Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Blog FAQ

For all your explanatory needs, here's a list of Frequently Asked Questions about this blog and its author (aka me). This is not a PUFFY FAQ - I may think about taking a stab at that sometime later. Consider this a "living" post - it'll change as the blog changes.

Q: What is this blog about?

As it says in the header, this is a blog about the Japanese rock/pop/punk/disco/metal duo PUFFY, aka Puffy AmiYumi.

Seriously, what is "amiyumidas"?

A: When I created this blog, I went through all the standard PUFFY subdomains I could think of and they were unsurprisingly all taken. Taken. puffyamiyumi? Taken. amiyumi? Taken. (Annoyingly, none of these blogs are actually Puffy-related!) I needed to come up with something unique to the blogspot domain. So I raided Puffy's marketing materials, and one of the products that jumped out at me was a sticker they'd made that said "amiyumidas" as an obvious play on "adidas". That's all it is - a little play on a famous brand name. (In fact, here you go - a t-shirt bearing the same name.)

Alternatively, "amiyumidas" would mean "born from amiyumi" in Greek, so that's sort of appropriate too, I guess.

Q: Why start this blog?

A: I'm obviously a pretty big PUFFY fan. My wife is too! And with her being native and me having a pretty heavy interest in Japan, we're pretty immersed in Japanese pop culture anyway. So it's easy to get completely caught up in an act like PUFFY even as an American, and I definitely have. After seeing them live for the first time, I wrote up a show report post on my more general, somewhat random personal blog. (It's now here, under the show reports link to the right.) That sort of opened the flood gates. Eventually, it was clear to me that I needed a separate blog... even if it did pull me over firmly into "fanboy" territory.

There also aren't very many English-language fan sites dedicated to PUFFY on the net, and that seemed like a problem in need of a solution. Right now, it's really just me and the three sites linked in the sidebar. We all hopefully do different enough things that we're all relevant.

Q: What is the "mission" of this blog?

A: Generally, to help promote PUFFY to a western audience, although I'm happy to have readers from around the world.

Specifically, I want to do two things here:

1. To aggregate and filter all the latest, relevant PUFFY news
2. To bring you in-depth reviews and show reports, going backwards and forwards. (In other words, I'm reviewing old stuff I missed the first time around too!)

Eventually, I'd love it if this were something of a resource archive of reviews for all PUFFY releases in all formats. Gonna take some time to get there, though. My aim is not to make an organized discography of all PUFFY releases with release data and info; the blog format isn't right for that, and the two other fan sites out there already do it well. I won't post about a release unless it's either news or a full review.

And while I'm probably not unbiased, I'm also not going to be afraid to criticize PUFFY when it's called for. Though I'll always be nice about it :) I know even celebrities are real people too. And whatever PUFFY do in the future, they've already given me years of enjoyment, and that's not something they could ever erase.

Q: Sounds great. How often do you update?

A: As often as there's something worth writing about, coinciding with me having the time to do it. During heavy periods like just before and after album releases or during tours, that may be pretty much every day - sometimes even more than once per day. But during slower periods in between releases, I'll probably have to scrounge for things to write about and it may not happen nearly as often.

Q: Where do you get your news and info?

A: The news posts come from a combination of PUFFY's official sites, Japanese-language community sites, mainstream Japanese news sites and gossip sites. I try not to rely on other fan sites, although I will credit them if I ever find a story to cover through them. Obviously, my reviews are all original, and it's not like PUFFY are sending me promos... I'm buying all the stuff I review.

Q: What's your policy on pictures/screen grabs/photographs?

A: I generally try to take my own photos/screen grabs when possible. All of my reviews feature my own scans and grabs. That gives me no claim over copyright, though (all images are still copyright PUFFY or their record label), so as far as I'm concerned, you're free to use them if you'd like. My only request would be if you could, just out of pure politeness, give me some sort of a credit or link back from wherever you're using them. But obviously, I have no legal authority to force you to do this.

I do occasionally post my own photos here, and I retain copyright to those. But see below for my stance on fair use; again, I'd just appreciate your letting me know if you're going to use one of my photos on another blog or for some other fair use purpose.

I do use images I've found elsewhere myself. I will also give credit when appropriate. Some images are either old or they're just "out there", ie. they appear on many different sites and it's impossible to track down the original source, so in those cases there's no point in crediting anyone.

Generally speaking, images on this blog (and others like it) fall under the "fair use" provision of copyright law, as they're being used for the purposes of criticism, comment, and news reporting - three purposes specifically mentioned as codified fair use in section 107 of US copyright law. You can read the fair use provision of US copyright law here.

Q: Why start this blog now? Why not 10 years ago when they were at the top of the charts?

A: For one thing, I don't put much stock in what music's popular and what isn't. It's not about that for me. For another, I honestly wasn't too familiar with PUFFY until just a few years ago - I'd known about them since 1996, but didn't really pay much attention back then. I'm almost ashamed to admit that it was the publicity surrounding the initial launch of "Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi" that got me to visit their web site and listen to a few of their recent song samples. It was mostly out of curiosity; I was surprised they were still around at all, let alone getting a new American cartoon. But from then on, I was hooked. I guess I finally just fell victim to their marketing machine.

I also think they've only gotten better with age. Don't get me wrong, I love their early albums. But their more recent albums are just as good as, if not better than their output in those early chart-topping years. So why not blog about them now?

Q: Who are you, anyway?

A: I'm just some guy living on Long Island and working in New York City. I'm happily married, own a house, have a cat who's much too fat. I've got a steady job working on the web site for a TV channel. I spend part of my weekends going out and doing fun stuff and the other part barbecuing and working on my yard. I also have been known to play guitar, and I've recently started recording music again. (If you're wondering why there are so few people in my photos, it's just for privacy.) I'm basically a regular dude in his mid-30's with enough free time on his hands to maintain a few hobbies, although my musical interests do otherwise lean towards the dark side. Some of the other bands I'm into include My Bloody Valentine, Foo Fighters, Fluke, Coldplay, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Evanescence, Orbital, Slowdive, Chapterhouse, and the Jesus and Mary Chain. You might wonder where PUFFY fits in with all that, and they do act as kind of a counterbalance to the rest of my tastes. But not all of their songs are happy songs either - I kinda like it when they take the mood down a notch or alternatively get all loud and noisy.

Q: Who's your favorite, Ami or Yumi?

Both :)

Q: Do you have any connection to PUFFY, Sony Music, Ki/oon Records, Cartoon Network, Tofu Records or Hit&Run?

None. But I would if given the chance. Hey, I never said I was trying to be independent!

But that's what I am. For now...

Other questions? Feel free to leave a comment or email and I'll answer either there or here in the main post.

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