Two Years of Blogging…

Filed in American Wota 1.0

It’s easy to remember when I first started blogging because it’s a holiday: New Year’s Eve 2004. Barbara and I had moved to Hawaii only three months before, I was working as a temp at Pearl Highlands, and my love of Japanese pop music wasn’t even a year old at the time… I couldn’t name any members of Berryz Koubo or the H!P Kids in general, Sayumi and Mikitty were my least favorite members of Morning Musume, and Zone was still around. Maria Ozawa wasn’t a known name yet, or Irie Saaya.

My first ever blog entry was about the best quote of the year (sorry Béné!) and my second blog entry was about my favorite group and favorite single of 2004 – W and SweetS’ “Love Like Candy Floss”, respectively. Neither group is currently around, which is kind of depressing. And I at least expected Haruna of SweetS to resurface by now as a soloist or part of a new group, though another Haruna has taken over my life and that’s good enough for me.

Anyway, some general observations on the past couple years…

A Jpop-centric blog makes more sense than the general pop cultural one that Cult of Pop started as. Reading over Cult of Pop version 1.0, I was struck at how much the general pop culture entries were dissonant from the Jpop entries. I think it’s because Jpop – especially the non-Japanese fandom for Jpop – is such a specific niche, whereas TV and comic books and political theater were all much more casual-reader-friendly. I’d love to try my hand at a general American pop culture blog again someday, just as I’d love to try out a political blog… but that’ll wait a while longer, if I ever get to it.

Of the three versions of Jpop blogs I’ve done, Cult of Pop Version 2.0 is the best so far. The switch to WordPress helped, as did the emerging focus on Jpop, finding an online audience for my writing, and building a community with Feed of Pop. Cult of Pop 1.0 has its highlights – the Why Jpop series, the PV reviews of Otsuka Ai’s “Smily”, Amuro Namie’s “Wo Wa”, and the dream PV where Yu’s boyfriend gets stabbed – but 2.0 had the Chokkan 2 Close-Up series, the Science of H!P (there’s still a couple ideas there left mouldering and unused, and notes towards The Economics of H!P), and I finally found my voice for Jpop blogging and grew confident with it. American Wota will eventually top CoP 2.0… but it admittedly hasn’t been as strong, for obvious reasons.

I need to rewrite the Why Jpop series. It holds up well enough, but could definitely stand the Once Over Twice and be made more relevant to how I feel about Jpop now. Actually, I think it’d be better if I examined my fondness for idols in general – U15, Gravure, AV, Pop…

I really, really need to finish writing the Unified Theory of SweetS. Just because they’re gone doesn’t mean they’re forgotten – the poster of the first mini-album still hangs on my wall, and all their Bounceback songs still move me as if I’d heard them for the very first time.

The Sunday Blog Roundup saved this site and my blogging. While I’ve delayed the return to regular blogging for far too long, the SBR has been an anchor to make sure I didn’t stray too far, that I felt a responsibility to the blog the way I do to work and family. That’s a very good thing. Blogging not only requires passion and a distinct voice, it also requires stamina and commitment. The bloggers who become good at this do so because it’s as much a part of their life as the other necessities such as eating and sleeping – something that’s always in the back of your head, the constant nagging desire to share the latest insights or observations with others, and to do so with a modicum of wit and thoughtfulness. People sometimes drop out of blogging because of other priorities, but too often it’s started on a whim and isn’t given enough time to take root and become a habit… SBR made sure the habit stuck with me, at least, and made sure I stuck with it instead of forgetting first for one day, then a week, then a month… SBR may not always be out on Sunday, but it will always be there week-in, week-out. (Knock wood, fingers crossed.)

I’m still intrigued by the idea of a co-blogger. I had one for Cult of Pop 1.0 and one for Cult of Pop 2.0, and both didn’t work out as planned – kind of like drumming for Spinal Tap. (I actually had a second co-blogger in mind with 2.0 – Suika of Melon Pop! – but was going to wait until Sami was settled in before I asked her. I never did, and Melon Pop! hasn’t been updated in over a year now, so it probably wouldn’t have worked out anyway. But each and every article on that blog is a masterpiece!) Hope springs eternal, though, and I still sometimes wonder if a co-blogger or two for American Wota wouldn’t be a bad idea…

So as I look forward to a third year of Jpop blogging, let me just say that if I had to name my proudest achievement of the past two years… it would be Haruna Moni, my jewfro’d, no-neck, Edward G Robinson-looking baby. Come on, how could you think it’d be anything or anyone else? But Cult of Pop / American Wota would be second, and everything else would be a very distant third at best.

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4 Responses to “Two Years of Blogging…”
  1. wu-san says:

    this must be the first time I have ever felt the need to post on American wota. Of course the SBR means alot to me, it holds water in both analysis of other blogs, but also in simple terms, a bloody good banter on about Jpop in general.

    I have read a lot from Cult of Pop 2.0 and find the writing, well, brilliant. Though some things I shall admit, I do not agree with, most of the musings posted fit into my line of thought.

    oh and ray, I’m sure if you really feel the need to, you’ll dare to call upon a fellow blog writer to aid you in your quest of…good blog writing for american wota. I’ve read some good stuff out there and I think one or two are qualified to take on the task to write for you.

    two years of blogging huh…long may it continue.

  2. Swifty says:

    Happy new year! Your sunday blog roundup posts have usually rescued Justin’s entries (and some of mine) from obscurity!

  3. Tsuji_Eriku says:

    I love the SBR & American Wota.

    “it would be Haruna Moni, my jewfro’d, no-neck, Edward G Robinson-looking baby.”

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  4. I’ve only been at this since April 2006. Already, I’ve gotten into more trouble that in all the years (since 1973) I’ve been in the professional journalism field. This is a great site and your work and the work of others here is sincerely appreciated.