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Helping you better understand Japan and the Japanese language one question at a time. Every episode Tony and Ryan--two guys with master's degrees in Japanese Language & Linguistics--draw on their experiences in Japan and extensive research in both Japanese and English to shed light on all aspects of Japan. From the many interesting quirks of the Japanese language to obscure Japanese history, as well as busting misconceptions about Japan held by both Japanese peole and Westerners, Tony and Ry ...
 
Discover Japan through conversations with fascinating people. Every episode host Tony Vega is joined by a guest to talk about all aspects of Japan, including the Japanese language, history, Japanese pop culture, food, anime, manga, movies, music, comedy, the impact of Japanese culture around the world, underground social movements, social issues in Japan, and much more. Episodes are released on the first of every month. Bonus episodes are regularly released on the fifteenth of the month. For ...
 
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show series
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: How do you count that in Japanese? Topics Discussed The counter system used in Japanese Japanese counter suffixes The sometimes confusing nature of Japanese counters The correct suffix for counting chopsticks in Japanese Various counters used with different kinds of chopsticks How to properly count squid in …
 
On this episode of the Japan Station podcast, Dr. Jan Bardsley talks about the fascinating world of Japan's maiko and geisha. About Dr. Jan Bardsley Dr. Jan Bardsley is Professor Emerita of Asian Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She is the author of Women and Democracy in Cold War Japan and the award-winning The Bluestockin…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What is Kansai-ben? Topics Discussed What the Kansai dilaect is The different that are found within the Kansai region of Japan Osaka-ben vs other dialects within the Kansai-ben umbrella The stereotype of the Ōsaka no obachan (older lady from Osaka) Leopard print clothing Who uses ōkini and where it is typica…
 
On this episode of the Japan Station podcast, Yuji Haraguchi--owner of multiple Japanese restaurants and the Osakana fish market in Brooklyn, New York--talks about his interest in food, his career, fish, ramen, and more. About Yuji Haraguchi Yuji Haraguchi has started and owned multiple Japanese restaurants in the United States and Japan. He is bas…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Are rabbits counted as birds because eating meat was taboo in Japan? Topics Discussed The practice of counting rabbits as if they were birds in Japanese Whether Japanese people eat meat What exactly qualifies as meat The history of meats "bans" in Japan The hypocritical and dubious nature of meat "bans" in J…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Do students in Saga Prefecture still have to wear white underwear? Topics Discussed The decision by Saga Prefecture's Board of Education to get rid of an existing rule in some of its schools that made it mandatory for students to wear white underwear under their school uniforms The possibility that some scho…
 
On this episode of the Japan Station podcast, Dr. Katarzyna Cwiertka stops by to discuss what exactly washoku (Japanese cuisine) is and how the term was redefined in an effort to get it registered as Intangible Cultural Heritage under UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). About Dr. Katarzyna Cwiertka Dr. Katarzy…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What should I know about Japan's Bubble Era? Topics Discussed What was Japan's "Bubble Era" The Japanese bubble economy of the late '80s and early '90s Examples of some of the over the top ways people are said to have spent money during Japan's bubble economy era Golden Bomber's "Dance My Generation" Bubble …
 
On this episode of the Japan Station podcast, journalist Dreux Richard stops by to discuss his new book Every Human Intention: Japan in the New Century. About Dreux Richard Dreux Richard is a writer and journalist. He has written extensively about Japan for publications such as The Japan Times, Metropolis Japan, and The New York Times. Dreux is als…
 
On this episode of the Japan Station podcast, Tony answers the question: How did you become so familiar with Japan? About Tony Vega Tony Vega is a writer, editor, and podcaster. He has lived in Japan as both a student and participant of the JET Programme. He possesses an M.A. in Japanese language and linguistics from the University of Hawaii at Man…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What first person pronoun should I use when speaking Japanese? Topics Discussed The most common first person pronouns used in Japanese The tendency for Japanese speakers to avoid using pronouns The lack of true pronouns in Japanese How choosing which first person Japanese pronoun to use can be confusing even…
 
