Cover image of The Tofugu Podcast: Japan and Japanese Language

The Tofugu Podcast: Japan and Japanese Language

For people who want to visit Japan, live in Japan, and learn Japanese. Please excuse the tangents.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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Tofugu Answers Your Weird Japan Questions: Volume One

Get more from us at: https://tfg.li/2fEcRtyFor the first time ever, members of the Tofugu staff sit around and answer your Japanese language, living, and visiting questions. We answer questions like: - Are the Yakuza dangerous? - How old do you have to be to be an ALT through JET? - Should you go to a nomikai even if you don't drink alcohol? - Have we ever eaten Crayons? - Should someone live in Japan for six months or twelve? - And more? Probably? We didn't check carefully, so there are probably more questions that I didn't add to the description.iTunes:https://tfg.li/tofugu-podcastGoogle Play: https://tfg.li/tofugu-gplay


23 Jun 2017

Rank #1

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When you go to Japan, Don't Make Any Plans

Get more from us at: https://tfg.li/2fEcRtyIf you're having a hard time planning your trip to Japan, then don't! You can avoid all that stress of fitting everything into your schedule and trying to see the best spots by simply avoiding the planning. Taking the road less traveled can yield a more authentic experience and is a sure cure for the itch of adventure. This week Koichi, fresh off a trip from Japan, and Michael sit down to discuss the joys in exploring Japan with limited or no itinerary. They give you insight on why traveling free from guide books and blogs can improve both your language skills and overall experience. Initially, this may sound crazy but after listening to the episode, you'll realize taking an adventure can be even more fulfilling than planning a ton of activities. By the way, we also write about learning Japanese:tofugu.com/japanese/iTunes:https://tfg.li/tofugu-podcastGoogle Play: https://tfg.li/tofugu-gplay


4 Aug 2017

Rank #2

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Is Japanese Class the Best Way to Learn Japanese?

Get more from us at: https://tfg.li/2fEcRtyThe whole gang gets together this week to discuss learning Japanese in a classroom. Everyone on the show has had different experiences learning Japanese, so it's an especially interesting look into the process. If you're currently in or considering taking a Japanese class, this is an essential listen.You'll hear a range of perspectives from:- Kristen's traditional route- Koichi's mixed educational experiences- Michael's self-taught journey- Kanae's native Japanese classes


19 May 2017

Rank #3

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How to Protect Yourself from Japan's "Black Companies"

To learn more about Japanese black companies, check out our article on Tofugu: https://tfg.li/2v0V0jv---Do you want to work in Japan? Sure, we all do. But before you take that sweet new job with the Tokyo semiconductor conglomerate, maybe you should do some research to find out if it's a...BLACK COMPANY! (dun dun dun)"Black company" is the name Japanese people give to companies that are not so great to work for. Sexual harassment, unpaid overtime, required alcohol consumption, bullying; you name and a black company does it (to you).Kanae, our current Tofugu intern, used to work at a black company in Tokyo, and she shares her experience so YOU can avoid these problems. Learn all the warning signs of Japanese black companies, which may be hard for foreigners to see (because they're entering into unfamiliar territory anyway).After listening to this podcast, you'll be able to steer clear of unhealthy work environments and straight into that sweet, sweet dream job in Japan.iTunes:https://tfg.li/tofugu-podcastGoogle Play: https://tfg.li/tofugu-gplay

1hr 19mins

14 Jul 2017

Rank #4

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What's the Difference Between On'yomi and Kun'yomi Kanji?

Read the article: https://tfg.li/2wMOjkRThis is maybe the most frustrating aspect of studying kanji. You start learning 山 as やま. Cool, one kanji memorized. Wait... it can also be read as さん. Wait. All your other kanji have 2 or 4 extra readings too! Some are on'yomi. Some are kun'yomi.Why does this have to be so complicated?!It may seem confusing at first, but if you learn the difference between on'yomi/kun'yomi readings, where they came from, and how they work, we promise it will make learning kanji a lot easier.Listen to this kanji-tastic episode where Kristen explains all this and more. When you're breezing through kanji like a pro, you'll be glad you did.iTunes:https://tfg.li/tofugu-podcastGoogle Play: https://tfg.li/tofugu-gplay

1hr 36mins

22 Sep 2017

Rank #5

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How to Memorize Japanese Words Faster with Keyword Mnemonics

Read the article: https://tfg.li/2fRsA52Memorizing Japanese vocabulary takes a lot of time and energy, and there's so much to memorize! This alone makes people give up before they even get started.But what if there was a way to alleviate this burden by making memories of Japanese words stick in your head almost instantly? You might not have to quit learning Japanese. In fact, you might just become fluent.In this episode, Koichi, Kristen, and Michael teach you how to use the keyword mnemonics method to memorize Japanese faster and keep it in your head longer. After they walk you through the steps, you'll be able to create mnemonics and memorize Japanese vocabulary like a pro.Best of all, you'll learn Japanese faster than everyone else. Listen to the podcast and thank us later.

