It's an old story. Boy meets girl, boy falls in love, boy constructs elaborate computer network to circumvent vast Chinese firewall preventing boy from reading girl's Twitter feed. Except this time it's not one boy, it's thousands, and none of them have actually met this girl, they're just big fans. The girl is Aoi Sola, a Japanese porn star suddenly so popular in China that she's prompted a massive, grassroots effort to get around the state-imposed firewall that blocks Twitter and thus keeps fans from reading Aoi's popular Twitter feed. Here's what's happening.

  • How Chinese Fans Break the Wall  Canoe Technology explains, "An anonymous Gmail account is the primary point of entry for tens of thousands of Chinese to get over the chinese firewall and on Twitter. An e-mail to mytwitterclient@gmail.com provides an auto-reply with detailed instructions on how to work around the firewall. Solutions include bypassing the firewall through a proxy server, or downloading other programs that provide a Twitter experience through systems the firewall does not block, like Google Chat." Additionally, "Some Western companies are now even offering safe and cheap virtual networks that allow users to virtually 'tunnel' under the wall to see the web on the other side. Other users have found ways to piggyback on the connections of international business firms or banks, allowing them to access the outside."
  • What This Reveals About China AOL News' Jonathan Adams writes, "The flock to Aoi's Twitter site shows how easy it is for determined Chinese to get around Beijing's cybercontrols. But it also highlights what types of content will actually motivate them to go through the trouble." Like what? "Josephine Ho, coordinator of the Center for the Study of Sexualities at Taiwan's National Central University, said the rush to Aoi's Twitter site reflected tight controls on sexual content in China."
  • Who Is Sola Aoi? Zimbio's JJ profiles the 1983-born "Japanese adult actress who has made dozens of videos since her debut in 2002." JJ writes, "Aoi Sola (AKA Sora Aoi) is a Japanese adult actress who has made dozens of pornographic videos popular throughout her home country as well as China, Korea, Thailand and beyond. She created a Twitter account March 30, and when her Chinese fans heard, they wanted to check it out."

Usually I update my personal blog in Chinese by using a translation tool (often Chinese netizens tell me that the Chinese reads weirdly). So this time I asked a netizen to help me translate this into Chinese, in order to express my thanks to all my Chinese fans in a clearer way. The "Twitter incident" has caused reverberations in China and Japan. Speaking truthfully, this was a little unexpected, even for me. Speaking "without modesty," I know that there are some Aoi fans in Asia. But when I directly faced the figures on Twitter, I could hardly hide my surprise. Thanks everybody for tweeting about me.

... When will I be able to meet my Chinese fans? To hold a fan club meeting in China? It sounds like a good idea, and worthy of my anticipation! When the time comes, remember to come and show your support!