Welcome to the (syndicated version) of the 123rd edition of The Newsletter Leaf Journal. I mailed the flagship edition of our beloved newsletter on Saturday, February 18, 2023. Now I am supposed to syndicate our newsletters here to The New Leaf Journal on Mondays. However, I forgot this week, so you can enjoy our better-late-than-never Thursday syndication below.
Leaves from the week that was
After a few relatively lean weeks of publishing, we had a busy week with five new articles. Even the shorter articles from the set required a bit of research.
- Business Women, Poem by Charlotte Becker
N.A. Ferrell. February 12.
I had reason to conduct some further research into Charlotte Becker, an early twentieth-century poet about whom I published a long article in 2021. A reader email gave me cause to resume research into Becker (you will learn about that in due course). While researching, I incidentally came across a Becker poem that I had not seen before. You can enjoy it here.
- Query for Bing on Blacklisting and ChatGPT
N.A. Ferrell. February 13.
Asking for a “friend.”
- A Winter’s Tale – Visual Novel Review
N.A. Ferrell. February 14.
I resumed my project to review about 30 translated visual novels from three translation festivals (2005, 2007, and 2008) with review #17: A Winter’s Tale. This visual novel, which takes about one hour to read, is a simple story about a changing relationship between two childhood friends. It is as solid as it is unambitious, and my overall impression was positive. However, while I had targeted this review for release on Valentine’s Day, it turned out that it would have been more suitable for Christmas… But I digress. The review turned out to only be the beginning of a new project…
- Version history of Aru Fuyu no Monogatari
N.A. Ferrell. February 16.
A Winter’s Tale (see above) is the English translation of Aru Fuyu Monogatari, a freeware Japanese visual novel first released on October 3, 2003. Or was it first released on October 3, 2003? I had reason to believe that the novel had initially been released prior to its final version. My research project, which took me to many 2002-2004 archived versions of webpages from vector.co.jp, proved to be longer and more convoluted than I expected.
- Original LOH: Trails in the Sky GIF ad
N.A. Ferrell. February 17.
While researching the version history of Aru Fuyu no Monogatari (see above), I noticed many ads had been captured by the Internet Archive. One ad caught my attention. A June 5, 2004 capture of an ad for Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky. The official English version of Trails is one of my favorite Japanese role playing video games. But well before it made its way stateside in 2011, it was released in Japan on June 24, 2004. In this post, I document the gif ad for the then-upcoming Trails game.
Leaflets and Leaf Buds
I have been neglecting my short-form posts a bit lately, but I did publish a few in addition to our new long-form articles.
- New Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki Anime (While the first season of Tomozaki did not make my 2021 top-five, I included it in my year in review post as an honorable mention and stated that I would be interested in a second season. That second season is happening.)
- Rent-A-Girlfriend S3 to air in July 2023 (In contrast to Tomozaki, I am not at all enthusiastic about the third season of Rent-A-Girlfriend – the second, which aired last July, received no mention in my 2022 anime review. However, inertia demands that I see this through to the bitter end.)
Leaves from around the web
Let’s resume where we left off last week in my to-share-from-around-the-web backlog.
- Reverse Valentine’s Day comes to Japanese high schools as girls finally get presents from guys
Casey Baseel for SoraNews24. February 17, 2015.
To the extent Valentine’s Day is observed in Japan, it is traditionally for women to give gifts to men. Men are then supposed to reciprocate on White Day (March 14). However, this 2015 article highlighted one instance of boys in a particular school reversing the Valentines paradigm.
- See the Largest Known Flower Preserved in Amber
Sarah Kuta for Smithsonian Magazine. January 13, 2023.
“The fossil’s long saga likely began between 34 and 38 million years ago, during the late Eocene, when a blob of sticky resin oozed out of a conifer tree near the Baltic Sea.”
- Their Racing Pigeons Caught a Bullet Train. Then the Authorities Caught Up
Keith Bradsher for The New York Times. August 29, 2018.
If only Victor and I had been there to stop this base, vile, and depraved behavior toward pigeons and the sport of pigeon racing. By the way, did you know that we recently rescued a pigeon?
- The mysterious textInput RSS field
Ruben Schade. January 16, 2023.
The existence of this was news to me.
- Pope Francis centralizes authority with reform of Diocese of Rome
Andrea Gagliarducci for Catholic News Agency. January 15, 2023.
“With the reform, Pope Francis firmly took over the reins of the vicariate, or hierarchy, of the diocese. Everything is centralized, and everything must pass, at least formally, under the control of the pontiff.”
- 2022 Review: Aegis & Raivo
The New Oil. January 14, 2023.
A review of two TOTP two-factor-authenticator apps. I personally use Aegis on my Android-based mobile devices.
- China’s population declines for the first time in over six decades, raising concern about world economy
Madeleine Hubbard for Just the News. January 17, 2023.
I wonder if China ever had one specific policy which contributed to this trend.
- Orrest Head, Lake District, Winter
Ian Cylkowski. January 16, 2023.
Enjoy winter photos from Orrest Head in England.
- Why Was King Tut Buried with a Trumpet?
Ted Gioia at The Honest Broker. January 16, 2023.
We learn that the purpose was likely more practical than aesthetic.
- ‘Walupeach’ Was Almost A Thing, But Miyamoto Vetoed Before Seeing The Designs
Jim Norman for Nintendo Life. January 18, 2023.
