It’s funny, I was totally wrong about why FG exceeded its bandwidth (didn’t know about the Tsunami-induced traffic surge), but I get all the flak over something I’m more or less right about.
It doesn’t take some genius or seasoned Japan expert to get an impression of what some website is all about. All it requires is a few months (if that) of watching the posts.
I don’t know what the selection process is for front-page articles on FG is, but they are available in an RSS feed (how I get them) and in that sense can be taken as if they were a collaborative blog. You’d have to be a fool not to realize that the point of posting articles on a website is to entertain, inform and maybe get the scoop faster than the other guys.
The way it runs can be compared to a newspaper: certain articles make it to the front pages, and others don’t. All I did at MutantFrog.com was to give a less than 50-word opinion on what I saw as the bias coming through in that selection process. In fact, it’s not like I panned the site — I just couched my praise for the site with my honestly mixed feelings.
Some have questioned my qualifications — I don’t read/post on FG enough, I haven’t spent half my life in Japan, I’m just another Japan apologist. Let me answer some of those charges.
If not reading anything more than the front-page articles and Gaijin Pic of the Day counts as jumping the gun, then I’m guilty as charged. I have better things to do than spend my whole day thumbing through angry rants about the lack of central heating.
All the sneering at things like corrupt officials, perverted ossan, and useless gadgets seems little more than a self-defense mechanism for jilted FGs. Gaijin who live half their lives in Japan seem to want it both ways. They want to be accepted as a member of society while at the same time reserving their right to criticize Japan for not living up to their ideals, which are constantly being challenged in a society that doesn’t share them. Going on the web and telling the world about Japan’s idiosyncrasies is therefore a form of self-validation, as if to say, “Look! Japan is so weird, no wonder they don’t understand me!” So as for being a Japan apologist, I turn the question right back around: what else can FG be than a grouping of apologists for the West? Not that I mind. Everyone needs to vent!
Admittedly, I don’t understand what it’s like to live for years and years in a country and still not get it. I already get it. And I’m not going to bother saying anything further to back it up. My experiences (dutifully chronicled by Taro, down to my 1998 firing from Walgreen’s for refusing to work on Xmas) speak for themselves. In the end, Japan is a club to which you will never receive full membership. The sooner you deal with that, the better.
People who came to my defense (in both here and on comments on MutantFrog.com — pay us a visit!) have gone a lot further than I did in denouncing the site and its posters. I’ll say it again: I love the site! Don’t read too much into what one FG blogger has to say, especially in two freaking sentences.