Hikosaemon and sidekick on the Chris Johnson story, with video.

There is a fellow Japan-side who keeps his real name hidden, but goes on the internet by “Hikosaemon“. Some of his stuff is pretty good, but I am still trying to figure out what his angle is, so I hesitate to do any promoting. (It seems like a lot of the site’s online presence is towards promoting the online presence.) Both he and “Victor”, who is the sidekick, have done some very good pieces about this question of Chris Johnson’s visa status.

Hikosaemon’s blog (Sorry, there is a lot of clutter, but I guess that is the thing now.)

Victor, as “Gimmeaflakeman”, on You Tube:

Ten minutes that is worth a watch if you are interested in the issue.

I would think that whoever produced “Banyan” for the Economist [would] follow up about the visa status. That’s the most critical piece.

What the guys mention, and what surprises me, is that at some point in the back-and-forths that Chris Johnson has had about the incident, he supposedly said that his lawyer told him not to talk about the visa status. Well, wait a minute. Like, visa status is very relevant to whether someone is going to let you into a country or not.

This is not looking good. As I said, this is someone who is a reporter. Then, like, their own facts are not really all out there, even though they’re the story. And it’s because the lawyer said. Uy!

[Update #1: My cautionary words about [their] self-promotion have to do with the fact that I don’t believe that almost 10,000 people have viewed that video. It may be that, yes, so many have. And it may be that these guys puff their numbers. Mutant Frog did that for a number of years, with a bot, apparently. [Update 2/16/12: Roy Berman of the Frog contacted me and said “no bot”. So, take his word for it, because I was only parked on the sitemeter that one time, and it could have just been a coincidence.]

Anyone that’s encouraging you (in the production itself) to hit “like”, but expecting several thousand people to view the video, isn’t being straight about one thing or the other.

I hit “like”, anyway. But I feel only several hundred watched.]

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13 comments

  1. Roy Berman · February 12, 2012

    I have no idea why you are suddenly accusing me of “puffing the numbers” on my blog, but I would like at the very least an explanation, and ideally an apology. Not only did I never “puff” any numbers, but I never even publicized any numbers to “puff” in the first place. There was a link to Sitemeter in the page footer, just like you have, but I never referenced or discussed those numbers in public.

    • hoofin · February 12, 2012

      Roy, were you guys running a bot–or not–that made Sitemeter look like you had hundreds and hundreds of hits? I recall hitting that link, and parking on your site for about an hour. My hit registered in the (open for view) Sitemeter; and meanwhile, I saw dozens and dozens of one-page hits. Yet, other than those, it looked like your site was not being accessed.

      The real question is: were you guys running a bot on that?

      • hoofin · February 12, 2012

        P.S. I run Sitemeter, but those figures are not available to the readership. However, Quantcast does a pretty good job of following the numbers for my site (not IPs, just totals.)

      • Roy Berman · February 16, 2012

        I certainly wasn’t running a bot, and I can’t even imagine why I would want to. The number of hits is not important, and IMO your fixation on it is weird and silly. Personally, I pay attention to comment activity rather than visitor numbers.

        I don’t know when you looked at our Sitemeter, but depending on when you did that could have been a normal traffic pattern. Like a lot of blogs, we had regular patterns, but then spikes at certain times when a post would get very popular, linked to from dozens and dozens of different places, including super-popular blogs like Boingboing. In those cases, most visitors (over 90%) will only look at the page that was directly linked, and not navigate to anywhere else on the blog. These temporary swarms of single-page visitors easily overwhelm the few hundreds or couple of thousand regular readers. I believe that the activity saw sounds perfectly consistent with that.

        • hoofin · February 16, 2012

          Roy, fair enough. You say: nothing done to create an inflated number. The day I was on, (which was not really a big posting day), the counter was suggesting 4,000 hits a day. OK, not such a big issue. It does beg the question, though: why so few commenters, relative?

          I have a mathematical and accounting background. I am interested in these social media metrics. When someone comes to me with the extreme language (“obsession”, etc.), I just take them for protesting too much. It kind of serves to prove the point about traffic, anyway.

          Regular readers of me know that my thinking about the Japan-side expat community on the net, is that it’s the same several hundred people, really. It’s a small world. Some people come, people go. Some people are parked on the net all their “working” day. I like to analyze this sort of thing.

          Not accurately quantifying things is very important to some in the Japan-side community, be they here or there. If I don’t think something is all there, I am going to say my opinion.

          I enjoyed reading Mutant Frog when it was regularly posting, and I think there is a lot of good material there.

  2. Hikosaemon (@hikosaemon) · February 14, 2012

    G’day man, cheers for the quick feature.

    Just to fill in any gaps – Vic is the grandaddy of Japan YouTube, or one of them anyway. If you doubt his views, check out his channel – you can see the analytics data for all his videos. 10,000 views is a big one, even for him, but it probably reflects interest in Johnson’s story. Also note that the number, while big, is still only a portion of his subscribers (his channel has been around a long time, as has mine, so our views never get anywhere near the number of subscribers).

    As for me and my blog – sorry you don’t like the clutter – I switched to dynamic views on Blogger (yes, Blogger, I’m lazy…) and chose the magazine layout – although of course the nice thing about dynamic views is it allows the reader to change the site template to how they prefer to browse. For whatever reason, site hits have gone up a little since I changed to the design anyway.

