When writing a recent article about the biggest internet stories in Japan for 2007, I wrote about probably the biggest story of the year, hot-shot video site Nico Nico Douga. This site is uniquely Japanese and has some truly strange and bizarre content. By using time referenced text chat on top of the video feeds, the site manages to create a unique social landscape that western sites have yet to match.
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This is the 7th most popular site in Japan after just 1 year of existence. Many of the funny jokes and comments are in Japanese, but I have still had a lot of people asking me to show them how to access the site.
When navigating a foreign language site you always have a few challenges but you can usually get by with a few guesses and some lucky clicking. For Nico Nico Douga, this is a bit more difficult than usual because you need to register first before you can see anything.
So, in order to help more people understand what this phenomenon is, I have put together this handy guide to registering and getting to the fun stuff so you can all benefit from my 6 years of clicking through Japanese websites.
1) Getting to the Register Form
The first thing is actually knowing you need to register to see something, but I have implied that, so lets get started.
From the home page, click the Registration button as marked in the screen shot below.
Registering becomes a lot easier when you know what all the fields are. I have tried to give a basic breakdown of all the important parts of the registration form. Follow the following screen shot for a guide on what to enter and where.
Fill out all the fields, because in typical Japanese style, EVERYTHING is a required field.
If it sends you back to the same page after you submit, that means you had an error somewhere. The most likely error is someone has chosen the same username, so the first thing to do is try a very obscure username. If you still have troubles, go through each field and double check you don’t have too many or too few characters (I have included limitations in the translations) and also make sure your age is something believable (ie. not this year).
3) Confirm Registration Details
The registration confirmation page is much easier than it looks. If you got this far, you have passed the main tests, so all you need to do is pass the human check and hit submit.
The human check is the common read the text in the image trick. It is all in western characters, so you shouldn’t have any problems. If for any reason you can’t read what is in the image, click the button next to it and you will get a fresh image.
The submit bottom is underneath there, but note, it is not the bottom button (that one will take you back to edit your details). Refer to the image for locations of where to press.
You should now see a message telling you that an email has been sent to your registered email address and you should click the confirmation link inside within 24 hours to complete your registration.
4) Check your email
You should now receive an email with the confirmation link. The mail will come from “info” and have a Japanese title.
There is only one link in the mail so not much to get confused with. Click it!
And you should get to a confirmation page like this…
You can now start to explore. The Nico Nico Douga link on that page will get you to the start with the latest news page, and you can then start clicking through the tabs on the page to check out what recent videos are available.
5) You are in!
Now that you are in you will need to explore a bit by yourself. I will give you one more screen shot as a guide, but it is up to you. It is a site where the adventurous will be rewarded.