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GaijinPot Rewind 2018: What was Hot, What Was Not

This year, which jobs were you applying to, what were you reading, and what were you saying on social media?

By 9 min read

It’s hard to believe that 2018 is almost coming to an end. For Japan, this is literally the end of an era as the Heisei period finishes with next year’s abdication of Emperor Akihito and his handing over the the throne to his son Naruhito.

At GaijinPot, too, we’re experiencing a kind of new beginning as we get ready to celebrate 20 years since the site went live throughout 2019 (thrones will hopefully be involved).

Since we launched in 1999, we’ve been continually learning how to make sure that every piece of content we publish has real value for as many of our users as it can. But habits are changing and since you’re all based across the world it’s becoming even more of a challenge to know what makes you tick — and what ticks you off.

So to help us do better next year we’ve been gathering some data on what went down on GaijinPot in 2018. Safe to say there were definitely some interesting things going on.

On the GaijinPot website

Since January 1, we’ve had a rollercoaster of a ride with a big redesign of the top page and blog, the launch of the Japan 101 online survival guide, GaijinPot Travel winning an award, GaijinPot Study welcoming incoming language students, and GaijinPot Jobs seeing more people than ever looking for a job in Japan.

Loads of people applied for jobs in Japan.

In 2018, 321,146 people applied for a job listed on the GaijinPot board. That’s roughly an average of 879 applications made per day.

The most popular industry among Japan job seekers was Education & Teaching.

The Top 10 industries applied for on GaijinPot Jobs:

    1. Education & Teaching
    2. Information Technology
    3. Tourism, Travel & Hospitality
    4. HR & Recruitment
    5. Food & Beverage
    6. Service Industry
    7. Automotive
    8. Translation & Interpretation
    9. Advertising & Marketing
    10. Wholesale & Retail

It seems that there is still a lot of interest in teaching jobs in Japan among foreigners. But it also looks like the IT sector is catching up quickly. Notably, recruitment — typically a popular choice for foreign job seekers after teaching — is No. 4 on the list.

There was a weird trend of people typing names in the jobs search bar instead of job-related keywords.

Male names Female names
David = 114 Sarah = 45
James = 99 Rebecca = 44
Michael = 94 Maria = 44
Daniel 92 Rachelle = 40
Andrew = 82 Jessica = 39
Ryan = 77 Kelly = 38
Robert = 74 Megan = 37
Jason = 69 Emily = 35
Kevin = 67 Nina = 29
Matthew = 64 Laura = 29

Two other search term oddities were people typing in these words:

    • Mothers = 39 times
    • King = 18 times

To be fair, we’d apply for a job as “King” if there was one going. Were people mistaking GP Jobs for a dating app? If you have a theory, by all means, let us know!

Diversifying our content brought us a new audience.

Over on GaijinPot Blog and GaijinPot Travel, we’ve been making moves to broaden and diversify our content, increasing the scope of representation thanks to talented new writers that speak for racial and sexual minorities — a mission we want to push harder for in 2019. We’re also trying hard to elevate our storytelling, focussing not only on advice for all of you ALTs (and other English teachers) or our favorite kanji, but also incorporating more relevant news stories, unheard voices and cultural analysis.

A personal milestone for us was GaijinPot Travel starting a new LGBTQ travel section featuring LGBTQ-friendly destinations across Japan.

It’s only been a few months, but we’ve seen about a 6 percent increase in new visitors to GaijinPot Blog since we started.

GaijinPot Blog’s most popular article by organic search referenced that well-known movie about Japan.

A Guide To the Best ‘Lost in Translation’ Spots in Tokyo

A Guide to the best Lost in Translation Spots in Tokyo was our top performing article for 2018’s organic search

It was followed by FAQs about mobile phones in Japan and the best Japanese medicines for flu season.

The Top 10 articles in 2018 by organic search on GaijinPot Blog:

  1. A Guide to the Best Lost in Translation Spots in Tokyo
  2. Getting a Mobile Phone in Japan: Your FAQs Answered
  3. Cold Comforts: From OTC Japanese Drugs to Home Remedies for Flu Season
  4. 6 Spots to Get a Bird’s Eye View of the Shibuya Scramble Crossing
  5. 25 Things to Do in Yokohama
  6. 2018 Top Jobs in Japan Week 1
  7. Remembering Anthony Bourdain Through His Travels in Japan
  8. Level Up: The Top 5 Mobile Games in Japan
  9. 12 Ways to Make the Most of the Hakone Freepass
  10. Gachapon: Japan’s Irresistible Capsule Toys You Never Knew You Needed

In terms of overall organic search, there’s one sexy article that people just cannot get enough of.

Looking For Love: Talking Dirty in Japanese by Sara Who had our highest number of page views again this year proving that sex truly does sell.

One of the least searched articles was all about cherry blossom’s overshadowed twin.

It seems don’t no one give AF about ume (plum) blossom — the less flashy flower that precedes cherry blossom in February/March — as our 5 Places to See Plum Blossom in Tokyo didn’t do very well in terms of page views this year. This is despite the fact that the two blossoms look really, really similar (just us?).

