Posted by: 愛撫 | 09/23/07

On blogging; apologies and outlook for the future

Blogs are interesting. Unlike other forms of published media, there’s no real restriction whatsoever on what you can and can’t blog about. And while writing for a magazine or writing books as a career demands constant content generation, when one starts a blog with a free hosting site like WordPress, Livejournal, Blogspot, Xanga or any number of sites like that, there is no built-in responsibility whatsoever for one to even write anything in it. So right from the start, the blogger is in a uniquely advantageous position wherein he is under no threat of censorship (provided the hosting site’s moderators don’t actually bother enforcing their rules – most tend not to) and has no obligation to provide quality writing nor to do so in a timely fashion. And it is due mostly to the essentially limitless freedom attributed to the blogger that most of the blogs on the internet are utter shit.

When I started this blog, it was mostly a sort of personal challenge. I wanted to see whether or not I could keep up a consistently-updated, entertaining blog about a single topic I was (fairly) knowledgeable about. Why I chose I’ve was a combination of a few factors; first being my love for the group, second the relative lack of information available on the collective outside of Japanese websites and third the fact that my ‘blogging idol’ (as he may well be referred to) Shingo of Heisei Democracy made an offhand comment in an IRC chat once that he’d like to get an I’ve fan on board for his blog. However, with time I discovered not only that there were other blogs out there (the aforementioned I’ve Sound Livejournal community being just one of them) providing more detailed information about I’ve than mine ever could, with writers who in some cases had been I’ve fans before I had even heard the term ‘anime’, but also that Shingo’s tossed-aside comment was really just a random thought and not actually an invitation. And yet, even with this knowledge under my belt, I kept going – not so much because of the originally-intended ‘personal challenge’ aspect (I’d proven to myself that I could update regularly and stick to one topic, so that task had essentially been completed), but because I was able to look at my dashboard page and see that people were linking to my silly little blog. I had readers! People thought my writing was informative, interesting, worthy of putting on their own page! High off my own ego, I set off in a new direction – Aibu -I’ve Sound Blog- would become the quickest I’ve blog on the ‘net, grabbing news fresh from Firstron and posting it here before even most of the Japanese blogs had time to get around to it. And in the process, I managed to essentially slaughter any hopes of journalistic integrity this blog may have had.

See, I don’t know Japanese. At all. So when I grab a news story from Firstron, I’m relying on a combination of POPjisyo (god bless that site), the English phrases that Japan is thankfully so much in love with throwing in amongst their own language and sheer guesswork. Sometimes this pays off, I get the information right and it’s no big deal. But more and more recently I’ve rushed to post a news item only to find that I got approximately every detail wrong, sometimes with the realization coming before anyone’s had a chance to see the post but mostly after a commenter embarrasses my idiotic, journalistic-integrity-deprived self by posting a correction to one of my wildly inaccurate news posts.

Whenever this happens, it hurts. I feel like I’ve let my readers down, small as their numbers may be, and it really makes me wonder why the hell I’m doing this in the first place. As I mentioned above, being a blogger gives me the freedom to post whatever misinformation I might possibly want to spread, and there’s absolutely nothing in the world keeping me from abandoning this account even as I write this. But I don’t want to abandon this, not when even one person who isn’t me feels that Aibu is worth taking time out of their day to read. And I don’t want to let readers down with false information either, wherein lies the problem. If I kept strictly to news updates there would be no chance for me to mistranslate, I’d just be redundantly restating information already available in English and for a single-subject blog like mine that would be unforgivably lazy. If I focused more on reviews or editorials, my relative lack of knowledge regarding the subject (I may have absorbed a lot of information since hearing about I’ve, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’d never really talked with any other fans and I’ve only known about the group for 2 years tops) would only become more of an impedement than it is now – and besides, when it comes to reviewing this stuff most people are going to download the albums/singles for free anyways, and if they’re buying the CDs chances are they’re completists and would buy anything with the I’ve logo on it no matter what some dork with a WordPress account says about it.

So it is at this point I ask my readership (if indeed I actually do have one – all the hits my blog gets could very well be from one-time browsers) where they think I should go with the blog. Because, while I’d love to carry on doing what I’m doing now, I’m fairly certain that what I have now is inadequate. Would more reviews help? Expansion to include not just I’ve, but maybe other Japanese electronic/denpa groups as well? A podcast (I’ve been considering doing that, but my main worry is that there wouldn’t be enough content to talk about)? Something else entirely that I haven’t mentioned here? Any help would be greatly appreciated, as all I want this blog to be is something worth reading and I’ll take all the help I can get to make that happen.

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Responses

  1. I’ve never looked to another site for I’ve Sound information ever since I got to know this blog. Everybody makes mistakes. Translation mistakes are common, heck, babelfish isn’t even accurate!

    What I respect about you the most is that you kept on going, churning out new info and making the constant effort to bring them to the english speaking world. And you don’t even speak Japanese!

    I would gladly like to see some more reviews on songs. A podcast would be a good option as well, seeing as you can include audio, you can put snippets of songs in.

    But do what you want! Its a free and unrestricted blog, as you said. So long as you keep updating the blog with I’ve news, you can be assured of my viewership.

  2. As a J-music blogger who only recently discovered this blog – I like it. I like the concept of a blog dedicated to I’ve Sound (though I’m also a member of the LiveJournal community), and I like even more learning what you think of the songs, the general releases, etc. It’s not often that you’ll find opinions on I’ve songs by the girls who aren’t KOTOKO; and there’s no English-language blog out there dedicated specifically to I’ve, as far as I’ve seen.

    About your content: rushing news isn’t all that important – I’d rather you take the time to double-check the information if you’re going to post it. You don’t have to be an long-experienced fan of any artist to do reviews, and as a nearly-4-year fan of I’ve, I’d find it interesting to read what you think of I’ve as you learn more about them. Older singers, like AKI or Ayana. The girls who’ve left after establishing themselves as vocalists with the group – SHIHO and Lia.

