Looking for a guide to Japan? Seek and ye shall find… SeekJapan

By Sergio Lombardi

*Salve, Japan Blog Review readers! You may have been wondering where I’ve been these last few days. Unfortunately, my work takes precedence over writing in my spare time, and I have been doing some touring of the country for various consulting jobs. I have returned, and am rested and ready to pick up the proverbial pen (or keyboard) and write.*

A little while back, we reviewed the popular website, GaijinPot.com. The site was useful due to the plethora of information concerning Japan that it contained, as well as its status as a source of news (in spite of some vitriolic forum discussions). Today’s website, SeekJapan.jp, is in the same vein as far as being a relatively inclusive guide to Japan, but with some differences that I think make it worth a discrete review, as well as keeping an eye on in the years to come.

Before you scroll down to the comment box and inform me that this is nothing more than a GaijinPot knockoff, I ask you to hear (or perhaps read) me out. Yes, SeekJapan seems to mimic GaijinPot in some areas, but there are some differences that I think make a good look-through worthwhile. First, consider the owner of the site, Carter Witt. While this website might not be overly familiar to you, we’ve all seen Witt’s publication, JapanZine, at one time or the other. You’ll notice that the website is also the homepage for this magazine. As such, you’ll see quite a bit of the experience and expertise that goes into the printed publication also channeled into the website as far as news stories go, quite a few of which are perhaps more relevant to the average expat than what GaijinPot sometimes has displayed on their homepage.

There’s plenty more than news stories, though. SeekJapan is a bit on the lighter side than GaijinPot, and makes up for its small amount of business or political stories by featuring instead quite a bit of satire, as exemplified by this story regarding the Osaka police. Most likely, you American expats have read a story or two from the popular site The Onion – the humor on SeekJapan can be similar at times. Like The Onion, sometimes the stories can be slightly on the crass side, so you may want to keep the younger folk away from the humor section of the site.

The website also provides a number of services, such as networking, classifieds, apartment and hotel fingers, as well as a jobs hunting section that features some jobs not found in GaijinPot’s databases. SeekJapan does have a similar set of guides to transportation around the country, culture shock, finances, the Japanese language, etc., that might prove to be a helpful aid if you are new to the country.

While some may still tell me that JapanSeek is a little unoriginal to be given a thumbs-up, I beg to differ. Shared traits certainly don’t mean that two things are the same – just ask any chef who has accidentally gotten basil and oregano mixed up in the preparation of two otherwise identical dishes. I think that the more laidback approach to living in Japan that JapanSeek takes is a good and unique asset. Having watched the website for a little bit, I would say that it’s fairly up-and-coming, and with its physical edition’s already extensive reader base, may be a threat to GaijinPot’s popularity in the years to come. I give the site a thumbs up for its innovative take on Japan.

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~ by Japan Blog Review on August 25, 2010.

One Response to “Looking for a guide to Japan? Seek and ye shall find… SeekJapan”

  1. Nice write up. I was a long time poster over there once.

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