10 Years of Spoon & Tamago

Big congrats to my buddy Joseph (aka Johnny Strategy), who recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of Spoon & Tamago, a site I’ve been happily reading (and often linking to) since the very start. We became friends through our shared love of blogging about similar aspects of Japanese art, culture, and design, and it’s really great to see how he was able to celebrate the milestone — read this post, which also includes a nice video that offers a nice wrap-up of the site’s last 10 years.

Back in the Saddle

A year ago today, I rescued the archives of this site, and the process of going back and fixing all of those old posts (I wasn’t able to rescue all of the images, and so had to manually replace them with the aid of Archive.org) got me wanting to blog again about my love for Japan culture, and I’ve been doing it pretty regularly since.

For years, updates on this site had become quite rare — if you look at the archives now you’ll see plenty of posts each month, but that’s just because I imported my Debaser diary (previously on Tumblr, in which I write-up the media that I’m consuming), and so it makes it seem like I was consistently writing here. But that wasn’t the case. After a couple of posts about the rescue efforts (which ended up taking months), this was the first post that felt like a traditional JeanSnow.net blog post.

A year later, I sorta have a routine now where I mostly put up new posts on the weekend, saving stuff I want to highlight until then, and putting them all up in one batch. It would probably be better to parse them a bit more, scheduling them to go up on a daily basis, but I guess I don’t really care about doing it that way.

A couple of days after that return post, I wrote this, saying I had no idea if I was going to continue doing it or not, but I’m now happy to still be doing it. Blogging like this is how I started my professional writing career, and even though I’m just doing it for fun now, I like that I’ve come full circle, doing pretty much the same thing I was doing 15 years ago — although it’s not quite the same in that I’m no longer based in Tokyo.

Mission Accomplished

Well, it took 4-5 months of work — doing it here and there, mostly on weekends — but I’ve finally managed to go through all of the 7500+ posts on the site (since rescuing my site archives back in August, but with most of the images missing) and got the images back in. There are posts here and there where it was impossible to get the image back, but I’m pretty satisfied with what I was able to rescue — and as I’ve done a million times, I give great thanks to Wayback Machine.

There’s still stuff I’d like to do, like go back and add proper tags to older posts, and incorporate some posts that were part of my moblog, or maybe even incorporate all of the posts from SNOW Magazine (my one year web magazine experiment), but I think I’m going to take a break for now, and explore doing that sometime next year.

But man, sure feels good to have my site back with proper archives, and I’m glad I was able to finish it before the end of the year.

December Gonna Be December

So following the return of my regular blogging here, November marked the first dip in number of posts — down to 62 from the previous month’s 85. I don’t think it’s a sign of anything in particular, probably just didn’t have as much time to devote to writing posts.

One thing I am looking forward to preparing this month is my annual “Favorite Media” post, which I have been doing for the past few years (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015). It’s a fun exercise, taking the time to look back at what I enjoyed throughout the year. I’ll probably start working on it soon, and post it within a week or two.

2008 and Down

In my continuing archival work on this site, I hit a big milestone last night, in that I finished April 2008, which is pretty much the last time I regularly hit a month with 80+ posts — it only happens again a couple of times in November/December of 2009 for some reason.

I think the reason for the reduction in posts was that it was around the time I started contributing regularly to Wired‘s Game|Life blog, for which I was doing around 5 posts daily.

This means I should hopefully be speeding up as I go through the rest of the archives, getting it all finished in the weeks to come. That won’t be the end of it all though, as there are a few other things I’d like to do, like going through the first few years again to improve tags on posts, and also incorporating my early moblog posts, which used to be done as a separate blog.

Reaching 2007

The momentous landmark I reached last weekend was that I finally finished 2006, when it comes to fixing old posts — and I managed to do a big dent in 2007 this weekend, getting through January-May.

The reason it takes so long is that I’m pretty much going in every single post, either to fix the image (or images), to fix the blockquote tag (I used to quote things a lot in posts), or to add a little update note.

