It can be inherently tough to evaluate sites from such vastly exotic locales as Japan, not least because of the language barrier. Even with the aid of services like Google Translate, so much of the text-based meaning gets lost in translation. However, sometimes it can enable you to focus on the subtleties of page construction and visual harmony. Look at the corporate home for Tokyo-based web studio Bascule Inc and you’ll see that beneath the words, the site exhibits charming cultural contrast with western designs. The long, winding page length has a bloggy, WP feel, but opts instead for Flash-filled div tags that punctuate the paragraphs with nuggets of animation. “Our mission is to promise high-quality user experience to people who visit our websites,” says the company’s PDF brochure. “We aim to provide unique and sophisticated communication design, leaping over the traditional paradigm of web creation.” This sense of originality is perhaps epitomised most by the stunning graphical work and the static backgrounds featuring oriental businessmen within vivid scenarios. There’s a tangible sense of self-referential humour at play here. It might not be compatible with most Anglo-American tastes, but that is precisely the point.