Review 2943

Daniel Rourke is a brit on the JET program in Japan. His blog sports a background with the rising sun motif that has inevitably come to be affiliated with his country of current residence. Daniel’s indentification of his gaijin status immediately draws comparison to other weblogs of foreigners stuck in Japan, many of which are really pretty damn good. Being a bit of a japanophile myself, I actually read a fair number of these blogs. Thus, when I first started reading the huge entity, I found myself thinking that Mr. Rourke had a pretty huge task ahead of him – he had to go above and beyond the ‘Japanese people are kooky’ type of blog, and add something new to the genre.

Naturally, ‘danieru-san’ makes the occasional obligatory ‘only in Japan’ type posts that you would expect of an expatriate in the far east. However, to be fair to him, the scope of his blog by no means stops there. Other topics Daniel enjoys discussing range from sino-japanese relations to the papacy. All in all, Daniel manages to give his readers a fairly entertaining collection of eclectic links, as well as the occasional amusing one frame gnomz comic, mainly based on political figures.

Daniel’s blog isn’t exclusively about link farming, either. Most original material in the site can be found in Mr. Rourke’s huge rants; these, like the site, are incredibly eclectic, and fairly entertaining. I particularly like his story, Thor, the Mighty Thunder Hamster, a childrens’ story about a boy and his hamster’s quest for the perfect hammer. He’s currently looking for an illustrator for this particular project, but based on the comments on his site, it doesn’t seem like one is forthcoming.

The Huge Entity has a layout I would describe as fairly good; it doesn’t have too many extraneous annoying links, and everything is pretty easy to find. Examining Daniel’s 2004 and early 2005 blogs, though, it’s fairly obvious that his blog has come a long way. The earlier entries look kind of tentative, and don’t appear nearly as sharp as his latest efforts.

All in all, therefore, I figure the Huge Entity does just enough to set itself apart from other gaijin blogs, and thus is worthy of a visit or two.The Huge Entity

Review 2943

The blog is written by a 23 year old British man teaching English in Japan. The site has a pleasing and easy to navigate design. Built on a basic base, the author has done a good job creating a pretty new template.

While the weblog is potentially very interesting, I didn’t find it a compelling read. There were rehashed news articles, confusing poetry and philosophical meanderings. I would have found stories about the author’s experiences in Japan interesting. There are bits of his thoughts on Japan but very little about his teaching experiences. The problem is that the author uses a distant third person reportorial voice. The blog reads too much like a dry travel guide. Is it the authors purpose to highlight his experiences in Japan? If so, he needs to write more about his experiences, please, and give us less reportage. If you don’t add personal reflections, why should we come to your site for the links? Even a “news/links” site can benefit from a personal voice.

Because the voice was so distant, there wasn’t much humor, though the author is occasionally bemused, as in his entry about the sex lives of the Japanese. However this was a serious post as most of the others are. Not dead serious, but not ha-ha funny either. I suppose the author cares about what he is writing–why else would he bother? But he is not present in most of the writing, so you don’t get much of a feeling for him. That said, the techincal quality of the writing is good and the posts are well constructed. There are no obvious grammatical or syntactical problems.

The design is excellent. The site really looks great. (I recommend changing the color of the blogger NavBar on the top of the page; the beige bar does not fit with the rest of the color scheme.) The links are intuitive and all work. I like the way the site looks and the author has done a great job working within’s limitations. I’d think this were a typepad site if I didn’t know better. The bonus features are the pretty pictures, “rants,” the message board, a links page and a categories menu. I am impressed with the technical ability behind all these nice features, but it’s hard to say what they add when the blog is lacking heart.

It all seems to be screaming “read me, read me” or maybe “love me, love me,” and I can certainly understand that impulse, but the author needs to do more than try and generate an audience. He has to write something that is worth reading. The framework is here, but the substance is lacking. I think this is a blog with a ton of potential. The subject matter has inherent interest. The author is technically adept, but he needs to show more of himself in his writing. The problem is that anyone can make the very general observations he’s making about Japan from a western point of view (I could make them if I did a little research and I would never even need to visit Japan). The author needs to find his voice and let us share in his particular experiences in Japan. What he thinks about life there is what will make this blog interesting and worth reading.

The design is excellent, but the content is not compelling. I rate this as an average site, though with some changes to the content it could easily become excellent. My rating is 3.The Huge Entity

Review 2924

Yes, you probably got the exact same impression that I did from the title “Butterfly Dani”… I thought, ‘this has GOT to be a girly blog.’

And Ding! Ding! Where’s my cookie?

Sure, it’s a girly weblog. But, hey, as it happens, I’m a girl. So I ventured within and discovered that this was the perfect site for me to spend my first few days back from the relationship rut that I have been attempting (almost hopelessly) to crawl out of for the past two weeks.

This blog has a very classy appeal for women. I am not a web design expert, but I know a good layout when I see it. The floral image Dani uses is an eye-catcher and I really dig it. I feel that the image almost ‘hugs’ me in a sense while I browse the site. It comforts me and makes me feel very welcome.

