Gone to the mountain (see you in December)

🙁

Life is keeping me from blogging…

In part that is a good thing because actually, despite how much I hype it, the J-web isn’t everything (did I just admit that? 😮 ). We humans need balance and that is what this post is about.

I have a life outside of blogging that is also very fulfilling and I am happy about that.

And then there is also work… Work is fulfilling in its own way too. I work at a small company where I’m fortunate to work often directly with the founder. I’ve learnt much on the job and it has helped me gain useful experience I will need on the path to what I ultimately would like to do (it also pays the bills). That said it really takes up my time.

I also have my own business. I incorporated a little over 3 years ago (I was still in uni at the time – I always bite off more than I can chew) and have been playing around with different business ideas ever since. Business is one of my passions.

My ideal business would be one that:

  • is completely remote (I want to be able to work from anywhere with an internet connection)
  • combines web technology with business ingenuity
  • leverages application service providers (ASPs, also called Saas) and outsourcing so I only focus of the area where I add the most value
  • engages my three passions: Japan, business, and web technology

When I started I was working on a few web ventures and I am still working on one of them (an ecommerce store). As I was working on these a friend asked me to develop a website for his small business (and do some online marketing), he referred his contacts and they’ve referred people and I’ve been focusing on that ever since. Maybe I’ll be able to quit my other job someday and just do this (although admittedly my web design skills need work).

Of course, if money was not an issue I would just create useful Japan-related websites and tools to help people all day… Who knows, maybe that is a possibility too.

mt fuji

I have a lot of thinking to do. So I am going up to the proverbial mountain top (I plan to post again starting Dec. 1) .

After this little sojourn of meditation I will hopefully have [rested and] asked myself some very deep life questions.

I like doing this type of internal reflection. And I’ve decided from now on to do reflecting of this level at least once a year. This year I will be making my first personal mission statement an idea I took from Stephen Covey’s very good book First Things First.

Two other good books that will be reviewing on the mountaintop are Good To Great by Jim Collins and Go It Alone by Bruce Judson. I highly recommend both of them (for anyone who enjoys business books).

See you in December,

The Chemist

p.s. Nick, thanks again for the toolbar suggestions! I will be working on them during the hiatus.

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mt fuji

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Rikai Widgets on the Nipponster Japan Toolbar

Working on too many things…

Thankfully I made time for things that matter too.

I have caught up with my email (inbox zero!) and replied to all comments (hopefully).

I also added some goodies to the Nipponster Japan Toolbar for you.

They are from Rikai’s “syndicate me” page.

By putting them on the Japan Toolbar users like you can access them right from your browser! (good for extra laziness)

Here is what it looks like:

rikai language widgets on japan toolbar

Of course you have to download/install the Japan Toolbar if you haven’t already (it’s easy).

Here are the rikai widgets in action (of course with the toolbar you don’t have to come here to use them):

Kanji of the day –

Kanji recall quiz –

Japanese phrase of the day –

Japan photo of the day –

I have the sneaky suspicion that I have set these up on the toolbar wrong (they may not update daily), I will check them later to see if they update. If you notice any problems let me know, yeah?

And if you have any suggestions for the Japan Toolbar just let me know. I’m at your service.

Have a great day
DailyJ

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Nerd debate

I was replying to comments and clearing my inbox today and I noticed fellow J-web buddy Nick wrote up a little post about his top 10 most used computer programs. I have been trying to coax him over from the evil microsoft empire for a little while now so it was good to see some open source software on the list.

Of course I had to tease him about WindowsMail though… (I bet he hates me now 🙂 )

He knows I love him though.

I thought I’d make this post just in case Nick needs to release some steam and post a rebuttal comment 🙂

Also I wanted to say that I’m not alone, Jdonuts also said goodbye to windows. Linux J-webbers unite!

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Rikai Widgets on the Nipponster Japan Toolbar

Working on too many things…

Thankfully I made time for things that matter too.

I have caught up with my email (inbox zero!) and replied to all comments (hopefully).

I also added some goodies to the Nipponster Japan Toolbar for you.

They are from Rikai’s “syndicate me” page.

By putting them on the Japan Toolbar users like you can access them right from your browser! (good for extra laziness)

Here is what it looks like:

rikai language widgets on japan toolbar

Of course you have to download/install the Japan Toolbar if you haven’t already (it’s easy).

Here are the rikai widgets in action (of course with the toolbar you don’t have to come here to use them):

Kanji of the day –

Kanji recall quiz –

Japanese phrase of the day –

Japan photo of the day –

I have the sneaky suspicion that I have set these up on the toolbar wrong (they may not update daily), I will check them later to see if they update. If you notice any problems let me know, yeah?

