Random The DailyJ Archives


Earlier today I forgot the <div> tags around that youtube video in the previous post, which jumbled up the blog’s layout pretty badly. Luckily I noticed, and only 2 hours after the fact. *hazukashii*

Random The DailyJ Archives

Interviews with websites offering free Japanese language lessons

Like we mentioned before we are working on interview series each focused on different topics.

One of the topics on the list was Japanese language lessons sites.

We have contacted two and are waiting for a reply.


The latter is one of many language sites that post short video lessons on youtube, which seems pretty commendable (we love it when people do things for free).

J-web Interviews Random The DailyJ Archives

Who’s the real Bill Belew?

We put the cart before the horse a little bit with our posts about, written by Bill Belew.

We told you that Bill writes an amazing 450 posts a month.

And we tried to get Bill to dance.

But we forgot to introduce you to…

Who is Bill Belew?

“I came in on the tail end of the baby boom behind two older brothers and two older sisters, 3 of which were WWII babies. Meaning, I am old enough to have been around the block a few times, but young enough to have a few more trips left in me. My name is Bill Belew

I first went to Asia on Uncle Sam’s dime. After nearly 5 years in the Navy where I eventually served as an Intelligence Officer for a Destroyer Squadron ( I could tell you some secrets, but then I’d have to kill you) I settled in Japan and lived there for almost 20 years. While there I started a language school for Japanese ECS . It grew to five branches in Japan and one on the west coast of the US. More about all of that in subsequent posts.

I moved back to the states about 5 years ago and now live in the Bay Area of San Jose (Yes, I know the way.) I teach classes f2f for a vocational school and online for a national university.

My wife is from mainland China and holds an MBA from a California State University. We often discuss the differences in culture and business practices among China, the US and Japan. Sound interesting? It is to us. I will share some of those stories and our insights (or lack of) here in this blog. If you want to do business with someone, you need to take time to know them….at least that is how it goes in Japan.

I have two boys. The older one, Benjamin, is an award winning professional classical pianist in Japan. The younger one, Micah, is a US National Swim Champion.

I used to run triathlons and ultramarathons. I could also be seen hanging off the side of a mountain…or making my way up it as a rock climber. Now I am on a marathon trip and I try to climb back into shape.

I look forward to telling you what I know about Japan. I welcome comments, suggestions and questions. If I don’t know, I will try to find out.”


(emphasis added)

Pretty exciting!

Serendipitously (now I feel smart 🙂 ), Bill has a lot in common with our next interviewee, Turner from, namely, English teaching and marathon running. I’ll have to ask them which of the two activities is more fatiguing (my money is on the English teaching…).

So now that you know Bill personally let’s find out more about RSON, it’s most popular posts, and aspirations…


(see you then)

Random The DailyJ Archives

Japan Photo Blogs

As mentioned the post about interviews we would like to do, one thing we want to do is interview websites that focus on photos of Japan.

Luckily I have a shoe-in when it comes to getting a photography interview. I went to school with the writer/photographer of

Unless I’ve been a bad friend (which is likely…) we will be interviewing him soon.

But until then, I’ve found a neat (or nauseating) slideshow of Japan photos:

J-web Interviews Random The DailyJ Archives

RisingSunofNihon – an exclusive interview with Bill Belew: why his posts should be at an ESL school near you..


If you were here yesterday, I, one of the evil editors of this blog, forced you to read about why Bill Belew is my hero (my introduction to this interview). Muhahaha *evil laugh*

Bill’s posts need no forcing, they go down easy and smooth. My writing on the other hand could probably use some more work, maybe when I get to 450 posts a month I’ll be smooth too (*Just nod to appease my ego* 🙂 ).

Anyway, today we are diving into the world RisingSunofNihon, plunging beneath the surface and discovering something interesting that some might not expect from the site that covers the economic and industrial might of Japan:

English Lessons

I asked Bill how readers could get the most from his site. I fully expected to hear about economics, but here’s what he had to say:

One minute mind-prods/posts about something going on in/around with Japan…that require some thought. I like to think that my posts are ideal for the second language learner…kind of wish all the ESL classes in Japan would start by the teacher and students grabbing a post..reading/understanding it, then addressing the question at the end.

Daily J: What is your favourite economy/industrial topic to cover? Is there a particular post that you would name as your favourite? (See me trying to steer toward economics? But…)

Bill: This is a tough question…to be honest…economy, industry and such are NOT my favorite subjects. I don’t mind writing about them because I know something, but if I had a choice, I would write about the culture of Japan, the differences, and how the Japanese mindset influences business practices.

