Friday March 11, 2016   

Looking Back

Last month marked the 13 year anniversary of A domain name I created my freshmen year of college as a sushi-newcomer and a lover of cats. Honestly I mostly only eat crustacean type sushi and I’m now pretty allergic to cats (but I still love em.) A lot of people have asked how I’ve managed to keep my blog for so long and I struggle to find a singular reason. It’s been a combination of laziness, familiarity, and scraping together a bit of cash flow to keep it up and running. Mainly it’s just something I do. It’s mine; my space. And I want it in my life.

When I first started out I had previously had blogs on free hosting sites and affiliates. The blog community was really homegrown back in the day. You made friends and often they’d introduce you to someone who happened to own site space and you piggy-backed off them. Awesome people really! Who would even do that these days?

Then you had THE BLOG QUIZZES. Oh those were the rage long before Facebook. I had created quite a number of my own and the challenge was to find image hosting that allowed hotlinking! Because bandwidth was a serious matter back then. You couldn’t just host linked images on your site or else your account would be locked for “Excessive Bandwidth” violations! A blogger’s nightmare!

The quizzes led a lot of people to my blog. And soon after I had gotten into Japanese fashion and was importing magazines (for a pretty penny) and scanning them to share. I eventually created a “CUTiE” sub-domain with a mailing list of over 3,000 subscribers. How I managed to accumulate that many people I’ll never know, but it was during the days the LiveJournal FRUiTS community was red hot and I was working with friends on things like an online crafts store called “Luff Puff” (shoutout to Em!!) to bring in some extra money during college. This was all before social media and I think Etsy was just starting up. Basically if you wanted to sell anything online you either had to create the store yourself or use eBay.

Those days were fun especially as a web developer. I’d churn out a new layout about every 2 weeks. Everyone did! New layouts were the expectation and to have the same one for over a few weeks typically meant you didn’t care about your site.

Past layouts by date!

The oldest layouts. There were too many of these to even display them all. I had to grab these off Back when many (2003-2007) people still had 56k (or DSL if you were rich) so everything was tiny. The photos, the text, the text area, the skill (LOL.)

Older layout for sushi-cat blog

Honestly I still love this header. LOVE IT. The 6 different fonts on the page though… no thanks.

Older layout for sushi-cat blog

This was my honeymoon layout when I eloped after realizing planning a traditional wedding was bumming me out every day of the week.

Older layout for sushi-cat blog
Older layout for sushi-cat blog
Older layout for sushi-cat blog
Older layout for sushi-cat blog

Made this during the days zozopeople blog community was peaking. I miss those days. Those blogs were so inspiring and were what inspired me to get an Olympus Pen camera.

Older layout for sushi-cat blog
Older layout for sushi-cat blog

Blogging Today

Now when I update my blog it’s typically more behind the scenes and during the summer. There’s something about coding all night during summer with the windows open that just hits a soft spot in me. I don’t give a lot of time to my site these days. For one, working on sites all day for work leaves little desire to do it for “fun” all the time. Another reason is social media. I update those so often that my blog is more for documenting purposes rather than simple sharing like in the past.

Blogging and Privacy

When you have a blog for so long you’re going to end up dealing with the overall transparency it eventually creates. These days “Blogger” is a profession and so telling friends and family of your blog is an easy choice. But years ago you’d

1) have to explain what a blog is and
2) ensure your mother that no you were not giving out your address to murderers.

Over the years friends and family and coworkers have found this blog. Some choose to let me know in a positive way. Others chose to use it against me as an emotional weapon. And then there’s the ones who simply kept it to themselves. I prefer the last group. Because if I did not tell you about my blog I probably had a good reason or didn’t feel it was important and wanted to share my life through a different means.

This has led me down a road of waxing and waning when it comes to what I want to share on this blog. There are times I want to share very personal struggles in the hope that maybe it could help at least 1 other person. But there is the reality that these are struggles I may not want to have brought up to me by the people in my daily life who may read it as well. Not to mention the times I’ve been recognized from my blog. While extremely flattering and sweet, I’m not one looking for attention. I’m very introvert and people stopping me while I’m at the grocery store, clothes shopping, or dining out was always very startling. So when people comment for more outfit posts, selfies, etc. it’s only because I’ve chosen to try and be a bit more private over the years.

