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 blogger.com 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 blogger.com’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

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