I started a series on teaching ESL in Japan….

I got as far as question # 32….I have 69 more questions…101 altogether.

I am also working with an aspiring manga artist who is Japanese/American.

The posts are in English and Japanese –

I think this idea is great if it will catch on……

ESL is certainly close to his heart. And he definitely has the credentials to teach you about it:

Daily J: Who would love your site and why? You mentioned you “kind of wish all the ESL classes in Japan would start by the teacher and students grabbing a post..reading/understanding it, then addressing the question at the end.” That is a great idea for language teachers who teach salarymen and women! Have you tried to get some of the ESL sites that are out there to recommend your content as lessons?

I taught ESL, owned a language school that grew to 5 branches in Niigata, Toyama and on Hokkaido. I know ESL. My PhD is in education and language acquisition…. I have done teacher training in the past…brought many many teachers to Japan to work at my school….one of the keys is to get the lessons started off….on a topic that interests the learners.

I am absolutely confident that students in Japan – salarymen, students would be interested in my content. It is written at a level they can understand, with an idiom or two thrown in to challenge them and I ALWAYS end my posts with a question for discussion purposes. These elements are foundational to any good ESL class.

By the way, I told Bill that we will be interviewing some ESL-related sites in the future and that I will be sure to put a good word in for him. Here’s what he had to say:

“I would dance at your wedding or any other appropriate social gathering were you to introduce my site to ESL schools and teachers.”

Excellent…! 8) That brings us back to the question in the title of this post:

Why should Bill’s posts be at a language school near you?

Simple: I want to see Bill Belew dance! (maybe we could put it on Youtube, hehehe)

So this is a call to all of you Eikaiwa (ESL) teachers out there: Use RishingSunofNihon’s posts! They are FREE ESL materials! Help me out! I want Bill Belew dancing at my wedding!

Better yet, tell your school to use them and maybe Bill will dance at your wedding too 😉 (Let’s see if we can get him to do a “Dancing Bill World Tour”)!

And, my ESL friends, read his series about teaching English in Japan. You’ll thank yourself if you do, as it is excellent.

That’s all for today,

More tomorrow

On Daily J

Random The DailyJ Archives

A J-list of our own… I hope we don’t get sued…

As mentioned in a previous post it was time for a list.

A J-list

But no, we are not going to be competing with Peter’s J-list.

That’s not what this is about. It is about an ongoing list of the topical websites that we want to interview (and ones you want us to interview).

The list is below. I mentioned the first two in previous posts. The rest are one’s we came up with after that. But, as you can see, we are not that smart or creative so we need your help. Please give us your suggestions in the comments! (topics and specific websites welcome)

Blogger Activists in Japan

English language teaching in Japan

Japanese language lessons

Japan Photo Blogs

Being a foreign student in Japan

Japan Travel Blogs

What do you think?

J-web Interviews Random The DailyJ Archives

RisingSunofNihon – Find out why Bill Belew is my hero

Hi everybody,

Today I am excited to bring you the first of a few posts about Bill Belew and I decided to break the interview up into shorter pieces and go into more depth because this guy is my new hero (and I also love business and Japan – his focus). I hope you’ll enjoy these interview posts too, but either way you still have to read them “because I said so!” *Evil Laugh* 🙂

Now some of you are likely asking, “Why is Bill your hero?”

The answer: One number, 450

Daily J: How did you get started with RSON?

Bill: I was doing the network thing at another start up blog network. Somebody there read something I wrote about Japan and dropped me a comment about the business network KnowMoreMedia and said they were looking for writers.

I went to to see what kinds of topics were open. They did not have an international focus, so I proposed one. Besides the 20 years in Japan, I also spent time in Far East Russia and in China….thus PanAsianBiz was born.

PanAsianBiz grew and I proposed a blog that focused on Japan only and China only. RisingSunOfNihon was born as was ZhonghuaRising. I maintained all three sites until we found someone to do the China only site. In the meantime, I also proposed a site devoted to education and TheBizOfKnowlege was born. At one point I was maintaining four blogs for KMM….they, btw, pay me to do this…per post and a by the page view.

Now I write about 150 blog posts each month for each site – PAB, RSON and TBOK….450 posts total.

That’s right folks, 450 posts a month! I don’t know how he does it. But there is one thing for sure, Bill won’t leave you without something to read!

