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Note this was totally rewritten in November 2007

After two years running 世論 What Japan Thinks, and with recent coverage in the press, I decided it was time to update this “about me and the site” section. It’ll be in the form of a series of questions and answers.

Why 世論 What Japan Thinks?

I first got the idea for this site after spending at least two years on and off looking for data on Japanese religious beliefs. We have probably all heard the statistic that 80%, 90%, or even 99% of all Japanese are either or both Shinto and Buddhist, but anyone living in Japan soon realises that this figure is bogus; religion observance on the whole is ritual or superstition, and these figures are no more valid than counting everyone in the West who sends a Christmas card as a Christian. So, one day I finally discovered a survey on religious observance, so I translated it and posted it to a bulletin board. It got zero reaction, and I left it at that for a couple of months.

However, on that bulletin board, and in other locations, when debate turned to looking at the Japanese psyche there were so many broad assumptions and personal opinions passed off as gospel with gay abandon. “All Japanese are …”, or the worse “Japanese are…”, followed by gross simplifications or flat out lies. I’d been trying to start a blog for a bit before then, so I thought if I could find out and present the facts it would provide a frame of reference for people, and hopefully make some money too. So, 世論 What Japan Thinks was born, initially as a Blogger blog.

Now, two years down the line, and with over 900 posts, I can look back on what I’ve done and be rather pleased with myself. I’ve also made a few good online friends which, if time permits, I might even get round to meeting in person some day.

Can you conduct a survey for me?

Please note that I do not conduct these surveys I report on, so I cannot perform ones to order. They are performed by major and minor Japanese survey companies and posted as press releases and other public reference materials. I have no special secret data source or other insider information. Please contact these companies for information on how to conduct market research in Japan.

Actually, I do plan one day to sponsor a survey, but that’s another story.

Can I use your data?

The data itself is uncopyrightable according to my understanding of copyright law, so do as you please. My additional text falls under normal copyright law, so you may either quote a reasonable degree of my content or paraphrase as required. Acknowledgement and a URL link are of course most welcome in return.

The limits are: please do not republish the whole article without asking first; please do not republish behind a pay site barrier; and please do not repackage and resell. For example, copying all my iPhone surveys and pasting them into a $50 ebook is out of the question.

Can I ask a question?

Sure, fire away. Email is best, but I don’t guarantee any turn-around time time, but I’ll try my best to answer promptly.

Can I advertise here?

I have an advertising options page here. Custom requests are also welcome, of course.

Can you do some consulting work for me?

I’d love to, but I don’t really have the free time, sadly.

Can you add my site to your blogroll please?

No. To expand the answer, if you write stuff that I enjoy I may add you to my roll, or I may link to you from a story. From a search engine link profile point of view, I think blogroll links are overrated, especially when some sites have hundreds rolling down the page. A single contextual link in an article is, I believe, worth more as Google perhaps filters out the static sidebar links as just noise.

What other sites do you run?

My two main other sites are brainscannr and My Buddhist Name. I’ve also got a couple of other minor ones that don’t do much, and there’s also the weekly What Japan Thinks newsletter.

How much money do you make?

Not a lot, quite frankly! I have two main income streams, AdSense and a certain other scheme whose name I dare not mention, and multiple $10 per month or less schemes from FeedBurner Ad Network to AuctionAds. Counting just translation time I earn under 1,000 yen per hour. I’m still trying to work out how to do affiliate marketing.

Are you really an anti-social git?

“Yes” is probably the most accurate answer, with a tacked-on “…but I’m getting better”. I have very little free time, and what I do have I tend to spend with my wife, so I’m not available to go off to the pub at the drop of a hat. I am also rather horrendously shy, so I don’t acknowledge other gaijin-looking characters I see in the street. However, if you do see me, please come up and say “Hi!”; it would make my day! I used to be a biker and I would always nod or wave to my fellow riders as there is a lot of shared experiences and bonds between us, but I don’t feel that same link with foreigners in Japan.

Looking on the bright side, I’ve made a good number of friends through blogging and I do feel close to them, although (because?) we are separated by an electronic barrier.

Oh, and I don’t do SNS, Twitter, IM, Skype, etc. Sorry! However, WJT does have a FaceBook page that just serves as a placeholder, and I have a personal page too somewhere.

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