This past January 1st marked our 4th blog anniversary here at Just One Cookbook. Each blog anniversary is a huge milestone for me, but this 4th one was quite special and meant a lot to me personally.
Just One Cookbook Then and Now
When I first started blogging back in January 2011, Mr. JOC and I made a decision to give it a try for 4 years. He thought 4 years would give us enough time to see if this new hobby of mine would result in anything.
Looking back, the last 4 years of our blogging adventure was fun and amazing. I’ve met many cool bloggers that became my dear friends, and along the way we’ve had to learn a lot about blogging, photography, videography, wordpress, technology, and food! Just One Cookbook slowly became a bigger and bigger part of our life, like our 3rd child.
Four years later, it’s still unbelievable to me that the web site gets about 30K visitors a day, with many readers leaving me sweet and heartfelt comments and sending me personal messages. My hobby became my new career around the 3rd year and I am still just as excited about it as when we first started out.
Blogging as a Career
When blogging became my “real” job last year, it was much harder to juggle time. One of my favorite things to do was visiting other food blogs to drool over their recipes and getting to know the blogger behind the blogs. However, I started to spend more time on developing and testing recipes instead of sitting in front of the computer, and I have less time to read other food blogs.
If you are wondering what a food blogger exactly does everyday, it’s an interesting one. When I first started, I had no idea how much work was involved to have a successful food blog. I simply wanted to share quick and easy Japanese recipes, and I thought my job was complete by taking a few photos and sharing the recipe.
(Recipe: It’s delicious, if you believe me! Taken at the dining table right before the dinner.)
Little did I know the job description also included a food stylist, a videographer, a photographer, a writer, a social media specialist, a help desk to answer questions all day long, and not to mention, a tech specialist.
When I first started, I took about 10 images per recipe. These day, for an average recipe we take about 150 pictures (80 step by step and 70 final shots). Yes, the secret is out of the bag, the 3 final images I share are usually out of 70+ shots that we took.
I’m sure all the food bloggers (and bloggers in general) will agree that it’s beyond a hobby, if you want to do everything well.
Struggles To Overcome
Even after 4 years, I have a few struggles that I’m going through right now.
My biggest struggles is time management. Although my work is flexible since I control my own hours, I somehow end up working day and night. I just don’t seem to have enough time everyday despite the fact that I sleep for only 4-5 hours.
Making videos with Mr. JOC over the past year has been fun, but it lengthened the time to create a recipe from 3 hours to 7 hours of shooting time. I feel very guilty that we spend most weekends working, instead of spending time with the children and taking them to places. Our children are very understanding and supportive, and even offer to help. I just can’t help feeling bad about not giving them our full attention. 🙁
5th Year of Just One Cookbook
What are our goals and plans for our 5th year? Videos are definitely becoming increasingly important in our daily lives. Before when Mr. JOC had to fix something or learn a new skill, he would need to search the web. These days his first search is usually YouTube; screenshots are great but there’s nothing better than video instructions. So we definitely want to create better videos this year and I do plan to appear in “some” of videos. As you know, we shoot videos on weekends when our kids are at home and they make a lot of noise, whether they are chasing each other or playing the piano. It’s very hard to have “quiet” moment in our household. 😉
One of my dreams is to create another e-Cookbook (Here’s my first e-Cookbook), but I can’t promise yet as I already struggle publishing my new blog posts on schedule. I have many requests from readers for a second book and I would like to try my best to make it happen.
Starting next month we’ll be working on a new blog design with a new designer. If you have any special request or features you feel would improve your experience on Just One Cookbook, feel free to shoot me an email or leave a comment below. I want to make sure my site is very easy to use for everyone.
Oh, one last thing! We’ve been working with an architect to draw a new kitchen and first floor space. We’ve went through 3 different plans already….and hoping this drawing will be the last one so we can move forward. I haven’t thought about kitchen-less situation YET. I’ll keep you updated in my newsletter.
And Finally, Thank YOU!!!!
As we grow each year, Just One Cookbook has become one of the most popular Japanese recipe websites in English. I can’t stress enough that it’s your emails and comments, and heartwarming stories that keep me going each day. In return, I am always trying my best to respond to all of emails and questions I receive from you (until I can’t absolutely handle the amount. Haha.).
Mr. JOC and I enjoy creating this website and YouTube channel to be a great source for you to learn about Japanese food and cooking. It’s humbling that my just one cookbook that I wanted to pass onto my children has become everyone’s cookbook. I truly appreciate your support and love, and I want to thank you from bottom of my heart.
Now It’s Time for Worldwide Giveaway! I’d like to celebrate this big milestone by giving away my favorite and reader’s favorite kitchen gadgets! Sponsored by yours truly and no strings attached. The 1st winner will receive one (1) Nutribullet 14-Piece Nutrition Extractor 600 Watt Blender Juicer! Let’s make smoothies with me! (The winner living outside of the US will automatically receive $100 Amazon gift card or cash via paypal. The winner living in the US can also choose the gift card or cash instead of the gift.) The 2nd winner will receive one (1) Miyabi Morimoto Edition Fusion Chef’s Knife (8 inch)! This is one of my favorite knives I use daily. (The winner living outside of the US will automatically receive $100 Amazon gift card or cash via paypal. The winner living in the US can also choose the gift card or cash instead of the gift.) The 3rd winner will receive one (1) Cuisinart ICE-21 Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker (White)! Get ready for making delicious ice cream with me! (The winner living outside of the US will automatically receive $45 Amazon gift card or cash via paypal. The winner living in the US can also choose the gift card or cash instead of the gift.) The 4th winner will receive one (1) Taiyaki Japanese Fish-Shaped Hot Cake Maker! Fill your homemade Taiyaki with red bean paste and your favorite filling! (The winner living outside of the US will automatically receive $35 Amazon gift card or cash via paypal. The winner living in the US can also choose the gift card or cash instead of the gift.) The 5th winner with receive one (1) Cast Iron Takoyaki Plate & Picks! Now you can enjoy making Takoyaki right at your own home! (The winner living outside of the US will automatically receive $30 Amazon gift card or cash via paypal. The winner living in the US can also choose the gift card or cash instead of the gift.) The 6th winner will receive one (1) Sushi Oke Wooden Hangiri, Bamboo Mat, Rice Paddle Set! You now have a home sushi party essential! (The winner living outside of the US will automatically receive $15 Amazon gift card or cash via paypal. The winner living in the US can also choose the gift card or cash instead of the gift.)
To enter for your chance to win one of six gifts, please leave a comment on this post that answers the following question: What’s your favorite and least favorite of my website? (I will not choose winners based on your answer, so please don’t hesitate to share your true thoughts with me. 🙂 ) Six (6) winners will be selected via Random.org and announced on Monday, February 16, 2015. This giveaway closes on Sunday, February 15, 2015 at 12 p.m. PST and is open to participants worldwide (everyone!). The winners will be contacted via email, so please include a valid email address in the email address entry box.
Full Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by yours truly. I will NEVER share your email address.
Thank you for participating this giveaway! I read everyone’s feedback and I really, really appreciate it! I’ll be making some changes based on your feedback and I hope to improve your experience on my site. Thank you again!
Here are the winners…
#1 Gift: Kristy C (#345)
#2 Gift: Quyen (#265)
#3 Gift: Selina (#335)
#4 Gift: Pavel (#71)
#5 Gift: Emma (#670)
# 6 Gift: Tara (#292)
I’ll be emailing you guys shortly…