Episode 23 – Miracle Fruit


This was something I had been meaning to do since I arrived in Japan. Alex and I headed out to Namco Namja Town in Ikebukuro (map) this past Saturday in search of miracle fruit. I heard about miracle fruit about 6 months ago and was surprised to hear that it was available in Japan. I wrote myself a note and that note popped up in front of me this weekend so off we went.

Miracle fruit is the common name of Synsepalum dulcificum, a berry containing miraculin which has the power to stop sour tastes in their tracks. Alex and I went out to find the Miracle Fruit Cafe in Namja Town and this episode is our audio experience of trying miracle fruit.

Instead of show notes. I’m posting pictures and links here. The show is just us talking.

Show Notes:

Automated Translators

A brief anecdote about why automated translators aren’t always the best. Last week I was going through work email. I often use Google’s translation services as a quick assistant to help me get the “gist” of company emails. Often there is quite a bit of Kanji that I don’t understand, so this helping hand becomes quite useful. However, every so often, a gem makes it’s way through that just cannot be overlooked.

In the MSP user the mail we have done. With the kindness of the Microsoft lord, seminar such as the usage of MSProject next month (June) it is opening schedule in [removed]. Because we adjust with either below, please inform about the circumstances of everyone.

Now I realize translating Japanese literally is not advisable for actual use, but it often serves my purposes well. But I’m glad I know enough about Japanese not to await the coming of the “Microsoft Lords”. ^_^/

Episode 22 – The Battle Boat


A short only-in-japan video episode segment to take you over the weekend hump. I’ve often walked by the Sumida River and have seen this very strange-looking boat sailing up and down the river. I stealthily hunted it down and have finally published here for the world to see.

Alternate video link (Google Video)


Calling Tokyo Calling

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This evening I had the great pleasure of participating in Scott Lockman’s Calling Tokyo Calling podcast series where he uses the new service Talkshoe to engage his listeners directly. After my first experience, I have to say, this type of format for doing audio is really compelling. I particularly like the collaborative aspect of running a show with your listeners and soliciting and reacting to real time text and audio feedback.

In this short 30 minute episode, he was able to react to a fellow podcaster here in Japan (myself), San from New Zealand who runs the SNA Cast, Matt in Tennessee and more. Even the after-party was a blast. It was great fun and it looks like Scott will be making this a regular feature so there will be more to come. Next week Scott has invited me back to comment on Japanese cell phones. Check it out.

This evening’s episode can be downloaded here or streamed by visiting the page here.

Episode 21 – Coffee Show Part 1


The coffee episode had landed! Well at least 1/2 half of it. Fred joins me live from Times Square as we discuss the ins and outs of various coffee experiences in Japan. Scott Lockman provides a cameo from Allez France in Tokyo. It’s always interesting in these parts.

And since I ended up having much more material than I anticipated, this special will be brought to you in two, yes two, episodes. Combine a little bit of background noise from the skype / laptop mic, and voila … a perfectly listen-able episode for your coffee curiosity satisfying pleasure. Enjoy!

Show Notes:

  • Intro Music – “Hologram Jesus” by Pthalo
  • Coffee Music – “Coffee Man” by Calvin Owens
  • The “Detroit Story”
  • Some high-level comparisons of coffee shops in Japan
    • Starbucks
      • Discussion on sugar types
    • Coffee even at Mos Burger
    • McDonalds
  • Allez France (direct from Scott Lockman of Tokyo Calling)
  • Vending Machine Coffee
    • Boss coffee – since 1992
    • Vending machine photo link we discuss
    • “Black” coffee
    • Coffee cans
    • What makes vending machine coffee great
    • Machine brewed coffee – Flavia machine at work

Episode 20 – Riding the Yurikamome

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Original photo here (used via CC license)

In this video episode, come along with me and ride the Yurikamome most of the way to Shinbashi. Loosely edited, but you will get to see many of the strange buildings with unique architecture along the way, including the Fuji Television building. The “red” dot is my camera light, not a UFO. Enjoy!


Reminders about Feeds


I just wanted to remind everyone who reads, listens, or watches of the following options for this podcast / blog site. There are five feeds that you can subscribe to:

  • The site feed will give you all of the blog posts. This feed is good for people who just want to read and aren’t really interested in all the fancy media.
  • The regular podcast feed will get you ALL of the media, both audio and video episodes. Put this in your feed reader if you want it all. Additionally, if you have iTunes installed, you can use the iTunes feed instead.
  • The audio only podcast feed is well, audio only.
  • The video only podcast feed is well, video only.
  • Finally, there is a comments feed if you are interested in keeping up with the chatter on this site.

I realize there are some people who enjoy the audio much more so I’m reminding folks of these options before posting new material. I have quite a bit of video that’s ready to go as well as more audio episodes. Stay subscribed!

Episode 19 – Commute-cast and More

Sumida River

You better believe it …. this episode is action-packed and quite possibly, the longest FJ episode to date! I managed to fit in the commute cast (complete with official PASMO song), dinner boats, slip on shoes, podcasting pre-cursors, supermarkets, transvestite bands, and more. What started as a short stint in the park on a beautiful Saturday afternoon turned into a full blown episode. Though its a bit windy and I often “pop” the microphone, I hope you all still enjoy.

Show Notes:

  • I screw up the episode number so I substituted it with a mac voice
  • Commute Cast
    • Material from last month’s discussion with Alex
    • PASMO song – watch it here
    • JR Rail Pass
    • Student Passes
    • The One Card I Need – PASMO Student Pass
  • Dinner boats in the Sumida River
  • Slip-on-shoes
  • More Talk about Podcasts
    • Pre-cursors to podcasting
    • Listener material from Japan
    • NPR’s Lost and Found Sound – The Vietnam Tapes of Lance Corporal Michael A. Baronowski
    • When this project is finished, I will put it on archive.org
  • Japanese supermarket experiences
  • My latest tachinomi experience
    • A night without English
    • Meeting the manager of a transvestite synth-pop band
  • Only in Japan – Playboy Logo branded items
  • Closing
    • Various thanks
    • 10% of FJ traffic last month came from Tokyo Calling
    • Request to other Japan podcasters

Episode 18 – 18 Minute Update

Just a quick 18 minute update for episode 18. I really didn’t plan it that way, weird. One main topic and a bunch blabber divided into two parts. Enjoy!

Show Notes:


World Map

(title translation: Where are you from?)

Wow! That’s all I can really say.

I’m sitting here this morning drinking my coffee and exploring Google analytics. This wonderful site tells me today that requests from exactly 69 countries have occurred for content on this site in the past year.

I started this project as a diary to keep track of my trip, my experiences, what I’ve seen and heard for my family, future children, or perhaps a curious soul sometime in the future. I certainly did not expect such response, and such a global one at that. Arigatou!

But while it may be fun to think that so many people have visited, it’s even more amazing to me that I don’t know many of the people who come from these countries, let alone much about the countries themselves. My experiences in the world are still so limited and I wish I could travel to many of these places in the future.

So, feel free to put up a quick hello on the comments and let me know where you’re may be from. I’d love to learn more about some of the readers of this FindingJapan a little better. Right now, feeling a little like I’m naked on stage. I can’t decide if its best to put clothes on or imagine the audience naked too. ^_^