For the images, through Wayback Machine I manage to find the last 20 posts or so for each month (WM would save two page for each month’s archives). It’s a bit weird because for other years, there were quite a few times a month that WM would save the site, so I could find a lot more posts, but for some reason during 2006-2007, which is possibly the site’s most active period, it stopped doing that. And then after that, it’s a mix of still finding images because they were hosted on Flickr, or through a folder I have with images that were not taken from other sites. What a fucking process.

Hoping to give a big push to get through the rest of 2007 and then 2008, and after that it should take less time as the frequency of posts reduces (in 2006-2008 I’m looking at an average of 100 posts a month).

7500

With this post that I put up on Friday, the site reached the rather handsome sum of 7500 posts (this very post is #7505).

I’ve never really paid attention to the number of overall posts on the site, but I just happened to notice this number in the WordPress admin dashboard, and thought it was worth sharing.

Back to the 70s

Well, it’s now October, and as you can tell, I’m still blogging quite regularly here. What started off as a throwback to what this site was like before has now awakened a muscle I hadn’t used in ages — that’s the blogging muscle — and it’s getting pumped and enjoying being in use again.

In terms of volume, following the 53 posts I wrote in August (which was done over 2 weeks), I ended up writing 72 in September. Although it doesn’t seem to reach the heights this site has seen — during its heydays of the mid to late 2000s, it would hover at around 80-100 posts per month, with an absolute peak of 138 — but considering that in those days a lot of the posts were made up of my TB.Grafico photolog and then my TB.Movel moblog (if you click on these links, you’ll find that the latest posts haven’t yet been fixed), it’s quite possible that this last month saw more actual written content than back in those days. At this point in my life, I’m probably more at ease with writing a post quickly.

I’m curious to see what October will bring.

The New 52

No, I’m not referring to the “New 52” revamp that DC Comics launched in 2011, but rather to the fact that as we close off the month of August (it’s just past 23:00 as I write this), I’ve written 52 posts on the blog this month (this will be post 53).

The last time the site had over 50 posts in a month was in December 2009 (89), and that was truly when my activity started reducing drastically, as it then hovered around 10-20 until the summer of 2012, and then down to barely 1-2 per month in the years that followed until now. You can easily see this by looking at the monthly archive list in the sidebar of the site, which I have active right now.

The desire to start blogging again was sparked when I started work on rescuing the archives of the site earlier this month. After the initial repopulation of posts (the text at least), it’s been a long process of going through each post, trying to find the original images, either through the Wayback Machine, or through some image archives I found on my laptop. I’m up to March 2005, and counting.

Seeing what I was doing and how much fun I was having (and how I gradually went from amateur blogger to published writer) has been a blast, and it put me in the mood to try and do it again for a bit. I’m especially surprised that I got to 50, considering I started doing it in the middle of the month, with this post. As I wrote at the time, I’m still considering it nostalgia blogging, and I’m still having a lot of fun doing it.

So for the first time in about 6-7 years, the blog is active again, and that makes me happy.

FROM_TOKYO_TO_NEW_YORKI noticed that back in the day I used to finish long update posts with a note on what I was listening while I wrote it. I’ve been in a retro groove of late, and am currently listening to a compilation produced by Fantastic Plastic Machine for Uniqlo in 2005 called Synchro: From Tokyo to New York.

Image Hunter

Yet another weekend spent repopulating old posts with images, and the bad news is that it’s getting harder. I’m starting to have a hard time finding old posts as the site started moving towards pagination within monthly archives (which I think is when I moved from Movable Type to WordPress for my blog engine), and a lot of the pages weren’t saved by the Wayback Machine. And as I peek forward, it looks like there are years where WM barely grabbed anything, so I’m not quite sure how much I’ll be able to save, but we’ll see.

The good news is that at least all of the photos that I took are saved — the ones that are part of my TB.Grafico photolog — as I found a folder on my computer that had them all.

But I do really like seeing all of the images that accompanied regular posts, and so I do hope I can still manage to find a lot of them, even if it does continue to suck up a lot of time — it takes me about an hour per month I think, and I’ve just reached September 2004.

Why am I spending so much time doing this? I think it’s the archivist/historian (I majored in History) in me that’s finally coming out and taking over.