On the other hand, anything related to sakura was super popular. Our 2018 GaijinPot Cherry Blossom Contest saw more than 3,300 photo entries, with the winner receiving a luxury hotel stay. We also got to have fun creating these retro sakura images in the process.

On GaijinPot social media

Like many media companies all over the world, one major challenge of 2018 has been social media. While the data looks steady — we topped 600,000 followers on Facebook and started a fledgling Twitch channel which currently has a grand total following of… 9 —it’s definitely getting harder for us to connect with our audience.

The most viewed articles via social media were about the new Specified Skills visa, anti-immigration demonstrations, and Terrace House.

There’s no place like a home away from home, clearly, as your most shared articles were related in some way to immigration in Japan. News of a new visa for traditional blue collar industries sparked a lot of interest, while an original report on anti-immigrant demonstrations by The Japan First Party had us up in arms, too.

Top 10 articles from GaijinPot shared on social media:

  1. New Specified Skills Visa for Japan: Your Questions Answered
  2. Far Right Group Staging a Nationwide “Anti Immigrant” Day
  3. Terrace House reveals dark side of Japan’s attitudes toward consent and women’s sexuality
  4. 6 Types of Students Language Teachers Will Meet in Japan
  5. Japan’s Hilarious ‘Crappiest Apartment of the Year’ Awards Are Back
  6. 9 Onsen in Kyushu Where Men and Women Can Bathe Together
  7. 9 Onsen in Tohoku Where Men and Women Can Bathe Together
  8. 10 Ways Life in Kyoto is Different than Tokyo
  9. “AirDrop Perverts” on Japanese Trains Is Now a Thing
  10. 5 Unnecessary Things Tourists Do When Traveling in Japan

Your favorite videos on social media were mostly travel-related, except for the one about Sekru Gummy’s rippable chewing gum and how it’s so very loooooooong.

Check out the exceptional TV commercial here.

Speaking of video, GaijinPot staff made themselves a bit sick in a new Staff Try series involving Japanese health and energy drinks. Are the purported benefits nothing more than a placebo? We’re still not sure. One thing we do know however is that they mostly taste like sh*t.

Still our channel has yet to surpass our goal of 10,000 users (so we can finally use the YouTube Studio and make more videos) — will someone please hit subscribe!

GaijinPot’s Facebook Group grew to more than 50,000 members.

And along the way threatened to become a cesspool of racism, sexism and various other -isms like our old forums due to trolls. For the moderators and the fantastic members that provide genuine help and support to the community, that was one big ol’ NOPE.

We got some comments on social media.

Underneath a share of What’s Christmas Like in Japan:

Christmas used to be my favorite time of year. Until I moved to Japan. 

Regarding Japan’s Schools Are in Total Denial Over Diversity:

Let’s not bring the Snowflake culture to Japan as well. Most halves are treated like royalty everywhere they go.

Half what? My children are not half, they are 100% pure homo sapiens. They may be mixed race, but they are not half anything. That’s offensive.

On Terrace House reveals dark side of Japan’s attitudes toward consent and women’s sexuality:

Take a drink every time “patriarchy” is mentioned in that article.

Well done and thoughtful article! Wish I still lived in Hiroshima so I could meet the article writer and high-five her.

The Rising Wasabi does it again!! Hilarious!!

On Awkward English Teacher Interviews in Japan:

I got asked at an interview if I actually spoke English. The interview was all in English and I was speaking it perfectly (it’s my first language). I didn’t know if he was being sarcastic or what, but since he’s Japanese, I figured he didn’t really do the whole sarcasm thing. It was weird so all I gave was an awkward “yes.”

Replying to an Instagram post taken in Tottori featuring a hyperreal cat man:

Must pet giant cat man.

And finally for a comment that encapsulates everything we love about the internet and how it makes no sense, this example of TMI underneath Japan Now Has a Pringles-Flavor Cup Ramen:

This makes me horny.

Elsewhere on GaijinPot

GaijinPot Jobs hosted its first ever Education & Teaching job fairs.

One in Osaka and one in Akihabara. If you didn’t get a chance to attend, we’ll be hosting bigger, better events in 2019.

From January to October 2018, we helped place 168 students into a Japanese language school.

We also launched a GaijinPot Study Facebook group for students in Japan to share advice, tips and resources — and to have a place for us to organize student parties!

One of our study coordinators, Amelie, started a new Tweet of the Week series on GaijinPot Blog to help Japanese learners study the language through viral moments. Hopefully, you’ve spotted the series of dystopian bird-themed images that go with it.

GaijinPot Travel won a Japan Tourism Award for website innovation.

Our travel site has been on the up and up this year in terms of users and page views, and it even won a Japan Tourism Award. 👏👏👏

Over to you

So what do you our users find valuable about our website? What do you want to see more, or less, of? Are there any areas we can improve or innovate? We welcome any feedback, comments or feelings from you at any time. Get in touch with us at content@gplusmedia.com.

Also, we’re always looking for new writers to tackle topics not previously covered. If you or anyone you know is interested in contributing to GaijinPot, contact us.

Stay tuned for some exciting content, contests, and events happening next year as part of our 20th-anniversary celebrations. Thanks for sticking with us and here’s to living the dream in Japan in 2019!


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