July 19th, 2008
One of the things that has long amazed me about Japanese blogs is the use of blog widgets or “blog parts” as they are referred to in Japanese. Blog widgets are small snippets of code you can insert into your blog to create fun, interesting, useful or just plain strange tools into your blog pages.
Perhaps partly because of the large number of personal diary blogs, the usage of entertaining blog widgets (often produced by brands for viral advertising) is probably at some of the highest levels in the world. For many its a great way to dress up what is often a very plain blog template and add a little of “this is what I like” factor.
These are my top 10…
10. Yamaha Pianica
Do you ever feel the need to play a musical instrument while browsing your friends’ blogs? This special blog widget lets you do just that.
9. Kiminchi no sauce
Bad coding joke or clever pun? You make the decision. Click the sauce bottle to see the page source.
For the artists we have a new outlet for your creative streaks. Flipbook gives you a web interface for you to draw successive frames of an animation and then plays them through your blog widget.
7. The Happening
This promotion for M. Night Shyamalan’s new film “The Happening” has some nice tricks to slowly deconstruct your blog piece by piece. The best way to understand what it is is to try it… click on the widget to see the effect.
6. Blog Level Up
The Japanese appetite for fantasy characters and role playing games hits the blog where this retro pixel avatar can level up on your blog. You can check your characters stats and add friends.
5. Maru Ten Ten = Star
Someone was thinking out of the box with this one. When clicked, the widget checks all of the text in the page, grabs all the dots in the text and darkens the screen to just highlight the dots. The effect is that your blog becomes like a night sky. The effect is even more powerful with Japanese text where you get varied sizes of stars from the big and small dots in the text.
NOTE : Doesn’t seem to work properly with Firefox 3.x, your text should fade out except for the dots.
4. Hoshi Toki no Toki
For the purely bizarre award, this blog widget takes the cake. Using a full page flash overlay, to display some animal characters full screen over your blog when you click on the insert. It changes animal over time and puts you in a nice mood for the blog avatar creator that it links to, KAOS.
3. Samurai Weapon
This blog widget promotion for Nintendo DS Game “Samurai Weapon”, is a bit subtle at first , but try clicking on the samurai character until he gets annoyed and be prepared to have your page killed in any number of samurai ways.
Back in June 2007, the first release of the Uniqlock campaign for Uniqlo (Japanese casual wear clothing company) and this catchy blog widget that was at its core, managed to get the country buzzing. It is certainly one of the top of the most used blog widgets of all time. For this alone it deserves to be high on this list, but the execution with nice use of video and the rhythm of the clock was also very clean and the impact was almost universally positive. There have been a number of follow ups keeping the look evolving with new content, but basically the same concept. Music. Dance. Clock.
1. One Click Awards
This is the blog widget that got it all started for me. Made for the One Click Awards in 2007, it takes a cheeky premise of interaction with a little man who comes out of his widget and takes it to a new level by giving you a web ring tour with stops moving through video and pages alike. Come back after you are done ; )