Exploring Japan: A Blog's-Eye View
by Liz Colville
Like many countries in Asia and the South Pacific, Japan seems remote and exotic to many Americans—it's around 14 time zones and as many hours away by plane. But you can bridge the distance by reading blogs written by people who have intimate knowledge of Japan: those who live there or who frequently travel there. This is where you’ll find the juicy details that other Web sites leave out: the honest opinions and quirky insights of people of all ages, interests and backgrounds.
Pink Tentacle, a blog based in Japan, covers topics as disparate as the environment, art, robots, pop culture and food. Expect to find coverage of all things odd, fascinating and Japanese, like the “Top 60 popular Japanese words/phrases of 2008.” The blog is loaded with colorful photos and videos to keep you engaged. Take a look at the most recent post or try browsing the tag cloud at the bottom of the page.
For an insider's guide to politics, current events, travel and Japanese life, check out the blog Japan Probe. With contributors from the United States, Canada, Australia and Britain—all of whom live in Japan—the blog promises to cover “information, entertainment, and news on the more interesting aspects of Japan.” Look for videos, photos and commentary on some of Japan's lesser-known marvels and habits, such as Japanese fashion trends, “trashy” news items and more.
Danny Choo, an engineer who runs an Internet marketing firm in Tokyo, has a deep and abiding love for Japanese action figures and provides coverage on the industry direct from figure manufacturers. His blog also offers extensive coverage of life in Japan, with particular insight into Japanese subculture. Whether you want to research the merits of “Nendoroid Shana” vs. “Princess Resurrection,” or take a virtual tour of Tokyo and learn about the autumn festivals in Japan, Danny Choo provides a gateway, with lots of colorful photos.
Japan Photo Guide is a necessity for anyone who wants visuals of Japan, whether they’re of the mountains, the annual cherry blossom festival at Himeji Castle or candid portraits of Japan's people. Created by an American teaching English in Japan, the blog also includes photos uploaded by visitors to the site (and the country). Browse the categories on the right side of the page to find information on scenic views in Japan, food and drink, places to stay, as well as tips on taking great photos in Japan.
Tokyo Times is a blog created by an Englishman who has lived in Tokyo since 1998. Expect to find minimal text and maximum photos on such varied subjects as an abandoned cable car, Japanese wrestling, Hello Kitty guitars, Japanese gadgets and more. With an extensive archive dating back to 2003, there are plenty of stunning photos to keep you entertained.