I told you I wouldn’t do New Year’s Resolutions this year, so here’s my Reiwa 6 Resolutions instead.

As I mentioned before, I’ve soured on January 1st as a goal-setting time. It’s a busy holiday period. It’s smack-dab in the middle of the doldrums of winter. How can we realistically set goals for ourselves in such a weird and inopportune time? For me, starting new habits when I’m facing seasonal affective issues because it gets dark at 3 PM is kinda unthinkable. And yet, for years and years and years, I tried that out.

Especially since I started using Hobonichi Techo in 2019, April 1st has felt like the real changing of the years. So, as much as possible, I’m gonna follow the Japanese calendar system. The sixth year of the reign of Emperor Reiwa is a much more exciting way to start a new year–starting April 1st, 2024, and ending March 31st, 2025. It’s spring time! The cherry blossoms are blooming, at least if you’re in Japan or (Washington D.C.), the weather is warming up, the days are getting longer. Misplaced optimism about what the year can bring feels a lot stronger on April 1st than January 1st, because you can actually get some routines going without being bogged down by that post-holiday, cold-weather sluggishness.

With all that in mind, though, I’d like to publicly announce my Reiwa 6 resolutions. A bit late, but for good reasons.

I’ve never even done New Year’s Resolution posts before. I’ll make my goals and keep them private, and then inevitably not stick to them because, you know, nobody ever does. This time, though, the stakes are extremely high. Twelve months from now, I need to have changed up my life. And so I have to set very specific goals. New habits, yeah, but also very specific paths to achieve all of them.

This year is going to be my Clown Arc. For those not in the know, a Clown Arc is when you stop clowning around, when you get into that sigma female grindset, and when you make your shounen battle storyline kick into high gear. I’ll make a separate post about it soon and probably forget to link back to it here. To achieve my main goals, I’ll have to accomplish my sub-goals. And to accomplish my subgoals, I’ll have to do my best.

So for my Reiwa 6 Resolutions, which I will stick to barring major extreme negative life events, I’ll list them now:

Reiwa 6 Resolutions 1: Become a Real-Deal Employee in Japan

reiwa 6 resolutions - tokyo random unrelated pic

So, the past few years have been real rough for me. Moving twice in six months, changing my working location four times, having my annual salary decrease every year since 2021 (and that’s BEFORE the horrible exchange rates). I’m really tired of this downward spiral!

So, I’m going to try as hard as I can to get something better in 2025. Directly hired by a local school or board of education? Heck yeah. Directly hired by a cool international company or an LGBTQ+ advocacy group? Just as great.

Whatever I can do to achieve job stability, to increase my salary, I’m going to find it. It’ll probably still be in teaching, but I won’t limit it just to that. The hiring season won’t really begin until next winter, so I still have about 8 months to go.

Of course, I’m content to stay in my current job another year if it comes to that. But due to circumstances I likely can’t openly discuss (hence the stress), I cannot count on that even a single bit. So I’ll shoot for something great.

Twelve months until that next job starts. Eight or nine months to become the best on-paper candidate ever seen in the history of job applications.

So, how am I gonna do that? Well, here’s some sub-goals:


I’ve got to pass the JLPT N2. I tried back last December, but unfortunately I didn’t study enough and failed–by one point aaaaaauuuughhhhh

This test proves I know Japanese to a B2 level. It’ll let me attend Japanese universities, greatly expand my work opportunities. And I know I’m nearly there.

If I had studied better, I’d have passed it with a big margin of error. But this is so important that I can’t fail again, so this July’s test is vital. (Well, if I fail that, there’s also the December 2024 test, but the results don’t come until the end of January which means it’ll be too late for many of the job applications next hiring season…)

So, I’m going to go through my Japanese textbooks more thoroughly, do more flashcards, use the fun Clozemaster app, and read more news articles. Reading passages is my weakest area in the test, while listening I don’t need to work as hard at–and I studied listening too much last time. Reading longer passages is paramount!

