Japan for Dummies *cough* Americans *cough*

16 09 2007


The only Abe Americans know is Abraham Lincoln. But did you know that Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, abruptly resigned this past Wednesday due to a myriad of political debacles made by himself and the Liberal Democratic Party?

Ya would of if you read The Japan Times Online, the web site to go to for the latest news on Japan.

If you visited the site ya would also know that the reason why you take off your shoes before going inside is that dirt is seen to be connected to hell because it comes from the ground. Ya would know that Taro Aso, the outspoken secretary general of the LDP, reads about 10 to 20 manga comic books a week and that Japan is the official home of the World Mouse Pad Throwing Competition. Ya would also know that Japanese people tend to start their conversation with an apology while Americans are more likely to start with a joke.

Granted you could find this info other places but for the traveling American businessman it is probably most convenient when you’re still in JFK to go to one site to know what’s up before flying ova. 


The stories are very informative and spoon-fed to you as if you never heard of the island before. Maybe that’s for the best. I like the way that the news sections are broken up on the home page by topic such as Environment, Media, and Performing Arts so that readers can look for exactly what stories they want. Many of the articles had related links to ensure that readers visit multiple pages. There are also photos with each article. The fact that there is a Junior page for young readers who want to learn about national news and also a Book Club for people who are new to the country shows that they are trying to cater to their readers.

I was disapointed that for a web site meant for foreigners there was nowhere on the site to comment or submit questions. There was also no interactive maps or Flash presentations of any kind which I think would have been beneficial. Actually, there was no multimedia section whatsoever that includes video or audio. I was disapointed when I clicked on a “Listening Post” only to find that there was nothing to listen to. Also while I enoy the creativity of the headlines, it may be dificult for readers to know what exactly the story is about before they click on it.

Sorry, if this post was a little boring, but I’m forced to post once a week about a news site. Deal with me. I hope you have enoyed my blog thus far. Make sure to leave comments to let me know what you think.

Visit: The Japan Times Online and judge for yourself




3 responses

17 09 2007

Not boring at all. A good blog post can introduce readers to new sites they may not have heard about. And your lead is very good.

Check out the text, though. It looks like all of it is linking to the screen grab.

One suggestion: Try shorter graphs.

Like, just a few words each. Makes the text more scannable.

17 09 2007

I liked your lead, too. No need to say it’s boring–just makes you sound defensive. Good use of pictures.

18 09 2007

I’ve read some Japan Times articles before and I totally agree with you. I’d agree with Prof. Thornburg that your graphs could be broken up a little — but I enjoyed hearing more about what this website has to offer. Especially glad you gave a mini-rundown of what some of the things the site has offered in the past are.

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