A BIG Thank you to Leo for his incredible work for this translation <3 You are an amazing person my friend ! ^w^
Now comes the time to explain to you guys, one of the most important project of my life, one who occupies my mind 100% of the time, as of late.
I wish to leave for Japan for a few months, from November 2016, and currently works on putting together a donation and participation-gifts program (and probably a crowdfunding project later on), to finance my travel expenses, as well as the creation of a traveling diary to share my experiences with you. Allow me to explain further :).
« Why the name « The Walking Girl »? »
Kudos to the brainstorming made with A.’s participation, my best friend, that I truly thanks as she has been a great help on this!
I hope to be able to make other big trips that I would also share the experience of, and was therefore looking for a name that fitted me, while not being fixed on Japan only. Traveling and visit a country means walking, and I am a massive fans of zombies, and in particular of the show (and comics) The Walking Dead, it then => became an obvious choice 😉 !
« Why Japan ? Since When ? »
I cannot quite tell you when my passion for Japan started. From as long as I remember, I was always kind of culturally surrounded by it, without somehow knowing that much about it before my teenage years: there was some manga, some movies, and a vague idea of what a samurai is … Round 17 years old, I started discovering more and more manga, listen to Japanese music, and started to get interested in Japan’s history, it’s religions, traditions and incredibly rich culture. Since that time, I stayed properly hooked.
I shall always remember one of the things my brother said when he came back from Tokyo a few years back “You absolutely need to go there, that country is made for you “. I am not over idealistic about the country. I am really interested in the culture, the language, the history, but I feel that as long as I haven’t been there myself, there will always be something missing to understand it, and also, understand myself. I feel like there’s a part of me who will only be whole and satisfied by going to the country of the Rising Sun.
Also, I need to emphasize that I am not Japanese, and I do not think of myself as one : I am a French woman, who feels that she will be able to build a part of herself by going to live for a while in an other country, in THIS country.
« Why live there and not just visit? »
Because I want to be able to fully live among Japanese people, to live the everyday life of a foreigner who chose to expatriate there. I don’t want to just “pass by” on a 3 month trip. I want to live the challenge of looking for work, of going through every step of the expatriation, and visit to my heart’s content a few places already in my mind.
On a very personal note, I need to find myself completely alone, and to have to hold my own on the other side of the world.
This trip is a very important step of my life.
« What do you need to go there ? Why a donation and participation-gift program/ crowdfunding project ?”
There is more than one way for a French Citizen to go to Japan.
We can go as a tourist without the need of a VISA, for up to 3 months. With this, only visiting is allowed.
We can go there to work: in general, it is through a Japanese company who wants us, and will deal with administrative process for us to come, or remain.
We can do what I want to do: an application for a Working Holiday Visa. This type of VISA is very specific and concerns only people wanting to go to Japan to travel through the country, and are authorized according to specific regulation to work to finance their tourism. This VISA application can happen only once, up to the last day before your 31st birthday (once delivered, you have 12 months to depart), and allow the applicant to remain up to 12 months in the country. To apply, you have to (among other things), make a motivation letter explaining why, how, your plans over there and furnish a copy of your bank statement showing that you have 4500 euros in your account (or 3100 and the plane tickets).
I will turn 31 this july. I thus know that it is now my last chance to obtain this VISA, and live this experience in Japan. To do such, I am currently working to put money aside. I am also launching this donation program for friends and others, to help me get the necessary fund before the end of june, and apply, to then leave in November.
I already planned my first destination: Kyoto.
« And the crowdfunding project ? »
That will only come later. My idea is to create a traveling diary in paper version, as well as a digital one (pdf). For those interested, I will create a few more paper versions, according to the chosen participation-gifts.
This traveling project would therefore also include a creative side, and the crowdfunding (open to all), would be the chosen system to finance it.
My blog will be there to tell the story of my traveling around, my different steps, answer the questions in the comment section or on the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages who will be linked to it. I didn’t want to just ask friends to help me finance this travel, but more to share this experience with them as well as with as many people as possible, to allow them all to live this adventure with me.
This is how I got to think about this traveling diary, full of anecdotes, pictures, descriptions, good addresses, memories ..
“How will this donation system work for friends and acquaintances ?”
I will put together a system of donations, and participation gifts according to the level of the contribution (like in regular crowdfunding platform, but with a greater liberty of choice). You will be the one to chose what you want to get, for what you want to give (you can obviously choose to not get anything). I really want to do something more than giving you my eternal gratitude :p.
The participation-gifts will then be sent in different waves and timings : some while I will be traveling, and some when I’ll be back (the traveling diary will only be finalized upon my return). I will keep everybody posted if the project is finalized, on the blog and all the affiliated pages. It will then be put together.
