Voices in Japan

May 26 2020 199 41 mins

Discover what everyday life in Japan is REALLY like! Weekly podcast episodes with half-Japanese/half-American Burke (18 years in Japan) and Ben from England (13 years in Japan) and their guests sharing experiences on dating, marriage, working at Japanese companies, teaching at all education levels, traditions, martial arts, the struggles of life here, and the reasons why Japan is truly an amazing place to be living!

Opposing High Heels at Work and the Progress of Female Working Conditions
May 26 2020 • 41 min
Today, special guest Keiko joins Ben and Burke on the podcast. She talks about the #kutoo movement, which was about women opposing the need for wearing high heels in the work place, and happened towards the end of 2019. She shares her insights into the...

Pro Japanese Soccer Itching to Restart After Coronavirus Lockdown
May 19 2020 • 46 min
On this episode of the Voices in Japan podcast, Ben and Burke are joined for a second time by Harry, who is an interpreter with Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo - a J1 professional football (soccer) club in Japan. Harry details how the club started to learn...

Cool Gadgets That Are Actually Used Every Day in Japan
May 12 2020 • 46 min
Today we talk about Japanese gadgets. Now, many people who have never been to japan have this image that japan has all these wacky gadgets. If you search the internet you’ll often come across sites showing all these weird looking contraptions. But, in...

A Visitor's Guide to Japan
May 05 2020 • 42 min
On this episode of Voices in Japan, Ben and Burke are joined by a listener in Vancouver, Peter Ahluwalia, who has traveled to Japan five times for vacation. He provides a lot of helpful tips for planning a trip to Japan (using the subreddit about Japan...

Covid Isolation, Japan Style!
Apr 28 2020 • 41 min
On todays show we have three special guests. Eric, who has joined us twice before, in the episodes talking about Halloween in Japan and theme parks in Japan. Also, Matt who was on the podcast to talk about his modelling and entertainment career, and...

The Bright Side of Coronavirus
Apr 21 2020 • 47 min
On this episode of the Voices in Japan podcast, our hosts Ben and Burke take a look at some of the positives in their lives that have resulted from situation that has been created by the coronavirus.Topics include Ben's improved cooking of Japanese food...

Frustrating Things About Living in Japan
Apr 14 2020 • 37 min
Burke and Ben share some of their gripes, annoyances, and frustrating experiences of living in Japan. They talk about being annoyed with certain foods, such as how the Japanese have ruined pizza with tuna, sweetcorn, and other toppings that should never...

Odd Japanese Behavior
Apr 10 2020 • 52 min
A discussion on strange behaviors and customs in Japan.

15 Fun and Amusing Facts About Japan
Apr 01 2020 • 41 min
Today, Ben and Burke share some fun and interesting facts about Japan. We found a list of 40 facts about Japan and the Japanese, and selected some that we thought would be interesting to chat about. We talk about the suicide forest, ghosts, the number...

Busting Myths about Japan
Mar 25 2020 • 43 min
On this episode of the podcast, Ben and Burke take a look at some common myths about Japan. Is it easy for overseas visitors to travel around the country? Is the world-famous Kobe beef the best and most delicious beef in the country? Is the very...

Road Trip Through All 47 Prefectures in Japan
Mar 18 2020 • 48 min
Mike from New Zealand and Tomoko from Japan join the podcast for the second time. On today's show they talk about their 6 month trip, in 2019, through all 47 prefectures in Japan. We talk about the amazing free campsites that they found online, working...

Viruses and Snow Problems: Hokkaido Winter 2020
Mar 11 2020 • 43 min
On this episode of the Voices in Japan podcast, Ben and Burke are joined by Mike from New Zealand and Tomoko from Japan. While neither one of them is originally from Hokkaido, they are managing the Rusutsu Lodges (a pension-style accommodation at the...

Can Westerners Fit into the Japanese Senior-junior System?
Mar 04 2020 • 42 min
Yuki joins us again to talk about the senpai-kohai system. This senior-junior culture, underlies practically all relationships in Japanese society such as schools, offices, clubs, organizations and almost any other setting where groups are involved. Who...

Coronavirus Forces Hokkaido to the Extreme!
Mar 02 2020 • 41 min
After the governor of Hokkaido announces a state of emergency in the prefecture due to the worsening situation with the novel coronavirus, Ben and Burke take a look at the actual reaction they are seeing from the people in Sapporo, and the way that the...

Stereotypes about Japanese People
Feb 26 2020 • 45 min
The podcasters discuss some of the extreme stereotypes about Japanese people, and also take a look at how the way movies portray foreigners affect their reputation in Japan.

Rules for a First Date
Feb 19 2020 • 40 min
Ben and Burke discuss the rules for a first date based on articles written by Japanese people, a survey of Japanese women, and their own personal experiences with dating in Japan. Topics covered include best locations for a first date, can you expect a...

Made in Japan English
Feb 12 2020 • 43 min
Wasei-eigo are English words (but not really), and could also be referred to as Japlish. They are words created in Japan, and are therefore only really understood by Japanese people (unless you learn them!). However, Japanese people think they are...

