Friday, June 05, 2009

7 J-bloggers far from Japan

Last month I blogged about six expats blogging from Japan, because I wanted to give you an impression of what it's like to live there. The vast majority of visitors to this blog are however are from the United States, some from Australia and Europe, so I started to wonder why people have such an interest in Japan. Sometimes it can be a passing interest in manga or anime, but other times it develops in to an full blown geek obsession with all things Japanese.

I'd like to explore where that obsession comes from, and how it drives people to create beautiful blogs and engaging content about Japan. These are people that have felt the call so hard that they've poured hundreds of hours into blogging about their passion for a place that only a few have been to, and all for you, the blog reader.

I've met most of the bloggers mentioned through Twitter, YouTube or Flickr, or just by reading and commenting on other peoples blogs. If you have a passion for Japan but don't know where to start or even why you have one, don't be afraid to speak out. We've all had that feeling! I want to hear your story in the comments, or even better, on your own blog.

Liv O.

Liv O. (ieatmypigeon) on Twitter
Name: Liv O.
Location: New York City
Web: http://www.ieatmy...
Bio: Please enjoy the daily humiliations of an American writer trying to get used to New York again after 2 years in Japan

A self deprecating humour is absolutely essential for enduring the trials and tribulations of an "adored international celebrity" in Japan, read "English Instructor". Honestly though, I thought colonials, along with the parochial use of "zed", had a monopoly on this kind of thing. Not so, it would seem. These days Liv is offering Japan-inspired tips for laundry in New York whilst getting her travel writing career off the ground. Liv was recently accepted to a Creative Writing Master’s program in Dublin, Ireland. I'm really happy for her, because her enthusiasm for writing is obvious, and she is sure to tell a good story.


yonasu (yonasu) on Twitter

Name: yonasu
Location: Sweden
Web: http://www.yonasu...
Bio: A blogger who loves social networking and everything Japanese!

Jonas is a university student that first got in to Japan through listening to trance remixes of Hamasaki Ayumi when he was just 12 years old. He launched into blogging in lae 2007 to share his passion for Japanese entertainment. His interest in J-pop developed alongside his interest in manga and anime, and now his site contains a stunning array of content that has to be seen. He may have an unhealthy obsession in Kamei Eri of Hello! Project, but he isn't what you'd call "hikikomori" or socially withdrawn, he's a very social guy. Long Live Kameism!

Joe Kester

Joe Kester (JoeInJapan) on Twitter

Name: Joe Kester
Location: Maine, USA
Web: http://joeinjapan...
Bio: Former exchange student in Japan. I love studying Japanese. 日本語もOK!

Joe recently came back from Japan where he was studying at Hirosaki University as a foreign exchange student. Joe chronicled the year in video, everything from journey to Japan to the endless college parties. Now that he has settled back into things in his home town of Auburn Maine, he's focussing his attention back on study of the Japanese language. He might even be able to give you some encouragement with your study as he prepares to take the Japan Language Proficiency Test.

Sheila G.

ShiiraShiira (ShiiraShiira) on Twitter

Name: ShiiraShiira
Location: Florida
Web: http://japanesedr...
Bio: I'm just me and nobody else...

Shiira is travelling to Japan and back the easy way, with her 15 year old son in August 2009. Her blog "Gisuru" is packed with practical advice to help you prepare for a trip to Japan on a budget. Shiira fell in love with Japan in November of 2008 when she went to visit a friend who teaches English to elemenary school children. She tells the heartwarming story of how the children there gave her her name. I'm sure she'll be coming back from in a couple of months time with plenty of adventurous tales riding the rail.

Kirk Brown

Jamaipanese (Jamaipanese) on Twitter

Name: Jamaipanese
Location: Jamaica
Web: http://www.jamaip...
Bio: Jamaica + Japan

Kirk blogs about Japan with such a passion you'd think that he'd lived there for ages, but to my surprise, he plans his first trip in early 2011. Kirk is a proud Jamaican blogger who also covers positive news about Jamaica and Jamaicans. His Flickr photostream shows the kind of carefree island life most of us can only dream about. He is bringing the best of Jamaica and Japan to his readers, hence the portmanteau for his personal blog, Jamaipanese. He's an infidel gamer and an avid photographer, whose obvious enjoyment of blogging is kind of infectious.

Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor (c_rh) on Twitter

Name: Ryan Taylor
Web: http://www.caught...
Bio: Yorkshire lad looking to get to Japan by hook, or by crook..

Caught*Red-handed is the "wacky ramblings" of a self confessed obsessive compulsive Yorkshire lad. Ryan sure fits the bill of a passionate J-blogger. He may be wabisabi potty at the moment but he certainly isn't glossing over some of the finer points of Japanese language and culture. Just check out his series on Japanese aesthetics, he presents prose as poignantly as photography. I was really impressed by his intimate knowledge of the history and structure of the Japanese written language.


Tofugu (tofugu) on Twitter

Name: Koichi
Location: Portland, OR
Web: http://www.tofugu...
Bio: A Wonky Japanese Culture/Language Blog

No post on J-bloggers would be complete with out a mention of Koichi, whose wonky Japanese culture blog, Tofugu, must be one most well known blogs in this little pond. I first met Koichi on YouTube when he was doing both Japanese and English posts on his Japanese channel koichiben. In the middle of 2007 he decided to separate the English blog about Japan, from the Japanese blog about America, and invite contributors Erin and Viet to form Tofugu. Koichi is one of the most sincerely generous guys in the blogosphere (if that's really a place), who always goes out of his way to help the little guy. These days he's doing the marketing for the live video learning platform where I teach Japanese.

The round up

As is always the case for a post like this, there are always people I could have mentioned, and plenty that I wanted to. Please don't feel left out if that's the case, let me know, maybe we can build our blogging relationship.

If you have an interest in Japan and you want it to develop, get involved! Join the conversation at a social bookmarking site like JapanSoc, follow us on Twitter, start commenting on some of these blogs, we'd be happy to hear from you.
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