I’ve also been asked why I leave up my archives and don’t delete them even though I had changed so much! I’ll admit many of those posts are cringe-worthy, but they were who I was. And while I have grown, I don’t want to forget those things either. I’m not the type to “erase the past.” I want to grow and learn from it (while trying not to re-live it.) And really, deleting the archives would make me feel I was taking myself much too seriously! :)

That’s where I am today. Somewhere between serious and trivial.


59 Responses to “Blog-a-versary”

  1. pichii says:

    I remember a few of these layouts! I’ve been following you since around 2009, you would post a lot about the WC brand! :P I really enjoyed this post. It’s fun to see how much one has changed over the years.

  2. Angi says:

    I am following your blog for a few years now, not on a regualar basis but from time to time I enjoy looking it up and read your new posts.
    It’s admirable that you keep this blog for so long already! I don’t even now a handful of blogs being active for so long! It’s sad how some you really enjoyed someday just disapear from the internet. >-<
    Your blog always inspirers me to blog myself, thought I also have the problem that because I mostly post on other social networks I often don't have the feel of needing to share something through a blog post.
    At least, thanks for keeping up the great work with your blog and I hope you will stay with it for as long as you still like it (which hopefully is a long time XD).

    • jenny says:

      Thank you. I agree. I’ve seen many blogs I really enjoyed disappear and it was always disappointing. But I understand people move on. People change. Their lives change. For me my blog is a constant that I like to have. Like my own little flag in the ground. I can always return here!

  3. gaminecat says:

    I love your blog Jenny, so many years reading you (since 2005 I believe lol) made me appreciate you and admire you although we have barely talk on Instagram xD.
    If I have the chance to travel to USA it would be an amazing pleasure to meet you, because of you I learnt so much about simplicity and how beautiful it can be :D I love your style which is simple but elegant, discovered new brands and realized that traveling can be so much fun! :D never stop blogging! I love you!

    xoxo from Peru :D

    • jenny says:

      This is so kind, thank you! 2005 is a LONG time OMG. I’m glad you could enjoy the journey with me! And in it find pieces of yourself as well. That’s important to me, thank you for sharing!

  4. Rachel says:

    Hi Jenny, I rarely comment but I’ve been following your blog for a looooong time, like, back during the CUTiE days! I think I was in high school or just graduated then. It’s crazy! Your blog really gave me access to Japanese fashion when it was so rare to find online or in stores (especially living in a very small town). I think I remember some of those early layouts too. Wow…nostalgia.

    But, yes, I love your reflection on how early blogging/Internet days were. I’m a developer too and I feel the sentiment about how ~free~ it was during that time. And now…I too don’t feel like doing any development stuff for fun after staring at it for 8 hours of work! :)

    Anyway, I enjoy your content but also understand that feeling of only updating once in a while. The Internet landscape has definitely changed in those 10-20 years…

  5. Veronica says:

    I remember coming to your blog in 2006 via CUTiE magazine! These are a nostalgic trip for me too, seeing your layouts – and every time you’d do something new I’d try to learn it myself since I’ve got no real website training. So thank you!

    Thank you for the many years of inspiration and personal connection! I really love your blog Jenny, in all it’s forms! I feel kind of like in a way we’re two people who never met irl but changed and evolved similarly though far apart.

    • jenny says:

      I really miss the days when everyone was learning website stuff, just a little bit, because it was the only way to get your voice out there! Now so much training is very professional. You can still find training for free but you have to know which social media-like sites to visit like codepen.

      What you said about us evolving, having changed each other, it’s true. I think we became close during a very hard time in my life. Very hard. And looking back I want to thank you for being there and being able to say things even if I didn’t want to hear it. It’s hard to reconnect these days because my life is so very much “offline” now. But when I see your work getting out there I’m always happy! (Like a recent tweet from Supernatural writer Robbie Thompson about your Silk work! :) )

  6. Ike says:

    Hai jenny, I am your blog reader for a very long time. This is my second comment though. 😁
    I stumbled across your blog for cutie scan but just can stop reading till now.
    I love your outfit post and sometimes curious about your protected post but feels to shy to ask.
    I also love your tips about organizing since your house is always so tidy and pretty, I want more 😁
    Please keep blogging..
    I’m sorry for my bad grammar since english is my second language 😂

    • jenny says:

      No worries! Thank you so much for commenting! I don’t do protected posts anymore. Usually in those posts I complained about people in my offline life. That’s why they were protected. :) I’ll definitely keep blogging!