And if you have any suggestions for the Japan Toolbar just let me know. I’m at your service.

Have a great day
DailyJ

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rikai language widgets on japan toolbar

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playing catchup, japanblogger.net, and some widgets from Rikai

I’m still behind shedule with email and commenting, but slowly making progress.

I put up a link to JapanBlogger.net as a top link on dailyJ.  Jblogger is great and it seems to complement the other top links, plus I told Billy I would put it there if he relaunched the site.

I am working on something with some widgets I found on Rikai. You can add them to your website. Rikai language widgets

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JapanBlogger

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Quick: JapanBlogger; Nipponster; JapanLabs; JapanSoc; & playing catch-up

Not much time to post today, so just a quick one.

1) JapanBlogger.net is back up! Yay!

2) I changed the text on the nipponster homepage to read “Japan-specific search.”

3) JapanLabs. Thanks Nick for mentioning it. I will be talking more about some ideas I have for it soon. But to give a preview, I am hoping that in the tech support section we can maybe discuss code (wordpress code for example)/how to develop our webpages to our liking (maybe we can help each other with this); other types of collaboration, etc.

4) JapanSoc – looks like it’s out of read-only mode. So I guess Nick was able to make the leap to a new virtual private server. Here’s hoping it was a smooth move and Jsoc will be super-fast hereafter.

5) Playing catchup… I haven’t taken my email inbox down to zero in about 1.5 weeks. That means I have many comments that I haven’t replied to, that I need to reply to! 🙁

I hope I can catch up quickly.

How is your week going?

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J-Donuts for everyone – An exclusive interview with “C” from Jdonuts.com

Hi all.

I hope you have a sweet-tooth because today we will be chowing down on some creamy, tasty, sprinkle-licious Jdonuts!

donuts

Oops. 😳 I might have already started…

We’re here with “C” (for “Contamination”) from j-donuts.com, a J-blogger with a funny bone and a lot of heart. A friend of Jamaipanese, you know he must be a great guy, let’s see what makes him and his site tick.

DailyJ: Hi C. What is your site, Jdonuts, all about?

C: Japan, anything I find interesting, weird or newsworthy about Japan.

DailyJ: What projects/etc. are you working on?

www.jdonuts.com my blog about my life in Japan
jokes.jdonuts.com daily jokes and funny images.
blog.jdonuts.com recommendation’s for how to run a good blog & drive traffic to it. If it works for me, I write about it here.

katana

DailyJ: So, what motivated you to start Jdonuts?

The isolation. Its so difficult to find interesting people to talk with, I figured if I shouted out to the rest of the world for long enough, interesting and intelligent people would flock to my blog to engage in thoughtful conversation about Japan.

DailyJ: I can relate to that. How has that worked out so far? Have you had some interesting conversations? Which ones have been your favorites?

C: Kind of, the more popular topics recently have been the more general ones:
http://www.jdonuts.com/2008/01/panasonic-to-consolidate-its-brands.html
http://www.jdonuts.com/2008/01/check-out-my-melons.html
http://www.jdonuts.com/2007/12/i-hate-one-yen-coins.html

All in all it’s been good. I haven’t had to hear anything about Brittney Spears in a long time.

DailyJ: 😀 So what posts are your favourites?

C: All of them, everything I write is gold.
http://www.jdonuts.com/2008/01/public-service-announcement.html
It was important at the time as Jamaipanese’s blog was down, so I wanted to do my part in the J-Blogger community.
http://www.jdonuts.com/2007/12/worrying-news-from-2007.html
This was my summary of the most worrying news for the previous year.
http://www.jdonuts.com/2007/12/japanese-drivers-license.html
Getting my Japanese license was a lot of effort, so I’m personally proud of this.
http://www.jdonuts.com/2007/11/fingerprinting-in-japan-blogs-eye-view.html
I was proud do be a part of the community action against fingerprinting of foreigners in Japan while sharing the link love at the same time.

DailyJ: What part of running Jdonuts do you like the best?

C: Watching my daily traffic increase from 1-2 readers a day to currently over 1000 a day, and every now and again over 3000

DailyJ: Where do you see the site going in the future?

C: Paid advertising. I’m not running it as a business, but I’d like to make some Whiskey money out of it.

DailyJ: I noticed you write a bit about blogging and traffic. What advice would you give to other J-bloggers about increasing traffic?

