I admit it. I have a guilty pleasure: I like reading the Japanese version of Yahoo! Answers, or Yahoo! Chiebukuro. Judging from the content quality of its English counterpart, I'm afraid this admission speaks volumes about the level I operate on when using Japanese. It's probably akin to an ESL learner proudly indicating reruns of the Jerry Springer show as her favorite leisure activity.
At least Chiebukuro members write in full-formed, polite sentences and tend to thank other users for their responses. I'd say that's two full steps up on the social competency staircase from "How can do u drift with an automated car?" But, again, content-wise, it's not like the Japanese site has any lack of step-by-step drifting lessons.
So, yes, I need to tell the world about my love of Chiebukuro about as much as I need to punch myself in the stomach. But that's OK, because I'll get over both the humiliation and the aching gut thanks to a healing combination of schadenfreude and an endless stream of absurdities people ask about from behind the protective curtain of Internet anonymity. (Which curtain is, as the recent university entrance exam cheating scandal and subsequent arrest showed us, a gauze one at best.)
Starting this month, I'll be rolling out on AccessJ a new series of Q&A posts which examine useful (or terrible) questions posed on Yahoo! Chiebukuro, Oshiete Goo, and similar sites, as well as the answers provided for those questions. Some of the questions may actually help you learn how to do something yourself in Japan. Others will be chosen for entertainment value only.
If you have any such Question & Answer type pages that you're dying to see translated into English, please contact the AccessJ Team! Comment here, or check us out on Facebook or Twitter.
In the meantime, stay tuned for the next post in and official start of our new Q&A series!