On this episode of the Japan Station podcast, we learn about one of Japan's most famous and popular group of samurai: the Shinsengumi. About Romulus Hillsborough Romulus Hillsborough is a researcher, writer and author of multiple books focusing on late Edo-early Meiji Period history. His books include Samurai Revolution: The Dawn of Modern Japan Se…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Do you have any funny or embarrassing Japanese mistake stories? Topics Discussed How "sayonara" is not used in most situations when saying "goodbye" in Japanese A mix up at a convenience store Getting used to referring to people in the Japanese language What exactly a rōtari is Being asian Dealing with peopl…
 
On this episode of the Japan Station podcast, Tony talks to Dr. Patrick W. Galbraith about Japanese erotic comics (eromanga) and related issues such as censorship and Japanese obscenity laws. About Patrick W. Galbraith Dr. Patrick W. Galbraith is a lecturer at Senshu University in Tokyo. He is one of the world's leading experts on the topic of Akih…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Why did samurai have such weird haircuts? Topics Discussed What a chonmage is The Japanese people's pursuit of excellence of the hairstyle The historical origins of the topknots in Japan Hats and their connection to the topknot The supposed reason why samurai started using topknots and shaving the front of t…
 
On this episode of the Japan Station podcast, Tony Vega talks to Kevin O'Shea, host of the Just Japan Podcast, about the unique experience he had in 2020 when he got stuck in Japan due to the coronavirus pandemic. About Kevin O'Shea Kevin O'Shea is a content creator, educator, and longtime resident of Japan. Aside from producing over 200 episodes o…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we once again ask: What is the best Japanese name for a bear that isn't actually a bear? Topics Discussed Japanese names of animals that have "kuma" in them but are not actually bears What an anaguma is How you say badger in Japanese What a mujina is What honey badger is in Japanese What fukuroguma are What the word…
 
On this episode of the Japan Station podcast, Tony Vega talks to one of the world's leading scholars on Edo Period Japanese literature: Dr. Robert Campbell. About Dr. Robert Campbell Dr. Robert Campbell is a literary scholar specializing in the literature of Edo era Japan. Since 2017 Dr. Campbell has served as the Director-General of the National I…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we once again ask: What annoys you about living in Japan? Topics Discussed The frustratingly useless nature of many English-language versions of Japanese websites Booking hotels in Japan The frustrating but hilarious nature of bad English translations of Japanese (a.k.a. Engrish) Engrish t-shirts The practice of usi…
 
On this episode of the Japan Station podcast, Tony has a chat with the owner of a voice that anyone who has ever ridden the Shinkansen (bullet train) will have heard numerous times: voice actor and singer Donna Burke. About Donna Burke Donna Burke is an Australian singer and voice actor based in Japan. Her voice can be heard in numerous high profil…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What annoys you about living in Japan? Topics Discussed Some annoying things you might encounter while living in Japan The annoying practice of book stores in Japan sorting books by publisher rather than author Justifications for why bookstores in Japan arrange books by publishers instead of by the last name…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Who got it more wrong: MatPat or Tony? (This episode is a follow up to episode 11 of Ichimon Japan which focused on the so-called Curse of the Colonel. The episode was recorded in order to address inaccuracies found in that episode.) Topics Discussed A brief summary of the Curse of the Colonel The fact that …
 
On this episode of the Japan Station podcast, standup comedian Kilara Sen stops by to talk about comedy and the various projects About Kilara Sen Kilara Sen (a.k.a. Pink Unicorn) is a bilingual Japanese standup comedian, MC, and content creator. Apart from performing standup comedy in Japan, she has also performed in the United States and Europe, i…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What is yakitori? Topics Discussed What yakitori is The difference between yakitori when it is written using kanji and when it is written using only hiragana What qualifies as yakitori An overview of the history of yakitori The supposed origin story of the skewered sparrows that the area around Fushimi Inari…
 