C: Join EntreCard & Stumble Upon for increased traffic and JapanSoc & Japanalyst for increased search engine visibility. Find other j-bloggers and link to them first, comment on their blog for a bit and THEN ask for a link back.

Good advice indeed. Thanks for the interview C! And for all of you reading, I command you to head on over to Jdonuts!

Are you still here? Ok, well there is one more thing…

DailyJ: Is there anything else you want to say?.

C: When I started this ongoing hobby/project of blogging I decided to keep my real life separate and took steps to conceal my identity. There are others in the J-Blogging community who are happy to share their personal details, and thats fine but I hope that others will continue to respect my wish for privacy.

I was always a bit of an extrovert at High School, and even now at work I am very outgoing with the hundreds of students I teach each month. But the idea of 1000’s of people on the internet knowing who I am is a little scary for me.

Sure thing C. We’ll leave you your superhero anonymity 🙂 The Chemist away!

Have a great day,

DailyJ

p.s. Go to Jdonuts!

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katana

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donuts

sprinkle donut

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Choices, Apologies, and why I look up to J-Donuts

Tomorrow I post the last delayed interview (interview gathered from before I fell off the face of the J-blogosphere for four months, earlier this year).

So here is yet another apology and attempt to make peace with a Japan-blogger whom I have wronged. Sorry J-donuts.

I wish I was better at this whole interview-conducting/blogging thing. That’s one thing I really admire actually about Jdonuts, he makes comment-replying a top priority (and keeps a good posting schedule):

DailyJ: How can readers contribute to Jdonuts?

Leave a comment, I read ALL comments and do my best to reply to as many as possible, currently over 75%.
http://blog.jdonuts.com/2007/08/comment-moderation-policy.html

I live to read and reply to comments!

What makes your site unique? How can readers get the most from your site?

Well, I’m an individual, just like everyone else!
http://jokes.jdonuts.com/2008/01/individuality.html

Seriously though, just comment and tell me what you like. I live to please and do my best to post things that people tell me that they like. Did I already say that I live to read and reply to comments?

Over the last couple of days I have been reading through some of Jdonut’s posts and found a few (about blogging in general) that make me take an introspective look at DailyJ.

I’ve felt before that my limited time really hinders DailyJ from being what it could/should be. I love DailyJ and conducting interviews, but I cannot do it at the level I would like to.

I recently sat down and wrote out what I imagine are my options with DailyJ. I was surprised this week to see that Jdonuts had been writing about similar things.

Here are the options I came up with:

  1. Keep doing things the way I am now until I completely burn out (and then suspend the blog – leave it up but as an archive).
  2. Give DailyJ to whoever will love it and keep it true.
  3. Change DailyJ
    1. Monetise DailyJ – in the hope that it will let me work less elsewhere and more on it.
    2. Additional editors (perhaps paid or other incentives) to lessen the load.

Out of all of those options, option 2 is the one I like best (probably because it seems the easiest) if I could find someone like that. Jdonuts isn’t betting on it. Reading Jdonuts post I wonder, “Really, what would happen to my readers if I left my blog?“ I only have 2 readers (Billy and Nick) :-) anyway but still it is a dilemma.

Then there is the buyer. Like Jdonuts, I don’t think blog buying makes much sense(at least not in most cases), so I won’t be selling DailyJ. 

But what about this idea: I could let someone who loves the blog and its mission come in as the new editor. They could slightly monetise the site with their Adsense, etc. and keep whatever they make. I would contribute as often as I can manage, and with two heads we should be able to keep DailyJ regular. Of course, there may be cons to this too.

I’m all ears for any suggestions about DailyJ. Whatever the case, I plan to keep DailyJ going as long as possible.

So as we continue on this behind the scenes journey through the Japan-related web there will be plenty of interesting people to meet.

And tomorrow we will get to know one of them.

So stay tuned for that.

That’s all for today,

DailyJ

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One more break…

urgggg.

I am behind on the upcoming interview post and trying to fight some web “fires” so I am taking a little break. Hopefully I’ll have the interview posted before the weekend.

Hope your day is better 🙂

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One small step for JapanSoc…

One small step for JapanSoc, one giant leap for the J-web!

JapanSoc, the Japan-related web’s social bookmarking website/ community watercooler, was just featured on JapanProbe.com

From its start DailyJ has been a huge fan and support of the site because of its ability to bring the Japan-related web into a tight-knit community. I have said before (guest blogging on RisingSunOfNihon) that I think JapanSoc will be very significant in the future of the Japan-related web, and I think this latest feature was a step in that direction.