  7. Susy says:

    love this post!
    I’ve been following your blog for a while so I definitely remember some of your past layouts.. I’ve always enjoyed reading your blog posts.. from getting excited about your magazine scans to your plant posts to your outfit posts.. loved reading everything! I think it’s great that you keep your archive up because it’s like as you said.. they’re part of who you now are as a person and you shouldn’t forget that.

  8. Thao says:

    Happy blog-adversary! Ah I remember some of these layouts. Your design style is very consistent. It’s like, “Yup, that’s a signature sushi-cat style!”.

    What’s even more cringe-worthy is going back to your archive and reading some of the comments I leave over the years. I’m like yup…that was the obnoxiously hyper teen years.

    You bring up such a good point about blogging and privacy. When I was a student, I was more free in what I blog about. But then I started working and became more of an adult and I felt more restricted/cautious about what I should be sharing. No more random emotional rants for me. XD

    I’m glad you keep your archive though. I’m definitely on the “delete it all” impulse boat, which sometimes I regret since I’ve lost years of blogging…

  9. congratulation! hope your blog can continue to grow! you really inspire me though hehe

  10. Karu says:

    Beautiful post!

  11. ssoojj says:

    I followed you since ’07/08! Found you when I was scavenging for mag scans hahaha..I hope you never stop blogging :D

  12. Nindya says:

    I’ve been following you since 2004/2005-ish through a blogger who happens to be my junior in university — and she’s one of the first bloggers in Indonesia.

    I read this blogpost of yours and found myself smiling widely like a fool. Oh the memories! And I love, love, love, LOVE your blog’s past layouts. In fact, I believe it was such a craze/trend back then, to have blog layouts using anime/manga characters or Japanese artists/musicians. I love the whole “kawaii” vibe from that kind of layouts (yes, including the ultra tiny font size — it’s soooo cute! Verdana 7pt, IINM — the crosshair cursor, the moving emojis, “adopted” pixel-art characters, kao-ani, and more!) Even up to now, you still stick with that whimsical-feeling on your blog post. I admit I’m quite bored with the ultra minimalistic- or professional-look in many blog layouts recently LOL

    You’ve been my inspiration in blogging and will ever be. Happy blogversary, Jenny. Here’s to upcoming years of blogging :D

    • jenny says:

      A blogger from Indonesia named Angela really introduced the concept of “blog” to me back in 2001! Before then I’d have “blog-like” pages but I didn’t know there could be whole sites called “weblogs!”

      I totally loved seeing Ayumi Hamasaki in dozens of layouts! Anime ones too (which I did dozens of…) And changing the cursor, the scrollbar, the rainbow text changes! All that stuff… it was a magical time to say the least.

      I appreciate you can still see a bit of my old-school self even in my much more simplified layouts these days. Thank you for that!

  13. Xin says:

    After reading this I thought I would write lots of stuff like the lovely people above because I feel the same. But since that would be too much of a repetition I just decided to say: YOUR BLOG IS MY ALL TIME FAVORITE BLOG FOR SO MANY YEARS! THANK YOU FOR KEEPING IT UP! Cheers to another 13 years!

  14. Wendy says:

    I can’t believe i’ve been reading your blog for 8 years! Back then I was 13 and very into japanese fashion, and i remember your blog being the pretty little space in the internet where i could get j-magazines and get inspired on how to mix that style into American fashion. Thanks for sharing and inspiring me and other people ♥!

    • jenny says:

      Thank you for sharing in my passion at the time too! It was definitely an outlet where I could connect with others who were into Japanese fashion long before it became more easily accessible in the States.

  15. Tiff says:

    Oh my God happy blog birthday! I can’t believe I’ve been reading on and off for 11 years! Your blog must literally be the only thing I’ve consistently read since I started using the internet to be honest!

