Blogology: Selected Asian Blogs
Producing a quarterly magazine could be seen as a painfully slowww process,
given the ease and immediacy of blogging.
However, as KJ contributing editor / Rambler-at-large Robert Brady points
out in Blogology 101
(in KJ #61), blogging dates waywayway back —
it's just more immediate nowadays. (His Pure
Land Mountain blog is a fine example of melding of the
timeless and the timely). "Entering
the Blogosphere," in the same issue, explores the
blog boom and introduces some notable Asian women bloggers.
the blog scene, we see a huge diversity in style and content. When seeking
material to share with our readers — as in selecting content for
KJ — we look for good writing, topicality, creativity, and non-stereotypical
quote from the 4th
Technorati "State of the Blogosphere Report"
from February 06 (already ancient history):
blogosphere is over 60 times bigger than it was only 3 years ago. New
blog creation continues to grow. We currently track over 75,000 new
weblogs created every day, which means that on average, a new weblog
is created every second of every day - and 13.7 million bloggers
are still posting 3 months after their blogs are created. In other words,
even though there's a reasonable amount of tire-kicking going on, blogging
is growing as a habitual activity. In addition to that, about 2.7 million
bloggers update their blogs at least weekly.
We track about 1.2 million posts each day, which means that there are
about 50,000 posts each hour. At that rate, it is literally impossible
to read everything that is relevant to an issue or subject, and a new
challenge has presented itself - how to make sense out of this monstrous
conversation, and how to find the most interesting and authoritative
information out there.
also, Part II
Blogosphere as Media".
#61 Entering the Blogosphere; some Asian Women Bloggers
#62 Extracts from Wide Island
#65 In Pursuit of Mountains
#66 Virtual China.org
#67 Envisioning the Unimaginable - Iraq
#68 Beyond Flower Power
Making a Difference: Tales of an American Physical Therapist in Vietnam
#70 Kyoto Access Online
Here are some Asia-related blogs that we have found of particular interest,
and featured on our Blogology pages in KJ:
CHINA "is an exploration of
virtual experiences and environments in and about China. The topic is
also the primary research area for the Institute for the Future's Asia
Focus Program in 2006. IFTF
(www.iftf.org) is an independent, nonprofit strategic research group
with more than 35 years of forecasting experience based in Palo Alto,
FROM THE 'NOG: (Yonago, Tottori prefecture) If you think
of Japan as all urban infrastructure and blue-suited salariman
commuters, read Ted's blog, and think again. "Country living as
a springboard for roaming and rambling. With occasional music and light
exercise." (Featured in #65)
KNEES: "eyes to see, hands to touch, legs to walk,
and a mind under the open sky" – sharing the experience of
ultra-light mountain hiking, also some excellent photography (a German/
Filipino/African-American writer/illustrator/naturalist living in Japan.)
(Featured in #65)
IN THE MOUNTAINS: "From hotsprings in the mountains
of Hokkaido to unexplored beaches off the Cambodian coast, this website
is an account of my search for beautiful places in Asia and beyond."
Location: Utashinai, Hokkaido, Japan – a former mining town that
has attempted to reinvent itself as a Swiss village attraction. Excellent
account of the last
local festival. (Featured in #65)
GAIEN HIGASHI DORI: "Setsunai,
an expat Irishman on “Tokyo’s Raglan Road,” combines
glorious photos and descriptions of epic hikes – and fine commentaries
- "a celebration of the space at the intersection of cultures,
where multiple viewpoints are embraced without necessarily resolving
into a coherent whole. Chanpon identity means being able to navigate
and embrace different cultural styles simultaneously; it means not only
direct experience with multiple cultures, but being able to blend them
into a unique and tasty combination. Chanpon culture is a third culture
that is not wholly defined by any mainstream national cultures, but
can function as a bridge between them and a source of inspiration, innovation,
and cross-cultural understanding." Administered by the Momoko Ito
Foundation, which Joi Ito, Mimi Ito, and Scott Fisher set up in memory
of their mother. (Featured in #63)
ISLAND Based in Hiroshima, Maethelwine — a former
resident of the US and the Middle East — reflects on then and
now. "I'm a guy who dispensed with Plan A
many years ago and is presently working his way through the middle stages
of Plan N..."(Featured in #62)
EARTHLING VICTORY Hailey Xie writes about her life, and
her work in media (at Chinastic), in Beijing. (Featured in #61)
was reputedly one of the first Chinese bloggers writing in English,
as a history major at Zhejiang University. “I
was born in Hangzhou, China on January 21, 1982. My life is pretty ordinary
except I've been travelling a lot since 2003 — around China, Tibet,
Europe, Southeast Asia, India, Pakistan.”