The links and archives are very nicely organized in the sidebar. There is a well written ‘about me’ section that displays enough details about the author without getting too wordy or majorly in depth. I feel that I know enough after reading it to connect with this person because she doesn’t reveal everything at once to kill my curiosity. It definitely leaves me wanting to learn more about Dani’s daily life by actually reading the posts.

The photobiography is a good idea, but I think that the author could expand upon it by adding some detailed captions that will further describe the photos for her readers. One interesting feature that Dani recently added to her site is the ‘Dreams’ section. I was only slightly disappointed when I saw that there were not many posts there. However, the idea is intriguing and still new, and I hope that Dani works on developing it more in the future.

I will admit, I did not go as far back as to read every single post in the archives. Dani has archives that stretch back to March of 2003, so she’s been working on this site for quite some time. I did peruse enough of the archives to determine that the links do indeed work, however.

Her most recent entries describe in detail the roller-coaster of emotions that she’s been experiencing due to a devastating separation from a significant other, which I currently can relate to, having just been down an almost identical path. She also touches on her current health issues which, amazingly enough, I also have in common with her.

The fact that I am able to establish such a close connection with Dani through her blog is an added bonus for me.

Overall, I find the content to be intelligently written and well designed. The target audience is twenty to thirty something women without a doubt, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing in my opinion. For me, “Butterfly Dani” was a temporarily quiet reprieve from my own troubles- a reprieve that I will continue to take advantage of in the future.

Butterfly Dani

Review 2833

My first impression of “Angelic Lucy’s Out Cry” or “” (which is it? I’m not sure) was that it was kind of a mess. Perhaps it was my browser, but the blog didn’t load correctly and some things in the sidebar were covered by non-clickable graphics. The colors were pink and white–nice and girly, and the blog was definitely written by a woman. After reading the most current post, which contained a medium length mediocre love poem, I was pretty certain that the writer was not a native speaker of English. The writer does not have a full command of the past tense, which makes reading some of the entries a tad confusing.

The entries have a very chatty, “dear-diary” style. It seems that this weblog is written directly to a few (or several) friends of the author. I had a very hard time reading the entries due to the poor English and the rambling, disconnected nature of the posts. I went back into the oldest archives (April 2003) and it was even harder to make sense of the older posts. I did not find myself drawn into the personal story of Lucy. She seems to be upset about something but it is very vague and I couldn’t follow, though I assume it is the break up of a romantic relationship. Because I could not follow her story, or fully understand the posts, I did not find the weblog a compelling read. Of course, this is a personal weblog, but it does not have the coherency necessary to draw in strangers. There may well be interesting stories here, but I don’t have the patience to discover them. The very poor writing is an impassable impediment.

The weblog is nicely designed and the features are easy to access. I have a quibble with the comments, which can only be made by entering them on a tag board. The board appeared to be a conversation between Lucy and her friends, which seems to fit in with the purpose of the blog–as a form of personal communication. I did not find any problems with loading or links on the page.

The bonus features are links to photos and a link to the author’s other blog, which are a series of poorly written, but enthusiastic, food reviews. I did not find much of interest here, but it is well designed.

I would not recommend visiting this site unless you are a friend of Lucy’s or if you are looking for some good design ideas. Lucy’s story is rambling and incoherent and only accessible to her friends.

If I could split the rating, I’d give Lucy a 4 for design and a 1.5 for content. Since I think content is more important than design, my rating is a 2.Angelic Lucy’s Out Cry

Review 2924

Butterfly Dani I thought, ok, a guy that’s into butterfly’s, when the page loaded I had a d’oh moment and realised Dani was a female.

The load of the page was pretty quick and it’s simplistic design, white background was easy to read and easy on the eyes. I liked that there weren’t too many links along the side panel and for that I was grateful. All her links worked perfectly. Her “about me” page was well written and insightful, and if that wasn’t enough of a clue to who Dani was, you could then go to her “100 things” list which gave you some more information about who the author really is.

I think for myself, I was pleasantly surprised with this blog. You see, it took me forever to actually get through all the archives, as well as the reading of the entry’s that date back to March 2003. So to start off, I read her March 2003 first entry and delved in from there.

I believe that Butterfly Dani is mainly a personal blog. More for the author’s own benefit, I see she has a few people that comment to her blog as friends and acquaintances.

She writes really well and her entry’s are full of character, so much so that after a couple of months entry’s I could see that her writing style would and could easily be her real self. In that, I mean that a lot of people use their blogs as a means of putting across idea’s and opinions that maybe they wouldn’t say to someone in real life or admit too in real life, sometimes typing words on a screen mean that people can embellish. But with Dani, I get the feeling that she is quite an upfront kind of girl and that she can be brutally honest when need to be. I like that. Every woman needs some spunk.

Much of the author’s blog is dedicated to her ex-boyfriend, the break up, her cats, her school life and her work life. A few things thrown in here and there, like her photo’s link, which I think is a nice touch.

I’m not quite sure why this blog is listed to be reviewed again since it’s apparently already been reviewed, but hey, it’s in the list and I’m only doing what the PTB wants!

Overall though, I believe that the honesty and character that is Dani, shines through in this blog and that even though it doesn’t have anything that might draw me back, it does contain her written self, so go check it out.
Butterfly Dani