    I have to say, my biggest regret was ‘erasing the past’ like you said you wouldn’t do. I got rid of soo much of my old blogs and websites and what I wouldn’t give to get it all back, even if it was all terribly wanky obnoxious stuff! Your consistency has been what is the best part of your blog, I hope you continue to blog for years to come :).

    • jenny says:

      Thank you. I went through a phase where I deleted old photos to save space (back when space was not unlimited on hosting service.) I have SO much regret over that. Then there was the fact that I had a year’s worth of archives deleted (2003) due to a power failure and never made a backup! Lesson-learned!

  16. Kate says:

    Aww, what a nice post. Reminds me of when I used to use blogspot and so on back in the day. Isn’t it amazing how much everything’s changed?

    Happy blogiversary.

  17. chocoNIKKI says:

    This was such a nice post Jenny! It’s been quite a few years since I’ve started reading your blog… It’s amazing how you’ve changed and your blog reflects that. This post reminds me of when I used to blog regularly… Hopefully more posts to come! Congratulations for 13 years!!

  18. Janet says:

    I remember sooo loving your wedding layout :D

  19. Ruby says:

    Your blog is one of my favorites that I follow! You inspired me to make and design my own blog. I used to have one and would love to start again once I get a new camera. I totally remember that layout from 2008! Congrats on the anniversary! :)

  20. Nicole says:

    This was such a trip down memory lane! I remember those layouts. XD As much as I love social media, I’m so nostalgic about the old blogging community, and I do miss those days a lot. And I totally miss making a whole new layout every few weeks…but seriously, who has time for THAT these days lol. I’ve gotten so lazy about it that I buy templates from Etsy now. I wish I had bigger screenshots of my old layouts. They’re so teeny-tiny! Congrats on the anniversary!

    • jenny says:

      Seriously. If I had the time I’d probably make a ton of new layouts too but I just really feel creatively drained after working all day that I just… don’t anymore. And that’s sorta sad but also without the pressure to change so much it’s not really an issue either. Buying from Etsy is smart to be quite honest lol.

  21. cml says:

    hi jenny i just wanna let you know i have really enjoyed your blog! and this is biggest and the best throwback haha! ive been a fan of your blog waaay before ’08 but has never commented (or maybe max less than 10 comments? lol)

    ps. im from canada so we wont bump into each other and startle you :)

  22. Bianca says:

    Oh man I remember a lot of this. I sometimes look back and go “WHYYY” with some of the gyaru look I think I discovered your blog in college looking for Cutie scans!

    Still sad JILLE is gone that is my #1 look at this point always has been I’ll stick to slouchy tomboy/gamine forever. I usually just read Fudge these days. Vivi I can’t keep up!! Cutie is fun but I feel too old.

    Now i’m pretty satisfied in my tomboy look. I miss blogging every once and a while but mine just got too big for me to even enjoy anymore. The users started dictating the content they wanted to see and I no longer felt like myself. Plus after my whole viral mistake and getting death threats I was out! Now I like instagram. I can quickly updated and it doesn’t take out a big chunk of my day. I always come back here tho because you were always one of my number one inspirations and I still think you are the COOLEST.

    • jenny says:

      Man CUTiE is defunct too though with JILLE. I mean… that’s how long we’ve been around! Hahaha! Sad days, sad days. It’s hard to see something that had such an impact on you fade away.

      Gyaru, I know what you mean. I don’t really regret any of the looks but just personally I had some really bad days during my Ageha, Popteen obsession that it’s sort of a pivotal part of who I am now. I just look back with a sort of awe, really. Nothing else has really ever compared to that hype between 2008-2012. Both in my life and in Japanese fashion IMO.

      I’m really happy you still visit. Like a lot of people I met during the gyaru times have disappeared but I’m glad you and I can still click and I remember all the things you’re mentioning. I still love seeing your IG updates and the occasional times you’ll jump on twitter/others. I love how direct (and often with whimsy) your art can be.

      That pressure… when the readers dictate the content… it’s suffocating. The people who just befriend you for the click-throughs and the pressure you end up putting on yourself 24/7… I couldn’t do it either. I remember when I stopped posting outfits while wearing them or makeup without selfies people were really unhappy but I was happy. It made me so much happier.

      You’re still the same driven, honest, and cool person I got to know!