Extensive photo albums. (Featured in #61)
an undergraduate student, relates experiences in Calcutta, Seoul, Darjeeling,
Vienna, Bangkok, Phnom Penh — and her home city, Singapore. A
lot of interesting writing in her archives, if accessible. Continually
changing. (Featured in #61)
GLUTTER Yan Sham-Shackleton
is a high-profile blogger championing democracy and free speech in Hong
Kong. Her blog, (“Glutter is a mixture of
Glitter and Gutter — what better way to describe my home city?”),
is often blocked by the Great Firewall. She's a cosmopolitan artist
— politics is just one aspect of her blog. (Featured in #61)
PURE LAND MOUNTAIN
As featured in KJ #51.In fact, you can find something by Bob Brady in
just about every issue of KJ, except #60. His blog is as eclectic as
the man himself. See also his colonization.com,
from KJ #44...
FOOTSTEPS: Tales of an American Physical Therapist in Vietnam
by Virginia Lockett illuminates major differences
in customs and values: first-hand views of present-day life in Vietnam
counterpoint critical expat perspectives on aspects of life in the U.S.A.
Some postings have appeared on Common
Michael Lambe – “...introducing those good places and people
that make up the modern city. The primary focus of the blog is on cafes,
bars and restaurants of character. ... All reviews are of places I personally
have visited and taken a shine to, and include opening hours, plenty
of photographs, and super clear directions.
VOICES ONLINE, a non-profit global citizens’ media
project, includes a vast resource of Asian connections:
"A growing number of
bloggers around the world are emerging as “bridge bloggers:”
people who are talking about their country or region to a global audience.
Global Voices is your guide to the most interesting conversations, information,
and ideas appearing around the world on various forms of participatory
media such as blogs, podcasts, photo sharing sites, and videoblogs.Our
global team of regional blogger-editors is working to find, aggregate
and track these conversations. Each day they link to 5-10 of the most
interesting blog posts from their regions in the “daily roundups”
section. A larger group of contributing bloggers is posting daily features
in in the left-hand Weblog section, shedding light on what blogging
communities in their countries have been talking about recently."
BASEMENT TAPES KJ contributor Mark
His book Dastgah: Diary of a Headtrip was acclaimed by film
director Wim Wenders as the first of its kind to take the road genre
“into the 21st century”.
MELTING WORLD Rebecca Dosch, a long-time
contributor to KJ, a poet and artist,
lives with her husband and young son in central Hokkaido. She teaches
Kokusai Rikai (International Understanding) and Chikyu
Bunkaron (Discussion of Global Culture) in Asahikawa. Interesting
additional material archived by topic on site sidebar.
BHAT, and TIKI
TIKI by Maura Hurley Basu, a former Kyoto and Nara resident
now living in Kolkata. Maura is active in neighborhood NGO projects,
especially concerned with literacy and fair trade. Has an article in
upcoming KJ #63 on the Boi Mela, Kolkata's huge annual bookfair. See
BAEKSU'S BUG BORED is by Scott Bug, editor and publisher
of the very eclectic Bug
magazine, in Seoul.
