I recently sat down with Jean, as he preferred to be called 'critic' who resides on the net here, he was lovely to get to know and learn about. His design skills and what he has to say are great to hear. He is wonderfully kind and so professional.
Snow Falling On Jean Hill
What do you prefer Nej or Jean? (not an interview question, just for me
to know).

- Jean is fine.

Your site was launched in the summer of 2002, am I right? I wanted to
know what were the hassles back then compared to now?

- The site launched in September of 2002, and it followed 3 and half
years of writing a weekly column on my life in Tokyo at another site I
ran with a friend. I can't remember many hassles, but I got the idea of
using blog software (instead of just regular HTML) when Warren Ellis
launched his blog (Die Puny Humans) at the same time. Seemed like an
easy way to update a site, but at the time I wasn't really aware of the
blog scene (actually, I don't think there really was one at the time).
I started out with Blogger, and then a few months later moved to the
Movable Type software, which is what I still use today to power the

Do you enjoy sharing your views, your creativity and design with a
world who can get every detail about you from google.com?

- Yeah, sure. I mean, that's certainly one of the reasons that I
started the site. It gives me a place to share with others what I'm
into (and to hopefully help promote some of those things). It also lets
me get in touch with people that I would like to get to know, who
approach me because they appreciate what I'm into and would maybe like
to collaborate on things. For instance, I was approached by the people
organizing the TOKYO STYLE event in Stockholm because a lot of times
when they would be searching for things, my site would turn up in the
Google results. It seemed like I was covering the kinds of things they
were looking to include in their event.

What made you start Tokyboy, TB.Grafico and Geisha?

- The Tokyo Boy moblog was started because I was quick to get a mobile
phone that let me take pictures, and then Kevin Cameron's great
moblogging tool Mfop let me do live updating from wherever I was. I
think my site was among the first to feature a moblog on it (one of the
advantages of living in Tokyo, where mobile phone technology is always
one step ahead of the rest of the world). TB.Grafico was me just giving
a name to the daily pics that I post. Taking pictures and posting them
is something I've done for a long time, including them in the weekly
column I used to write. I like taking pictures to better show people
the things that I find interesting about life here. I consider it
reportage more than an artistic pursuit. And GEISHA, well, that's my
place to have fun and be creative. I've unfortunately been too busy of
late to come out with a new issue, but it's something I'd like to get
back into sometime soon.

Do you keep up with the design world and do you enjoy being labeled as
a graphic designer?

- Yes, I'm always interested in happenings in the design world, and
follow tons of magazines on the subject (especially Japanese magazines
like AXIS, IDEA, ATMOSPHERE, and +81). I don't think if I'm really
labeled as a graphic designer though, since I don't work in that
industry. I think I approach graphic design not so much as a creator
(sure, I do create my own sites, and play with design in my GEISHA
zine, but I don't think they really hold up to the things that my
favorite designers are creating), but more as a promoter and critic. I
would love to get more involved in graphic design, but probably more as
a producer.

You inhabit the metropolis of Tokyo, have you ever wanted to live
outside of Japan, or Asia for that matter?

- Since moving here, I can't say that there's anywhere else I'd rather
be. I am totally in love with this city, and it offers me the things I
crave. I love traveling in Asia, but I don't think there is anywhere
else that would offer me an environment like the one I enjoy here. I
mean, I love Hong Kong, and I would love to be able to take the time to
stay there for a few weeks or a month, to really get to know the city,
but I know from my previous visits there that it's not a place where I
would want to live for a long period of time. Same goes for other big
cities in Asia (and yes, I'm a big city boy, and will probably remain
one for a while yet).

What do you feel about gay marriage?

- I think there's absolutely nothing wrong with it. If two people love
each other (gay or hetero) and want to live their lives together, they
should be entitled to all the benefits (tax cuts and such) that marriage

Agree or disagree with the war in Iraq?

- I disagree, because I don't like the way things were done. Saddam was
indeed a bad man, and I do hope the Iraqi people eventually find
peaceful lives, but what was done did not feel honest, or in the best
interest of everyone.

Prior to our discussion have you been to KUWTG? Do you find it

- I can't say that I knew about your site, so never had a chance to
check it out.

I see you do a lot of magazines and style, have you ever been
criticized for doing so?

- Are you talking about GEISHA? If so, no, I've never really been
criticized for the changes. I mean, for me, the whole point of it is to
experiment with different presentations, so I think it's pretty much
expected that styles will vary greatly from one issue to the next.

Thank you for taking this time and answering a few questions in the
"Bloggees Of The Net" column that will feature others of your status.


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