It was an ordinary weekday night, my husband and I ventured out to dinner at Locale (if you haven’t been, please go), and I was sipping a delicious red wine when I heard a voice all too familiar to me. I knew this voice, but from where? I scanned the restaurant and then I spotted her. I squeezed my husband’s arm- “It’s The Tokyo Chapter...” I felt as in though I was meeting a celebrity when I interrupted her to ask if she was in fact, Jo of the Tokyo Chapter.
If you have ever researched a trip to Tokyo or anything related to life in Japan with kids, it's more likely than not that you have come across The Tokyo Chapter. Run by the incredibly relatable and humble “Jo,” short for Johanna, The Tokyo Chapter provides an incredible resource of itineraries and language and etiquette guides for visitors to Japan and oftentimes expats navigating their new surroundings.
Upon meeting Jo, she is as relatable and easy to chat with as she comes across on her blog and instagram platform. Since meeting her, Jo and I have kept in touch, trading tips on life in Japan, raising littles and balancing career goals on top. And when I started thinking of The Land of Chic, I knew I had to feature Jo.
Describing herself as a “language-nerd” who is a sentimental storyteller and connector, it makes perfect sense as to why Jo runs The Tokyo Chapter. She loves documenting her life with her children, reliving the little details in things and bringing people together. And her blog does exactly that. She manages to stay true to herself and her honest perspective and love for Japan is evident in all her writing.
If you take a look at her blog, you will be amazed by just how much information there is on life in Japan. Whether you are looking for a quick travel itinerary outside Tokyo, how to decipher full fat milk from low fat milk, or where to take your kids on a rainy day in Tokyo, you will find all things Japan on The Tokyo Chapter. Jo hopes to grow The Tokyo Chapter to be the go-to resource for people when they think of Japan and she is well on her way!
As a mom of two, Jo admits that it takes a lot of balance to run her blog and grow it to where she wants it to be while raising her kids. She says she has had to “let the perfectionist in [her] go a little,” and “learn to work in the small pockets of time,” rather than wait for that big chunk of time that will never happen. She attributes her growth to “showing up and being persistent.”
On the outside looking in, Jo seems to be doing it all with her kids- taking them on exciting adventures (pre-Covid), creating fun activities for them and making delicious meals WHILE working and creating a career she’s passionate about.
She’s incredibly proud of her blog as it is something she has created solely by herself and adds value to other people’s experiences in Japan. On top of all of that she feels incredibly lucky that it allows her flexibility and time with her family.
She says her favorite thing in running her blog is the writing and if she could stay in a room all day writing and editing photos, she would. Her main goal in running The Tokyo Chapter is to have her own steep learning curve on life in Japan make things the slightest bit easier for others and have them learn from her own mistakes. And I think for anyone who has used her guides it has done exactly that. For some more background on Jo’s history and ties to Japan, visit her story https://www.thetokyochapter.com/my-chapters/
The one thing Jo can’t live without?
“I do love my lovely little life-line that is my phone,” she confesses. It allows her to relive incredibly special memories with her children as they grow older, connects her to the world outside of her kids’ lunchboxes and cartoons, and a listen to all the podcasts she loves.
Her advice to others (and her own kids)?
First, try not to worry about others too much, as most people don’t really care about you as much as you think they do. And second, try just a bit harder than everyone else. (It is SO clear that Jo lives by this mantra herself!) She says you don’t have to be the best or first to do something, but try a bit harder than everyone else and it will take you so much further in life.
Jo - Thank you for all your insights, thank you for always sharing so much with us and keep it coming! <3 It has been fascinating to learn more about you and it’s so impressive what you have done in the last few years. I cannot wait to see where you take the Tokyo Chapter next!
Stay inspiring, stay chic.
For more details on Jo’s background and ties to Japan check out her blog:
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