Episode 28 – Playing Initial D

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Video killed the podcast star. Well, I’m certainly no star, so I guess I have nothing to worry about.

Today’s episode comes in video form. This little gem has been on my hard drive for over 2 months! Finally time to get it out as I rev up for some more audio goodness. In this episode, you can watch me play Sega Initial-D, my favorite arcade game at the moment. Why is it my favorite? Well because I have a little Initial-D IC card license that allows me to save my progress. So it’s much more satisfying to know that my 100円 coins are going to a pointless accomplishment that can be tracked, rather than just a pointless activity.

Caution, this is poorly edited and for video game nerds only. Editing my camera phone footage doesn’t exactly jive with Final Cut Pro at the moment. But do check out the vibration effect from the camera phone. It’s like you’re really there playing the game with me! (^_^)


Finding Japan in Newtype

A special thanks goes out to Matt for sending this my way. Apparently, Finding Japan was put into print for the first time in a recent issue of Newtype magazine, a US-based Japanese Manga and Anime magazine.

Does this mean more trips to Manga-cafe’s and Akiba searching for obscure anime titles for me? Perhaps, perhaps not. I think the current formula for FJ works well. But it is nice to get the notice without even trying. Thanks Newtype and thanks again Matt for noticing and sending it my way.

Episode 27 – Attempt #3


Its been 8 days, what’s wrong with me?! Find out more by tuning in here. I share a little bit of my personal life and plans for the next few days, talk about some scary little Japanese girl, answer questions about Japan and more. 行きましょう!

Show Notes

  • Quick update
    • Short story about Harajuku girls
    • Planning my summer vacation
      • Kobe Beef episode with some ideas.
    • School update
  • Presentation trip with my professor
    • Lessons learned from his teaching style
  • Sound scene (seeing) tour: Japanese Little League Game
  • Story: Scary Little Girls!!
  • Only in Japan: Pineapple Kit Kat
    • Click for a larger picture
  • Questions:
    • Answered today: “Easy or hard to meet Japanese people on more than just a superficial level?” (From San from SNA Podcast)
      • Quick chat about my friend
      • Japanese people really similar to American people in “worldliness”
      • Tangent: Youth Culture article in BusinessWeek
    • 6-month future self question: “What do you think American can learn from Japan and what thing would you like to see in your own country that Japan has?” (Also from San from the SNA Podcast)
  • Wrap up and thanks

Weekend Update

But without Norm McDonald….

I have no excuse not to post another episode except for the fact that my belly is full and I feel sluggish. I promised my fiancée that I would write more along with the podcasts so I think I will start that now. Sometimes its much easier to write in fact, so I think I will enjoy this little departure for a moment.


I’ve got quite a few good topics coming up. I tried making a cooking-cast again but I didn’t turn on the recorder for the second part. I sat there happily making my dinner talking to myself for a good 20 minutes before realizing it, and by the time I did, dinner was done. At any rate, here is my creation. Its a combination of tempura fried pork (is that weird, I’m not even sure) and some delicious vegetables. To top it all off, the secret sauce, also known as tonkatsu sauce. This stuff is amazing.


This weekend I went to Arakawa park on the edge of the Arakawa river. It was pretty peaceful. Since it was a nice day out, I decided to try to go a bit further than I usually do. About 45 minutes away by bike, it was a perfect outing to break up my studying last Sunday. I also caught some audio of the local baseball team kids’ chants. Pretty interesting to hear the difference between what we used to say and how these kids say whatever it is they are saying. I will try to decode it later but I’m sure some of my Japanese speaking friends will know it right off the bat.

Besides that, things are good. Since there is no homework tonight, I’m going to head off to bed a little early and enjoy the evening just relaxing. New podcast out later this week with some excellent topics: Scary little girls, less sushi-eating in Japan, and a bit of Japanese fashion. Until then…

Episode 26 – Matsuri


Show Notes:

  • Quick Updates
    • Catching up with school because of Hashika
    • Been in Japan over 90 days!
    • Japanese rain, its different, for real!
    • Preparing for summer vacation
  • Matsuri
    • How I got involved in this matsuri
    • Photos from the Sanja Matsuri
    • Outfits / Tabi / Happi
    • Photos from the matsuri I was in
    • Mikoshi
    • What I had to do
    • Shaking the Mikoshi around in front of a guys house
    • (Kim Chi break)
    • The aftermath
    • “Ssa Ssa Ssa Sssaaaa” guy
    • What I think I learned
    • Impromptu Only in Japan – neighborhood music
  • New Finding Japan Segment
    • LTMFS (listen to find out what this means)
  • Way to ask your own question
    • Email: christopher [a t] findingjapan [d o t] com
    • Voicemail: check the sidebar
  • Outro and thanks

Episode 25 – Office Episode

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The office episode has finally arrived, 6 weeks after I had started to do the recordings. Get the skinny on my first 6 weeks in a Japanese office, differences I have found, comparisons I was able to make. Though I’m sure there is much more I could have said, I at least hope that the parts I left in are interesting.

Show Notes:

  • Introduction
  • Japanese office observations
    • My initial viewpoint – short history
      • American cube-life
    • Physical layout – Oobeya seido (大部屋制度)
    • Organizational structure
    • Vibe of a Japanese office
      • Speed of response
      • Attentiveness to particular details
      • Meeting formalities
      • Planning things ahead
    • IT worker stereotypes
      • Slouch guy
      • Hypochondriac guy
      • Sweaty guy
    • Japanese working hours
      • Prevalence of company commitment
      • Omiage as an example of this commitment
      • East coast US / Japan time difference advantage
      • Side Topic: Yurikamome Peeps?
    • Things I take for granted
      • Knowing when you are understood
      • Explaining complex topics
    • Outro and thanks

I’m Still Alive

Man, I feel out of touch. Twitter was a no go and by the time it came back, I realized I didn’t miss it. I contributed Scott’s Calling Tokyo Calling #3 on Friday night. What a blast and a great bunch of guys. I’m already looking forward to the next one.

This weekend was totally wrecked by a really late, but fun, Saturday night / Sunday morning. I spent most of the day Sunday recovering just watching movies and enjoying some downtime. My fiancée always tells me I push myself too hard, so I took some “me” time the other day. I need to listen to her more often.

I’ve got three great episodes planned coming up. A few weeks ago I went to the Sanja matsuri in Asakusa and captured some great audio and photos. I’m thinking of putting up an enhanced podcast or something similar to the Stuart Isset piece I mentioned before. Coffee episode 2 is still awaiting another review. If someone else wants to contribute before I get around too it, feel free. You may find yourself in coffee episode 2 – not sure what that means but I promise it will be fun. Also coming up, the Sake project and “letters to future me” segment.

I’m in “collection” mode, I need to get back into “edit” mode. ぼくはがんばっていますよ!

Episode 24 – Interview Project

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This episode is about my Japanese language ability, or lack thereof. This week in class, we had to perform our second interview project where we interview students on campus. This time, I brought the recorder along. In this episode, I share the actual interview audio and reflect a bit on my ability after being in Japan for over two months now.

Show notes:

  • Time shifted intro (What day is it really?)
  • Interview audio
    • Intro with Alex (from France)
    • First interview attempt (got “nai”-ed by 3 girls)
    • Second Interview
    • Third Interview
    • Fourth Interview
  • Some reflections after listening to the episode myself