PLEASE NOTE: I am trying to AVOID reliance on any of the overused visuals so commonly associated with Japan anything. That big red dot/sun, samurai swords, the profile of Mt Fuji, and brush-style lettering are all fairly cliché and played out. Be clever, be bold, be inventive. The winning designer will likely be one who took risks with their design.
I'm looking for something that is more of a graphic element and less of a type treatment. It does NOT need to incorporate the name of the site if the design is compelling. This is not a typical travel blog and it will be a platform for articles on a variety of cultural and social topics, some of them very serious. Better to be austere and abstract than playful and colorful. A fully monochrome black and white logo is probably a better fit than a particularly colorful one.
The overall look of the blog will be based on a white background and strong graphic elements. American Suburb X (http://www.americansuburbx.com/) and Aperture (http://www.aperture.org) are good references for the sort of feel I'm aiming for, appealing to a more academic/intellectual crowd.
The winning designer will be credited on the site and I will link to the designer's site if the designer wishes.
Attached is a PDF of an introduction to the project that should give a clearer idea of the driving philosophy.
I would like to avoid any references to the rising sun flag or any of the more overused symbols used to reference Japan in media (no ninjas, samurai, sushi, etc)