I know I’ve mentioned so many things in this blog, from ways to learn and practice Japanese to foods, restaurants, musicians, songs, you name it. As of yet, no one is asking for me to review their products or services, no one is asking for me to go to their restaurants, no one is asking anything of me. Everything I’ve mentioned is something I’ve experienced and I felt I had to talk about it.
I’ve considered sending an e-mail to every person and company that I’ve referenced in each entry. I hesitate, however, because I feel like it would seem awkward to the recipient. “Just so you know, I talked about this thing you do on my WordPress blog. Thank you for doing the thing you do!” If I got such an e-mail, I don’t know how I would respond. Does this person want something free? Does this person want me to turn around and advertise their existence?
To be honest, I don’t even know what I want or expect from these other people. They’ve already done what they needed to do, which is to provide me with something. If I talk about a restaurant, it’s because I had a meal there, but I don’t need free food. If I talk about a language learning app, I might have already paid for the use of that app, but I don’t want a refund. Even if I talk about people, whether they’re musicians or YouTube vloggers, I just want them to keep doing what they’re doing.
In an entry that’s part of the Self-Awareness Exercises series I’m working on, I mentioned J-vlogger Victor (Gimmeabreakman, Gimmeaflakeman) in question three. After writing that entry, I sent him an e-mail to let him know I linked to him, but I also asked about his recommendations for Japanese language schools to attend. I briefly talked about this blog, why I write, what I write about, and told him that I only have 23 followers.
I wrote that e-mail over a month ago.
I think I picked up a follower or two while I was writing that e-mail. I vaguely remember checking my statistics and noticing that the follower count had changed. The point being, I don’t have much of an influence. I’m not going to affect his views and subscriber totals by leaps and bounds. On my end, that doesn’t matter. I do smile when I see I gained a follower. But, I have so little to offer, and since this isn’t a business, since I’m not relying on this to earn money, my subscriber count is merely a number that doesn’t matter to me.
That number has increased, from the 23 I mentioned in my e-mail, to the current total of 31. If it becomes 32 as I type this, I’m going to giggle, just because. Hey, it motivates me to keep going, to keep writing, even if I can’t entertain everyone.
But that’s not even the best part. I woke up this morning, and I actually had a response from Victor. He apologized for not getting back to me sooner, and just asked where I was thinking of going to in Japan.
I came back with more words than necessary, but if it helps, then it wasn’t a terrible move. But remember how I was worried about making things awkward? I might have done that.
So now I wait for a reply to that message. But you know something? He’s busy with his videos, with his real job, and with a new daughter. I wasn’t expecting a reply at all, but I did hope for one, and I assumed that his reply would take a while with everything he has going on in his life. So I don’t expect that I’ll have a reply from him tomorrow morning when I wake up. It might be a few days, or a few weeks, or even another month before I get a reply. And that’s all right, because while his response will be helpful, I don’t need that response right away. I still have much to take care of in my own life.
So my advice to anyone who decides to write to someone they see online, whether it’s a lowly blogger with a small follower count like myself, or it’s a YouTube personality with thousands of subscribers and a new video at least once a week… my advice to you is to understand that no matter how much you see of that person’s life, you won’t see everything that is going on. So if you write to that person, be respectful of their time. A few short sentences will be excellent, especially if those sentences honor the recipient and display your own honorable intentions as well. If you’re going to be rude or critical, don’t bother writing, because you also don’t know if they’re dealing with something stressful that they don’t want to reveal to their public. And if you don’t get a response, even if you asked a question or two, accept that they haven’t responded to you. It could be that they were going to get to your e-mail a day after you wrote a rude and scathing e-mail to them because you couldn’t stand to wait any longer, but rather than amplify that anger, they might have decided that ignoring you outright is more advantageous.
If you’re respectful, your senpai will notice you.
I’m only calling Victor “senpai” because it’s funny to me. I got noticed. So if I call him senpai, then I got noticed by senpai. Not to mention, if I learn a thing or two from his experiences, then he would have taught me something. But.. I’m shutting up now.