Nihonshock 2010

(Happy New Year, everyone!)

In any country, the start of a New Year is a time to reflect upon the past and to make goals and plans for the future. In the English-speaking world, we have “New Year’s Resolutions” but in Japan they have 新年の目標 (shinnen no mokuhyou).

How did you do last year? What are your goals for the new year?

A look back…

Nihonshock started in August of last year, so it isn’t quite half a year old yet, but I’m very happy that the site has started to mature and come to life. Everyone who has something to say seems to like the site and its content, and I love the warm and fuzzy feeling i get from looking at my Google analytics and seeing that people are arriving here and finding exactly the information they wanted.

Those of you who have been visiting for a while know that the site recently got a pretty thorough graphical overhaul (see pics below). I felt that the old scheme was uncoordinated, loud, and felt very packed-in because of the high contrast. The new paint job gives things room to breathe, cuts back the red, and improves the overall page flow.

nihonshock (2009, old style) nihonshock (2010, new style)

It’s hard to believe that a year ago I was so clueless about web design that I didn’t know the difference between a Class and an ID (it’s true!), and now I’m hand-crafting date sprites and optimizing my template’s php code. It just goes to show just how much a person accomplish in a year.

A look forward…

Notice how in the old version, nihonshock’s tag line was a blog for Japanophiles but in the new version was changed to language & stuff? Well, when I came up with the original tag line, back before I had written a single post, I wasn’t really sure what sort of content there was going to be on nihonshock or what people wanted to see.

30 posts later, nihonshock’s content has a clear direction and personality, hence the new, more descriptive tag. So basically, I’m going to run with this “language & stuff” theme this year and see where it goes!

My first major project this year (other than clearing FFXIII) is to update the cheat sheet. Whereas the old one was composed in Microsoft Word, I’m redoing it from the ground up in Adobe Illustrator. The finished product will be easier to read, contain more complete and better organized information and will also correct a few mistakes that were found on the first version. Also, I’ll be getting professional prints… but more on that later. (Some of you may have already realized that I have a tendency to fall behind schedule, but I’m currently shooting for a mid-January release.)

Hopefully by the time spring rolls around (mmm… spring rolls…), I’ll have implemented my second major idea, which is some kind of weekly content. I haven’t decided what the content will be yet (except that it will almost certainly be language-related), just that I want to include something that will keep the site fresh, since my real posts are kind of sporadic.

Also heading into spring, I’ll be working on guest posts for some other Japan-related blogs around the net. Feel free to contact me if you have a blog somewhere and you’d like me to write something for you!

In the summer you’ll probably start to see more interactivity at nihonshock. This would include polls, contests, games and other things like that.

I am really looking forward to my first full year of improving and expanding nihonshock.

Also on the drawing board…

In order of likelihood (more to less):

  • more cheat sheets
  • a nihonshock mascot
  • video posts
  • a travel section
  • a Japan bookmarks section
  • a Q&A section (for Japanese learners)

On a personal note…

My new year’s resolutions are…

  • Speak perfect, natural Japanese!!! (my top goal for 6-7 years running, actually)
  • Get a good camera and learn the basics of photography
  • Read more books, in both Japanese and English
  • Get an S on Evans EXT (Jubeat), become a Y3
  • Make more money, spend less
  • Start waking up earlier (6:30am would be awesome)
  • Stop picking at my fingernails… (….no, bad Lloyd! I said stop!!!)

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