Archive for February, 2006


The Japanese A-List?

Posted by on Friday, 24 February, 2006

I’m sure that all of you are familiar with the Technorati Top 100 – the list of the most influential (as in, linked to) blogs right now. The bloggers on this Top 100 list are the so-called “A-Listers” of the blogging world.

Anyway, when reading through the Top 100 you will find a lot of famous names and probably a lot of sites you yourself visit often, if not daily. However, I can bet you that there are lots of blogs on the Top 100 which you never heard of, let alone visited, because one simple reason: they are in Japanese. Yes, there are quite a few Japanese blogs on the Top 100 list actually – it surprised me a little.

So I thought I would do all you non-Japanese speakers a favor and describe what the top-ranked (according to Technorati) Japanese blogs are about. After going through most of them I noticed an odd trend…I shall return to it with my conclusions after the list!

More of a newsposting site than a traditional blog – it has all the latest Japanese and world wide IT news listed in different categories.

Also more of a IT-news site than a blog – this is owned by Japanese media company Mainichi Communications.

22.Ganbare, seikyo no Shiraishi-san
This is the first “real” blog – written by an employee of Tokyo Agricultural University.

25. AV Watch
Another new site, this time the Audio&Video part of the Watch Impress media site.

36. Manabe Kaori no koko dake no hanashi
This blog belongs to actress and mode Kaori Manabe .

This is basically a Japanese Digg. Even the interface is virturally identical.

48. Tetsuba tekito Nikki
A blog written by a guy who apparantly has travelled around Japane on his motorcycle – there are lots of pictures from his trip.

73. Excite Oddly Enough
Excite Japan’s newssite with odd news around the world.

77. ITmedia PC Update
Well, another subsection of the IT media news site.

83. Shokotan Blog
Singer/Model Shoko Nakagawa’s personal blog.

92. Geino and Sports Kawaraban
A guy in Osaka posting about entertainment, sports, and current events.

Well, do you see the dominating pattern here? The majority of the Japanese “blogs” dominating the Technorati Top 100 are not really blogs at all! Sure, I’d go along and call that Digg-clone a blog, but most of the news sites above are produced by big media companies and are just, traditional news sites. I don’t know what to say about this, other than that perhaps the Technorati staff either do not check foreign (as in non-English) blogs for content, or sites like ITMedia and Myweb are OK for inclusion on the Blog Ranks. In that case, CNN & New York Times should be included as well…

So, what started as a post that was going to inform the world on what are “hot topic” blogs in Japan, turned into a boring list of news sites which have somehow managed to get into the Top 100 blogs of the Internet. Wrong? I think so, but it’s just my opinion.


Schoolgirl arrested in Osaka for pimping younger girl

Posted by on Wednesday, 22 February, 2006

I’m torn here. Should I be apalled, or should I applaud the business sense of this young girl? 😉

A 14-year-old schoolgirl who introduced a younger girl to a man who paid to perform obscene acts with her has been arrested, police said. […] Investigators said the girl introduced a 13-year-old junior high school girl from Kyoto to a 25-year-old worker from Osaka’s Higashisumiyoshi-ku. The worker is suspected of paying 55,000 yen to perform obscene acts with the girl at a hotel in Kyoto in December last year. […] The 14-year-old girl reportedly met the younger girl through an Internet matchmaking site. She handed the younger girl 20,000 yen, and took the rest of the money as an “introduction fee,” police said.

(Source Mainichi Daily News)


How did these people end up on my site?

Posted by on Wednesday, 15 February, 2006

Well I may be shooting myself in the foot by posting this, but I went through my stats today (I use the wonderful BAStats plugin for WordPress) and just for fun I checked all referring pages since I enabled the stats.

I found some puzzling entries at the end of the list, let me tell you that!! I wonder, how (and why) on earth these people ended up on my site. Here are some of the more obscure search terms:

“death + sword” (an image search… dude, I don’t even know what you were looking for)
“my japan trip june 2005” (huh? It looks like someone’s vanity search, but why click on someone else’s page?)
“videos de michael jackson en japan” (nope… no videos of Michael Jackson here!!)
“death” (another image search…probably the same guy as above! Get some help, please!)
“japan av movie” (What? In no way do I have anything adult-related here! I’m appalled!)
“How to tie Geisha hair” (And again I am completely dumbfounded. Yes there is one mention of Geisha, but that’s it.)
“why am I a failure?” (The answer is not here, my friend.)
“outrageous stuff” (Should I be flattered?)
“japan nail design” (And again… Whaaaat?)
“johan models” (Hmmm… What in God’s name was the person doing this search trying to find?)
“extreme hair groth” (Well, there’s nothing extreme about my hair. Myabe you’re looking for my brother?)
“Talk to the hand” (Ok, fine, but first: why my hand?)
“japan hand job” (That’s just inappropriate search behavior dude.)

Wow… Some interesting stuff going on, wouldn’t you say? By the way, I would like to give a shout out to the top three referrers of all time (well, since October really, since that was when I installed BAStats):
An Englishman in Osaka


Valentine’s Day in Japan

Posted by on Friday, 10 February, 2006

Pascal Caffet Original Chocolate
Valentine’s Day in Japan is a huge deal – I mean HUGE, especially business-wise. I am not sure how much individual business in the various department stores around Ginza, Shinjuku, etc. can be directly linked to Valentine’s Day, but it’s got to be a massive amount of money! The Japanese absolutely love events, especially ones that mean gift giving in some way. Valentine’s Day caters directly to the heart of the Japanese culture and spirit in that sense!

The Japanese celebrate Valentine’s Day in a very orthodox way, the women buy the men presents, and possibly there is a romantic dinner on the evening of February 14. That’s pretty much it. In many other cultures, this strict female -> male gift giving has been changed to become sort of a mutual romantic holiday, where it’s mainly the women who get gifts. Not so in Japan. The reason? White Day on March 14, which is sort of the opposite, where it’s the men’s turn to “give back” to the woman (or women) who gave them something on Valentine’s Day. In the resources regarding White Day I have found, it says that it was invented in 1965 by a marshmallow maker. (I had heard that it was Joseph Dunkle, president of Aunt Stella’s Cookies who introduced it, but apparently that was untrue.)

Back to Valentine’s Day though. One of my favorite parts of the whole shebang surrounding this day is the big chocolate fairs that they have in the big department stores. Giving chocolate for Valentine’s Day has become such a big business that many department stores set up special booth areas for approximately two weeks leading up to it, where chocolate makers from all over the world present their goods. They often have special Valentine’s Day only gift packs, and some are unique only to Japan (being the huge market it is). And here is the real clincher: they give out samples of their stuff, lots of it! (Note however, that the most famous brands, such as Marcolini and Pascal Caffet, will usually not give out samples, because they are so sure of their brand’s superior taste…) Last weekend, me and my girlfriend walked around the Chocolate Fair at Takashimaya Shinjuku for an hour sampling pretty much everything there was (and some things twice) and then we travelled across town to Printemps Ginza to check out their Chocolate lineup. All in all, a very rewarding day! This weekend, we will try to hit Takashimaya and Mitsukoshi in Nihonbashi and perhaps Matsuya in Ginza.

The companies displaying products at these fairs are the very best in the Chocolate business: Pascal Caffet, Galler, Wittamer, Pierre Ledent, Godiva, Teuscher, Läderrach, Pierre Marcolini, Le Cordon Bleu, Daskalides, Marc Debailleul etc.

Personally, I strongly recommend Galler and Pierre Ledent, those are my two favorites!


Photos from Sumida River

Posted by on Friday, 3 February, 2006

Some photos I took last May during a stroll down the side of Sumida River.