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In my daily read of Japanese blogs, I come across some pretty cool blog widgets (or 'blog parts' as they are called in Japan). Here are some that I thought were pretty nifty:
Two Essential Widgets for Japanese Bloggers These first two widgets are very common and are used by many bloggers to analyze/promote their website. If you plan to start a blog in Japanese, I would highly recommend them.

Awasete Yomitai I see this widget everywhere. In a nutshell, if you place the Awasete Yomitai widget on your site, it will start displaying other blogs that your readers are reading. It's great for the reader because it's a way to discover other related blogs.
Nakanohito Nakanohito is an excellent analysis tool that analyzes your blog's traffic. It provides a map of your users, statistics on what organizations/companies are viewing your blog. I wrote a little about nakanohito in one of
my older posts.
Kendo Jidai Blog Widget

When I first saw this blog widget it blew me away. The widget basically looks for negative words on your blog and starts fighting the word. Try the English version, on this page and pressing the 'fight' button. (It's pretty heavy so give it some time :) I thought this was a great promotion for Kendo magazine.
Gremz

Gremz is a tree blog widget that you place into your blog. As you write posts, the tree starts to grow in over 3,000 different ways. If you stop writing, the tree dies. What I like about Gremz is that if your tree grows to an adult size, they will actually go and plant a real tree. It gives you an end goal to keep blogging. So far, they have planted over 3,800 trees all around the world.
Emonyu

Emonyu is twitter + blog widget with a huge focus on emotions. Through this web service and widget, you select illustrations (emoticons) and announce how you are feeling at the moment(happy, sad, frustrated...). It also closely tracks your emotions and provides an analysis. At the end of the month, you'll know your average emotion. Are you an angry person? Happy person? Moody?

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Comment by Daniel Leuck on March 9, 2009 at 8:48am
The Kendo Jidai widget is great. ROFL!
Comment by Lay-Yong on March 7, 2009 at 2:49pm
Interesting! Especially on the Kendo Jidai and Gremz blog widget. :) Thanks for sharing!
Comment by Mika Leuck on March 7, 2009 at 11:07am
Gremz is a great idea! We need to do something like this for Ooi.
Comment by Scott Murphy on March 6, 2009 at 4:55pm
Gremz is also my favorite. I like that the fact that you can contribute to the real world when you write blog posts.

I'm not sure what the threshold is for Gremz but I think it is predefined. Another interesting features that I forgot to mentions is that if you use specific keywords in your posts, especially those related to saving the earth (example: eco), they claim it will affect your tree's growth.
Comment by Nate Sanders on March 6, 2009 at 12:43pm
Very nice!

Gremz is my favorite, too. I've had my mind on parameterized/generated images a lot, lately. This gives me some new ideas. Visualization is powerful.
Comment by Viil on March 6, 2009 at 10:51am
These widgets are really interesting! Thank you for sharing Scott.

I particularly like the Gremz as a activity awareness tool. It would be interesting to see it applied to groups and communities too, visualizing the "health" of a group. Throughout the years there has been done several experiments on visualizing online asynchronous discussions as gardens and flowers, but as far as I know they have all focused on growth (e.g. each flower a thread and each posting a petal), but not inactivity and death.
Do you know if you the threshold for three growth and death is set by the user, or predefined?

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