YouTube Helps Japanese Earthquake Survivors Through Special Video Channel

Following the devastating earthquake and Tsunami that ravaged Japan was a massive amount of support from every part of the web. To help victims re-unite with their lost loved ones, YouTube launched a people finder channel. The channel is part of Google’s ongoing efforts to track down those lost in the Tsunami that swept away homes, villages, town and people following a massive 9.0 undersea earthquake.

The channel dubbed YouTube Person Finder launched March 18th and its aim is to collect video messages of those most affect in the disaster. At launch, messages shot by a major TV Station in Japan — TBS — will be shown. More videos will be added as the infrastructure improves. Major stations such as TV Asahi are expected to help the victims record their own messages as well to send to the channel.

Twitter Japan Launches

Twitter Japan have launched, in partnership with Digital Garage. Basically, it’s Twitter in Japanese (logout and select Japanese in the dropdown in the top right if you’re curious), but with ads:

The partnership agreement we have with Digital Garage also includes some commercial experimentation in the Japanese market through it’s subsidiary, CGM Marketing, Inc. At launch, visitors to will see media from two clients. One is a new book about Twitter being released in Japan, another is an automotive news service built on Twitter and sponsored by Toyota.

Speaking of Twitter, people who suddenly found their direct messages (being private between two Twitter users) available to the public, should blame GroupTweet according to TechCrunch. I’m glad I didn’t go with the story right away, when I saw user Orli getting her private tweets all out in the open.

Sudoku and Open Source Collaboration

If you haven’t heard of Sudoku, then you must have been living under a rock the past couple of years. Sudoku is the numbers puzzle wherein you fill in the blanks on a 9×9 grid such that each column, each row, and each of the nine 3×3 boxes contains the digits 1 to 9. While the actual concept of the game was invented by an American, it is in Japan where the game first gained popular acclaim, after puzzle publisher Nikoli featured it in their monthly magazine in 1984. But the secret behind Sudoku’s popularity, according to Maki Kaji, co-founder of Nikoli, is a sort of open source collaboration.

The International Herald Tribune had a feature recently.

Nikoli’s secret, Kaji said, lay in a kind of democratization of puzzle invention. The company itself does not actually create many new puzzles — an American invented an earlier version of Sudoku, for example. Instead, Nikoli provides a forum for testing and perfecting them. About 50,000 readers of its main magazine submit ideas; the most promising are then printed by Nikoli to seek approval and feedback from other readers.

[Read more…]

Japanese read blogs more than you

Edelman, Japan’s premier international PR consultancy, announced the results of a new blogging study that suggests Japanese are reading blogs more than Americans, Koreans, British, and French. Yup, they love consuming blogs but they are less likely to take public affairs-related action from reading them.

The poll conducted by StrategyOne over 1,000 Japanese, with accompanying studies conducted in different countries, showed that less than 1 in 5 (18%) of Japanese interviewed said that they have taken some sort of public affairs action as a result of reading a blog. [Read more…]

So Who Do Japanese Bloggers Like Best?

Still on the topic of The Blog Herald Japan and our subsequent, unique glimpse into Japanese blogosphere, we’ve had a little internal search to see which posts from BH that have been translated have proved most popular, and thus which of our resident Blog Herald bloggers are most appealing to Japanese blogging tastes.

And we have a clear winner: Lorelle VanFossen!! Japan’s No.1 Social Bookmarking site is Hatena Bookmark and users are bookmarking The Blog Herald Japan there.

The most linked post, by Lorelle, is “It’s Catching: Blog Disease“, translated- here. A Japanese blogger wrote a parody version: “Hatena Bookmark Disease“, crediting Lorelle and The Blog Herald Japan with the original version. And this has proved by far the most popular post translated so far. Lorelle’s other posts also get to 2nd and 3rd in the rankings when compared to other translated columns, with Derek following in fourth.

Well done, Lorelle!!

Should You Consider Human Translation For Your Blog?

Like many other blog owners, we’ve been having severe problems with automated translation tools, particularly Angsuman translator in our case–where either blank pages appear or one gets this message from Google:

We’re sorry…

… but your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application. To protect our users, we can’t process your request right now.

We’ll restore your access as quickly as possible, so try again soon. In the meantime, if you suspect that your computer or network has been infected, you might want to run a virus checker or spyware remover to make sure that your systems are free of viruses and other spurious software.

We apologize for the inconvenience, and hope we’ll see you again on Google.

[Read more…]

Irrasshaimase! The Blog Herald Japan Debuts!!

Did you know that English isn’t the biggest language in the Blogosphere? According to some data, courtesy of Technorati, Japanese might be the biggest language in the blogosphere! Records show that in 2006 Japanese accounted for 37%, while English only accounted for 31% of the language posted in the blogosphere.

So, in an effort to make the Blog Herald a little more global, and to align with the largest non-English speaking audience in the blogosphere, we’ve released a Japanese version of the Blog Herald at No, we haven’t just run our content through Babelfish — we’re partnering with Ioix to humanly translate our most important articles into Japanese, over at The Blog Herald Japan. We currently have over 100 articles ready, and each new article gets translated in less than a day.

We believe that our stable of writers have a lot to offer, from Scott Karp‘s thoughtful posts on the blogging and new media, to Lorelle Van Fossen‘s must-read musings on WordPress, to Amit Agarwal‘s weekly productivity tips. And we think that non-English reading audiences would enjoy them as well.

To that end, look for other international, humanly translated versions of the Blog Herald to compliment The Blog Herald Japan– to be released in the near future.

Oyasuminasai! (well, its late evening as I’m writing this, anyway!)