Who Are You? – Reader Demographics

I have my WordPress stats, so I know where all of you are from. However, that’s all it tells me. I don’t know anything else about my readers, other than the ones who comment regularly. So, here are a few simple question for you to answer. First are the anonymous polls.  Don’t want to answer? Skip it. I can’t see who votes what, anyway.  After these polls are some more questions you can answer in the comments.


And now for the long answer section. Please answer in the comments.

Where are you from originally?

Where do you live now?

What’s your favourite book genre?

Do you like bacon, mint chocolate chip ice cream, or Marmite?

Do you have any questions for Authors Answer?

Do you have any questions for Life in Japan?

Thank you very much! I appreciate all the answers.

Life Is a Story

After reading so much or watching so many movies or TV series, real life often seems ordinary and routine. But if you think about it, isn’t life like a story?

When I read, I’m always anticipating what’s going to happen next. I want to keep turning the pages and see what awaits me. I find it’s similar with world events. I’m waiting to see how things unfold, if they’ll get better or worse. Each of these is a story that gets intertwined with other stories making history just one giant story with an immense amount of subplots and story threads that look like an impossible tangle. It’s incredibly complex.

But what about our own personal lives? Everyone has their own stories, and while they usually don’t have an overall plot, there are hundreds or thousands of subplots. Everyone has multiple story arcs.

Do you ever think that way about the world or your own life?

Choose My Best Instagram Photos – Round 1, Group 11

Moving on to the next ten photos, this time I experimented a little with tilt shift. I don’t actually use tilt shift much at all, but I just wanted to see what the outcome would be like.

The rules are simple. I post 10 of my Instagram photos every 2 or 3 days, and you get to vote on your favourites. It’s multiple choice, so please vote for 2 to 4 photos (3 is ideal). Leave a comment saying why you voted the way you did.

Here are the photos:

Modern temple

A photo posted by @jaydeejapan on

Flowers in the hedge

A photo posted by @jaydeejapan on

Clouds, bright and dark.

A photo posted by @jaydeejapan on

Sunflower on a hot, sunny day

A photo posted by @jaydeejapan on

Shonandai Station after midnight

A photo posted by @jaydeejapan on

Yellow line

A photo posted by @jaydeejapan on

Yokohama Bayside Marina and Outlet Park

A photo posted by @jaydeejapan on

35 degrees. Humidity makes it feel like 46.

A photo posted by @jaydeejapan on


A photo posted by @jaydeejapan on


And now, the vote. Remember to vote for between 2 and 4 pictures.

Excellent New Horizons Update

After the glitch on New Horizons on July 4th, we have some good news today. NASA has identified the problem and is correcting it. New Horizons will be back to normal on July 7th, and will resume science operations.

The problem was a rather unusual one. There was a problem with the timing in an operation that would only be done once during the flyby. The problem has been fixed, and will not affect anything now.

I can’t wait to see the closeup pictures of Pluto. There are so many artistic renditions of the surface, some showing colours such as orange, yellow, and black. The colour of Pluto is a kind of orange-beige colour from what we can tell so far, and there’s a lot of variation in brightness.  That makes it quite exciting knowing that it won’t be a boring world. It looks absolutely fascinating already.

I still can’t believe it. Next week, we’ll have a clear view of Pluto and Charon. Can you believe it?

Video Editing Software Recommendations

I’ll be making videos on YouTube soon for Life in Japan, and so far, I’ve been using YouTube’s editor. It’s okay for what I’ve been doing, but it’s not the fastest or smoothest editor to use. And it’s entirely online.

I’d like some more precise control over how I edit, as well as the ability to put title pages and other graphics on the video. I’ve used Windows Movie Maker in the past, and that’s when it came with Windows XP. After getting my old Windows 7 computer, I stopped editing videos until I started using YouTube’s editor.

What I’d like is a good free video editor that I can use to make my videos look more professional and less like home videos. Does anyone have any recommendations for good editing software? Let me know in the comments.

Life in Japan: J-pop

Every country has its own brand of music.  Japan has several of its own, including enka, Visual Kei, and of course, Japanese pop (or J-pop). This week’s question comes from Joanne Corey.

Do you follow any J-pop groups? My ethnomusicologist daughter is writing a master’s thesis on the fandom of AKB-48, so I know that these groups not only perform at concerts and put out recordings, but also have television series, do modeling, make ads, etc.

I’m not a big follower of pretty much any music, I’m afraid. However, on the topic of AKB48, they’re on TV, on advertisements, and pretty much everywhere individually or in groups. Their system is a strange one. They are idols. They are manufactured idols. They’re not well-paid at all. They make minimum wage from what I’ve heard. It’s only after they become popular and go on their own that they start making money.  However, the music industry in Japan is unlike the one in North America. Singers are company employees and have a lot of rules they have to follow. In AKB, they have extremely strict rules. Break one, and they’re punished, and they have to apologise. And like I said, they’re manufactured idols. Think of AKB as a factory. They take raw materials (unknown girls) and shape them into pretty much identical people without much talent. Honestly, they don’t have very strong singing abilities, but they can learn to sing, dance, and act. They’re still not considered very good talents when they finish with AKB and move on to something else. They are idols, and idols don’t need to be talented. Just have good looks and charisma.

As for the fandom, well, they’re a bit strange. Most fans of AKB48 are middle-aged men, most likely single. And they dance.  Crazily.  You cannot unsee it, so I won’t put a video of it here, but if you really, really want to, go to YouTube and search for “wotagei” or just “wota.” These are grown men dancing to music sung by teenage girls. Wildly. Scary. *shudder*

Anyway, I hope that gives you an interesting look into one part of J-pop fandom. There are normal fans, of course, but for groups like AKB48, they breed the lonely, awkward middle-aged male fan.

Have a question about life in Japan? Go here and ask in the comments.

New Horizons Glitch – Will We See Pluto?

While the US was celebrating the Fourth of July, New Horizons was getting itself drunk. Well, there was a glitch. With just ten days to go until the encounter with Pluto, New Horizons shut down its main computer and the backup started up, putting the probe in safe mode.

Safe mode isn’t unusual for space probes, but the timing isn’t very good. Well, it’s not so bad, because not many pictures were expected to be taken over the next couple days. However, New Horizons is 4.5 hours away, and any commands will require 9 hours (4.5 hours confirmation). If they can diagnose it quickly, then it should be working properly in the next couple days. If not, it could take a few days to correct.  I really hope it’ll be corrected soon.  I want my Pluto pictures!

The Planetary Society has a very good write-up on this.

The official blog of Jay Dee Archer. Exploring new worlds, real and fictional.


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