2006 is looking to be another busy year for me with new major projects, both offline and online. Let me just talk about my online plans here.

I’m quietly observing my 10th year online. Yep, PhotoGuide Japan has been online since spring 1996. The Internet and my Web site have come a long way, and I had a blast. (More about this in a later note to celebrate my 10th year.)

I now feel that I have devoted enough time and effort promoting Japanese photography to the English-speaking world. It’s time to pursue new challenges for the next 10 years online. I will now focus on something bigger than Japanese photography: Japan itself.

This is actually a natural next step since all along I have been promoting Japan and its people and culture through photo books and works by Japanese photographers. I have already begun this new long-term project with the launch of a new Web site called PHOTOGUIDE.JP. It aims to introduce Japan in pictures and in English. It will be an image-rich, visual guide to Japan. I already have over 5,000 pictures of Japan online. This is not a random stock photo collection. It is a coherent collection of photos showing specific subjects in a logical sequence.

I plan to write detailed articles to go with the images. I’m learning a lot about Japan already. After living in Japan for so long, it takes a lot more to be enchanted by Japan (and life itself). I have a constant desire to seek out, discover, and experience new things and people. And that’s what I want to photograph and write about. The things you don’t see in the tourist guide books and Web sites.

There are people who write about Japan or photograph Japan and cannot read Japanese, people and passing tourists who write about Japan only on a superficial level, and people who photograph Japan without explaining about their pictures. There are just too many of these people. They are not all bad, but you just won’t learn much from them.

I hope to do better than these people. But I do it more for myself, to learn more about Japan on a deeper level. That is what I look forward to the most. There’s so much stuff I still don’t know about Japan or never really studied (especially historical things). If I can share the knowledge and experience I gain, then I will be happy.

Note that I will continue to maintain PhotoGuide Japan. But I won’t be spending as much time on it as before. One thing I wanted to do but could not, was updating the maps for camera shops, galleries, etc. If anybody wants to do it, let me know. You will be fully credited.

Hope you all have a great 2006.