I said, let there be Furamo
I got into web development as a hobby in middle school and built a bunch of personal web pages. I loved building the things more than updating them, so I kept throwing old ones away and creating new ones. At some point, I wanted to start a new blog but didn’t know what to call it. So I built a tool that generated words from Japanese syllables. I ended up picking Furamo (フラモ) from the generated words. I kept updating that blog for around 10 years and the name has continued to be my online pseudonym.
Back when I started Furamo, I was a poor high school student, so I didn’t have money for web hosting. But my mom’s consulting agency had just opened its website, so I got permission to host my blog in a folder on that. So this blog started off more or less as www.someconsulting.com/furamo. I’m sure if my mom had been more savvy around computers, I wouldn’t have been allowed to host a teenager’s personal blog there. Fortunately, I got embarrassed about it soon enough myself and moved it elsewhere.
I was really proud of the crappy blogging engine I built, so I invited chosen high school classmates to blog there too. They didn’t write there for long, but later another co-blogger did. There was this one stranger who was a reader of my blog and also became a writer. Since she had regular updates and a bunch of readers like me, it felt like she was my partner in this stuff for quite a while.
Since it was 15 years ago and the Internet still had little quality stuff on it, you didn’t need to write amazing content to gain an audience. A lot of random people found my blog and became regular readers. Over the years there were many occasions when I would meet someone out drinking and they would tell me they know me from my blog. I found some good friends this way and even dated a few of those people.
It just kept going
I celebrated Furamo’s birthday with more enthusiasm than my own. For years it was a tradition to have a quiz for all the people at the blog’s birthday party where I showed a random blog post, and you had to guess which date I wrote it on. The one who missed by the least days in total would be the winner. One of my friends keeps reminding me to this day that he has this super ugly plushie that was given to him as a reward for winning one of those quizzes.
In 2010 a local flooring company replaced their previous name with “Furamo” and I’m pretty sure they stole the name from my blog. This blog was not online from 2012 up until now, but I guess I’m now back to tell people what the real Furamo is about. Not carpets. It’s about sharing ideas.
I kept developing the site, completely changing its looks and adding new features until at some point it was a fully featured Facebook clone where anyone could register and start their own blog. Well, its users were only my friends and acquaintances, so I wasn’t a real competitor to Facebook (or Orkut, which was our main social network).
While the blog had a decent amount of readers, I’d say its contents were questionable. I used it as an avenue to get rid of unnecessary thoughts and emotions. Some posts were cringy poems. Some were fiction. There were crappy self-insert superhero stories. There was also an overabundance of metaphoric text which I fancied a literary equivalent to abstract art. Well, I was young when I wrote all that stuff. But I still fondly look back to most of those posts.
Then it died
For years, whenever something interesting happened, I immediately imagined the blog post I would write about it. But as time passed, I started writing less and less. At one point, I was looking for a new job. A company that I applied to found my blog. I heard that after my interview they kept making fun of me and my blog at their internal meetings. I did have a ton of embarrassing posts up because I had always just written whatever came to my mind. I passed the job interview, but I felt humiliated about the whole blog stuff and didn’t join their team. Instead, I completely deleted Furamo from the Internet so that people wouldn’t find all that personal stuff when they google my name.
And now it is reborn
Now the blog is finally online again. I don’t really have any expectations for it, i guess I’ll see where it goes.
By the way, this post’s cover picture is a stencil I made of the imaginary personification of Furamo during the teenage phase when I thought graffiti was cool