…if you ask me whether or not I’m an atheist, I wouldn’t even answer. I would first want an explanation of what it is that I’m supposed not to believe in, and I’ve never seen an explanation.

Noam Chomsky, Common Sense, 2002

Never thought I would agree with Chomsky on philosophical matters but…

Japanese Social Media Prism

Asiajin links to a visual representation of Japanese social media. I don’t get the color scheme, or the non-smoothed WinXP text, but it is nice to get an overview of the various services in use in Japan. The authors note the lack of Japan-based international sites but my question is how does one crack the Japanese Social Media Prism?

Japanese Social Media Prism

Some international sites are represented and some not. For more than a year now there have been print books about Twitter available in major bookstores. The buzz was so amazing that Twitter released a Japanese version last year, the only localization other than English. Facebook also rolled out its Japanese-language interface last year, but was a far-too-latecomer, completely losing out to the dominant domestic social network site Mixi. Flickr, a Yahoo! property with no Japanese-language interface, is also not widely known in Japan. Yet its video equivalent YouTube is extremely well-known but did not make the list. Delicious, also owned by Yahoo! isn’t on the list, has no Japanese interface and does not seem to be in competition with Hatena Bookmarks. Does Yahoo! Japan keep out the international Yahoo! properties? Why would they do that when they do not offer equivalent domestic services?

I need more data to figure this out. Sounds like a job for What Japan Thinks.

Related: See more international social prisms

Japanese Social Media Prism

Venn-diagramming Mac users in Japan

There has been a wide array of Mac user-types proposed over the years: the Design Afficianado, the Brand User, the Switcher, the Forced Switcher, etc. I have noticed two other groups since I have lived in Japan, which has made me consider user types based on location or culture.

First is the Gaijin User. Circumstantial observation indicates a high percentage of Mac-ownership among the foreign set in Japan — higher than the 5-8% of general marketshare that Apple maintains. There must be something about the Mac user personality type that is shared with the type of person that spends their life overseas.

The second group reflects a wider phenomenon in Japanese society: the “Interested in All Things Foreign” User. This is a Japanese person that most longterm foriegners in Japan have met countless times. You may consider a few of these people among your friends. I am unsure if their choice in computer is because want to be like the Gaijin User, or if it is a result of their drive to differentiate themselves within Japanese society. By no means do I think that all Japanese users fall in this group.

These groups surely exist in other countries, in one form or another. What other group types could be based on location or culture?

There remains one other set that I am not sure is a distinct group: the Japanese Christian Mac User (label pending).1 This is a puzzling case. Are they a subgroup of the Interested in All Things Foreign User? I cannot make that judgement as I have no idea how much interaction a Japanese Christian has with foreigners.

Mind you, most Mac users I meet are coming to me for web design advice. I think it a fair generalization that Mac users tend to be creative types. Thus it could simply because they are creative that these religious people are Mac users.


  1. I have met a number of Christian Mac users. All have been either American or Japanese. It seems only these two nationalities want to talk to me about their religious preference. I think this is because they are sincerely in interested what sect I belong to. They look at me, see a white guy, and assume I am Christian. Not willing to get entangled in a conversation about other people’s delusions, I simply slip the question and try to steer the conversation in another direction.

My photographic arms: Sony DSC-V3, iPhone, Sanyo Xacti DMX-HD800.

I always have my Xacti in my bag. It takes 9MP stills and 720p video. I tend to use the V3 with a wide-angle lens on outings. My iPhone never leaves my side.

After hanging around with Roy, and other truly serious camera friends, I am sincerely contemplating a DSLR. I will be dangerously tempted by the next Canon or Nikon DLSR that comes out with internal GPS. Video would be another seductive feature.