So head over to and read up on the economic and industrial might of Japan (or, as in the article that links to, the occasional lack thereof). Then be sure to be back here tomorrow for some in-depth, exclusive, Q and A with Bill Belew that you can only find here on Daily J.

See you then!

Random The DailyJ Archives

When I tried this I got fired…

(This post is kind of all over the place but bear with me…)

Over the next couple of days I plan to post short bits about some interview series that Daily J will feature.

But I am going to jump the gun a little and let you in on one of them now:

English Language Teaching in Japan.
Our next few interviewees will share some of their experiences about English teaching (but that is not the bulk of their interviews). I also was an English teacher while in university and I know that MANY foreigners in Japan have at least dabbled in language teaching at some point in their stay.

I “taught” English for two years and with three different companies, all part time. Actually, it was more like two companies and a random old Japanese lady who organised a “school” at a municipal center in Chiba. It was a dream! I was assigned to teach two fun groups of children and I was being paid 100USD an hour!

It lasted three weeks. 🙁 Then she “Donald Trump-ed” me (for the Americans out there 😉 ).

Why did I get fired? I did what these guys did…

I play games, I get fired. These guys play games and they get famous. Where’s the justice?! *urayamashii*
Contacting them for an interview,… now.

J-web Interviews Random The DailyJ Archives

Jamaipanese – exclusive interview part II, with a twist

If you were here for yesterday’s chat with Kirk from you were promised a surprise and I am not going to make you wait any longer… well, maybe just a bit longer.


This blog was launched because we believe many unique Japan-related bloggers and webmasters deserve more recognition and readership, that they each have a unique story to tell. And from the time we first started talking to bloggers and webmasters about launching Daily J we have had some amazing responses. We’ve had a lot of well wishing, support, positive feedback and more. This all leads me to believe that we have hit on something that is really useful. But what really encourages me is this:

“I am impressed by your email and i have decided to anything i am able to do in order to help you with your projects…related to your soon to be launched blog “DailyJ” I would very much like it if it would be possible for me to join up with you as partners on the project. I have experience in web development and I think I would be an asset to your team.”

Kirk, Welcome to the team!

If you have visited the official Nipponster blog and read that blog’s subtitle, you know that Nipponster is run by three crazy dreamers who plan to:

  1. better organise and enhance ALL of the Japan-related content online
  2. make the web a better place for Japan-enthusiasts

(A little idealistic? 🙂 )

I think the rest of this interview will prove beyond a doubt that Kirk will fit in…

First, every crazy dreamer needs an outlandish mission –

Daily J: What is the mission of Jamaipanese?

Kirk: My site’s mission is to share my interests with the world so that I can meet people with similar interests………and then together we can plot our conquest of the world, with Tokyo as the capital ^_^

Second, they need to love the readers –

Daily J: What’s your favourite part of running your blog?

Kirk: Feedback, emails and questions from my visitors. I have met a couple good friends through my blog and I am excited about what the future holds.

They have to love projects –

Daily J: What are some of the interesting projects you are working on?

Kirk: I am gathering information and writing articles for a new feature for my blog I am currently calling “Factual Fridays”, on Fridays I will soon start to post self written articles on things related Jamaica, Japan or anything of interest to me that is covered on my blog.

They have to be net geeks –

Daily J: What difficulties did you face when starting your site and what advice do you have for other bloggers?

Kirk: Waiting until I was able to register my own domain instead of starting it on a free service like blogger or wordpress. Register your own domain, participate on and visit similar blogs, be special and try to give visitors a reason to return.

I think we’ve found ourselves another crazy dreamer! It’s been great interviewing you, Kirk, and I look forward to working with you. Thank you for the interview. And thank you everyone for reading!

Have a good day

From Daily J

Random The DailyJ Archives

A short, incomplete, list of sites and people that would be fun to interview

the list. likely the first of many.

Add your own favourites in the comments section at the bottom!

  1. “Elizabeth” from’s Help with Japanese forum thread. She has helped countless people with their Japanese. You go girl!
  2. Jim Breen – The head-hancho of Japanese language on the web. The keitai (mobile phone) accessible version of his dictionary was my best friend my during intensive Japanese courses at Jouchi University.
  3. The heavy contributors to the Japan-related pages of wikipedia
  4. The Wikibooks free Japanese textbook contributors
  5. The inventors of Rikai and Rikai-chan

These are just a few of the people and sites that we feel are making the web a better place for Japan-enthusiasts! Of course every J-site contributes too, in its own way and to its own degree.