On this episode of the Japan Station podcast, documentary filmmaker Ema Ryan Yamazaki discusses being inspired by Ichiro Suzuki and her latest documentary Koshien: Japan's Field of Dreams. About Ema Ryan Yamazaki Ema Ryan Yamazaki is a documentary filmmaker who has worked on several Japan-related projects. Her most recent feature-length documentary…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Do you have any funny or embarrassing Japanese language mistake stories? Topics Discussed What Ikigai Connections is How you say "fart" in Japanese The tricky nature of the Japanese passive form Getting similar sounding Japanese words confused The confusion that can occur when you speak more than two languag…
 
On this episode of the Japan Station podcast, manga creator and boxer Kofi Bazzell-Smith (a.k.a. Kofi Manga) stops by to discuss manga, the Japanese language, and the importance of perseverance. About Kofi Manga Kofi Bazzell-Smith is an American manga creator and boxer. He is active on YouTube and Instagram under the name Kofi Manga. Topics Discuss…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What is a kirakira name? Topics Discussed What a so-called kirakira nēmu is What kirakira means Five of the most difficult to read "kirakira names" The fact that many Japanese people seem to be unaware that Winnie the Pooh's name is Winnie and not Pooh The famous 1993 case of a baby who almost got named Akum…
 
On this episode of the Japan Station podcast, we're talking about the history and layout of Edo with one of the world's foremost experts on the subject: Dr. Timon Screech. About Dr. Timon Screech Dr. Timon Screech is a professor of the history of art at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He is a specialist in t…
 
On this episode of the Japan Station podcast two members of the Kyoto-based metal band Cosmic Earth stop by to talk about their new album inspired by the Tokyo Olympics, the Kyoto heavy metal scene, and more. About Cosmic Earth Cosmic Earth is a Kyoto-based doom metal/stoner rock/heavy blues rock band founded by guitarist Takuya Yada in 2017. Cosmi…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: How do Japanese names work? Topics Discussed How people in Japan normally state their family name before their given name The complicated history of naming practices in Japan Commoners being prohibited from using family names during the Edo Period The Meiji era laws that mandated every Japanese person take a…
 
On this episode of the Japan Station podcast, we're talking about creepy apartments and Japanese ghosts with Japanese folklore expert, writer, and translator Zack Davisson. About Zack Davisson Zack Davisson is an award-winning translator, writer, and lecturer whose work focuses primarily on Japanese folklore. Davisson has written extensively about …
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Why do students in Hamamatsu City have to wear white underwear? Topics Discussed School rules concerning the color of a student's underwear The story of one student who ended up having to go bra-less after it was found that she was not wearing white underwear during a school trip Some of the reasons given fo…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What is a tsuchinoko? Topics Discussed What a tsuchinoko is How you say "cryptid" in Japanese Tsuchinoko's status as a U.M.A. (Unidentified Mysterious Animal) What a tsuchinoko looks like Some of the abilities tsuchinoko are said to have The areas in Japan where tsuchinoko tend to live The sounds tsuchinoko …
 
On this episode of the Japan Station podcast, we're joined by Stephen Tetsu to discuss the Japanese comedy & entertainment industry, as well as his life as a comedian in the largest talent agency in Japan: Yoshimoto Kōgyō. About Stephen Tetsu Stephen Tetsu is an owarai geinin (comedian) who is part of Yoshimoto Kōgyō, the largest talent agency in J…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Why does to "nyan nyan" mean to "have sex" in Japanese? Topics Discussed Japanese expressions/idioms related to cats What the Japanese expression neko no te mo karitai means and how it is used What pets are most popular in Japan The Japanese festival game of kingyosukui What the Japanese expression nekojita …
 
On this episode of the Japan Station podcast, we're exploring beliefs and traditions surrounding pregnancy in Japan, as well as how ideas about marriage have evolved in Japan since the Edo period. We also take a detour into the world of NES era game localization. About Dr. Amanda C. Seaman Dr. Amanda C. Seaman is a professor of Japanese language an…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Does "hai" mean "bye" in Japanese? Topics Discussed How most people that don't speak Japanese would say "goodbye" in Japanese How sayonara/sayōnara is used fairly infrequently in Japanese Reasons why people in Japan tend not to use sayonara/sayōnara frequently The etymology of sayonara/sayōnara When the firs…
 