Overtourism Ruffling Feathers in Japan
Jan 29 2020 • 46 min
The Voices in Japan hosts discuss the impact of overtourism in Japan.

Injustice in Japan
Jan 22 2020 • 62 min
A discussion on Carlos Ghosn's dramatic escape from Japan and the "hostage justice system" of the country.

Things That Turn Japanese Women on
Jan 16 2020 • 46 min
Ben and special guest Yumi have a very entertaining conversation about the things that turn women on

Odd Jobs in Japan
Jan 09 2020 • 46 min
Toshi from Tokyo (and now a Sapporo resident) joins Ben and Burke again to discuss growing up in Japan, including spending a year as a "Ronin" student, and the various jobs that he has had during his life. Working as a salaryman or company employee did...

Do Japanese People Celebrate Christmas?
Dec 26 2019 • 33 min
On this episode, Ben and Burke discuss the way that Christmas is celebrated in Japan, including food (Kentucky Fried Chicken and Christmas cakes), Christmas being an event for lovers more so than families, working on Christmas day, Christmas lights and...

Difficulty Finding a Life Partner
Dec 18 2019 • 38 min
Special guest Toshi joins the podcast to discuss some of the reasons for why Japanese people are struggling to find a life partner, especially due to social attitudes and economic pressures.

Controversies Surrounding the New Japanese Emperor
Dec 12 2019 • 41 min
Burke and Ben talk about the new Japanese Emperor, Naruhito, and some of the controversies surrounding him and his family.

Celebrity Scandals and Drugs in Japan
Dec 04 2019 • 37 min
A discussion on celebrity scandals and drug use in Japan.

What Are The Strangest Japanese Foods?
Nov 28 2019 • 48 min
We give our thoughts and impressions on the strangest food from Japan.

Annoying Mannerisms and Characteristics
Nov 21 2019 • 51 min
A discussion on annoying mannerisms and characteristics that are part of Japanese culture.

Can Sumo Wrestling Make a Comeback?
Nov 13 2019 • 40 min
Alex joins Ben and Burke to talk about sumo wrestling.

Japanese Rock, Pop, and Everything In Between
Nov 07 2019 • 53 min
Alex from England joins Ben and Burke to discuss all things related to Japanese music.

Theme Park Thrills
Oct 31 2019 • 38 min
Eric joins us again to talk about theme parks in Japan, namely Universal Studios and Disneyland, comparing them with their American counterparts.

Halloween, the Japanese Way
Oct 24 2019 • 44 min
Eric from Seattle (and long-time resident of Japan) joins the podcast to enlighten Ben and Burke about the costume competitions that take place in nightclubs around Sapporo, where contest winners can walk away with ¥100,000 in prize money, and all the fun ways to celebrate Halloween in Japan! Enjoy the show!

Consumer Tax Hike Troubles
Oct 17 2019 • 36 min
We discuss the problems and issues with Japan raising the consumption tax from 8% to 10% in October 2019.

Departing This Life
Oct 10 2019 • 42 min
A discussion on Japanese funerals, including the influence of Buddhism, custom of cremation, various expenses that are incurred, and much much more.

Surprise! Unkind Japanese Do Exist!
Oct 03 2019 • 40 min
We debunk the stereotype that all Japanese are kind and helpful while also discussing some common scams that visitors may encounter.

Japan's Dark Recycling Secret
Sep 26 2019 • 29 min
A discussion on the unbelievable amount of plastic usage in Japan and the country's controversial definition of plastic recycling.

Benefits of the Japanese Diet
Sep 19 2019 • 43 min
Yuki joins the podcast to discuss the Japanese diet.

Living Abroad as a Japanese Female
Sep 12 2019 • 32 min
A fun discussion full of laughs exploring how the purpose for a Japanese person going abroad will affect his or her lifestyle while overseas, and also whether or not the person will struggle with readjusting to Japanese culture after returning to Japan.

Rugby World Cup in Japan Part 2
Sep 04 2019 • 41 min
The final part with Jamie Coventry about Rugby in Japan.

Rugby World Cup in Japan Part 1
Aug 29 2019 • 38 min
Listen now to learn about how the popularity of rugby has jumped following Japan’s 2015 victory of South Africa in the “greatest World Cup shock ever,” a preview of what is to come with Japan hosting the Rugby World Cup this year, and much much more!

Japanese Ladies Describe Their Ideal Man
Aug 21 2019 • 37 min
Jordan, a former resident of Sapporo and friend of the podcasters from California, joins Ben and Burke on this episode to interview 4 groups of young Japanese women at the Sapporo Odori Beer Garden – Japan’s largest outdoor beer garden taking place for one month during the summer with seats for 13,000 people!

Inside a Japanese Professional Football Club Part 2
Aug 15 2019 • 43 min
Part 2 with Harry Bissell as he shares his experience being an interpreter for a professional football club in Japan.

Inside a Japanese Professional Football Club Part 1
Aug 08 2019 • 43 min
Harry is an interpreter for the J1 league football club Consadole in Sapporo, Japan. He gives us his insights on what life is like being part of a Japanese professional football team.