1B: Take a teaching certification course

There’s a bunch of English teaching certification courses online I can take– TEFL, TESOL, CELTA, and more. I don’t know what’s best or most effective, but I know I still need that extra bit of teacher training, at least on paper.

I’d love to be a fully certified professional teacher, too–but that requires a whole in-person university program, probably in Japan. So that’s probably out of the question for now. (There’s a special license system I could apply for but I don’t know the feasibility!)

The important thing is, if I’m at least 50% certain I’m going to be doing a teaching job in April 2025, a real certification is absolutely a must. I’ve been doing assistant English education for a long time now, but so have thousands of other highly qualified candidates. I’ve got to level up my skills and level up my resume.

1C: Senmon Gakkou – The Fallback

Senmon Gakkou, or special professional training, is like American technical college–it’s not a full university program, and usually only two years. But you can get training in specific fields, get certifications and licenses, and usually get a job right after finishing.

It depends on the school, but it seems like the tuition, transportation, and other fees for a two-year program add up to around 2,000,000 yen (currently $13,000 USD, but in normal exchange rates it’s about $20,000). That’s pretty expensive and I’d have a hell of a time paying for it all on a student visa part-time job. But if I can’t find a decent job, I’d be extremely interested in going through a course to learn something brand spanking new. I could study digital design, ICT, car mechanics

I’m very open to completely changing around my life if it comes to it and diving into a totally new career. It sounds like the best thing to do when you’re thirty and broke.

Of course, if I don’t have the JLPT N2, I can’t even enroll in most Senmon Gakkou courses… So if I fail that too, it’s off to a year in Japanese Language School… I almost enrolled in one of those this April until stuff worked out better.

But, if things go well enough, I’ll have a really awesome job in April 2025 without needing to study for 2-3 years in Senmon Gakkou. But I’m keeping this sub-goal just in case.

Reiwa 6 Resolutions 2: Become a Better-Known Author

reiwa 6 resolutions - author

Writing is really fun. That’s probably why I ramble so much on this blog!

But I really want more people to know I exist. I want to make a notable passive income on writing, of course, but I also just want consistent readers, and I want to consistently publish. By April 2025, I want the name B. A. Baker to be one some people think about some of the time, instead of rarely think about a little of the time.

Definitely, I self-sabotaged myself during the Covid era with hiatuses and burnout. Those tough feelings have mostly passed, but I just haven’t been able to return to the levels I wrote in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Not the wordcount, but the consistency of it, and the excitement of it.

Stuff like “force myself to write everyday” always fails; it’s gotta be about getting the fire back to getting cool stuff done and getting cooler people to read it.

To accomplish this, I’ve got a few sub-goals here too:

2A: Write a Visual Novel

If March had gone like I thought, I’d actually be talking about a new visual novel right this moment. Instead, I’ll just say, by the end of this year, I want to write a visual novel and post it online. I’ve done comics, novels, poems, and so many other types of stories, but I want a full-fledged full-length game under my belt. So I’m going to learn Ren’py as well as I can, then work with my friends to make the best little story I can. It won’t be perfect–perfect is my ultimate enemy I must vanquish by giving it the silent treatment and never making eye contact–but it’ll be a cool little thing that people will enjoy well outside my current audience.

2B: Publish a Short Story and an Article

I’ve got tons of complete novels under my belt, and a bunch more short work. But so far, it’s almost all been self-published work.

Nothing wrong with self-published work; I, of course, greatly value every single person who buys my books on Amazon. But it’s been a VERY LONG time since I actually got something accepted by a publisher and put out for the world to see! Self-published stuff doesn’t have the reach, doesn’t have the polish that’ll really help me boost my renown points.

If you look at my publications list, I had some short stories and poems published back in 2014-2016. I probably got like $20 total for all of that, and a free copy of an A6-size book which was really cool. But I just haven’t really tried since then. Heck, I’ve barely written any short-form fiction since 2018!

So I’ve got a two-fold goal to actually get some work published. At least one short story published in a sci-fi or fantasy magazine. Or maybe a literary magazine depending on the story. So I’ll write, I don’t know, three or four, and do the grueling submissions round.

