There’s an article in Monday’s online Washington Post about the cherry blossom festival and the need for Japanese speakers to help out with increasing number of tourists from Japan. The picture is my son, Renny, who’s fluent in Japanese. But that’s not the point of this post. What’s interesting is when you look at the blogs that have commented on the article. Three genuine, one market spam. Here’s a snapshot:

What are all the ?????????. Well it’s a blog posting in Japanese on this site; it’s the second paragraph to the right of the photo of the English double decker.* These posts got routed to via Technorati. Technorati can handle the Japanese through UTF-8 encoding. So it’s in the transmission to the or in the site’s own display that’s mangling the Japanese characters. But if you look at the’s HTML, it can’t display non-Latin based characters, so even if the interface with Technorati worked correctly, the site wouldn’t be able to display the Japanese.

So in a global world, for a site that sees itself as very influential, and receives so much traffic from overseas, it’s a little lame not to be able to display blog postings, in Japanese, especially during the cherry blossom festival.  And it’s a simple fix.

* The Japanese blog post translates roughly as follows: “While on this subject, you can’t deny that many Japanese now choose to travel overseas to see the flowers. Many Japanese, who happen to be staying in America, most likely saw the article in yesterday’s Washington Post about the Japanese who go to Washington, D.C. to see the the cherry blossoms.”