Happy 10th Anniversary to My Blog

It's been 10 years since I started my blog with Choosing a Car to Buy in Japan.

That was followed the same day by Essentials for a First-Time Parent, and then another 10 years and 2,327 additional articles (not counting this one 😉) containing 18,133 photos, as well as other little additions such as the interactive map of blog photos and the sporadically-maintained prettiest-photos photostream.


I would have liked to post something spectacular for my tenth-anniversary post, but having just returned to Kyoto from a long trip to The States, I just don't have the energy.

I did, at least, make an attempt to try something new for this anniversary post: to make my first cinemagraph. I figured that this could be a nice complement to my wigglegrams, but my first attempt resulted in failure:

ugly view of what is (please try to believe me) a beautiful scene

The cherry blossoms visible from my balcony are currently in their most exquisitely-beautiful state, infusing a joie de vivre in all who witness them in person, but I just can't capture that sense in photos, and so my cinemagraph was doomed from the start with boring, bland, dull, ugly source material. But maybe I'll learn one day, and perhaps for my 20th-anniversary blog post I'll refer back to this with the same nostalgia that today I have when looking back at my early blog.

Indeed, looking back over the blog's Table of Contents to older articles, I think I've improved in writing and photography. Some of the old stuff is pretty bad.

I'd like to be able to list my best articles for the decade, but there's no easy way to understand what best means. Looking at which articles have received the most views is not as meaningful as one might expect because it's more of an indication of which articles happened to catch a high-trafficked website's fancy over the years.

Among dated blog posts, the top ones by overall view count:

  1. Nikon D3 Shutter Release in Super Slow Motion (Sep 2008)
  2. Source of the famous “Now you have two problems” quote (Sep 2006)
  3. Tasty Squid Pizza, and other Culinary Delights (Mar 2007)
  4. Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR Lens (Nov 2006)
  5. Jeffrey's Lightroom Configuration Manager (Mar 2007)
  6. Finally, Geoencoding in Lightroom! Announcing my GPS-Support Plugin (Oct 2008)

and here is the breakdown by blog year (April though March)...

2005 1. The Photography of Katsunori Shimada (Dec 2005)
2. Lots of snow in Niigata, some snow in Kyoto (Jan 2006)
3. Our Christmas and New-Year Cards (Jan 2006)
2006 1. Source of the famous “Now you have two problems” quote (Sep 2006)
2. Tasty Squid Pizza, and other Culinary Delights (Mar 2007)
3. Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR Lens (Nov 2006)
2007 1. How to Install an Export Plugin in Lightroom 1 (Nov 2007)
2. My Visit with a Nikon D3 (Sep 2007)
3. Lightroom Metadata Viewer Preset Builder (for Lightroom 1.1+) (Jun 2007)
2008 1. Nikon D3 Shutter Release in Super Slow Motion (Sep 2008)
2. Finally, Geoencoding in Lightroom! Announcing my GPS-Support Plugin (Oct 2008)
3. My Visit to a Japanese High School (Jul 2008)
2009 1. Curious George's New Passport (Jul 2009)
2. Stupid Tone-Curve Tricks: A Half Dozen Develop Presets for Lightroom (Mar 2010)
3. Gettin' Freaky With Lightroom Tone-Curve Presets (Mar 2010)
2010 1. Lightroom 3 Released; Update on my Plugins (Jun 2010)
2. Creating Photo Books with Lightroom, InDesign, and Blurb (Nov 2010)
3. New Lightroom Plugin, PhotoSafe, Guards Selected Photos Against Accidental Deletion (Jun 2010)
2011 1. So Much For That Glorious iPad Screen: iOS and its Apps are Not Even Color Managed (Mar 2012)
2. Looking for a Good Photo-Viewing iPad App (Feb 2012)
3. Informal GPS Logger Test: iPhone 4s GPS is Shockingly Good (Jan 2012)
2012 1. Disappointed in Fstoppers.com: Wholesale Copyright Infringement as a Business Model (Feb 2013)
2. Pregnant Cloud Over Kyoto (Aug 2012)
3. Kyoto Arashiyama Bamboo Forest Lightup (Dec 2012)
2013 1. Lightroom 5 has been Released, but it comes with an Important Warning (Jun 2013)
2. An Update on the Lightroom 5 Publish Grid Bug (Jun 2013)
3. Experimenting with Depth of Field: Interactive Scene of Towering Bamboo (Jun 2013)
2014 1. Lightroom Catalog Maintenance: Clearing Out Edit History For Potential Performance Gains (Jun 2014)
2. Mini Rant: Disappointed in Netflix Video Streaming (May 2014)
3. Obeisance To Tradition (May 2014)

