Japan Personal Blog of the Year – runners up

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All the winners have been contacted, but I’m too busy having a holiday to do much – please bare with me as we look at mini-reviews of all the blogs that didn’t quite make it. Last up is the personal blogs. This is the hardest to review by definition, as one just might not find someone else’s life interesting! Fortunately for me, all the blogs here do not fall into the uninteresting category.

RSS icon Rocking in Hakata: I’m a fan of this blog and this blogger – a very interesting look at a slice of life somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Next time he comes to the Kansai I’ll have to get him to buy me a drink. 😉

RSS icon Watashi to Tokyo / Mari’s Diary: Another blog I’m a big fan of. She rounds-up news from both Japan and abroad with short summaries of the stuff that tickles her fancy. Her blog has a nice and simple clean design, and it always brightens up my day when she posts.

RSS icon Blue Lotus: This is a blog that’s new to me! It revolves mostly around food and photography. A very personal slice of her life is presented in words and pictures, so please visit and see if it takes your fancy.

RSS icon jeansnow.net: I must admit that when I first saw this blog I read the title as “Jeans Now”, which struck me as a rather odd name for a blog on Japan… An excellently designed blog, as one would expect from someone who follows design and pop culture in Japan. Lots of interesting stuff, including reviews of latest magazine issues in assorted genres. Lots to learn about here!

I noticed with these four sites also that they all had their RSS feed buttons hidden away; the use of feeds is really the best way to get loyal readers, so I think they should move their buttons a bit further up the pages – having said that, jeansnow.net has over 2,000 readers regardless, so take all my advice with a pinch of salt!

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Japan Tech Blog of the Year – runners up

Whilst I get in contact with the winners of each group, I’ll do mini-reviews of all the blogs that didn’t quite make it. This was one group that didn’t get many nominations – is the topic not interesting, or is there a lack of bloggers, or some combination of the two? I was hoping to discover more blogs myself through this category.

RSS icon Digital World Tokyo: I love their logo and the clean site design, barring the distracting humping dog in the corner… Lots of the latest tech news from Japan, and this is another site that I really should nick layout and presentation ideas from!

RSS icon Tokyomango: Another bright and breezy blog, focusing on the weirder side of technology. Slipper pong was a revelation to me.

RSS icon blognation Japan: Oops, this site has died; see TechCrunch for more details. That’s a shame, as the writer, Robert, has good ideas on how to make the Japan blogging community work, so hopefully he’ll reappear somewhere else.

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Japan Culture Blog of the Year – runners up

Whilst I get in contact with the winners of each group, I’ll do mini-reviews of all the blogs that didn’t quite make it. Next up is the culture blogs

RSS icon RSS icon neomarxisme and clast: Despite two blogs for the price of one here, he just didn’t quite manage to get enough votes to win. His personal neomarxisme has sort-of wound down, with his work-sponsored clast taking up some of his blogging time – his other blogging home, neojaponisme also picks up fromwhere neomarxisme left off. His blog reminds me of a friend from school who used to write letters to our local newspaper about existentialism.

RSS icon Sushi Day: Not really a blog about Japan, but I thought it was such a colourful and nicely-designed blog it would be fun to introduce it to everyone. Many interesting sushi recipes with an American flavour; funnily enough, her latest post mentions that she has eaten raw fish sushi for her first time ever!

RSS icon No-sword: A blog about Japanese language, literature, culture, and art, as it describes itself. Another fascinating blog about little looked-at corners of Japan. This is the sort of blog that should have better exposure, so I hope that this goes some way to spreading its name around.

RSS icon ryuganji: he opening page is more magaziney than bloggish, which helps to highlight the very good use of photography to illustrate the stories. Lots of stuff on the side of Japanese cinema that doesn’t usually get touched upon in English.

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Japan Humourous Blog of the Year – runners up

Whilst I get in contact with the winners of each group, I’ll do mini-reviews of all the blogs that didn’t quite make it. I’m sure there’s a word to describe this, but if I stare at “humourous” for too long the word just starts looking all strange and meaningless. Anyway, on with the show.