    In terms of self promotion, yes and no. When I started out, my YouTube channel was the main thing, and I started my blog to draw attention to my videos. In time however, lately I find it as enjoyable – even more enjoyable, to write every now and then, and I was never disciplined enough to keep posting my own videos on my blog all the time (I almost never blog about my new vids any more), so the two hobbies are now very separate, and if I’m honest, I probably enjoy writing more at the moment. Although I do shamelessly still use it to cross-promote my Flickr and Instagram, since it is nice getting feedback on those hobbies.

    In terms of content, the blog is a champon of stuff that grabs my attention, stuff that I get asked about, or stuff I just want to say or promote. I wasn’t in on the discussion of the Johnson story on Fuckedgaijin or Tepido – I wrote the blog as soon as I saw it covered in the Economist, just because it struck me as another case of foreign news applying laxer standards to coverage of Japan than they would other developed countries, because of the difficulty they have fact checking via parachuted in correspondents. It wasn’t an attack on Johnson’s story per se (although I set out what parts of it would smell fishy to anyone who lives here), but more on the Economist for dropping its standards to feature the blog unchecked – true or not (and which, I don’t know).

    So… erm… that’s it, really. With regards to my own YouTube numbers, that are nowhere near Victor’s, but okay, I get a lot of Japanese views because I blog in Japanese, but Japanese are notoriously uninteractive on YouTube, most don’t register channels, subscribe, like or do anything, and view on mobile devices. I only started monetizing anything about a month ago, so I’ve never cared too much for views, although I’ll admit to gratification from vids that appear to be “successful” at being watched. While I’m sure there are cheaters on YouTube, bear in mind that Google is pretty strict on cheaters, especially partner channels that get Adsense revenue – puffing your numbers is a quick way to get your channel suspended and banned from adsense – and I know from friends working at YouTube that they catch people doing this pretty regularly.

    Anyway, cheers for the feature again. Hope that fills in some of the blanks.

    • hoofin · February 14, 2012

      Thanks for your message, and other one, Hikosaemon.

      I appreciate your doing some filling on things, so that my readership can be confident if they follow the link.

      I forget where I picked up the Chris Johnson story originally, but it might have been Japan Probe, which has gotten a lot better recently at going into the “story behind the story” of things that appear in the Japan-side expat media. As you know, Tepido exists mostly to attack people personally (one person in particular) for their opinions, and only secondarily to “get out the facts”. So I don’t really rely on what comes out of there.

      Your website and the piece done by Victor (which I now see is over 10,000) had me asking the same question, which was “what about the visa”? You are right, that anyone spending time in Japan as an expat will have a different read on what is presented as news. Another thing I always found missing, though, was reporting on the antics of the longtime gaijin, be they company executives setting themselves up nice, or “the English teaching industry” and the holiday visa / backpacker-type people who make a plurality of it. Big companies aren’t going to devote resources to a community of 300,000 within a foreign country, so this makes the blogging/vlogging community more important in figuring out what really is and what is maybe not.

      • Hikosaemon (@hikosaemon) · February 15, 2012

        I think what you have to remember is that the audience for English vids about Japan isn’t just the 30 or 40,000 native English speakers in Japan, but also the much greater numbers of people interested in some aspect of Japan from outside of Japan. Japanese is still the number one foreign language taught in schools in NZ and Australia for example. There are a lot of exchanges and trade with Japan, and then you have the large groups of Japan culture fans, from otaku type stuff, to fashion, to music and film, to martial arts, to other other things. It all adds up to being a pretty large spread out group of very different people, but my YouTube data shows that there are a LOT of people out of Japan who watch channels like Victor’s, which talks about Japanese news and teaches Japanese language, basically as a substitute for actually being here. Probably about 2 thirds of most “J-vlog” followers are outside Japan, hence the views that seem outsized perhaps, at least in proportion to the actual community here.

        Probably the best example of this I can think of is “thejapanchanneldcom” – he doesn’t interact much with the community, but he gets a LOT of views, showing stuff which, frankly, if you live here, really isn’t all that interesting. He seems to get amazing views from people outside Japan interested in Japan just showing them everyday stuff.

        It’s perhaps a bigger group of people than you realize.

        • hoofin · February 15, 2012

          So, for example, Hiko, if I go to compete.com, and look up The Japan Channel—just for its US views, which is all Compete will give me, I am going to find a big number?

          http://siteanalytics.compete.com/thejapanchannel.com/

          I find a modest number.

          It could be that Compete isn’t picking up a bunch of US visitors. The problem of tracking the “long tail” on the internet, is a matter of getting a good sample. But the flip side of getting a good sample, is that there has to be something there to sample. It is the dog-chasing-its-tail debate that goes on, on the net, from time to time.

  3. gimmeabreakman · February 15, 2012

    I completely enjoyed reading this. Quite amusing.

    • hoofin · February 15, 2012

      Thanks for your visit, Victor. I enjoyed your video.

  4. Pingback: Chris Johnson update: it was the visa problem. | Hoofin to You!
  5. Pingback: Reporter Christopher Johnson’s twitter feed making certain mid-level employees at Panasonic and Google in Japan a little nervous. | Hoofin

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