These are mostly the kind of articles that get found via a web search, or linked from some high-traffic site like Reddit (or in the old days, SlashDot). Folks following a link from these places likely view the one page and leave without even realizing where they were (my blog).

Most of the articles listed above are, in my mind, tangents away from what I feel are the central core of what I want to share, stories about Kyoto, my family, and places I visit. Rummaging through my blog's Table of Contents, I selected a few of the articles that I think are representative....

In random order (mouse-over to see thumbnails for the photos)...

A separate class of content on my blog are its non-dated pages, which each covering a specific topic and are updated in place so they tend to accumulate many more views than the dated articles cited above. Most-viewed pages include those for my Lightroom plugins (#1 and #2 are my plugins for Flickr and Facebook, while #3 is on plugin installation). The most-viewed non-Lightroom pages are for my autofocus test chart and the description of my image-metadata viewer. The ones I'm most proud of, though, due to the work that went into them, are

Back to trying to determine the best articles, One might look at the number of comments a post receives as proxy for best, but this too is skewed away from reality toward utility: the majority of most-commented articles are related to Lightroom. The most-commented blogposts not related to Lightroom include starting with So Much For That Glorious iPad Screen: iOS and its Apps are Not Even Color Managed (March 2012) and Frustration with TracFone Prepaid Wireless (July 2006).

The pages also accumulate more comments... the Flickr-plugin page currently has 696 comments (including a dozen or so I haven't gotten to yet). I need to figure out a better way to manage comments.

I'd like to be able to find out which posts were most appreciated by followers of my blog, but there's no way to know. I provide a full-article RSS feed, so many readers don't even visit my blog to read it.

So, without really knowing what people like, I guess I'll have to continue just doing what I like and hope folks that might enjoy it find their way here.

All 11 comments so far, oldest first...

Congratulation : ) !!!!

— comment by Credicle Akira on April 3rd, 2015 at 9:34pm JST (9 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Hello, I really enjoy your site for years, because you bring some of the best quality photographies I´ve ever seen and your site is really well designed and interesting. I already used many as desktop backgrounds, or just for viewing and enjoying. What I´ve always liked to read about is about your journeys, random comments and information about the places that you visited. The rants can also be funny I can understand them most of the times and it´s interesting. It´s always fun, thanks!

— comment by Ikki on April 3rd, 2015 at 10:53pm JST (9 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffery,

I’m a long time reader of your blog (not sure when I first found it). Congratulations on your 10 year anniversary – that’s a long time in blog years! I enjoy all of your content, but I think my favorite category is your “personal” posts about Kyoto, etc. But I think the only way to reach a 10 year anniversary is by writing about what you like. Keep it up!


P.S. I live in near Orlando in the USA.

— comment by Ed Rosack on April 3rd, 2015 at 11:18pm JST (9 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Omedetou. Have been enjoying your blog after stumbling upon it while searching for sakura photos a number of years ago. Thank you for sharing.


PS. Did George make the RV trip with the rest of the family?

