Review 2561

The Tokyo Times comes (as you can see) under the News/Links category, so when I first entered the site I was expecting a rather dry, factual site based solely on the latest news events and current affairs in Japan. However, The site is a lot more reader- friendly than that, a lot more personal and a lot more fun too.

The site design is fairly plain- simply black and white throughout, though there is quite a groovy title bar. For some reason, the title bar disappears intermittently on my IE browser, but this maybe because the author is a Mac User (I think) and there is a resulting compatibility issue. Use is made of the various standard Typepad features, though these could be enhanced a bit further (book and music reviews for example, instead of just links.) There are a lot of photos in the entries themselves though, which brighten things up quite a bit. Overall it is not an unpleasant site to look at, but it could be improved from average to great with a little more effort.

Despite a few minor shortcomings in the site design, the content is great though. Like I said in the introduction, the site is very enjoyable and fun to read. This is mainly due to the viewpoint of the author- he is a British ex-pat now living in Japan (for about five years now). He is therefore able to give a rather quirky slant on Japanese culture. Many of the stories are either funny in their own right, or are made funny due to the author’s take on things. There is a nice little series about how badly some Japanese phrases translate in to English and use is made extensively of toilet humour, which I enjoyed tremendously. There is rarely a dull story to be found in the archives (which sadly only go back to just before Christmas) and topics mainly cover Japanese technology and culture, politics, football, sumo wrestling and a few other titbits thrown in for good measure. The author also manages to strike a good balance between news stories and some more personal ones about his life there as a teacher.

Overall then, this is an enjoyable site to read if you want a laugh, or a light hearted look at Japanese culture. There are no angst ridden personal postings to be found or intellectually astute political commentary, but the humour and cheeriness of the writing more than compensates for any lack of depth or weighty content in the site.Tokyo Times

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