Do not hesitate if you have any question, suggestion or comment ! 🙂
“How will I use the donated money”
For the first part, it will principally finance the traveling itself: plane tickets, moving around in the country and all the expenses while traveling. Some of it will also finance the creation of my traveling diary (I will be writing about it more in details soon).
“When and how can we give ?”
I do not leave until the beginning of November, so you can participate until the 20th of october ;).
You can participate over more than one time, use different ways of payment, etc..
You can participate with Paypal, per cheque, or per bank transfer. Contact me directly here, on Facebook, or per email at email@example.com (WARNING : this email address is not linked to a Paypal Account, thank you ^^).
“And the Participation-Gifts” ?
You can choose to participate without receiving one, or even to make your own suggestions of content (to decide together) 🙂
Each package will contain the previous package available, and your own choices : thus, the Yukata Package contains all the previous Packages, with the choice of content to make for each of them.
From 1 to 5 € Arigato Package = Thanks + Digital Version of the Traveling Diary.
From 5 to 20 € Purikura Package = Previous Packages + choice of 1 postal card or 1 Purikura* , or 1 surprise snack, all sent from Japan.
From 20 to 40 € Otanoshimi Package = Previous Packages + choice of a small surprise pack of “snacks” or “goodies” or “letter pack” or “pastry/cuisine”
From 40 to 70 € Dentou Package = Previous Packages + choice of a Daruma* of approximately 15 cm or 1 Kokeshi* of the same height.
From 70 to 100 € Otera Package = Previous Packages + choice of 1 set of 10 pictures 10x15cm printed on photographic paper, or 1 Goshuin Chou* with 3 seals inside, or 1 Daruma of approximately 20 cm, or 1 Kokeshi of the same height.
From 100 to 150 € Shashin Pack = Previous Packages + choice of a set of 15 pictures 10×15 cm printed on photographic paper, or 1 scrapbook page of 30×30 cm of the picture of your choice among my traveling pictures.
From 150 to 200 € Chopper Pack = Previous Packages + choices of 3 personal purchase order (at your expense) according to condition agreed together, or 1 Goshuin Shou with 5 Seals, or 1 live Periscope/Skype during the travel (not to a specific place).
From 200 to 500 € Atropos Pack = Previous Packages + exclusive choice of decorated traveling diary (see future article on the diary), or a Goshuin Shou with 5 Seals, or 1 live Periscope/Skype during the travel, from a place you want to visit.
From 500 € Yukata Pack = Previous Packages + one good quality Yukata bought during travel with it’s Obi* and it’s Getas*, or 1 specific request from you about something I didn’t think about (to plan together, reasonable request only)
« Glossary »
Purikura : These are photomontages (stickers most of the time) from photo booth. You can choose your own virtual background, add words etc.
Daruma : The Daruma doll (達磨 daruma ?), also known as a Dharma doll, is a hollow, round, Japanese traditional doll modeled after Bodhidharma, the founder of the Zen sect of Buddhism. These dolls, though typically red and depicting a bearded man (Dharma), vary greatly in color and design depending on region and artist.
Kokeshi : Kokeshi (こけし こけし?, kokeshi), are Japanese dolls, originally from northern Japan. They are handmade from wood, have a simple trunk and an enlarged head with a few thin, painted lines to define the face. The body has a floral design painted in red, black, and sometimes yellow, and covered with a layer of wax. One characteristic of kokeshi dolls is their lack of arms or legs. The bottom is typically marked with the signature of the artist. They are traditionals and “creative” ones.
Goshuinchou : A goshuinchou is a “red seal book”. Most shrines (and temples) that are registered have a “goshuin”, specific seal to that shrine. All kinds of seal exist. This book is used to collect them.
Yukata : Summer outfit, kimono inspired. In synthetic fabric or cotton, it’s lighter than a traditional kimono, and often put on after an onsen (hot springs, rotenburo = public bath)
Obi : Obi (帯, おび?, literally « sash ») is a sash for traditional Japanese Kimono & Yutaka, keikogi (uniforms for Japanese martial arts), and part of kimono outfits. In kimonos and Yutakas, it is considered to be the most important part, and generally the most expensive.
Geta : Geta (下駄?) are a form of traditional Chinese–Japanese footwear that resemble both clogs and flip–flops. Geta were invented by the Chinese and then introduced to Japan from China. They are a kind of sandal with an elevated wooden base held onto the foot with a fabric thong to keep the foot well above the ground. They are worn with traditional Chinese and Japanese clothing such as kimono or yukata, but (in China and Japan) also with Western clothing during the summer months. Sometimes geta are worn in rain or snow to keep the feet dry, due to their extra height and impermeability compared to other footwear such as zōri. They make a similar noise to flip-flops slapping against the heel while walking. When worn on water or dirt, flip-flops may flip dirt or water up the back of the legs. This does not tend to happen with the heavier Chinese Geta.