RSS icon The Hopeless Romantic and His Adventures in Japan (Claytonian@YouTube): I have to admit that I find personal videos hard to watch as I have a thing about seeing my own face, and somehow other people’s faces remind me of that. Also, for some reason my computer’s not playing the sound on the videos either. Sorry Claytonian, but I’ll review your actual blog instead! Lots of good stuff about his life in Japan; I liked and can identify with trying and failing to speak keigo!

RSS icon an englishman in osaka: Hey, that’s cool; if you search Google for an englishman in osaka, you – well, just try it and see. This blog is updated far less regularly than it should be, and his British sense of humour is spot on, for instance with this look at the new fingerprinting procedures.

RSS icon Gaijin Tonic: Another British blogger, this time drinking his way through life in Japan. Wonderfully silly stuff throughout!

RSS icon TV in Japan: Silly Japanese. YouTube. Copyright trampling. On TV. In Japan.

Today’s SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) lesson – the top two vote-getters called for votes through YouTube video broadcasts – perhaps this is a worthwhile way of promoting one’s blog.

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Japan Serious Blog of the Year – runners up

Whilst I get in contact with the winners of each group, I’ll do mini-reviews of all the blogs that didn’t quite make it.

RSS icon Trans-Pacific Radio: In second place was the only PodCast I listen to, TPR. They cover Japanese politics in their core show, but also foray into business issues in BizCast Japan. I’m glad, I suppose, that they didn’t win as I’m such a big fan it would have seemed like a fix. Despite the Debito-supplied Duran Duran I listen to every show and you should too.

RSS icon Japan Probe: One of the top entertainment blogs on Japan, but one that also tries to educate. James has a great eye for a story and has amassed a good selection of contributors to the blog without losing focus. There’s so much good material that this is another must read site.

RSS icon JapanNewbie.com: This is a new-to-me blog, but the latest post today on Donald L Philippi was most interesting, and there’s a lot of other good content to be found. I’ve added this one to my reading list.

RSS icon Daily J: This blog is centred around Japan blogger interviews, and is trying to foster, no, make that build a Japanese blogger community, something I feel should exist, and I hope that this Japan Blog of the Year vote has somehow helped towards that goal. Oh yes, and about the Japan Blog Matsuri – I have an alternative yet cunning plan, and I’ll have to talk to you soon regarding one or the other matsuris!

On a side note, one thing I noticed about all four blogs is that their RSS feeds are well-hidden! Japan Newbie’s was the only one appearing above the fold (ie, appearing on the page without scrolling) although it does look a little lonely sitting all alone there; on the other hand Daily J does have a newsletter within easy reach.

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Japan Blogs of the Year – results

First, thank you to everyone who voted, and thank you to everyone who nominated or commented in the threads. I hope you all found it interesting and have added a few new blogs to your reading list; I’ve enjoyed running this, so it would be nice to try to make this an annual feature.

Second, this is just a summary of the winners; over the slow New Year period, and once I get some comment from the winners, I’ll review the winners in detail and the candidates in summary, and work out how to distribute the prizes, etc. In addition, I will also select a bonus winner from amongst the commenters in the voting and the nomination thread.

So, without any further ado, here are the winners:

Best serious Japan blog of the year – Observing Japan

Observing Japan wins for its detailed coverage of the political scene, as one of the growing number of blogs looking into aspects of Japan that rarely get aired in English.

Best humourous Japan blog of the year – tofugu.com

tofugu.com takes a multimedia look at Japan, and its YouTube coverage of this poll was responsible for driving a lot of votes here.

Best culture Japan blog of the year – Let’s Japan.org

Let’s Japan.org wins, a fit reward for being a key gathering point for those disgruntled at the meltdown at Nova, and perhaps with less swearing it may even have been in line for the best serious blog!

Best technology Japan blog of the year – Pink Tentacle

Pink Tentacle takes a slightly sideways look at technology in Japan, and I read it to study the style and to pinch writing tips!

