updated regularly for a year, then in the second year I could do something more ambitious. But now that a whole year has passed, I think it’s best to keep things going the way they are. I have found a way to maintain this blog which works well for me, and right now I’d rather stick with what has been working than try something bold and new and have it blow up.