GENTRY is an ex-pat living in China. in addition to his
own writing,he maintains a blog space that collects commentaries and
articles from various blogs and mainstream and alternative news sources,
also an extensive collection of interesting and creative blog / web
resource links, making a useful and efficient news information and independent
critical voice resource. Posts offer a multitude of perspectives and
critical insights into contemporary politics, society, culture and international
relations. Particularly interesting for interviews with other notable
IN A WELL, an academic but interesting and insightful multi-author
blog on Japanese history, featuring a regular "Carnival of History"
compilation. And there is a related blog, same name, on Korean
EXILE - RICHARD LLOYD PARRY (the Asia Editor for The
the Foreign Correspondent of the Year) "I like to polish and worry
over what I write, whereas a blog is, or should be, fifty per cent spontaneous....
And then there is the novelty of working in this unfamiliar, marginal
writing space, unconstrained by word count, time and the wisdom or folly
of editors. ... It feels like the birth of a new literary medium, which
doesn’t happen many times in a lifetime, and it’s exciting
to get stuck in before the conventions become fixed and the hierarchies
BETWEEN CHINA AND JAPAN: A SEARCH FOR SOLUTIONS
"The purpose of this blog is to invite discussion
and debate about the best ways to encourage reconciliation between Japan
and China. Our objective is to produce concrete and realistic policy
proposals for enhancing security cooperation between the two Asian powers."
Includes a bibliography compiling those writings, projects, and organizations
that appear to be making the most useful contribution to reconciliation.
OF POPULAR FEELING (subhead:
"which pass for public opinion in a land
where no such thing exists can be found only in Seoul – Isabella
Bird Bishop, 1898") Informative and investigative, put together
by one Matt, no further background available, who also co-writes Two
Koreas: Labour, Social movements, Politics ("A blog
of labour and social movement news and commentary from the two koreas")
NEWS: Musings by Shahidul Alam, a Bangladeshi photographer,
writer and activist with a special interest in education, new media
and ICT. Former president of the Bangladesh Photographic Society; set
up the award winning Drik Picture Library, also set up the Bangladesh
Photographic Institute and Pathshala, the South Asian Institute of Photography.
Director of Chobi Mela, the festival of photography in Asia.See also
– an exploration of transitions across borders (remaking
a journalist, your only space is at the edge. You have to be constantly
feeling the heat. Go back one more step, and you may cease to be effective.
There are no safe options, and no prizes for popularity and if you’re
not making certain people uncomfortable by your presence, you are probably
doing something wrong. The struggle for change is a never-ending process
that requires you to be constantly alert, and forever swimming against
the current. It is a lonely, stressful, tiring and immensely gratifying
JAPAN "Your portal to the land
of kofun, fortune-tellers, divination, haniwa, and
adopted Chinese and Korean culture."
By Nagaeyari, an amateur historian with an interest in early Japanese
history. Interesting findings, book releases, reviews, and an excellent
collection of related links (see June 6, 2007)
of course, there's KJ's own TEN
THOUSAND THINGS page – technically not a blog (no
feedback comments capacity yet) of "Multicultural Webfinds,"
courtesy of Jean Miyake-Downey.
Drawing on her background as a sociologist and lawyer, Jean takes an
interdisciplinary look at the nexuses (nexii?) between historical and
contemporary hybridity and fusion.
CIRCLE — Local Kyoto Haiku
Circle blogsite: haiku, haibun, and a fine set of links to other sites
ATKINS, a former Kyoto resident and KJ contributor, now
living in Bellingham, WA, posts excellent photo-essays with fine supporting
text. At present he is tracing his migratory lifestory along a trajectory
that uses Shu-fen's Six Records of a Floating Life as points
of reference, exploring the spirit of place, genius locii.
quite a blog but a unique and valuable concept, worth sharing).
A BLOCKHEAD – Two long-term residents of Japan and
one former resident of Japan who write about books, ideas, politics,
travel, nature, food, movies, music, the world, and everything.
look forward to expanding this list of notable blogs, so we would welcome
suggestions – please send URL and a brief description to submissions[at]kyotojournal.org.