  23. Mija says:

    Oh those were the days!!! When Livejouranl communities were everything and have a domain meant you were fancy!! I really miss those days before social media!!!

    Your past layouts still look awesome!!!!

  24. Anna says:

    I recognize my own past in much that you have written. Those good old days on LJ, creating new layout every 2 weeks and the fun fun communities. To be honest I miss those days. back then I felt the Internet and blogging with the small community I was in was my little space on the Internet that no one offline knew about. Today it’s hard having an online presence without everyone knowing.

    I have followed your blog since 2008 and really admire you for keeping it up through all these years. It really inspires me to start blogging again which I am going to do!

    • Anna says:

      Oh and I can also relate to the privacy and offline people reading your blog situation. Like you I’m a pretty introvert person myself and I couldn’t bear the thought off my offline classmates or colleagues reading my blog. as mentioned I preferred separating my online and offline world. Back when I had a locked LJ I would write quite private posts and get responses from LJ friends. That’s what I liked about LJ. But when I went over to blogspot and started an open blog I couldn’t use my journal the way I liked most and that’s what eventually made me quit I believe.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Mannnn! I wish we can revive that era of CUTIE and LJ lol. I miss those Rinka layouts so much! I own two of her style books because of how I inspired I was by your blog. It was fun because the posts felt intimate and real and didn’t have all the sponsored stuff you see nowaday. Too much product placement.

    • jenny says:

      I know for me doing sponsored posts sorta burned me out with blogging. It started feeling so shallow and at some point I just had enough. And I think today a lot of people quit blogging because they felt, unless they were making money, they weren’t successful.

  26. Angel says:

    Hi Jenny! I’ve been a reader of yours eversince I started blogging almost 5 years ago. I hope you will continue blogging at your own pace. I really appreciate how unique and genuine you are and it feels so good to know that this blog has been around for so long <3

    • jenny says:

      Ah thank you. I really want to write more thought out posts but that means they’ll be a lot longer than my old posts so I’m still getting comfortable with that change.

  27. Alexandria Nichole says:

    I just thought i’d comment for (pretty much) the first time ever. I hope you see this!
    I’ve seriously been reading your blog for yeeeeaaarrrsss. Ever since I was 15. I’m 23 now, so as you can tell, it’s been a long time.
    I sometimes stop reading your blog, but I always come back after a while to see your updates on beauty, fashion, etc. I feel like we have so much in common! (Perhaps that’s because we’re both aries? Lol!)

    Anyways, I wanted to post on here for the first time to let you know how much of a fan I am of you. I think you’re amazing and gorgeous and i’d be so super sad if I ever went to find your blog to read up and it were gone.

    Sorry if I sound strange because i’m a reader, but not a commenter (I’ve actually never really thought to comment until now)! But just wanted to let you know how appreciated you are!

    • jenny says:

      I definitely saw this, thank you. I’m glad I can provide a space that will always be there when you type it in! :) Honestly I blog so infrequently that checking in on it once in a while and catching up is probably the best way to read my blog. Like binge-reading.

  28. Chelle says:

    Whoa, 13 years huh? I remember when a friend recommended your site when I was a senior in hs, around 2007, because of your scans. I’ve lurked every since, but I used to comment for a bit under a different blog.

    I stopped blogging for a while because of personal problems, but coming back to your blog, and a few others I discovered made me really want to head back into it.

    You always seemed like such an interesting person and I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog posts over the years~ Take care!

  29. miya says:

    omg this post made me so nostalgic!!!! <3 the interwebz has changed so much and it really is only a small population of people who remember how familiar and community oriented blogs and web development were back in the day.

  30. Leanne says:

    Blogging used to be a a secret diary that wasn’t so secret. It was more to express then actually make money. Nowadays, the colourful layouts have disappeared replaced by crisp white and simple headers.
    I miss those days.

  31. Ida says:

    Loved this post!

    I have been following your blog almost 10 years now. I always come back every other month to just see your work here. You really are my idol here what is coming to blogging. You just keep doing it and I really admire that!

    Things have really changed in internet. I miss those days when you didn’t tried to get fame/money when blogging. No sponsored posts!

    I hope you never close sushi-cat!

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