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.