I am so happy to start off a series called “Blog Crush,” featuring bloggers I admire around the world, with Kaho of Chuzai Living Blog. Chuzai Living is one of my biggest blog inspirations and Kaho is my very first blog-friend. Kaho started commenting on my blog in Indonesia and soon met up and found out that not only were we fellow trailing-spouses, but also neighbours in Jakarta. I truly miss living in the same city as Kaho, meeting up and talking about about expat life, interior design, blogging tips and everything under the sun. She has helped and inspired me with her blog and just by being the wonderful friend that she is.
Tell us something about yourself that your readers don’t know:
I have been doing 30-minute work out in the morning 3 to 5 times a week for almost 3 years. I used to swim for 30 minutes in the morning when I lived in Jakarta, but now I get on a tread mil and jog for 30 minutes.
My favorite food isJapanesegyoza (pot stickers), salad, pizzas, and sushi rolls. Too many…?
Favorite color: White
Happy place: My home
Type of music that you listen to:
Jazz, Bossa nova, and alternative rock.
Favorite TV shows:
I haven’t watched TV shows in a long time… I like to watch TV5 news, a French program, when I’m on a tread mil in the morning. Strange?
Definitely chocolate. And shopping. I feel guilty shopping for myself!
Chuzai Living blog is an amazing source of information on the cities she’s lived in and traveled to. She manages to find hidden gems everywhere and handles the challenges of expat life with elegance.Her sense of style, eye for photography and beauty and authentic voice is something that I continue to admire.
Chuzai is a Japanese word which means “living overseas for an extended period of time due to an occupational assignment”. A person or family who is doing chuzai is “expatriate” in English. Thus “Chuzai Living” can be translated into “Expat Living”.
When and why did you decide to create a blog?
I started blogging in March 2010. I was and still am a full time stay-at-home mom. I was craving to do something creative to better myself and needed an incentive to improve my photography. I learned photography from my friend who’s now a professional photographer.
How has your blog changed over the years?
It started with a personal journal and it changed into more of a journal living overseas with information that could possibly help other expats.
How has your blog changed or helped you?
It broadened my horizon. It gave me opportunities that I would have not had otherwise, and met some cool people.
What would be good piece of advice to anyone who would want to start a blog?
Keep in mind not to overthink. After having spent some time coming up with the name and the overall content and goal, you just need to jump in. You will start to hear your voice and the blog will transform into how you want it to be shaped as you spend more time with it.
Resources that you can recommend to fellow bloggers or aspiring bloggers:
I took Blogging Your Way online course 7 months into my blogging which was very helpful for me. I learned a lot as I didn’t know much about blogging at the time. Taking a blog course that suits your need. That would be my number 1 recommendation. If you like photography, I think it’s worth taking a photography course as well. If I lived in the U.S. or Europe, I would love to participate in one of the Blogger workshops or meet-ups. It’s my dream to go and meet some bloggers that I admire, but at the moment, I’m too far away!
Design and Style
I love how passionate Kaho is about design and style and you can see it in her blogging and photography. I especially look forward to Kaho’s blog posts about her home.
How would you describe your personal design and style sensibilities?
Simple, clean and contemporary. I like original and edgy as well.
Shops/webshops/brands are you currently loving?
I love KOI Kemang in Jakarta, Indonesia, MUJI from Japan, Zara, H&M, H&M Home and IKEA.
Fashion styles you are currently loving?
I like simple, elegant yet classy.
Gwyneth Paltrow, Olivia Palermo
Many people thing that the life of an expat is rainbows and luxury, but the truth is we have many limitations too and it is how beautiful we make life that makes it luxurious no matter how little or how much we earn. Kaho creates a beautiful life for her family wherever she finds herself in the world. She honestly shares her expat learnings and challenges on her blog. Though I am not a mom yet, I like reading about expat parenting resourcefulness and insight from Kaho.
How do you prepare your kids for expat life? Do you have any advice or tips for moms or future moms, who are about to embark on expat life on how best to prepare or support their children?
Be open and talk with your kids about the move and listen to them. Learn about the new country and city where you’ll live and talk to them about them. Include children in some decision making. Be positive. If parents are happy, kids sense it and they become happy as well.
You’ve lived in many cities with your husband. Name one thing you miss most and one thing you don’t miss about each city?
I usually forget about the negative aspects of each city after I leave, so I can’t remember… but what I miss the most are the following…
- Kumamoto, Japan: Being able to see the Kumamoto Castle everyday
- Okinawa, Japan: Gorgeous crystal clear water and white sand beaches
- Austin, Texas: The alternative yet cool, hip and laid back life style
- Washington, D.C.: The political energy of the city, atmosphere and the architecture
- Dakar, Senegal: Relaxing life style with great music and pretty ocean view
- Jakarta, Indonesia: Beautiful aesthetic, stylish restaurants and cafes, and wonderful massages!!! Also, the proximity to Bali!
Favorite city to live in and why?
Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area Growing up in Japan, I always thought that New York City would be my city in the U.S. I, however, fell in love with Washington, D.C. and the political atmosphere. The cherry blossom season and change of leaves season in the area remind me of my home, Japan, and that also attributed to my love of Washington, D.C.
Is there any important piece of advice or words of wisdom that you have found most helpful to remember as you move around the world?
“Bloom where you are planted.” I always try to make the best out of a city we live in.
“Consider what a long way you’ve come today.” We need to be nice to ourselves when we are overseas away from our comfort zones.
Another thing Kaho loves is travel. She is very practical, has very good taste and looks for affordable yet great value travel. So I usually follow her restaurant and travel recommendations because she plans and budgets her trips well.
Favorite city visited so far and why? Oh, to pick one would be too hard!!
Dream travel destination: Maldives – The water looks so amazing!
3 Most unforgettable restaurants to-date and why?
- Transit Cafe was our favorite restaurant in Okinawa, Japan. The restaurant sits on the second floor overlooking the East China Sea. The food was delicious. I still think about this restaurant.
- Ray’s The Stakes in Virginia, U.S.A. I’m not a big stake eater, but I love their stakes. It’s to me a good classy American restaurant with delicious food that doesn’t get old. It’s a good place to take out-of-town guests.
- KOI Kemang, a cool cafe & gallery, in Jakarta, Indonesia. I love the whole package of KOI’s delicious food (desserts!), drinks, the interior design of the space, and music. My family loved their breakfast! The furniture gallery upstairs is a bonus.
5 Travel must haves:
- foldable laundry basket
- something to entertain kids (drawing kit)
3 Travel tips:
- Pack light.
- Bring comfortable shoes.
- If traveling internationally, check security status of your destination.
If I may add one more… In case of international travel, check your passport expiration date and visa requirement!
Words to live by
If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. It is the hard that makes it great.”– Tom Hanks in “A League Of Their Own”
Thank you so much Kaho for allowing me to feature you on Blog Crush! I hope everyone enjoyed reading the interview and seeing Kaho’s photographs as much as I did.
If you guys aren’t following Kaho’s blog yet, you can read more on Kaho’s special brand of Chuzai Living below and follow her social networking profiles where she shares scrumtious bites of inspiration daily.