What is this thing?

Hi. Welcome to Learned - a newsletter about being better. Sometimes, it’s a newsletter about whatever interesting thing I’ve found on the internet. Sometimes it’s about new information tools, sometimes it’s about trying to figure out why the hell K-pop is so popular. Sometimes it’s just about my life as a long-term expat in Japan.

My original idea was to keep a running log of all the weird things I tried. Eventually, that morphed into recommendations on new learning tools, anecdotes and stories of my experiences, and, yes, a running lof of all the weird things I try. But, what surprised even me, was how much of the newsletter is devoted to just trying to understand what is happening in the world today, from big issues like data security to small ones like the rise of K-Pop.

So, at the moment, Learned is a newsletter about all those things: learning, trying new things, and making sense of the world. It will probably evolve a few more limbs as time goes on, and I'm looking forward to seeing what they will be.

And why a newsletter?

I used to be a blogger but I was looking for something a little more structured than a standard blog post. I had heard (and subscribed to) several newsletters and really liked the idea of starting my own. I put it off until I came up with a concept I thought would work, and that concept eventually became Learned.

Also, I enjoy getting on the ground floor of things. And when I see a nicely put-together package like Substack, I want to participate. Substack offers an easy way to put out a newsletter and website without a whole lot of effort on my part, which means I can spend more time writing and less time worrying about coding and formatting.

Sounds good. So, who are you again?

I'm Joel. I'm an English teacher. I'm currently working on my MA through Leicester University. I'm a writer and photographer. Nice to meet you.

e-mail: joeldavidneff at gmail

instagram: @smileytoad

twitter: @joeldneff 

ko-fi: coffee

Why the capybara?

Capybaras are lazy, river-dwelling rodents who like nothing more than to spend the whole day laying in the mud and eating stuff. They are my spirit animal.

I like this thing. How can I support it?

First, thank you so much. Second, there are a few ways to support the newsletter (and me, by extension):

1. Subscribe!

Subscribing is the best and easiest way to help out. There are two kinds of subscriptions - free and paid. Both levels receive the newsletter once a week, but paid subscribers are able to leave comments on the website. They will also be able to participate in forums and discussion boards when they go live (someday.)

The paid subscription is $5 a month or you can get the entire year for only $30.

2. Click!

Under the "What We're Reading" section of every newsletter is an Amazon Affiliate link to the book in question. This link will take you to Amazon and, if you buy the book at that time, Amazon will give a small percentage of the sale to me.

3. Coffee!

If you're not up for subscribing or buying a book, but still want to send a little bit of money my way, use the Kofi link in the "Elsewhere" section and this will let you make a small, one-time donation of however much you want to give.

4. Share!

Give a gift subscription

If you're not into sending money or clicking links, the biggest thing you can do to support the newsletter is to share it on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or wherever else you post stuff. You can also forward the letter to friends or family from your inbox.

Regardless of whether you subscribe, donate, click, or share, I appreciate your interest and support. Thank you!

Give me some more examples?

Sure. Here are a few of my favorite issues so far: