Why Create Another Blog About Japan?

Although this seems like a simple and straightforward question, I don’t have a simple answer. In many ways it makes no sense whatsoever. I only lived in Japan for one year and that was 3 years ago.

Also, I am not really a Japanophile. I don't watch anime, read manga, or play many Japanese video games. Nor am I really interested in most of Japan's art and cultural traditions like tea ceremonies, calligraphy, geisha or theater performances.

Yet, there is something about Japan that continues to hold my fascination. For instance, I love Japanese food and drinks. I'm also really interested in Japanese history (especially post-Meiji Japan), politics and people.

However, none of this really answers the question of 'why create another blog about Japan?' Maybe it'll help help if I outline some of my views on the shortcomings of other blogs about Japan and what I hope to get out of this blog.

From what I have seen there are three main types of blogs about Japan. First, you have travel blogs that either focus on Japan exclusively, or more often write about it as one, of many other destinations. Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with them per se, but there are only so many ways you can write about what to do Tokyo before it starts becoming a bit repetitive.

The second type of Japan blogs are those written by people living there that chronicle their day to day lives. In 99.9% of cases this means writing about the "struggles" of teaching English. Now while I have some affinity for these types of blogs, having taught English there myself, they too become repetitive. How many times have I read about the deliciousness of Mos Burger, the existence of alcohol vending machines or the fact that the Japanese have difficulty differentiating between the l and r?

Finally, you have the WTF blogs about Japan. These blogs tend to focus on the weird and wacky side of Japan. Now, I have to admit Japan can seem to be a very strange and thus amusing place. However, there are only so many times (at least if you are me) you can read examples of poorly written signs, watch clips from crazy Japanese game shows or see strange food items before you become a bit desensitized to it all.

Moreover, I think these types of blogs make Japan seem more foreign than it is and to a certain extent  promote ethnic stereotypes. Most countries operate on a variety of levels and Japan is as weird or normal as you make it. Therefore, while I certainly do enjoy the humour aspect of these blogs and Japan in general, it is not what I want to focus on.

So just what am I going to focus on? My first goal is to write about Japan-related topics that I think are important and interesting. This will probably include topics like history, economics, demographics and politics as well stuff like food, language, travel and other interesting aspects of Japanese life.

But, I also want to hear what you have to say about Japan. So, I encourage you to leave comments on any and all of my blog posts. I want you to tell me when I have it right or when I have it wrong. And even better, I encourage you to submit your own stories or articles and see them published right here.

Finally, I would love for this blog to become my full-time job. Even though I think that's unlikely to happen in reality given the amount of competition from other blogs, I hope at the very least that this blog will be able to provide enough money for me to make regular trips back to Japan and then write about my various experiences there.

In the end this all depends on me writing good content. All I ask of you is that if you see something you like, you consider telling other people about it trough social media sites such as twitter, stumbleupon, digg, reddit or even just through e-mail.

So that’s it - my long and rambling explanation for why I am adding one more blog about Japan to the internets.

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Comments (7)

Dumb OtakuMay 15th, 2009 at 12:20 am

Welcome to the Jbloggosphere. You missed a whole group of bloggers 😉 the otaku. hehe.

You have set yourself up to do some remarkable things I hope you are able to keep up to it. The topics you are talking about are some that I like to read about and isn’t talked about all to very much.

I can’t wait to see what comes out of here. As for the paying for stuff. I’ll be honest. You better write some dang good, awesome content, for you to get the revenue to do that. however, you have a legup on some people. You were in Japan.

Anyway good luck am going to subscribe to your blog and add you to my blog roll.

HarveyMay 15th, 2009 at 3:49 am

Welcome to the internets!

I would be interested to hear your opinion on where my blog falls into your blog category thing. Man I hope it doesn’t suck!

JapanianMay 15th, 2009 at 1:34 pm

@Dumb Otaku: You are totally right I completely forgot about the otaku, my sincere apologies. Your blog is really good, I especially like the language posts. I learned a very small amount of Japanese while living there and keep trying to get back into learning it but with relatively little success so far.

@Harvey: Your blog is great and I have to admit it doesn’t really fall into any of the categories I listed (I might have to rethink those…) And, It certainly doesn’t suck! Also, I have to say that Osaka is great, best food anywhere in Japan.

Thank you both for your support.

Chris_DMay 20th, 2009 at 12:22 pm

Hah, I’m not sure how you’ll go earning those megabucks. Best of luck though. The idea of paid for blogs reminds me of sites like Kotaku where youngsters have to bust their balls to meet their daily quotas often resulting in low to middling quality posts. All for fairly miserable compensation I gather.

I have been reading “Tokyo Underworld – The Fast Times and Hard Life of an American Gangster in Japan”, which sounds like it would be right up your alley if you haven’t already read it. Some pretty shocking stuff in there.

Btw, I’m curious what you think of my blog, broken up into a few different sections. Two of the sections “The Pulse of the Japanese Gamer” and “Japan – Challenging the Myths” are pretty much a direct reaction to the (IMO) sketchy coverage of gaming in Japan by the western enthusiast gaming press. To quote:

The Pulse of the Japanese Gamer – Many western journalists claim to understand the Japanese gamer but often this “understanding” is based on a trip to TGS and a day in Akihabara or similar. In this series I talk to real Japanese gamers to see what’s really up!

The road ahead is long!

JapanianMay 23rd, 2009 at 8:37 pm

@Chris_D: Thanks for the book recommendation, I haven’t read it yet but I will definitely give it a look. Your blog has a lot of great stuff so keep up the good work. As you say, The road ahead is long!

JamaipaneseAugust 10th, 2009 at 12:26 am

you have a great site, plus you don’t have to be a Japanophile to love Japan

TrUlsterOctober 16th, 2009 at 9:24 am

Good blog, as you I am interested in the modern Japan of food, fashion, culture. Manga and tea ceremonies, not really. Western countries have a lot to learn from *some* aspects of Japan, not many people realise this before they see the country for themselves.

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