Mario has a counterpart in Wario. Wario inspired Nintendo to create Waluigi, based on Luigi. There were apparently plans for a “Walupeach,” but the creator of Mario, Mr. Shigeru Miyamoto, had seen enough even before anyone had the opportunity to show him the concept art. (Probably the right call.)
The Old Leaf Journal
Let’s check in on our archives…
- Photographing a Squirrel Kiss in Three Acts
Nicholas A. Ferrell. February 14, 2021.
Without a doubt my greatest contribution to the field of nature photography.
- “Mondrian” – Victor V. Gurbo on his Original Song
Victor V. Gurbo. February 25, 2021.
- “Love is Free Not cheap” Fridge Graffiti in Brooklyn
Nicholas A. Ferrell. February 11, 2022.
A powerful maxim found on the side of a fridge on the side of the road.
- “Washington’s Birthday” Poem by Sangster
Nicholas A. Ferrell. February 18, 2021.
An inspiring Washington birthday poem in advance of his 291st birthday.
Most-turned leaves of the week
I list our most-read articles from the previous newsletter week (Friday to Saturday) in each edition of The Newsletter Leaf Journal. These statistics come courtesy of Koko Analytics, our local, privacy friendly page-counting solution (see my review). Below, I present the 5 most-visited articles of the seventh newsletter week of 2023.
- Tiki paralogue trick in Fire Emblem Engage (NAF – 2.3.23)
2nd top five of 2023. 1st top placement.
- The Mystery of Sōseki and Tsuki ga Kirei (NAF – 3.14.21)
7th top five of 2023. 5 top placements.
- Understanding Hair Color in the Kimi ni Todoke Anime Series (NAF – 8.19.21)
2nd top five of 2023.
- The Nice Boat 〜 A Look Back at the School Days Anime (NAF: 5.6.21)
Debut top-five appearance.
- The Pokémon Special Split in Generation 2 – Statistics and Analysis (NAF – 1.18.22)
7th top five of 2023.
This week brought a new number-one article and the third article to take the top spot in the first seven weeks of 2023. My Fire Emblem Engage Strategy guide was the runner-up article in its first full week and now it is number one in its second, posting the best week (in terms of page views) of any article thus far in 2023. It also breaks some new ground as the first article about a video game or visual novel to lead our weekly ranking (going back to 2021). This ended the five-week number-one streak of my tsuki ga kirei post, but that article slotted in cozily at second place in making its 95th consecutive weekly top five.
This week was a bit soft beyond our top two – things like being blacklisted by one of the two major search indexers can have that effect. When my Kimi ni Todoke anime hair analysis piece made its first weekly top five in the first week of 2023, I predicted that the article, which had not made a top-five in its first 16 months live, would not make another. That proved to be wrong as it notched a third place result this week. On its heels was my 2021 review of School Days, which despite having been among our 25 most-read articles in 2021 and 2022, had never made a weekly top-five. It took 21 months, but the drought is over. Our top five was narrowly rounded out by the 11th consecutive appearance of my 2021 early Pokémon generation stat review, which barely edged out my July 2021 article on installing Ubuntu Touch on a Nexus 7.
News leaf journal
I made a few behind-the-scenes changes this last week, but one also promises to have forward-facing effects.
Firstly, I scanned the site for broken links. We had a decent number (about 130), but not so many that I needed to use redirects to fix them. Instead, I manually fixed each of the recorded broken links, save for an intentionally broken link in my article on submitting an error report to the United States Department of Justice. If you happen to find any other broken links, feel free to let me know via our contact page.
Secondly, I only now just realized that our theme outputs JSON-LD schema on all of our posts. I would prefer that it did not do this in part because I can now implement it manually. However, because I do not know enough about theme design to safely change the behavior at the moment, I opted to ensure that the generic image being shown for every post in the schema markup is our site logo.
Finally, I re-imposed media re-directs on site. By default, WordPress generates pages for every attachment. This is generally not the behavior that a blog will want. For example, I for every image, I would rather visitors go to the article with the image instead of a “page” for the image. This can be done through redirects. The premium version of our current SEO plugin handled that, but I chose not to renew our subscription because I did not end up using most of the premium features – which cost almost as much as hosting the site. But I have now set up the redirects separately, so all image attachment pages should redirect to their home articles.
Notable leaf journal
With our two big tech search engines blacklisting us (Bing) or lighting themselves on fire with AI fiascos (mostly Bing, but also Google), I decided that it was time to give Mojeek a serious look. There are two players in the general-use English-first search engine space: Mojeek and Brave Search. Brave Search is mostly solid. Despite some concerns about it taking signals from Bing, our overall performance has improved after a weak showing in the second-half of January. But Mojeek is without question more independent at this stage than Bing, so I have been lightly testing it as a primary browser. The results of these tests will eventually become an article, but if you’re interested in trying, be sure to read about its search operators and how it interprets your queries.
Thank you as always for joining us for another edition of The Newsletter Leaf Journal. If you enjoyed the content and have not done so already, you can sign up to receive our weekly email or add the newsletter’s RSS feed to your favorite feed reader (no sign-up required for RSS option). We also syndicate the newsletter to The New Leaf Journal on Mondays (or Thursdays… this case). See all of the current options here.
Cura ut valeas.