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Originally published Monday, March 17, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Resource Japanese speakers can turn to

A weekly column profiling companies and personalities. This week:

What: Junglecity Network, Bothell

Who: Takumi Ono, 36, president

Mission: Provide a Web site with information about Seattle and the Northwest to the worldwide Japanese-speaking community and communicate aspects of Japanese culture.

Tourist rap: The Japanese-language Junglecity.com began 10 years ago as a travel and entertainment guide. The audience: mostly Japanese tourists.

Local evolution: The site soon evolved as a resource for locals — many of them recent émigrés — who wanted to know more about their own community. "When you live in a foreign country it can be difficult to continue your traditions and culture," Ono said.

Another tongue: As the site reached a saturation level, Ono started Japaninfusion.com, an English-language site focusing on Japanese customs and culture. Many stories are about aspects of Japanese culture little known in the West.

Food for thought: The site's approach is often indirect and enlightening: An interview with a prominent sushi chef, for instance, covers a variety of personal topics. "When people get to know each other better, there is more understanding."

Employees: Nine, including contractors.

Financials: The self-financed company generates revenue through advertising and is said to be profitable. Ads are submitted in English but translated to Japanese.

Building bridges: Ono has changed her business to reflect changes in the area, but the purpose is still to connect people and experiences. "When someone tells us how they have become motivated by reading interviews of successful Japanese people in Seattle, or helped them to find new friends or to learn something new through our bulletin boards, it tells us that we are doing the right thing."

— Charles Bermant

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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