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We're Big in Japan

February 18, 2004

So the email I got two weeks ago, remember, the one where the girl says she wrote a book and wouldn’t I like a copy oh the catch being that it’s in Japanese? Oh, right, I didn’t tell you about that one. This woman wrote to say… well, just that. You wouldn’t have said no either.

The book showed up last night, direct from Tokyo. Happy coincidence that I’d come home with an assortment of maki and nigiri for dinner, but I digress.

book cover

“Stylesheet Stylebook” it’s called, and the author, Arisaka Yoko, thought I’d be a good candidate for a free copy because, well, the Zen Garden coverage spans seven pages.

Those seven pages start by explaining (to the best of my ability sniffing some context out of a language I don’t speak) what the Garden is and why it’s important. Then there are six full-colour pages of screen shots, nine per page. Official and unofficial designs alike, there is a lot of work featured here.

scan of an inner page featuring zen garden designs

First notice I received saying this was going to happen was when Arisaka-san asked for an address to forward the book to earlier this month. Copyright headache times ten? Nah, this falls squarely in the realm of ‘fair use’ since they’re being used informatively, as a demonstration of what CSS can accomplish. If you’ll all remember, that was the whole goal of the Zen Garden in the first place, and besides: I think it’s pretty neat that I could walk into a bookstore on the other side of the Pacific and find some of my work sitting on the shelf. I hope my fellow contributors will feel similar.

Here then is a list of the designs featured, for the benefit of the designers themselves. If you’re in here your work is in the book. One more perk of submitting to the Zen Garden — free press!

Official Designs:
Unofficial Designs:

Reader Comments

February 18, 01h

I’m flattered to have my work published in a book. Way cool! I just ordered the book from which was a bit of a challenge but online translators saved my day. The book should drop in my mailbox in about 2 to 5 weeks (humpphh). Patience is a virtue… errrm… no, it isn’t. I want it now!

Brian G says:
February 18, 02h

That is a really cool thing to have…now you can actually pull out a book and show your folks what you do!

I don’t know about anyone else, but what I do didn’t seem legit to my parents until I showed them a newspaper article that had a quote from me in it.

Out of curiousity, is this the first time that the Zen Garden has made it into print? I’ve always got an eye peeled when I leaf through Computer Arts Special, or Practical Web Projects, but I haven’t seen the site featured in there yet (too Avante Garde for them I guess).

Dave S. says:
February 18, 02h

“That is a really cool thing to have…now you can actually pull out a book and show your folks what you do!”

While I think I’ve finally managed to explain it by now to my own parents, I know exactly what you mean here. It really is only tangible for some once they’ve got the printed copy in front of them…

So far, this is the first book. Another two are on the way that I’m aware of, perhaps more. Three magazines have mentioned it in one form or another, Interaction (US), PIXELmag (Aus.), and LinuxFormat (UK) – though I’ve only seen the latter with my own eyes.

February 18, 03h

congrats…and heck, the “door to my garden” featured in there ? superb…

Marvin P. says:
February 18, 05h

Congratulations! I should really be thanking you Dave, because if I hadn’t discovered Zen Garden while browsing the net, I don’t think I’d be designing websites in CSS and XHTML. I’m still a beginner at all this, but what I’ve seen/learned so much from Zen Garden.
I’m also thanking all of those who have submitted designs to Zen Garden, because it was by looking at their CSS that I learned a lot of technics and tricks with CSS which I don’t think I would have learned by looking at a simple CSS tutorial. Zen Garden has also pushed me to do pages that validate and show up well not just in IE but in most browsers.
I’m writing this to tell all of you, that you are doing some great work, and that it will pay off…it’s paying off, because people will see how powerful CSS is. I know I am convinced :)

Yasuhisa says:
February 18, 07h

I am a co-author of the book, and I really thank you that letting people know about the book.

I was in the US for 9 years, and has been a big fan of Zen Garden and your blog. It was really nice that Ms Arisaka and I had an opportunity to introduce about Zen Garden. Personally, web design in Japan is one or two years behind regarding to Web Standard and use of CSS. However, blog community is also booming in Japan, so I thought it’s reall a good time to publish the book. I hope readers can re-discover the power of CSS and al.

