UPDATE! It didn't last long!
I meant to post about this a long, long time ago. It fits nicely with my blogs sensationally narrow remit of covering Sapporo, junk food, pop music, movies, comics, strangely named apartment buildings and the occasional psychic projection from my sister.
Sapporo Source, Sapporo's first and finest free English language magazine launched about six months ago, and - in a shocking turn of events - it's not half bad.
To be honest I'm a fan of schadenfreude, and I often find that free-press publications like this one (c.f. the nightmarish Niseko based one I picked up there last year and every University newspaper ever) can induce some pretty sweet paroxysms of embarrasment. Sapporo source, for the most part has managed to hit a pretty professional tone, thank God, and the quality of writing is nothing to be ashamed of.
Of course it's mainly focussed on the sponsors and the restaurants which the staff often frequent, but you've got to start somewhere, and I don't think I've massively disagreed with anything they've written so far, even if I don't necessarily rate or patronize the same places they do.
There's also a column from Arudo Debito, who I admire greatly for his work making life fairer for foreigners living in Japan, but who's column I'm really enjoying kind of ruefully shaking my head over. Here he's putting aside the politics and trying his hand at a lighter op-ed style, and the results... vary. There was a lovely column about how no-one makes "album" albums anymore - properly sequenced albums that is - which would be a wonderful point, were it actually true. At all. In the slightest. Just coz you stop listening to new music, doesn't mean people stop making it! And I just remembered that one time he equated the word Gaijin with Nigger and just... (sigh)... idiot. Still, thanks for your hard work trying to stop Japan turning into a police state for foreign residents man.
(edit: Just to say I spent a while just now browsing Debito's website and it is a pretty important place for foreign residents in Japan, regardless what you think of his opinions. I've stuck it in my sidebar too)
The first issue was fun too, featuring as it did messages for foreign residents of Hokkaido from the governments of Australia, America, Canada and New Zealand. The UK was asked to contribute, but replied that since they had no Sapporo consulate it was hardly worth it. Which is, y'know... I'm not sure what they're job is, but I'm pretty sure it's not to insult their citizens who happen to be living on a different island. Nice work there British Consulate staff!
Ah crap, they're going to cancel my passport now aren't they? I was joking!
Ok, I'm gonna wrap up this little backhanded-insult fest with crossed fingers and an extra link. Because the last awesome thing about Sapporo Source is that it's entirely available to browse online through a pretty handy piece of software. So if you're living here and haven't picked it up, it's worth a look.