    You certainly could expand your topic, but it seems you mostly care about what’s up and coming. How about throwing some old I’ve into the mix so readers who are using your site to learn about I’ve can get the full experience?

  3. I think you’re being hard on yourself. I’m definitely going to stick around and read all of your upcoming articles. I don’t care for following livejournal websites and I certainly don’t mind if you just copy/paste your news from there. As long as you add your personal touch and let us know your opinion, then it’s all good.

  4. Sol: You seem to be my most faithful reader and that’s awesome. Thanks for the continued support, and I will try to provide more reviews – in fact, I’ll have you know I have every intention of writing a big one for Virgin’s high when it comes out this next week.

    Kimitsu: What I always saw as being the problem with going back to old material is that I was operating under the assumption that my readership would pretty much entirely be made up of people who were familiar with I’ve already and would need no introduction to such things. However, I’d like to have you know that verge is my favourite of the I’ve compilation albums (the AKI and Ayana songs on disc 2 are just amazing) and, since you’ve shown there actually is interest in going back to the old stuff then I’d have no problem writing about it.

    jeffx: You may not have any problem with the idea of copy/pasting news from other sites, but I certainly do – needless to say, the Firstron grabs will stay. But seeing as apparently there’s barely any reader overlap between this blog and the LJ community and we were never really competing to begin with, I think it’s safe to say I’ll be slowing down the pace, utilizing the idea of ‘quality control’ and maybe even checking my translations with someone else before making a post.

    Now, here’s another question: for any current readers, how did you find this blog in the first place? I’ve never really linked to this blog anywhere outside of the Heisei Democracy IRC channel (and even that was two times at most), so I’m curious as to where people are coming from.

  5. @aibublog
    You know, I forgot what brought me here in the first place! I think I was searching for lyrics on Short Circuit II. Yeah thats it. And I’ve been coming back ever since because I aboslutely love I’ve.

  6. I too found this blog while searching for Short Circuit II information. And I support the idea of reviewing older material.

  7. hey there’s no need to cry over spilled milk when you have mistakes… we’re just humans capable of mistakes… and we learn from it. =) I know I’m just a recent reader of your blog (and shared some few songs from I’ve – you know that already) but what made me like this blog is that it is somewhat “futuristic” (not of techno-ish but because you provide future info) and “informative”… It may not be as detailed as the others but at least we get the idea. And that’s great.

    How did I find your blog? hmm maybe I was searching for further info about Virgin’s high when your post about “Virgin’s high short version up, song frankly terrible” post came up in the Google search engine. And since then, I kept coming back.. haha! It’s funny that I had the initiative of coming back here after all the infos that I read here… haha!

  8. I only make the assumption that some of your readers are learning about I’ve from your blog thanks to your Data Files on KOTOKO and MELL being two of the top posts of your blog. (As for your general readership, I have no clue.) ^^; I’m sorry if I came off as pretentious. I would definitely enjoy reading your thoughts on older I’ve material, though!

    I’m pretty sure I came across your blog while going through the WordPress tag for MELL. XD What a nice find~

  9. @aibublog
    Oh, and it would be great if you uploads songs that you are reviewing. Doesn’t have to be made downloadable, just listening will do. Check out my blog’s sidebar. There’s a useful music sharing widget.

  10. oh, don’t take it hard on yourself! i know i tend to act like a know-it-all sometimes *kicks self* but i didn’t mean to make you look stupid… sorry about that. with that date written in large letters like that, it’s easy to ignore the fine print and get the wrong idea.

    people make mistakes all the time. it’s okay to make mistakes. and it’s also okay to express uncertainty and ignorance. the most important thing is dedication and passion. and as a fan hungry for the latest i’ve news but lazy to look it up until a site like yours points it out, i really appreciate the effort you put in reporting the smallest updates that some i’ve sites neglect to mention.

    so far i’m happy with what your blog has to offer, but more opinions and reviews would be nice (i’d like to hear what people have to say about i’ve bgms — that is, if you do listen to their soundtracks), and a trip down memory lane doesn’t sound bad either.

  11. Fred: Ahh yes, the Virgin’s high post. Good times, good times.

    natto: It wasn’t so much ignoring the fine print as it was being completely unable to read the fine print. You weren’t at fault in any way. And it’s interesting you mention background music – in all honesty I’d never even thought about the possibility of reviewing that. Well, next time an I’ve game soundtrack comes around I’ll see if I can’t whip something up for that.

  12. This site has been a great way for me to keep up-to-date with I’ve releases, and it’s rather comprehensive.
    I really like your I’ve Sound Calendar posts (it’d be great if you could extend it to a real calendar page too). And despite our tastes differing greatly (FLOW wasn’t that bad :P), it is nice to see unfettered opinions of I’ve songs from what seems like a true I’ve fan (you).
    So maybe I’d like to see more reviews, but in the end this is an I’ve Sound blog, no? It seems you’re doing fine.

  13. hikago: See, here’s the funny thing about my I’ve Sound Calendar updates…

    They’re actually supposed to be in the form of a calendar page. But I don’t know how to do that. I mean, WordPress has a built-in calendar feature, but thus far I haven’t been able to figure out how to make it work as anything other than a way of browsing my posts by date. That being said, Heisei Democracy uses WordPress and they’ve managed to get a working ‘event calendar’ out of that, so obviously it can be done. Somehow…

  14. Hey, sorry to make you read such an old post. I wanted to make a suggestion, so I’m posting it here. It would be helpful to make a page about the complete discography of I’ve, or LP5. I know it can be tedious, but it’ll be a nice addition to your blog.


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