We are marking the 10th anniversary of shiga-ken.com in 2015. It was 10 years ago in February 2005 when I first registered the shiga-ken.com domain name. Later that year, I started this shiga-ken.com Website.
Two main things that spurred me were a digital camera and Wikipedia. I was already seriously traveling around and photographing Shiga from 2003 when I bought my first digital SLR camera. Two years later, I decided that I had enough material to start a Shiga-dedicated site.
From fall 2004 to spring 2005, I was quite active writing Japan travel articles at Wikipedia which was really getting popular. I was happy to see English articles (even stubs) about obscure places in Shiga and was determined to flesh them out with text and photos.
I was prepared to contribute (donate) a substantial collection of my Shiga photos to Wikipedia. However, I soon realized that the time and effort I spent on Wikipedia were going to waste as other Wikipedia writers/editors started to change or delete perfectly good text/information that I had written. The images I added sometimes also got replaced by someone else’s images. But that’s how Wikipedia worked.
I therefore concluded that contributing to Wikipedia was a waste of time and effort. Why work on someone else’s project when I could well make it my own project? So I suspended my activities at Wikipedia and decided to create my own site dedicated to Shiga. Something way better than Wikipedia’s Shiga articles and something which I had total control over. It was a very wise decision for me. I felt much more motivated when it was my own project.
When I took a good look at Shiga, I felt overwhelmed by the vastness of Shiga, not only in terms of land area, but also in the number of sights, places, festivals, crafts, history, and culture. I knew it would take a long time to see and photograph everything (if that were possible). But I was in it for the long haul and decided that it was worth it.
So little by little, I visited new places whenever I could, uploaded photos, wrote articles, etc. And at the end of every year, I would have a significant amount of content added to my site compared to the beginning of the year. It was great fun to discover/rediscover Shiga. I was just amazed at how interesting it was wherever I went. The scenery, the history, the relics, etc., etc.
When you start any collection, you soon become addicted to expanding it. In my case, it was images and later videos. The first Shiga photos I uploaded was the Yokaichi Odako Giant Kite Festival. Many thousands of images followed in the 10 years since.
Going hand-in-hand with all the content I was creating and uploading was the dazzling development of all the technologies that made it possible. Digital cameras were in a heated pixel race, ever increasing the picture quality, with new and improved models coming out at a wallet-breaking pace. Video cameras also came of age. Videos stored on a hard disk instead of tape made it super easy to copy them to a computer. The video format also changed from SD to HD and Full HD with household TVs switching to wide screens. Very exciting developments in video technologies this past 10 years.
The startup of YouTube was also revolutionary. To have a place to store and show your videos online was a real boon. I jumped on YouTube in 2006. Although the initial video length limit was 10 min., it was eventually extended to 15 min., 30 min., and now almost unlimited. I can now make a full-length movie and post it on YouTube.
I wish all this happened a lot sooner, like before I was born. Oh the magic moments I could’ve and would’ve captured if I had all these tools during childhood.
To mark this 10th anniversary, I’ll be rolling out a few new features starting with the completely redesigned home page. It’s now geared for touchscreens and mobile devices. This Shiga News blog is also geared for touchscreens and mobile devices. Hope you like it.
If you use a desktop computer, you might prefer the old home page design which I will retain as a Site Map here.