You've Got Mail

Tired of an empty in box? Wish for more interesting mail? Join a mailing list or online community. Kristen McQuillin delivers 30 fun subscriptions.

Mailing lists come in two basic forms: announcements and discussions. An announcement list is a one-way communication from the author to his of her readers; in essence, it’s an email newsletter. Discussion lists are interactive; subscribers can write to one another through the list. Some discussion lists are moderated to keep the conversation on topic and polite.

An online community, such as those found at Yahoo! Groups or MSN Communities, takes a discussion list one step further by giving subscribers access to web-based tools like chat, calendars and photo albums.

E-zines & News
These announcement lists deliver interesting reading to your inbox.

Gadget Watch. All the latest cool toys in a weekly roundup from J@pan Inc. Info:  

Japan Lite. Amy Chavez’ weekly humorous insights into living in Japan. Info: 

Japan Today. From Metropolis’ sister publication, news headlines with morning or evening delivery. Subscribe:   or  

Tokyo Dreaming. Chris Worth’s personal newsletter of “random musings on Asia, technology, and life.” Subscribe:  

Tokyo Progressive (ChocoPaul). News and commentary from a progressive perspective including press cover-ups in Japan. Subscribe:  

Sensei. A newsletter for language teachers. Includes tips for teaching outside of formal classroom settings, sales techniques, scheduling strategies, language barrier hazards etc. Subscribe: 

Not only do these organizations have mailing lists, but they meet face-to-face at locations around Tokyo. Some of the lists below are announcement-only, others are for discussion.

Democrats Abroad Japan. Discussions and political news for US citizens of the Democratic persuasion, plus announcements of DAJ events. Subscribe:  

DigitalEve Japan. International women’s technology organization talks about digital lifestyles. Subscribe:  

Goannas. Aussie football team uses their mailing list to inform members of upcoming matches. Subscribe:  

Historical Simulation Boardgamers Society of Japan. This discussion list focuses on where to gather to play games and on topics relating to history and gaming. Subscribe:  

Japan International Gamers Guild. 111 members form Japan's largest English-speaking
role-play gaming group. Subscribe:  

Tango Tokyo. Exchange of information on the Argentine dance scene in Tokyo-where to learn, where to dance, and how to find partners. Subscribe:  

Tokyo Good Food and Good Books. A new group dedicated to reading and eating. Info:  

Tokyo Swing Dance Society. Where to dance the Lindy Hop in Tokyo and discussion of this energetic art form. Info:  

Members of these mailing lists may never meet in person, but they form a strong online community based on special interests.

Aikido Discussion Group. Martial arts students and instructors from around the world discuss the art. Info:  

Being a Broad. An active list offering advice and daily living support for foreign women in Japan. Subscribe: 

Britnet. An ideal way to get in touch with other expats from the UK. Info:  

Japan Friends. A mix of personal ads, questions about Japan, and conversations with people from all over the world. Info: 

Japan Space. Discussion of the Japan Space Agency & its programs. Subscribe:  

Japan Topics. A mix of subject matter on modern Japan from lowbrow to highbrow. Subscribe: 

Japanese Speakers Page. Conversations on many topics in romanized Japanese and English. Info:

J-Food-L. Conversations on everything related to Japanese food and food culture. Info:

J-League. Soccer fans discuss Japan's top professional league and its national team. Subscribe: 

Living in Yokohama. Commentary and advice on living a happy life in Yokohama. Subscribe: 

Nihongo Computing. Technical discussions on Japanese computing-not for the timid! Info:  

RealJapan. A list for teens and a companion to the website. Subscribe: 

Szumo. This sumo list for Hungarian-speaking fans gets a surprising two to ten messages per day. Subscribe: 

Tokyo Linux Users Group. Bilingual technical group for Linux and open source geeks. Info: 

Tokyo Scream. This 70-member mailing list focuses on Japanese indie and underground bands. Subscribe:  

Tokyo with Kids Not to me missed if you have children in Tokyo. Info:  

More Resources
If you didn’t see the sort of mailing list you’d like to join, don’t despair; this is just a sampling. Visit the following sites and browse through the thousands of online communities or start one yourself.

MSN Communities 
Yahoo Groups 
Yahoo Clubs 

Basic mailing list etiquette
Participate. It’s OK to “lurk” quietly and read messages from a list, but you’ll find that discussion lists are much more interesting if you write, too.

Be polite. Although some mailing lists are insult-fests, “play nice” when you’re new to a list. Once you are part of the community, anything goes.

Use your spellchecker. Good grammar and spelling make a positive impression and help you get your point across clearly.

Don’t cross post. If you have a question that could be answered by either of two lists (for example, Tokyo with Kids or Being A Broad), choose one. Sending the same message to two lists irritates everyone who reads both.

Quote wisely. It’s best to delete most of the original message when you reply. Quote any relevant parts and remove the rest. Including the entire original is unfriendly to readers who get a digest, and it wastes space in everyone’s inbox.

394: Wire tap
wireless networking
392: You've got mail
390: School's in session
From earning an MBA to making a webpage, online classes are a convenient ...
388: Diaries go hi-tech
Up-to-date diarists have chucked the avocado leatherette versions..
386: Why Upgrade?
Kristen McQuillin explains when to upgrade
384: Gadgets to go
Get the goods on the latest mobile devices
382: Hot software
The season's best new releases
380: Peripheral vision
How to purchase computer toys in Japan
378: In safe hands
How to avoid repetitive strain injury (RSI)
376: Kill spam
How to minimize your junk email
372: In for repair
Computer repair options in Tokyo
370: Game for a laugh
Semi-annual Tokyo Game Show
368: Knowledge is power
Empowering women in technology
366: Generation next
Cutting-edge keitai
364: MacWorld
Exploring MacWorld Tokyo 2001
362: Online translation
Simultaneous E-to-J and J-to-E translation... online
360: DIY Star Wars
Recreate your own sci-fi epic at home
358: Network gaming
Play games with friends on your keitai
357: Bad it online
Japan's burgeoning e-commerce market
355: Robotic revelations
Japanese robots leading the way
352/3: Get the point - a new kind of points system
350: Talk is cheap
Internet telephone technology
348: Tsukumo
346: Digital Stadium
Innovative computer-generated art on NHK
344: Tokyo Game Show
The latest releases at this fall's show
342: WonderBorg
The mechanical insect
340: Fun and games
There's a new game console in town...
337: Dream on
Tokyo Dream Technology Fair 2000