Know some others? Let us know.

J-web Interviews Random The DailyJ Archives

Jamaipanese – Interview with an “otaku”

I guess you could say that this interview is by otakus, for otakus, about otakus.

Lost? Don’t know what an otaku is? Just google it

Wait for them to leave…

Great! Now that all of the non-otaku have left the building, us otaku can get down to business 😀 !

Today, gentle geek folk, we are going to have a knee-slapping good time with Kirk from He’s on a mission to get to the “Otaku Holy Land”

Here is his story:’s Kirk Brown is a twenty something year old Jamaican blogger who blogs about his interests and Japan. He is one with his geekiness wants to visit the otaku holy land and live happily ever after.

🙂 ROTFL and then interview –
Daily J: What is Jamaipanese and what motivated you to start it?

Kirk: I am Jamaican and a Japan Fanatic, add my geeky interests and at least 12 hours per day around a PC and you get my blog and it’s name

My motivation to start my own site came from me wanting a place to write about my hobbies and interests also somewhere to practice my Japanese. I discovered a few years ago that many of my interests such as gaming, technology, anime, motorcars etc are connected in Japan in one way or other so i coined the term “Jamaipanese” which combines Jamaican and Japanese and voila you have my personal/technology/anime blog.

Daily J: On your blog you post about some of the lessons you learn in your Japanese class, could you tell me more about that? Do you have a favourite one?

Kirk: I’ve been studying Japanese now for 2 years, it is fun but lately has been getting increasingly difficult. With my busy lifestyle I find it hard to dedicate time to studying which is very important but I do my best. Any post in my Japanese class logs and practice category is worth a look I have no favourites there.

Daily J: You have an interesting goal for your site in the future. Can you tell everyone what it is?

Kirk: Hopefully contributing to the cost of a trip to Japan ^_^

I see… Ok everybody here’s what we’re going to do: Sneak over to Jamaipanese now and start clicking on ads 🙂 …Click fraud, officer? I don’t know anything about any click fraud… 😛

Daily j: So, one of the goals of your site is to raise money for your trip to Japan. Can you tell us a little more about the goal. Also what kind of things do you want/plan to do when you get to Japan? I noticed in one post that you talk about three places you would like to visit in Japan.

Kirk: My post about the 3 places I’d like to visit [in Japan] is actually one of my favourite posts and a dream I hope will come to light. I will soon decide on a feasible date for me to save enough and get everything in place to visit Japan which I am hoping will be in summer 2009 so please stick around for that :D. Just some little things like a car I need to sort out first before I make the Otaku plunge and get my heartstrings in a knot in all the excitement, I have trouble just sitting steady when i think about it.

Well, my Otaku friends, that is all for today. But please give Kirk a visit and wish him luck on his goal of visiting the Otaku Holy Land. And please stay tuned for the second half of the Jamaipanese interview tomorrow,… we have a surprise for you 😉

Random The DailyJ Archives

Oops = never try to work on your blog while being distracted

I meant to click “save”, but accidentally clicked on “publish.”

If you tuned-in to Daily J yesterday after 10AM Tokyo time you may have noticed a very short post about
That was me screwing up royally.

Well actually let me blame it on multi-tasking 🙂

I was chatting via IM with another member of the Nipposter team, talking to a friend face to face, and typing up a post at the same time…

It turns out that doing that is not such a great idea. But you forgive me, right?

No? Oh well, I tried…

At least you had a sneak-peek at the next interview. And I had a nice slice of “humble pie.”

Excuse me, now I have to go commit hara kiri.

Random The DailyJ Archives

Oh Boy, do we have a show for you…

Hold on to your mouse because we are going in!

Daily J is set to take you behind the scenes and into the controversy with some interviews with blogger activists in Japan.

Our first interview in this category was supposed to be with Arudou Debito of but as I already mentioned on the Nipponster blog, I fudged that up.

Not to worry, that will all hopefully be worked out. Debito is very understanding. In the meantime James is on assignment hunting down some controversial and interesting sites. So stay tuned for that.

Ganbatte James!

And while you are staying tuned-in you have to read our next interview with Roaf of, it has plenty of controversy of its own 🙂

J-web Interviews Random The DailyJ Archives

Slash And Burn – exclusive interview part II

If you are just joining us we have been talking to Adam Douglas about his site Slash And Burn. Yesterday we heard a bit about the man himself and what makes him tick. And today we will look at…

What makes his site cool:

Daily J: Where did you get the idea for the name of your site?

