Diaries go high
Up-to-date diarists have chucked the avocado leatherette
versions with the gold tone locks for online journals. Kristen McQuillin reads and tells.
Online diaries, known as weblogs or blogs, consist of brief, frequently updated
snippets of writing. They fall into three general categories: personal diaries; musings
for a broader audience; and lists of interesting links.
Personal online diaries sometimes read like a soap opera monologue. Encounter one of these
and youll find yourself swept into a mini-drama. Lauren, how could I have
ignored you at the party? I hope you will forgive me someday. With a typical
readership of one (the writer), this sort of diary might be best left under lock and key.
On the other hand, weblogs are entertaining when the writer addresses an anonymous
audience and conveys personality while divulging personal errata and wry comments on life.
Chris Jennings, an information architecture consultant living in Tokyo, publishes Tokyo
Tales, a blog with a daily readership between 50 and 100.
June 25, 2001. 8:35 pm. Yesterday was my first two-shower day of the season; plenty
more will follow. Its getting to the stage where walking seven minutes to the
station in the morning wearing an open-necked office shirt is enough to get you sweating
lightly, and by the time you have to brave the subway on the way home, youre
practically swimming in your own salt solution. http://www.tokyotales.com/blog/
Chris explains why he keeps a journal online. Originally (January 1998) it was a way
to stay in touch with friends back home. [Lately it] has been more to do with a desire to
express myself. I want it to be the kind of blog that I would enjoy reading
myself-amusing, well written, frequently updated, pointing to things I would find
interesting-so in a way I write it for myself.
Andrew Abb in Osaka uses a different approach for his weblog, gmtPlus9. He surfs the Net
to find links that appeal to his interests-Japan, photography and art-then posts the links
with a few words of description:
Yoshio Itagaki... Tourists on the Moon. Sharp computer-manipulated color photography.
"...examines the compulsions of a document-oriented society."
I really like Mineko and Riku. From Fantastic Voyage-illustration, character design, and
comics by Mai Shibasaki. (jp)
Kenji Ueda... Paper Game Machine Project. "...This projekt [sic] is providing images
like this, and we expect you print it and cut up it and make it up like a
Andrew began publishing gmtPlus9 in March 1999 and applied for an ISSN (an internationally
recognized serial number for publications) this year. I got an ISSN number assigned
to gmtPlus9 to lend a little credibility to the endeavor, Andrew says.
Committing your thoughts and ideas to an online diary allows readers to contact you. Most
emails to Tokyo-based diarists are questions about living in Japan, requests for
translations, or suggestions for sightseeing. Sometimes the communication is more
Chris says, The first other Japan-based blogger to contact me via my
blog [Rumi of rumi.nation] turns out to live ten minutes walk from me, which
is quite a coincidence."
"The most pleasant surprise Ive had was being asked to join the Design Culture
Network. Its an international group of site creators that stages design
collaborations and experiments. I was really blown over that they thought highly about
what I was doing at gmtPlus9 and wanted me to join up, Andrew says.
Not every encounter is positive. One evening, a Tokyo blogger heard someone call her
name. It was a young man who had found her weblog and figured out that she lived next
door. Fortunately, he was a nice guy, but it was a little bit unsettling to be
greeted with familiarity by a total stranger, she says.
Creating a weblog is simple. To get started, you need Internet access, a web browser and
about 30 minutes. Here are some popular weblog tools:
Xanga offers extremely easy launching with its setup wizard. After making decisions about
your weblogs style and filling in some vital information, you add your first entry
and voila! You have a weblog. Xanga includes many fashionable tools: comments (from your
readers), news headlines, affiliate links to Amazon and premium services include spell
checking and image hosting.
Blogger boasts 200,000 users. Setting up your journal with Blogger can be a bit daunting
if HTML and FTP are not in your purview. Blogger has unbeatable features including Team
updates for those who want a collaborative effort for their weblog, automatic archiving
and the ability to upload your weblog to any web server.