And perhaps, although it was just a small step (as far as difficulty) for JapanSoc, it will have a giant effect on the Japan-related web.

It seems that the way we interact, and perhaps help others, on the J-web is changing; becoming more sophisticated. And it seems that the idea of community is spreading.

I hope so! Ganbarou Jsoc!

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The DailyJ Interview Recipe: 1 part Japan-enthusiasm, 2 parts love

ingredients 
Recently I had a quick exchange with Tony from TheSoulOfJapan:

  1. Tony Said,Would like to have my site added to your blogroll
    thank you
  2. The Chemist Said,Hi Tony,
    Thanks for the comment. You have a good looking J-blog. I like sites that have a niche (in your case, onsen and sake).I actually don’t have a blogroll…
    I have an interviewee roll. So as you can imagine the only way on there is through an interview. Luck for you, I would be more than happy to interview you :)
    What do you say?
  3. Tony Said,Sounds good. I am ready for your interview anytime.

I love receiving requests for interviews! (Btw, thanks Tony for stopping by and commenting and sharing your site with me). I love going out and contacting J-sites for interviews too.  But I hate not having the time to do more interviews and to do them better.

I give every interview my all, but with limited time it is hard to interact with the interviewee (sending emails back in forth) in a timely manner and give them the attention they deserve.

I want to interview everyone, the problem is time. (If anyone has a possible solution, or even a silly one for laughs 🙂 , I’m all ears)

The idea for this post (a post explaining what goes into a DailyJ interview) came to me a little over a week ago. I must have been think about DailyJ and my other projects that day because I woke up in the middle of the night with a dozen ideas in my head. So I grabbed my trusty notebook and wrote down this post. 

My reasons for writing it are twofold: 1) to try to justify my often horrible reply speed with the excuse that I put in a lot of work :)  and 2) to show how I feel about everyone I interview and doing interviews in general (i.e. my slowness is not out of disinterest or disrespect).

secret dailyj sauce  

The Secret Sauce: the DailyJ interview process

    Make The Shopping List
  1. Go out and find interesting Japan-related sites; Sites are recommended by readers
  2. Research the sites; see what they are doing and why it is cool, unique, etc.
  3. Formulate specific questions related to their site (to send along with general questions)
  4. Shop

  5. Contact with questions, excitement, and interest!
  6. Wait/hope for a reply
  7. Yay! They replied!
  8. (maybe)  Ask some additional questions/questions about their answers, if they have time for it.
  9. Examine Ingredients

  10. Digest the answers; Try to get a feel for who they are and (if applicable) what their message is.
  11. Return to the site and find any extra content that compliments the answers; Go deep; Love the site; what makes it unique from all others? Why cool/interesting?
  12. bake

    Chop, Mix, Bake

  13. Group the answers to create the best possible flow.
  14. Try to make the mission or uniqueness of the site clear through attention grabbing titles and short but informative introductions.
  15. Never edit out what interviewees say (except maybe to “bleep” over a few “sentence enhancers” :), hey DailyJ is PG 13 at most)
  16. Always ask (sometimes force <– in jest) readers to take specific actions related to the interviewee site. For example: “go read this; check this out; subscribe to this or I’ll break your arm; etc.”
  17. Review/ proofread/ make it pretty : add more pics, edit things here and there.
  18.  sushi

    voilà. bon appétit!

  19. Post! (maybe in parts, to the chagrin of some 😛 )
  20. Promote (maybe the most important part). Promoting the interviewee, not necessarily the interview
    1. Find ways to help them get the word out. Nowdays this is easier because of JapanSoc, our nifty community watercooler.
    2. Also if I see a connection between two interviewees (or just an interviewee and a site I know of) I might mention it to them. Connections are key (<–see posts that start with “Connections”).
  21. 残り物

  22. Maintaining the relationship (I have much room for improvement 😳 ): Keeping up with past interviewees blog posts; commenting; seeing if there are any new developments. This is the hardest part because of the time invovled, but it is one of the most important.

So that’s the DailyJ interview process!

It is actually a lot of work. I suppose I must be crazy to put in the effort. But I love doing it. It is one of those things that I would glad do forever for free (since none of you cheapskates will pay me 😛  j/k).

I really enjoy learning about other people’s sites and projects. And communicating with other Japan-bloggers keeps me from being a lonely J-blogger. Plus I desperately want people to be interested in Nipponster and my pet projects so I want to show that kind of interest first.

Well, I hope that I’ve interested you in a DailyJ interview (if you haven’t had one already). Or maybe I’ve just made you hungry. I know I am (stupid pictures!). On that note, I’m off to find some sushi.