On this very special episode of the Japan Station podcast, we're joined by James from ALTInsider.com and The Inside Japan Podcast. James offers some advice for those looking to work in Japan and interviews Tony about his career and time in Japan. About The Inside Japan Podcast The Inside Japan Podcast is the only podcast on the internet telling you…
 
On this episode of the Japan Station podcast, we learn what it's like going to school in Japan to become a seiyū (voice actor). About Reina (麗) Reina is a professional voice actor living in Tokyo. While originally from the U.K., Reina went to Japan with the intent of becoming a seiyū (voice actor). Her quest to enter the voice acting industry in Ja…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Why are school rules in Japan so strict? Topics Discussed Experiences working at and attending Japanese schools A selection of "weird" school rules (kōsoku) from across Japan The history behind why school rules became strict in Japan The case of a female high school student who filed a lawsuit after her scho…
 
On this episode of the Japan Station podcast, stand-up comedian Shuhei "Shoe" Murakami stops by to talk about how he went from almost dropping out of high school to performing stand-up comedy in English in Canada and the U.S. About Shuhei "Shoe" Murakami Shuhei "Shoe" Murakami is a stand-up comedian and actor from Tokyo. Currently Murakami is based…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: How do you create fake kanji? Topics Discussed Kanji radicals The composition of kanji Kanji reading strategies The "Original Kanji Contest" (Sōsaku Kanji Kontesuto) What yūrei-moji (ghost kanji/characters) are Why the kanji character for rice (米) is used to mean "meter" in Japanese The kanji based system us…
 
On this episode of the Japan Station podcast, localizer and author Matt Alt stops by to discuss the influence Japanese pop culture has had on the world. About Matt Alt Matt Alt is a localizer of Japanese games and manga. Together with Hiroko Yoda he founded the localization company AltJapan and has authored multiple books on Japanese folklore and h…
 
Japanese Plus Alpha is the latest podcast in the JapanKyo Podcast Network. Produced by Tony Vega, Japanese Plus Alpha focuses on the Japanese language and its many fascinating quirks. The show is designed as a fun way to learn about the Japanese language while at the same time gaining insight into Japanese history, culture, linguistics, and more. I…
 
Japanese Plus Alpha is the latest podcast in the JapanKyo Podcast Network. Produced by Tony Vega, Japanese Plus Alpha focuses on the Japanese language and its many fascinating quirks. The show is designed as a fun way to learn about the Japanese language while at the same time gaining insight into Japanese history, culture, linguistics, and more. I…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What's so scary about the hour of the ox? Topics Discussed All about Japan's old way of telling time that was based on the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac (eto) Which "animals" in the old Chinese Zodiac based way of telling time correspond to which hours in the modern way of telling time Why the "hour of th…
 
On this episode of the Japan Station podcast, Sarah Moon teaches us a bit about what it's like being a translator of anime and games. About Sarah Moon Sarah Moon is a professional translator (Japanese to English) who has experience localizing both video games and anime. On YouTube Sarah manages two channels: Sarah Moon and Sarah Loves Food. Her vid…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What are your favorite places to visit in Osaka? Topics Discussed A basic overview of the main areas of Osaka Osaka's best burrito place: El Zocalo Osaka Castle and Osaka Castle Park The Umeda Area Yodobashi Camera The Minami area Universal Studios Japan and its Cool Japan special events/rides Super Nintendo…
 
On this episode of the Japan Station podcast, we explore the history of modern Japan with Dr. Christopher Harding. About Dr. Christopher Harding Dr. Christopher Harding is a cultural historian of Japan and India, journalist, and a senior lecturer at the University of Edinburgh. His latest book, published by Tuttle Publishing, was released in June o…
 
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