Adamu’s best posts of 2008

Following up Roy’s latest, I thought I would post my personal favorites from 2008:

  • 40% of Japanese blogs are spam — This wasn’t my own discovery or anything, but it was nice to see a reality check from the oft-cited “Japan is the bloggingest nation” myth.
  • The New Yushukan — Reflection on my trip to the war museum connected to Yasukuni Shrine. No pictures, but I was very pleased with the discussion it generated.
  • Why does Japan need more foreigners again? — I look at some of the recent arguments calling for calm, rational debate on Japan’s immigrant question, and conclude that Japan needs a comprehensive but conservative immigration policy.
  • No photos please, this is a press conference — I was shocked — SHOCKED! — to learn that pop stars don’t like fans taking unauthorized photos of them.
  • Japanese TV is full of dangerous frauds — I again express righteous anger at the prospect that the people on TV might not have my best interests at heart.
  • Where will all the eikaiwa teachers go? — Some tough love for all those unemployed English teachers out there. Again, if your best job prospects in Japan aside from English teaching are truck driving or electronics sales, it’s time to think about boning up your resume.

I also wrote some pieces for David Marx’s Neojaponisme project, all of which I am fairly happy with. In addition to a review of TV drama Change, I co-translated a series on the WaiWai scandal and contributed two essays to the site’s year in review, on Roppongi Hills and the lay judge system.

Though 2008 was a light year for posting, I feel like there was more substance to what I did end up writing. This year, I acquired a taste for persuasive writing (not sure how many people I persuaded…), and my experience with Neojaponisme in particular has made me a better essayist. My goals for next year are to keep up the stream of thoughts on both sites, read more books, and hopefully get a better grasp of the media industry, a topic I have really struggled to understand but will no doubt be facing new challenges during this economic recession.

Happy new year everyone!

10 thoughts on “Adamu’s best posts of 2008”

  1. Roy and Adamu – While you guys may not have been as prolific as in other years, the quality just keeps getting better and better. Good choices for top posts and my thanks for many excellent discussions over the course of 2008. Happy new year and keep up the great work.

  2. Thanks very much M-Bone. Joe has kept a pretty low profile online lately due to various courses he’s been taking on top of a full time job. With luck, he’ll have more time in the future to goof off.

    I’m overall pretty happy with the blog this year, but I keep kicking myself for continuing to delay an overhaul of the theme. It’s gotten seriously crusty and outdated over the years, and I really want to switch to a new one (preserving the trademark color scheme, of course). I’m also annoyed at myself for not having gotten around to posting dozens, if not hundreds of photos sitting in my collection that I meant to post (out of thousands total), some of which are now a couple of years old!

    Not to mention the pages of handwritten travel journal from my summer visits to Taiwanese aborigine territory, which I also meant to post (naturally, along with photos).

  3. I would be remiss not to issue a thank-you to all our commenters who really make blogging a worthwhile and productive activity.

    I mentioned that it was a slow year for posting, but also our overall readership appears to have shrunk, at least according to Sitemeter. Simultaneous with our smaller output, there has been a big increase in the output from other Japan bloggers, both in terms of quantity and quality (there are now plenty of other blogs offering news story translations which did not appear to be the case when we started in 2005). But our core readership has stayed with us, so it seems like those who get us stick around, and those who don’t eventually find their way to Japan Probe or TV In Japan and get what they need there. Others are doing a much better job of aggregating the news, posting on Japan oddities, and a whole host of other typical J-blog offerings. MF is the project of three pseudo-intellectual otaku who don’t have much going in the way of technical skills or the free time to copy-paste the Japan Times or translate for free. So the only way for MF to stay relevant is to offer our own perspective on events etc. in the clearest, most edifying way possible.

    I sound a little like the editor of an actual magazine with that passage above, which is odd since staying relevant should seem like the last concern for a project that is more or less for my own benefit. But paradoxically enough, producing material that people want to read ends up being even more beneficial than if I really just posted random links and “notes to self”.

  4. Yes, Adamu, that is exactly what MF should be doing. Japan Probe does well what it does, but I never feel like posting over there. The quality of other blogs may have increased, but the regulars know where to come for the quality discussion. I love it when a 200 word post ends up producing 20,000 words of comments.

  5. “who don’t have much going in the way of technical skills”

    Hey, I have plenty of technical skills- I’ve just lost any interest I formerly had in web development.

    I think the most impressive post/comment ratio yet had to be the discussion on the “interview with the Japanese PM”. All I posted was a link with basically no commentary, and it ended up easily one of the longest discussions we’ve had on the entire site.

    It has been nice to see an increase in good Japan related blogging in English. Tobias Harris, Jun Okumura, Shisaku for example have made it a LOT easier to follow Japanese politics, and there’s no shortage of good places to follow cultural/design related stuff. I don’t think we (MF) have ever even toyed with the idea of trying to cover a single area in depth and consistently, much less trying to be some kind of news portal like Japan Probe.

    At this point I pay almost no attention to how many people are reading MF. My main goal when I post something is to hope that someone will respond with something about the topic I didn’t know, or leave a comment that gives me something to think about which I hadn’t considered. Thankfully, this is often and increasingly the case.

  6. This is a really great blog, actually, which I have reading since, don’t know, 2 or 3 years ago. And yes, the quality of your already interesting posts has increased pretty much, so it doesn’t really matter if it was at the expense of quantity. It was also great to read Adam in Néojaponisme. Happy New Year 2009 to the MF team and your readers, from the other side of the Pacific. Cheers!

  7. Thank you very much Julian! Unfortunately my Spanish is very, very, very poor so I can’t read your blog, but may I ask what country you are in or from?

  8. Strangely, I have a lot of friends from Latin America (including Colombia) I met while studying in Taipei. Someday I’ll have to take a trip down there and visit some of them-at least, if they ever go back home from Asia. Maybe I’ll try to refresh my Spanish a little before then…

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