Have a great day!

DailyJ

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sushi

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bake

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secret dailyj sauce

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ingredients

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Short hiatus

I am going on hiatus for a couple of days (until Tuesday).

I need the time for some things I want to bring you readers:

  • I’m working on an interview (one that I should have posted long ago)
  • Also, I’ve had a number of requests for interviews (and interviews I am initiating) so I need some time to make questions and send them.
  • I am writing a post about my interview process, to give you a behind the scenes look at how things work here at DailyJ

See you after the hiatus!

Have a great day

DailyJ

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Late night web tinkering…

(nerd post)

I wrote this after staying up way too late (something I very rarely do), so it’s not Shakespeare.

I exported the files from the old Official Nipponster Blog (blogger) to a new wordpress I am working on.

The new wordpress installation is for a new Nipponster Laboratory. This one will give me a place to showcase new experiments and will link to the Nipponster group on JapanLabs.org (more info) to allow users to discuss the experiments.

//

Exporting the blog from blogger.com to wordpress was not easy but I managed. But then I noticed that some of the videos and other media didn’t export… 🙁

//

The labs site’s theme is very minimalist. That was on purpose. I like simple (like Craigslist). I might customise it a bit later.  But I need to create a better logo for Nipponster first.

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Youtube videos! In honor of the technically-challenged and the tireless techies who support them

This may be my first completely non-Japan-related post ever. It was prompted by a youtube video that was just like an experience I had once at work.

I’ve worked with many less technically inclined people over the years and have had to help them with their websites, computers, and equipment. If you’ve ever done something similar the following might be familiar.

Pattern 1:

It never fails that something goes wrong due to something stupid they have done (and they will never admit any guilt) and yet they get upset with you about it.

You are mesmerised by their amazing level of ignorance and simultaneously furious about the stupid thing they’ve just done. Then you step in and save the day.

Pattern 2 (the Dilbert Effect):

Your boss/client, who can figure out how to turn on his computer on a good day, comes to you with some sort of suggestion that is completely stupid. Maybe even beyond stupid. It goes contrary to anything that could possibly be useful, efficient, or effective. That’s right, it would take a massive amount of time, energy, and resources to complete and be totally useless once completed. But that is the boss’s suggestion.

I’m no managerial genius but it seems to me that asking the person, who understands how the technical things work, whether or not something is a good idea might be a good idea!!

So then, you as the techie, have two choices. One, explain to the boss (who probably won’t understand unless you draw it in crayon) that he is an idiot and his suggestion is the stupidest thing you have ever heard. Or two, do the stupid idea, watch it fail miserably, watch the boss deny responsibility and shift it to you, then go and fix it the way it should have been done (or just quit).

🙄

Anyway, enough rant. Here are the videos!.

(sadly, I had to teach someone to do the same thing just last week. 🙂 j/k)

(the part where he talks to Beth is hilarious)

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Busy, busy, busy

I’ve been off catching up with conversations here and there, on other blogs and JapanSoc. So just a quick post today.

As some already know, JapanBlogger.net had technical problems and is down 🙁

I hope Billy will be able to rebuild it soon

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JLPT not worth it? Rather likely. And All Japanese All The Time

As a hater of standardised testing this post on AllJapaneseAllTheTime about the JLPT makes a lot sense.

Khatzu is another amazing writer (like yesterday’s firefly). I’ve always liked Khatzu’s blog but haven’t spent as much time on it as I probably should (I wish I had 48hrs in a day. Of course, I’d only give you 24 😛 ), so I thought I’d make up for that with a little post.

My favourite part of the post is that is a really cool rant (which I’m also known for. ok, maybe mine aren’t as cool) and at the same time very informative.

Khatzu, if you are reading, keep up the great work!

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starfish

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Firefly – the novel

One of my favourite Japan stories is Firefly at your-japan.com’s “saga”

A post over at the JapanSoc blog reminded me of it so I went again to his site and noticed that he has released a prequel to his Japan novel (Firefly wants to publish a book).

It’s available for free download: Firefly Short Novel – The Prequel

Let’s hope Firefly realises his dream of being published. He can tell a good story!

But don’t take my word for it, read his “The worst language mistake in history

And have a great day

DailyJ

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Supporting JapanSoc

Just a quick but important post today.
I (finally) put up a JapanSoc widget on DailyJ to help spread the idea of JapanSoc and a J-blogger community.

on the bottom of it you can click “get widget” and get one for your site. Go for it!

and check out the Jsoc toolbox

Let’s support our community-driven Japan-related news source.

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