Of course, I shouldn’t forget about Japanese version of Zen Garden;-)


Mike P. says:
February 18, 08h

Wow! Congrats to you Dave and all of the featured authors. I’m sure this won’t be the last time you see the Garden in a nice glossy format!

James says:
February 18, 09h

Hot damn. I wouldn’t mind picking up a copy of that book, if I had the means to. Seems like it’d make for an interesting conversation peice.

Bob says:
February 18, 09h

I keep getting hits from his site over on the ReUSEIT contest pages at B4TF. So far, I haven’t been offered a copy of the book, though… [sniffle]

Congrats, Dave!

Lea says:
February 18, 09h

That’s amazing! And down right flattering, I would think. I’ll get my Japanese-speaking/reading sister take a look at this baby. ;-)

February 18, 10h

Drat! Published again! Why does this always happen to me? ;D Congrats on the distinction Dave. Now if I could only get my login to work on…

Nao says:
February 18, 11h

If you want to get a copy or take a look at the book, try:

Kinokuniya Book Store Locations
(Japanese book store in SF, LA, NY, etc.)

I special-ordered a copy last week through
Title: Stylesheet Style Book
ISBN: 4798105856
Price: 2310 yen
Though mine is not here yet… it was US$25.41 incl. shipping.

The book also has a support weblog (in Japanese only)

Jon Hicks says:
February 18, 11h

Great stuff. I’d like to try and get hold of a copy - looks real nice (I like anything japanese anyway). Well done Dave - I’m chuffed to be on the list!

Sophie G says:
February 19, 01h

Just joining in the chorus, it’s very pleasant news.

Thanks Dave and all contributors, I’ve used the example of the CSS zengarden very often to introduce CSS and its uses…

Hope to get my hands on the book in a japanese bookstore soon.

February 19, 01h

Well, this is really great news!
Now we are “real” global players ;))

Thanks for the pointer Dave.

February 19, 02h

just FYI,

if you are ordering the book at, there is a button at the top right (“Help”).
You can view the following pages in english and adjust your preferences. They are offering the whole order process in english. Good to go!

Dave Page says:
February 19, 04h

The Zen Garden has also appeared in this months PC Advisor (UK) as their ‘Site of the Month’.

I have to say that I still consider myself a beginner at all this. I discovered the Zen Garden just after it went live, and have been showing the designs to anyone and everyone as examples of what CSS can do. Most people are very impressed at how powerful CSS is, and for my fellow developers at work, it spurs them to try different things. For me, it has enabled me to understand more and more the CSS that Zen Garden entries use, and how each rule ‘makes’ the design. I have learned so much since the Garden has been live, and several aspects I now regularly use.

Basically Dave, thank you for contributing such a brilliant resource to all us designers out there.

February 19, 04h

This is wonderful news! Congradulations on the publication Dave!

Martijn says:
February 19, 05h

Very good to hear that the Zen garden has become such a public demo site to promote the standards, congrats Dave and thanks for the effort you put into it.

Although mine wasn’t an official design (and looking at the most recent official designs right so), it is fun to know I’m in a Japanese book. Nice one for my coffee table! I’ll try

Mayu says:
February 19, 06h

Congrats Dave!
I’m so glad your work–or should I say “our” work–CSS Zen Garden is getting some recognition in the world over.

I had an honor of doing Japanese translation of Zen Garden that I was going to say is available at the official site:

…but I guesss Yasuhisa-san beat me to it :)

Thanks for keeping this place alive!

AkaXakA says:
February 19, 08h

Omigod! I’m in….wow.

I know I should have uploaded that improved version ;)
Though if it’s in print it doesn’t matter, as it’s just improved for text-resizing….
( )

I’m glad to see Phelix is in, that’s my favourite ‘unoffical’ design.

Is there any possibility of getting this book in Europe…(via a webstore I can read?)

MikeyC says:
February 20, 11h

This is freaking cool! Way to go, Dave!