Twitter in Mie
Useful Twitter accounts for residents of Mie
Ever since the popular micro-blogging site Twitter released its Japanese version in 2008, it has been picking up steam among residents of the land of the rising sun.
The growth of the service, which lets users post updates that must stay within 140 characters, has outpaced that of Facebook, which localized to Japan first but has failed to find as much popularity.
According to a report by comScore Datamine, which tracks website traffic, Twitter eclipsed Mixi as Japan’s most-visited social networking site in November 2010, but it’s worth noting that this figure does not include cellphone access. A second report from comScore notes that Mixi is still the leader among mobile users.
Japanese Tweeters have even coined their own lingo, using the English word “now” in hiragana to mean that the Tweeter is doing something at the time of tweeting, for example “ガストなう” (gasuto nau) would mean that the tweeter was in the family restaurant Gusto when the tweet was written.
Even if you are not interested in writing posts yourself, there are many ways of using Twitter to your advantage here in Mie — and in Japan in general. The following is a sampling of Mie Life’s recommended accounts worth following. Surely there are others out there. Share your suggested accounts over at the Mie Life Magazine forum.
Mie news (Japanese only)
For general Mie information, user miechannel_bot is a good place to start. They list short bursts of information usually followed by a link to their blog from which you can find more details. (Japanese only.)
The account MieLife — no relation to Mie Life Magazine — offers general information on news and events in the prefecture. (Japanese only). For local news headlines, check out asahi_mie, a local Asahi Shinbun account based in Tsu.For Ise area residents, user Oinai_IseSima is always at hand with the latest local events and information. Many a time I have followed this user to events that I would never have known about otherwise — for example the “Iifuufu” happy couple event in Futami, where couples shouted their feelings for their loved one to the wedded rocks. For the drivers out there, iseroad_now helps you avoid busy roads with their up to date tweets.
Those people who think that you can't spell “tsumaranai” without Tsu will be surprised to find the very active Tsu-loving tweeter tsunokoto. Keep an eye on her for local restaurant deals as well as festivals and other ways to enjoy Tsu life.
Japan news (In English)
For general Japanese news, HirokoTabuchi, a Japan based reporter for The New York Times is always up to date with the latest Japanese news. TomokoHosaka of The Associated Press also provides updates. Another good one: AkikoFujita of ABC News. DailyYomiuri links to its latest English-language articles and posts breaking news in English. The Japan Real Time blog by the Wall Street Journal links to to its posts via the account JapanRealTime.
TokyoReporter offers news, photos and opinion from — you guessed it — Tokyo. Matt_Alt (Alt is his name, not his job title) is a writer and translator who has recently offered commentary and information on the recent disaster in Japan. Survivingjapan is the account of another writer who has been a valuable source of news and information.
BlogLinkJapan offers links to a variety of Japan-based blogs, while japanobserver links to blogs and news articles. But follow at your own risk — both of these accounts tend to blast the Twitterverse with several updates at once.
For information in English from the prime minister’s office, follow jpn_pmo, an account started after the quake and tsunami. For real-time updates on earthquakes (in Japanese) try earthquke_jp.
Tweet and learn?
If you're wanting to use Twitter for Japanese studying, there are hundreds of users who are there to help you, but my picks are; tofugu and ispeakjapanese (the latter has a word of the day, ranging from basic vocabulary to tricky phrases). Meanwhile, Tw2ja will translate posts you send them into Japanese.