1hr 19mins

7 Oct 2017

Rank #6

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How To Get a Job in Japan feat. Peter Lackner

Get more from us at: https://tfg.li/2fEcRtyWe talk to Peter Lackner--who runs jobsinjapan.com--about how to find a job in Japan. Turns out, Peter knows how to make it happen, no matter who you are (and how much education you have).Get a job in Japan: https://jobsinjapan.comDISCLAIMER: About a year after this podcast posted, Peter wrote back to us to let us know JESP, J-Wave, and WaveUSA aren't great programs and actually have been up to some shady business he didn't know about at the time of this recording. So he rescinds his endorsement of these programs and recommends you avoid them.iTunes:https://tfg.li/tofugu-podcastGoogle Play: https://tfg.li/tofugu-gplay


27 Jan 2017

Rank #7

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The Legend of Japanese Jesus

Find us at: https://www.tofugu.com/There's a secret history of Jesus that even Dan Brown doesn't know about. It's the legend of Japanese Jesus. You see, he didn't die on the cross. Oh no, sir. He went on an amazing journey and wound up in Japan.Find out all about Jesus' amazing adventure and secret Japanese life on the Tofugu podcast. And when you're done, read the article here: https://tfg.li/japanesejesusiTunes:https://tfg.li/tofugu-podcastGoogle Play: https://tfg.li/tofugu-gplay


22 Dec 2016

Rank #8

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Where to Stay in Japan When You Don't Stay in a Hotel

Get more from us at: https://tfg.li/2fEcRtyHotels are easy, comfortable, and consistent. But did you know that there are other--sometimes odd--places that you can spend the night? Michael and Koichi talk about their experiences staying in love hotels, capsule hotels, manga cafes, business hotels, ryokans, hostels, and more. Be sure to stay in one of the places if you can. They're experiences worth trying (and much cheaper than hotels usually, too)!iTunes:https://tfg.li/tofugu-podcastGoogle Play: https://tfg.li/tofugu-gplay


16 Jun 2017

Rank #9

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Why You Should Go To Japan Instead of Taking a Japanese Class

Find us at: www.tofugu.com/This week Koichi and Michael discuss the advantages of going to Japan to learn Japanese rather than spend time and money in a classroom. They offer practical advice for making your trip to Japan an impactful learning experience and a fun, long-lasting memory.Topics include:- One (basically) free trick to get a ton of random Japanese people to talk to you, in Japanese, so you can have non-stop conversation practice while in Japan.- When to get the really cheap airplane tickets to Japan.- Getting over your fear of talking to strangers (that speak Japanese).- How being in Japan is like a "natural SRS," and how it guides you to what you need to learn next (something very difficult for teachers to do).- How to make convenience stores, police officers, and people trying to get you into their restaurant into language practice partners.- How flying to Japan, renting a hotel room, and eating three meals a day can be cheaper than taking a class.- What to do to prepare yourself for your learning vacation, so you can get the most out of your time there.Show Notes:Learning kanji and vocabulary resource (preparing for your trip to get the most out of it): https://www.wanikani.com


7 Apr 2017

Rank #10

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Getting your Gambling on in Japan

Get more from us at: https://tfg.li/2fEcRtyIn this episode, Michael and Koichi talk to Kanae the intern about the incredible gambling expertise she amassed from the one game of Hanafuda she played against her grandpa. They discuss the history of gambling in Japan, all the various Japanese chance games, and the future of gambling under PM Abe's new gambling law.Take a chance on us. You won't regret it. Unless you lose. Which you won't. Because you're listening to us.iTunes:https://tfg.li/tofugu-podcastGoogle Play: https://tfg.li/tofugu-gplay

1hr 4mins

3 Mar 2017

Rank #11

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The Tofugu Team's Top Onsen Experiences

Get more from us at: https://tfg.li/2fEcRtyIn this episode, Michael, Koichi, and Kristen talk about their top onsen experiences. We discuss our initial impressions with onsen, how their first time getting naked in front of a bunch of people went, break down some myths and fears surrounding onsen, and even talk about monkey poop.Learn why Koichi thinks public onsen are better, nobody cares if you're naked, and how Michael almost became an internet celebrity for his "buns".


28 Apr 2017

Rank #12

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Ways to Improve Your Japanese Pronunciation

In this episode we get into Japanese pronunciation.Whether you are a beginner, advanced, or fluent, you'll find something in this episode that will help you to improve your pronunciation. To read more, check out our (really in-depth) guide:https://www.tofugu.com/japanese/japanese-pronunciation/

1hr 10mins

23 May 2018

Rank #13

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Our Favorite Japanese Learning Resources from Tofugu’s "What I Use to Study Japanese" Article Series

Since March, we’ve been publishing articles in a series called "What I Use to Study Japanese" (you can read them all here: https://tfg.li/2h3u8Kr). In each article, a Japanese language learner tells us what they use to study and the methods they followed to get the language ability they have today.Over the past seven articles, we’ve seen patterns, techniques, and resources that helped us look at learning Japanese in new ways. In this episode, the Tofugu team shares their thoughts on the series and what tools and methods you should you use in your own Japanese studies.

