To be fair it’s been more than *one* year since my last blog retrospective, and I’m once again missing its actual anniversary by a bit over a month. But looking back around the anniversary is a useful benchmark, and this last year has been particularly significant for all the obvious non-blog related ways.
So it’s been about 6 years total since I started this little personal corner of the internet. Since the 3 year / 500 post mark last time, I’ve posted another 181 entires making this post #682.
Obviously my productivity was quite different in the two halves of the blog’s life so far, and it’s even more skewed than it looks. The pandemic hit me a bit hard in certain ways, contributing to the decrease of my output to just 28 entries in the past year. I’ve thought a lot about the erratic and sparse nature of my updates, the 45 drafts I have half done with even more ideas stacked in my brain still going unwritten, and the future of the blog in general.
Thing is, I’m really happy with some of the pieces I’ve done recently and to be honest rather proud of even an average of two posts a month given the entire nature of the world changing. So I’m going to keep plugging away when I can, and deepest thanks to anyone and everyone who decides to check these out when they appear. I am going to shoot for my 700th post by the end of 2021, so hopefully the frequency will be picking up and perhaps a semi-regular schedule of some sort will arise.
Also, I plan to get more of my non-wrestling related drafts and ideas finished and posted again (which will also help with the previous goals as the wrestling posts are particularly long, work intensive affairs). I will still be writing a LOT about wrestling, but it hopefully won’t be the kind of 24 out of 28 ratio of posts this previous year was.
So will all that said, let’s proceed to a look at some details about what’s been happening with my assorted ramblings.
Specific Post Details
As I mentioned above there have been several things I’ve written that I was particularly happy to “put to paper” so to speak. I’m sure I’ll forget some but would like to briefly spotlight and/or link to several.
One of the most special and personal type of post I write are wrestler specific pieces, usually about retirements, major career changes, and in a few sad cases as memorials. Here are links to all of those types of posts I’ve done, plus a wrestler-centric one I did this year to look back with a present mindset and perspective on one of wrestling’s most infamous incidents.
Tequila Saya (part 1)
Tequila Saya (part 2)
Jushin Thunder Liger
At the beginning of 2021 I finally got around to completing a long planned review of the 10th Anniversary show review of one of my favorite companies, featuring the return of the founder of both Ice Ribbon and my other favorite company (Gatoh Move) for the first and only time since she left.
Ice Ribbon also gave rise to perhaps the most wonderfully absurd posts I’ve ever done: a match review of their ace Tsukasa Fujimoto against… a broom.
During lockdown Emi Sakura had to shift gears a bit due to the impossibility of holding audience shows in Gatoh Move’s small home venue, and from her desire to create a wrestling product specifically tailored for streaming ChocoPro was born. As ChocoPro continued it gave rise to long, intense overarching stories with a lot of depth and heart. Chronicling two of those stories (one in two parts) was perhaps the most time intensive, ambitious undertaking I’ve attempted since I started the blog. Also one of the most satisfying. Please check out The Ballad of Yuna and the Oni, Lulu’s Hat: The Tale of a Pencil’s Pride, and No Way to Go But Forward: the Tale of a Pencil’s Strength.
Lastly before wrapping things up with a look at my most viewed articles I’d like to mention my art posts, and specifically highlight Beautiful Dreams 4 featuring more incredible work by Juri H. Chinchilla including a number of PSCs of wrestlers discussed above.
Context copied from last time regarding my most viewed posts list:
“Derailments of Thought is 100% a personal hobby blog, and my little corner of the web is generally pretty modest in terms of views. More than half of my posts garner under 20, and the “highly viewed” posts generally end up with a few hundred. This is fine, and I greatly appreciate everyone who takes the time to read. I’m pointing it out for context for the extent in which a couple of my pieces have deviated from the norm. I’m sharing this short list because I find the mix of subjects and other little details interesting.”
Here are the current overall top 5 posts from the blog in terms of views (the counts could be off by a few, but these numbers have generally stabilized):
5. Tokyo Joshi Pro 1/4/16 Live Thoughts 587 Views
New to the top 5 this time, and surprisingly so since it’s NOT a new entry since the last list. In fact it’s the oldest post here, about the very first Tokyo Joshi Pro show I ever saw back during my first year of doing the blog. It’s slowly climbed into this spot with consistently around 100 views each year. Really interesting to look back on it, since my first impression of the promotion was one of good potential being held back by presentation and approach choices to the point where I didn’t enjoy the show particularly much. In just a year by the time I got to try them again it had all been corrected and polished, and from there on they’ve been one of my favorites.
4. A Ray of Light Gone Too Soon 1,203 views
This is still the most recent post on this list, and the toughest to talk about. In early 2016 professional wrestler Ray was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and summarily retired. She was always pushing herself and there always seemed some outside hope of recovery and a return. Sadly she passed away a few years ago. This tribute was incredible hard to write and felt woefully inadequate. I’m touched it’s been read so much and I can only hope that means I managed to do some justice to someone I truly adored watching perform that was taken from us too soon.
3. Raven’s of Thri Sahashri Beginner’s Guide 1,212 views
I adore board games, and have written about several and played tons more. A few years ago I stumbled upon a fantastic little 2-player cooperative game called Ravens of Thri Sahashri, that has extremely interesting asymmetric game role and a hook of no talking (players are supposed to communicate what they want the other person to do through the gameplay choices they make).
The drawback of its uniqueness and depth is it has a rather high learning curve, and it’s tough to get into from just the rulebook (although all the information is in there somewhere). I decided to write what I called a “Beginner’s Guide,” both to help others and to get things straight in my own mind. I offered some basic strategy hints and walked through the rules in what I thought was a more accessible way. I state in it that it’s not supposed to be a rulebook replacement, but by the time I was done it essentially is.
I haven’t promoted this one in particular nor reshared it at all. It became and remained (albeit with other things moving around it) my 3rd most viewed post simply by people searching the game’s name and presumably looking for rule clarifications, etc. I hope it’s been helpful.
2. Japan Cuts 2019: Samurai Shifters 1,397 views
It wasn’t as much of a surprise the second time one of my Japan Cuts (a Japanese Film Festival held every year in New York City) movie reviews took off unexpectedly, but it was just as deserved. Samurai Shifters is a wonderful blend of humor and drama with one of the most unlikely and unique premises I’ve seen.
1. Japan Cuts 2017: Mumon: The Land of Stealth 2,068 views
This review of a movie I saw at Japan Cuts still easily has the most views of anything else I’ve written, largely on the strength of the first two years after it was written. I had no idea the fame of the main actor of this when watching, it was just a movie I really enjoyed. I’m grateful I was able to convey those feelings well, and for the way the review was shared on social media among the actor’s fandom. Someone even asked to translate it into Japanese, and the two versions are cross linked. A cool outlier for my modest little blog.
Again I greatly appreciate everyone who’s read, shared, and or commented on things I’ve written. Doing so is much appreciated, and often needed, support.