Of course! —Jeffrey

— comment by D. Nakano on April 4th, 2015 at 2:59am JST (9 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Congrats! You’ve done an awesome job. My own personal blog is over 10 years old but I forgot to mention it at the time 😉 It can’t be compared to the sheer amount of good info on yours though.

I think this shows the value of your own place on the internet, as opposed to something hosted like Blogger or Medium. Sure it’s more work, and it may never look as nice, and it’s tough to keep updated, but in the end it’s something as lasting as anything can be on the internet.

— comment by Gustaf on April 4th, 2015 at 6:30am JST (9 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Jeffrey, Please continue as you have, it’s perfect! I stumbled on to your blog looking for Lightroom plug-ins and keep coming back for your wonderful photography and stories. Your life in Japan has held my interest and curiosity and I keep coming back to see what the latest adventures are of the Friedl clan. Please don’t change anything!

Scott in El Dorado, Kansas

— comment by Scott Harder on April 4th, 2015 at 7:08am JST (9 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

On my list, the top post would be a tie between Most Evil Snacks & the Garlic Snack post.

I guess I must just think it’s really funny when you inadvertently cause your digestive system to go into Shock & Awe mode. As long as you’re not in *my* house at the time.

— comment by Marcina on April 4th, 2015 at 12:11pm JST (9 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink


For the cinemagraph, I think part of the reason it doesn’t work so well is that the movement is jerky. It would work better with either a) a higher frame rate, or b) a slower shutter speed on the frames you use (motion blur can be a good thing in video).

As an example, here’s a similarly sakura-themed cinemagraph I made last year (original footage at 24p, 1/50s).

Looking forward to the next ten years of posts!

Yeah, it’s pretty jerky… I made it from 16MP raw files shot handheld… would have been better if I just shot a movie and lifted frames from that. Yours is fantastic… just perfect. I couldn’t find an edge to the animation… the blend is seamless, and the amount of animation hits the sweet spot that makes cinemagraphs something special. —Jeffrey

— comment by Benjamin Moore on April 4th, 2015 at 1:43pm JST (9 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

I stumbled on to this blog looking by doing a Google image search for stone lanterns or maybe some RegEx nightmare for something job related.

I’ve been coming back ever since. I don’t know of any other blog that chronicles Japan from such an equally wide-eyed and down to earth point of view.

Most of the ‘American living in Japan’ blogs that I’ve come across bias towards too much self hate (Don’t look at me, gaijin!) or condescending ethnocentrism (my CRAZY adventures in cray-cray Japan). This blog gracefully avoids both of those traps. Jeffrey, your non-photo, non-Japan blog is an amazing source for great photos and an honest and refreshing look at Japan from an inside/outside perspective.

As you mentioned in your text, keep doing it the way you’ve been and we’ll all keep coming back.. Congratulations on 10 years. Looking forward to the next 10!

— comment by Ron Evans on April 5th, 2015 at 6:20pm JST (9 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

I must have done something weird with the href. Here’s the link: http://i.imgur.com/ylwUtfK.gif

It was probably the WordPress comment system… I’ve never been able to figure out when it does/doesn’t dork links. I’ve updated the previous comment in place. Amazing cinemagraph…. the bar has been raised. —Jeffrey

— comment by Benjamin Moore on April 5th, 2015 at 9:21pm JST (9 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Congratulations on your 10th anniversary. I have continued to re-visit your blog because it brings back memories of the years I lived in Japan (Fukui-shi) and many of the “beauty” spots I visited over those years. It has been especially nice to see Anthony – the middle schooler now I think – grow and thrive. Used to love his “diorama” creations, really imaginative and fun. Oh, and all his yummy bentos! I am a native Californian so your Silicon Valley (or at least tech connection) is also of interest. When I went to kindergarten, we lived in a house amongst fruit orchards on the land where Apple now has its HQ. Wishing you and yours 10 more years of happy blogging, travel and life in Japan.

— comment by C Rene on April 7th, 2015 at 7:41am JST (9 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink
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