2004 recap of PhotoGuide Japan

During 2004, PhotoGuide Japan has seen several major improvements, new pages, and features. I’m quite happy with the progress I was able to make this year with the site.

Ever since I converted almost the entire site to a database-driven system in 2003, maintaining the site has become much easier. It is easy to add, correct, or delete almost anything on the site. It has taken a lot of the grunt work out of the site’s maintenance.

I love working on my Web site. I can spend hours sitting in front of my Macintosh and the time would just fly by.

Here are the major Web site improvements in 2004:

  • Creation of the Photographers Japan online directory of pro photographers in Japan. http://photographersjapan.com/
  • Completely new home page layout using CSS, with a “billboard look” featuring a large image with transparent sections for text overlays.
  • http://photojpn.org/
  • Incorporation of Google’s site search engine.
  • Incorporation of Google ads. (First time I’m making money from Web site ads.)
  • Creation of PhotoWords, an online glossary of photo terms in English and Japanese. http://photojpn.org/words/
  • Creation of PhotoSigns, a visual Japanese lesson.

My only regret was I did not have time to write new photo book reviews this year. I have a stack of books that I want to review soon. Hopefully by early next year you will see some new book reviews.

For the new year in 2005, my biggest Web project will be to beef up PhotoGuide Japan’s e-commerce function. Already I’m setting up e-commerce software to make online shopping easier.

Affiliate programs will also be incorporated, starting with Amazon.com and co.jp. I actually tried Amazon’s associates program way back in 1997 when it was one of the first affliiate programs. But it was still too early and I hardly made any money from it. But now it’s very popular and I’ll try it again.

There are other online money-making ideas I’m toying with, and I look forward to experimenting in 2005.

I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season.

New photography mailing list

Since today Nov. 3 is Culture Day in Japan (a national holiday), I want to announce a new Japan-related photography mailing list at Yahoo! Groups that I have just started.

Its main purpose is to share information and tips for photographing Japan. Be it festivals, sports, people, seasonal events, flowers, landscapes, etc. You can also upload and show your Japan pictures in the Photos section and read/post notices about upcoming festivals and events in your area. We also have discussions that pro photographers in Japan would be interested in.

Most of the starting members on the list are professional photographers living in Japan or who have lived in Japan. They are a very knowledgeable group of people and many are bilingual or trilingual. They serve as a firm and friendly foundation for this mailing list.

Note that we are not here to answer touristy questions like where the best camera shops are or street prices of camera equipment in Japan.

I’m the moderator and membership is restricted. This means you have to sign up for a Yahoo ID and join the group in order to read the messages, view photos, etc. We are not listed in the Yahoo! Groups directory yet.

If you’re interested in joining, send me email and introduce yourself if I don’t know you personally. As long as you’re not a spammer or an undesirable person, your membership will be approved.

When you join, I will ask you to introduce yourself on the list and also upload at least one photo of Japan that you took or provide a link to a Web page showing your photo(s) of Japan. That will break the ice and everybody will know who you are. Hope to see you there!

Update: This mailing list has closed in 2010 in favor of a new Facebook Group.

Introducing PhotoWords!

At long last! A large list of basic vocabulary in English and Japanese for photographers in Japan has been created. You can find over 1100 words to help you improve your Japanese.

Find out about paper sizes in Japan, film formats, and common Japanese words you see all over the place.

Besides the main list of all the words, there are also word list categories such as for cameras, lenses, and digital photography. This is the largest online list of its kind in the world.

Just click on “PhotoWords” in the NewsZONE menu box on the left.

Compiled by Philbert Ono and checked by a few translator and photographer friends.

Newly designed home page!

As you may have already seen, our home or top page (index.html) has been completely redesigned. I did it from the ground up with CSS style sheets without using any tables for the layout. (If you’re not a Webmaster or Web designer, you can ignore this geek speak.)

It’s a very simple design with good visual impact. Just what I wanted. Due to the larger background image, this “billboard look” takes only slightly longer to download than my old “stripe look” design. I think it’s worth it. And it’s much more fun now to change the cover photo. I have a lot of pictures that would look great when shown that big.

CSS is definitely the way to go for Web page design and layout.

Introducing Photographers Japan

I’m pleased to announce the opening of Photographers Japan, an online directory of Japan-based, English-speaking photographers and related contacts.

http://photojpn.org/pj/

Objectives of Photographers Japan
1. To help fellow English-speaking photographers in Japan find and meet each other.
2. To help promote English-speaking photographers in Japan so they can get more customers.
3. To help potential clients find and hire English-speaking photographers in Japan.
4. To establish a nationwide network of English-speaking photographers in Japan with PhotoGuide Japan as the hub.
5. To use the network to hold occasional gatherings and other events in Japan.

Google Ads

For the first time, PhotoGuide Japan has advertising. Google has come up with a sensible and easy ad program called Google AdSense and out of curiosity, I have inserted them on certain pages. If they work well, more pages will have these ads.

The ads are pretty unobstrusive and targeted, so it’s worth a try.

PhotoWho’sWho slimmed down

PhotoWho’sWho, a collection of biographies of Japanese photographers, has been trimmed from 253 to about 190 biographies.

Over 50 biographies have been deleted with a click of my mouse. A few more may be deleted in the near future.

At first I thought, the more the merrier. But now, I realize that there are photographers who are too obscure to be listed and those who do not seem to garner much interest overseas (judging from the number of hits). These people I have eliminated without notice. (They probably didn’t know they were listed in the first place.)

I think quality is better than quantity…

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