A quantitative three year blog anniversary bonanza

Today marks three years since my first, minimalistic post on this blog.  I was in Australia at the time, finalising my packing and visas, taking a photo of the guide book to Tokyo I’d be taking with me.  150-odd posts later, I thought I’d celebrate like it’s 1999 and  I was a statistician, sitting at home alone, wearing a pair of “2000” sunglasses, blowing a noisemaker and quietly crying to myself.

This blog has always been mainly intended for friends and family back home.  I’ve never really promoted it, so it’s been interesting to see who’s stumbled across it over the last few years and why.  If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to celebrate with a series of lists, sentimentally, quantitatively compiled.

What people seem to be looking for

I’ve listed the top ten searches further down but it boils down to two things really: learning about the Japanese language and Giga Pudding.

If you’re looking to get started with Japanese, there are much better resources available.

If you’re looking for Giga Pudding: no I don’t have any, and no, I don’t know how you can order it from the US.  But I can embed this zany Giga Pudding video!  You’re welcome.

Lessons learned about blogging

I like getting comments – it’s good to know that someone is actually reading what you write.  Each post has received an average of three comments, but those are distributed quite unevenly among the posts.   I regard number of comments as a much better sense of popularity than page views.  A few observations on that basis:

  • People tend to love “quirky” things, like Foot Pee or transparent umbrellas.
  • Posts that take me a long time to write, like The man who (really) liked trains, tend to get not so much feedback.  It may be because it’s not any good but really, that’s a possibility I’d prefer not to consider.
  • Posts with a picture and not much text get more comments on average.

Executive summary of bullet points:

  • Pictures good!
  • Words bad.

The only conclusion I can come to: people have the attention spans of gophers and want quirk and amusement, not insight or depth.

Except for YOU, of course.  You appreciate those things and I respect you for that.  I was talking about all the other people who read this blog.

Sentimental favourites

I don’t really want to rank these, but for sentimental value I like Dare you enter the dungeons of Kenkou Shindan, Two years underwater – experiences with Japanese immersion and Mt Fuji – an adventure in volcanic ash.  Yes, and the Navitime guy, if only because my message of envy and hate need to be propagated further.

I’ll note that these are all long-ish posts, and so my selections seem more related to “it took me bloody ages to write this, so you’d better like it.”

Bicycle follow up

My bicycle, which I wrote about with much pride way back in May 2007, was stolen a few months back.  I arrived back from Christmas vacation in Australia in January 2010, set out to go shopping to replenish my empty fridge, and noticed my bike wasn’t in its usual spot.

My landlord came out and said “Did a friend of yours borrow your bike?”
“No.”
“Was it locked?”
“Yes.”
“Well… that sucks.”

He was certainly right on that score.  Millions of bikes in Tokyo, a city renowned for having a low crime rate, and mine got pinched.

I’ll miss you, dusty bike I never gave a name to.

Lists of things

Top search keywords

Here’s how people stumbled on the site using search engines… okay, using Google.

10. Yamato Museum
9. Japanese characters
8.  kanji meanings
7. wakaranakatta
6. apple japanese keyboard
5. japanese characters and meanings
4. kanji fire
3. japanese words and meanings
2.  kanji alphabet

and by a huge margin:

1. giga pudding

People seem to want Giga Pudding more than anything else in the whole world.

Outside the top ten but notable: people searching for “Navitime Guy”, after Japan Times mentions the post in an article about the actor who plays the role, but fails to link to it.  Keep it up “old media”, I’m sure not linking outside will save your dead tree world.

Top hits

Okay, so this is a top twelve based on page views, since I couldn’t bear to leave out the Navitime guy.

12. Why I hate the Navitime guy (the collected stories 1998-2030)
11. Robots are awesome part seven and the Ghibli Museum
10. Just like a chocolate milkshake, only I can’t read it
9. Two years underwater – experiences with Japanese immersion
8. Hiroshima
7. What do Japanese people think of Japanese tattoos?
6. The second circle of conjugation hell
5. The Yamato
4. Mt Fuji – an adventure in volcanic ash
3. Typing Japanese
2. I am Giga Pudding, Destroyer of Worlds

Number one is once again by an overwhelming margin (four times more hits than #2):

1. Sprechen the Japanese?

Right, enough statistical introspection!  Back to your regularly scheduled programming soon.

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12 thoughts on “A quantitative three year blog anniversary bonanza

  1. Congrats on three years blogging. I enjoyed going back through some of these old posts.

    Too true about words v images in blogs, and about short attention spans online. I don’t think words are bad, but I do think a great picture can communicate more quickly. Besides, you take great shots so you might as well share them!

    • Well, I was being a little facetious there, of course – I love words.

      Looking through popular bookmarking sites, though, it seems that a well-crafted article has trouble holding its own against an amusing picture. Maybe this is more about the popularity of political commentary versus super cute puppies, rather than the death of the written word, though.

  2. Well done on reaching 3 years!

    Picture-wise, I particularly liked:
    – the Sumo tourney
    – the giant Gundam robot
    – the fireworks
    – Mt Fuji climb
    – Carnivale!

    The Hiroshima visit was also a highlight.

    • Oh yes, the sumo! One of these days I’m going to get this blog done up as a book so I can go through and remember what I’ve actually written here.

  3. Yet another milestone! Well done, mate.

    I’ll be seeing you on the 1st of July by the way! (sincerely hope you, and your spare couch are free)

    • Very good, I’ll be sure to keep it free! I can’t believe it’s already time to think about what’s going to happen in July…

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