Best personal Japan blog of the year – My So-Called Japanese Life

My So-Called Japanese Life has excellent writing, and is a most deserving winner in this section.

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Final reminder to vote and Japan blog mini-reviews: part 5

As promised, here are reviews of the blogs that didn’t make the cut for the First Annual (anyone wish to sponsor thm?) Japan Blog of the Year Awards, roughly in the order that they were nominated. Reviews of the candidates will take place after voting finishes. Please remember to vote by midnight tonight, Christmas Eve, and remember that all commenters on that thread will be eligible for a drawing for a small prize!

By popular demand, here are two more late nominees that came too late after the final cut had been made:

Gaijin Smash: A massive troll about life in Japan. It doesn’t do anything for me, but he seems to have a massive fan base. Give it a read, you’ll either love hit or hate it!

Kid Ethnic: The absolutely new-to-me blog is rather infrequently updated, but it fair tickles my fancy. This one on Shinjo flogging coffee made me laugh out lond!

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Japan blog mini-reviews: part 4

As promised, here are reviews of the blogs that didn’t make the cut for the First Annual (anyone wish to sponsor thm?) Japan Blog of the Year Awards, roughly in the order that they were nominated. Reviews of the candidates will take place after voting finishes. Please remember to vote, and remember that all commenters on that thread will be eligible for a drawing for a small prize!

RisingSunOfNihon: A blog about Japanese industry on the whole, with the occasional blatent search engine bait chucked in!

Keeping Pace in Japan: Interesting personal blog on running, politics, and life in general.

Chris’s English School. Yanai, Japan: Perhaps I need a new computer or browser, but pages with static background images are painful for me to scroll! Lots of pictures of Japanese kids learning English.

NihonHacks: I must admit to being a big fan of the site and I wanted to include it in the list of blogs to vote for, but… I wish I’d thought of this blog – great tips on how to live more frugally or more effectively in Japan.

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Japan blog mini-reviews: part 3

As promised, here are reviews of the blogs that didn’t make the cut for the First Annual (anyone wish to sponsor thm?) Japan Blog of the Year Awards, roughly in the order that they were nominated. Reviews of the candidates will take place after voting finishes. Please remember to vote, and remember that all commenters on that thread will be eligible for a drawing for a small prize!

Herro Flom Japan: I must admit that the name really grates on me! This is the very first (probably) podcast from Japan, and it’s now expanding into video too. I downloaded the latest podcast, recorded whilst walking through Tokyo; interesting talk, but also interesting background noises which were in fact rather distracting, but also fascinating trying to imagine where he was walking through!

Geisha, Interrupted: Interesting personal blog about life in Japan as a translator. I found this post rather thought-provoking.

Japan Focus: Not really a blog as such, but since someone nominated it, I’ll mention it regardless. A set of scholarly (and sometimes not so scholarly) articles on issues related to Japan.

LongCountdown.com: The first article had some interesting stuff on networking with other Japanese bloggers; I understand that everyone wants to get they eyeballs, but the problem is having too many networking opportunities – for instance there’s at least three English-language Japanese blog social bookmarking/digg-like things but each with only one or two votes per story.

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Japan blog mini-reviews: part 2

As promised, here are reviews of the blogs that didn’t make the cut for the First Annual (perhaps) Japan Blog of the Year Awards, roughly in the order that they were nominated. Reviews of the candidates will take place after voting finishes. Please remember to vote, and remember that all commenters on that thread will be eligible for a drawing for a small prize!

Shisaku: Politics with a cynical edge.

Global Talk 21: Sketch-writer style blogging on Japanese politics. Very interesting, and another blog I’ve added to my RSS reader thanks to this.

Japan Economy News: Ken’s got a really interesting (only if you’re into economics, of course) blog regarding news of the Japanese economy, not surprisingly. Not everyone’s cup of tea I would guess, but he’s also got an excellent magazine-style template that I’m busy trying to win a free copy of! (They may not actually be the same template, but they look closely related)

The Hopeless Romantic: Random thoughts on living in Japan.

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