Then, I want to get a non-fiction article published. For a while now, I’ve been reading really great pop culture journalism on sites like Unwinnable, Anime Feminist, and Into the Spine. I’d love to write something good enough to get published on one of those! So far, I haven’t had any tight, focused ideas worth writing about, and my ramble-style writing in my blogs just don’t cut it. But sometime this year, I’m going to hunker down and get something really good.

It’ll make a 0.5% impact on my author career to have a single short story or article published, but it’ll be a personal milestone, and that’s what’s important to me.

2C: Read More Books

I had such a short commute last school year–just 15 minutes, and most of that was walking–that I fell off really hard on reading books or listening to audiobooks. Now, thankfully (?), I have a one-hour commute, which means tons of time for reading.

So I’m going to read more books this year! I’m an author and I don’t read enough books… It’s a little embarrassing!!

2C: Really Big Story – The Fallback

I don’t plan to have a new big fantasy web serial ready by April 2025.

But I’ve been working on one for a really long time now, without telling anyone anything about it (well except one dude). I’ve mentioned it in passing before, but it’s still an incredibly long way away.

With all the other major Clown Arc stuff I’m going to accomplish, I don’t think I’ll have the time or energy to work really hard on this story. But if the opportunity presents itself, oh boy will I dive right in. This will be my very last fantasy web fiction series, most likely, and so in planning I have been pulling out ALL THE STOPS. When this thing eventually exists, you are going to flip the hell out.

Although, again, it probably won’t exist anytime soon.

Reiwa 6 Resolutions 3: Get a Social Life

reiwa 6 resolutions - lesbian

Pic slightly related.

I’ve lived in the Kansai area of Japan (Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Nara) for a year now. And it’s been filled to the brim with new experiences, finally living in a major metro area of Japan with all the freedom that real adulthood has to offer.

I went on a bunch of dates and made a few friends, but I’m still wishing for an actual friend GROUP. Regular events to do with friends, especially several of them. During vacations from school I’m often totally isolated for days at a time, and it’s kinda boring a lot of the time. For the last of my Reiwa 6 resolutions, I want to change that.

3A: New Hobbies

I wanna try out new stuff this year. I’m quite shy, which makes this an extra special challenge–it’s very difficult for me to just show up to some established group of field hockey players and say, “Hey I’m brand-new. Help me out and be my friend!” But I really wanna find new stuff to try.

Most of my hobbies–going to the movies, browsing used goods stores, playing games, taking long walks–are fundamentally pretty solitary. So I’ve gotta branch out a little bit. This might be the most difficult challenge in this entire bunch, though…

3B: Get a Relationship

I’ve never had a long-term romantic relationship my entire life. Any romance I’ve been involved with has flamed out within 2-3 months, and I haven’t even had one of those in many years.

Kinda weird to put “get a relationship” as a goal to grindset in the epic Clown Arc Reiwa 6 resolutions or whatever, because that’s not even remotely how it works, but I guess what I can do is actually more actively search for one–I haven’t done that so far. Short-term stuff has been fun, and meeting lots of people has charged my social batteries more than I could have ever imagined. But I just want to meet someone really cool! And just… date them for a while! Have regular meetups and hangouts! Venture into brand-new life experiences and have a ton of fun!

It takes a ton of work to find the right person. But I’m willing to put in that work… Especially if that person can help me with Japanese communication so I can pass the JLPT N2 lol

3C: Go Back to School – The Fallback

If I can’t manage an actual social life by April 2025, probably the best way to do it is… to go back to school and become a student… So, back to that Senmon Gakkou or Japanese Language School idea. Would I be willing to pay $15,000 to force myself back into a very social setting?

Yes, yes I would be.

Reiwa 6 Resolutions Conclusion

Twelve months to make it count, and three resolutions to make come true.

I’m going to make this stuff happen and it’s going to be epic as hell. Please root for me and give me the spirit energy I need!

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