Adam: I have no idea, just popped into my head. I guess “slash” from a samurai katana, but not sure why there should be burning in there as well. ^_^

Daily J: So Adam, how can readers get the most from your site?

Adam: Seek out interesting and obscure Japanese film! There’s so much amazing stuff out there.

Daily J: What has been your favourite post so far?

Adam: I don’t know what it is but I love writing kaiju eiga reviews. They’re the most fun. Any of those.


Daily J: If you had to pick, what would you say is your favourite Japanese film?

Adam: The Seven Samurai, but everyone says that. Eli Eli Lema Sabachthani? is up there, as is Ozu’s Late Spring.

(The Chemist says: Hey Adam, best of luck with Setsuko Hara! 😉 )

It has been great talking to Adam and we wish him luck. His site is great for anyone who likes Japanese films, and who doesn’t?
So visit Slash and Burn, give Adam a big hello, and wish him luck on his plans to go to Kyoto on student exchange!

Thank you all for reading our interview with Slash And Burn here on Daily J

And a BIG thank you to Adam for giving us the interview.

To all a good day,
From Daily J

J-web Interviews Random The DailyJ Archives

The Humble “Slash And Burn” – an exclusive interview

Today we are excited to bring you an interview with Adam Douglas writer of the blog Slash and Burn!

When I first contacted Adam he thanked us for ” thinking of [his] humble site as worthy of contact!”
🙂 That really tickled me (I thought it was so Japanese). It also impressed me.

Contrary to his humility, I think that his site deserves a lot more attention. It has some really great, unique content and a great focus.

I would say that anyone who has ever fallen in love with a bit of Japanese cinema will love his site.

But let’s hear from Adam in his own words and find out

What Makes Him Tick:

Adam - Japanese film buff

A little about me: I’m a Japanese major in San Francisco who fell in love with Japan *hard* when I went there on vacation in 2004. I had never finished college so I couldn’t stay and work, so I came home and promptly enrolled in college. I’m now well into my major and am hoping to go to Kyoto next year as an exchange student. I also *love* Japanese film, as well as most anything J related. Before going back to school I worked as an editor on a number of entertainment websites and magazines. I also make electronic music under the name Kemek, although since I’ve been back to school I haven’t had much time to make beats.

Now that we know a little about Adam, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty:

Daily J: So Adam, what motivated you to start your blog?

Adam: A love for Japanese film. I also missed writing regularly.

Adam has a background in writing/editing, but more about that later.

Daily J: And what would you say was the hardest part of starting it?

Adam: Deciding how I wanted the format to be, and finding a “voice.” I like it to be more than just me babbling (that’s what my yakihito site is for).

Sidenote: While Slash and Burn is strictly for film content, he also writes a blog called yakihito ( which is for general Japan stuff.

DailyJ: I want to ask you about your comment about “finding a ‘voice.'” I think I understand what you mean but I want to be sure. Could you explain more?

I come from a magazine publishing background, so finding a style of writing and staying consistent to it is key. I wanted to find a balance between fun and knowledgeable, and have it be more than just me talking.

Daily J: What part of running a site is the most fun for you?

Adam: Contact from readers.

Hear that? 🙂 So if you haven’t yet, “give Adam some love” by leaving him a comment on his blog or by email !

Daily J: So what is the future of slash and burn?

Adam: Hopefully momentum will build and I’ll have more readers, but I enjoy just having a space to publish my writing.

Now if you’re into Japanese cinema please take a look at Adam’s site.
And stay tuned for the second part of our interview with him, when we will really dig into Japanese film according to Slash And Burn

(p.s. exclusive interview sounds good doesn’t it? catchy 🙂 )

Random The DailyJ Archives


“Interviews with the people behind the sites and projects that are making the web a better place for Japan-enthusiasts!”

That’s what DailyJ is all about. We are doggedly focused on reporting news about Japan-related sites, helping to build a Japan-blog community, and acting as a catalyst connecting webmasters/bloggers to form new Japan-related projects.

Click for some posts that talk about our mission.

Anti-Ad Policy

Chief Editor:

Tori Johnson a.k.a The Chemist – mixing up your daily vitamin J

Contact (especially if you would like to be interviewed):

eaglelandgrace [atto] gmail [dotto] com

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