1hr 21mins

23 Oct 2017

Rank #14

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How to Get the Most Out of Your ALT Life in Japan feat. James from ALT Insider

Get more from us at: https://tfg.li/2fEcRtyKoichi and Michael talk with James, founder of http://www.altinsider.com/ to find out what it takes to get the most out of your life in Japan.James was an ALT in Japan for 8 years. During his time teaching English, he hit a wall and started to feel burned out. Classes were repetitive and he needed a change. So he MADE a change.On this episode, James shares the strategies he developed to turn his team-teaching life around. After he started using these tips in his daily life, work became fun and his level enjoyment of life in general went up.If you're in a similar situation (or are thinking of teaching in Japan someday listen to this episode. James' advice is solid (Michael's note: I can attest to this) and will do a lot to help you enjoy your life in Japan more.For more from James, check out hiswebsite: http://www.altinsider.com/podcast: http://www.altinsider.com/thepodcast/twitter: https://twitter.com/AltInsiderFYfacebook: https://www.facebook.com/ALTInsider/instagram: https://www.instagram.com/altinsider/youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3YsSXHGSv-17CT43PvsSjQ/videosiTunes:https://tfg.li/tofugu-podcastGoogle Play: https://tfg.li/tofugu-gplay


10 Feb 2017

Rank #15

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What Makes a Good Japanese Translator? feat. Alexander O. Smith

Michael and Kristen talk with veteran video game translator Alexander O. Smith about the essential elements of good translation, especially when it comes to video games.Alex has worked on such hit games as Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy XII, and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. From these experiences, he's gained a lot of insight into what makes a good translation (and what makes a bad translation).If you're thinking of pursuing a career in video game localization, pay attention to what Alex has to say. You'll need more than just amazing Japanese ability. There are many more elements that go into an excellent translation.iTunes:https://tfg.li/tofugu-podcastGoogle Play: https://tfg.li/tofugu-gplay


17 Feb 2017

Rank #16

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How to Become a TV Star in Japan feat. Matthew Chozick

Get more from us at: https://tfg.li/2fEcRtyIt’s totally possible for you, a foreigner, to move to Japan and become a TV star. That’s exactly what happened to our guest this week, Matt Chozick, who has appeared weekly on one of Japan’s biggest variety shows for the past five years.But he gets to be where he is because of all the Japanese practice he put in (and a generous portion of luck).Learn how you can follow Matthew’s method to learn Japanese IN JAPAN! FOR FREE! And when we say "learn Japanese" we mean "learn Japanese to the level where you can present on national television every week." This is some serious stuff.On top of this, you’ll also hear what it’s like to work with some of Japan’s biggest stars and how the creative process plays out in the Japanese TV and film industry (hint: it’s a bit more inclusive than the West).If you want to learn Japanese like a pro and/or become a celebrity in Japan, listen to the whole episode. Then you can be like Matt.iTunes:https://tfg.li/tofugu-podcastGoogle Play: https://tfg.li/tofugu-gplay

1hr 25mins

18 Aug 2017

Rank #17

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How to Count Living Things (and Monsters, and Robots) in Japanese

We talk about the counters that count living things (頭, 匹, 人, and 羽) and how they overlap with each other. We also answer the hard Japanese counter questions like: can you count a robot with 人? What about a cyborg? How big can a 匹 animal be? What counter is worthy of the King of the Monsters?After you're done listening to this, learn way, way more about counters in our list of 350+ Japanese counters worth knowing: https://www.tofugu.com/japanese/japanese-counters-list/


8 Jan 2019

Rank #18

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What's a Yokai and Should I Be Scared? feat. Zack Davisson

Get more from us at: https://tfg.li/2fEcRtyThis week Koichi and Michael talk to Zack Davisson, an award winning translator, writer, and Japanese folklore expert to discuss yokai. From the well known kappa to the obscure nebutori, Zack covers it all in this week's podcast!What you can take away from today's episode:- What is a yokai?- Different types of yokai- History of Japanese folklore- Different types of folklore- Japan's views on ghosts- Koichi's views on ghostsIf you'd like to hear more from Zack, visit his blog: https://hyakumonogatari.com/Zack's Twitter: https://twitter.com/ZackDavissonZack's Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kaidankai/Zack's books: https://hyakumonogatari.com/book-store/

1hr 24mins

31 Mar 2017

Rank #19

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The 5 "Hidden Gem" Prefectures You Should Visit in Japan feat. Kay from JNTO

Get more from us at: https://tfg.li/2fEcRtyKoichi and Michael talk with Kay from the Japan National Tourism Organization (that's the Japanese government's official travel promotion arm, btw) about 5 prefectures worth visiting. Of course, this doesn't include Tokyo, Kyoto, or Osaka. No, these are hidden gems, prefectures that you may not have known about.If you're looking for a unique and memorable Japan travel experience, you're gonna wanna listen to this one all the way through. The prefectures Kay talks about have a lot to offer, and you could spend weeks in any one of them.So before you plan your Tokyo vacation, listen to this podcast and see if you don't change your plans.Get in touch with JNTO:Facebook: www.Facebook.com/visitjapanTwitter: https://twitter.com/Visit_JapanWebsite: us.jnto.go.jp

1hr 8mins

17 Mar 2017

Rank #20