Are Japanese People Headed to Extinction?
Aug 01 2019 • 39 min
How is Japan dealing with its population issues, and is the general population buying into the solutions that the government is putting forth?

How Affordable is Japanese Healthcare?
Jul 25 2019 • 46 min
Japan ranked 7th in the Bloomberg Health Care Efficiency Index in 2018. This index sought to rank countries that provided the most cost efficient medical care. Ben’s home country the U.K. ranked 35th, whereas Burke’s, the U.S. was in 50th place.

Working with the Yakuza
Jul 18 2019 • 46 min
A good friend of the podcasters, Damien, joins this episode to share some of the experiences he has had with yakuza through jobs that he had during his early years in Japan.

Japan’s Dual Nationality Problem
Jul 11 2019 • 46 min
Dual nationality has currently been in the news. The professional tennis player, Naomi Osaka is about to reach her 22nd birthday, when she will have to decide (by Japanese law) which citizenship to have, Japanese or American. We have a very interesting, albeit sensitive, conversation about mixed race issues, citizenship, and national identity. Enjoy!

Japan’s Love For Old Technology
Jul 04 2019 • 38 min
Find out about some of the baffling tech devices our podcasters have encountered while living and working in Japan in this episode.

The Fake Plastic Bonsai of Hospitality
Jun 27 2019 • 42 min
Japan’s hospitality has the reputation of being second to none, but is this really true? Can Japanese service staff go that extra mile for consumers? What are some of the things that people find disturbing about Japanese hospitality? Listen now for a balanced deconstruction of Japan’s world renowned hospitality!

Hired as a Teacher, Living like a Rockstar!
Jun 19 2019 • 37 min
Japan imports a variety of essentials for modern living, including native English speakers to teach them the language. Some actually arrive into Narita or Haneda Airport with the proper credentials for the job, while others may only be searching for a unique adventure in a foreign land for one or two years. What are the realities that they all end up facing on the job, and what drew Jon and our podcast hosts into staying in Japan, specifically Sapporo, for much longer than they originally intended? Listen now for a very entertaining take on the notorious career of English teaching in Japan!

The Weird World of Apartment Hunting and Buying in Japan
Jun 05 2019 • 37 min
Renting and buying an apartment in Japan, including all of the challenges that foreigners face, and the costs such as key money and deposits.

Quirky Japan: Face Masks, Monster Crows, and Ghosts
May 29 2019 • 42 min
There are many quirky things about Japan. On this episode we talk about three such things. You will see people wearing face masks everywhere in Japan. There are a number reasons such as preventing colds, keeping their faces warm, and women sometimes...

Lights, Camera, Action! Breaking into the Japanese Entertainment Industry
May 22 2019 • 42 min
If you were living in Japan, would you be interested in being a model or appearing on Japanese television? Do you meet the requirements to make the cut? Entertainment is one industry that foreigners in Japan can explore simply for the novelty of . . ....

The Importance of Blood Type in Japan
May 15 2019 • 38 min
Do you know your blood type? Well, if you are visiting or living in Japan, you should. Knowing one’s blood type is common in Japan and the Japanese are very curious to know yours. There are four main types that most people fall into. The most common...

Do I or Don’t I get married in Japan?
May 07 2019 • 36 min
Are there wedding bells in your future? Marriage is one of life’s most important decisions. While Japanese people celebrate the big day with their own unique traditions, some wedding ceremonies and receptions blend in a few fashionable aspects from...

Hokkaido Life: Ending the Heisei Era with a 10 day Golden Week Holiday
May 01 2019 • 42 min
Special guest Yumi joins the guys again to talk about the special 10 day Golden Week holiday. Does she like Golden Week? The Heisei era ends on May 1st and a new emperor will be crowned, beginning the new Reiwa era. Listen to some interesting Golden Week stories in Hokkaido and opinions about the long holiday. Conversation Highlights: * Why is Golden Week a 10 day holiday this year? * What do Japanese people think of the Emperor? * Japanese people stressing out about the long holiday. * Ben shares his most memorable Golden Week holiday. * The new Reiwa era and what the name means. * People getting confused with the Japanese eras and calendar. * The most popular Cherry blossom viewing spots in Hokkaido. * Barbecuing during Golden Week. * Barbecuing on the beach during the summer time is a Hokkaido “thing”. * Making the most out of sunny days. * Japanese words that became popular during the Heisei era. * Golden week plans. * Ben shares a memorable Golden week story about Burke. * Yumi shares her worst Golden week holiday. * The negatives of Golden Week. * Yumi’s ideal Golden week would be to go to Okinawa. In Hokkaido, Golden Week is a bit different than the rest of Japan because the winter has just ended, meaning that it’s still a bit cold. However, this does not stop the locals from barbecuing down by the river and in the most popular spot, Maruyama Park. In fact, the purported reason for barbecuing in Maruyama park is for cherry blossom viewing, but because of the cold weather the cherry blossoms are not in full bloom, usually there are only a few trees with some level of bloomage. But Hokkaido people love to barbecue and come rain or shine, during Golden Week, it is guaranteed to be a party atmosphere in Maruyama Park. And to be honest, they don’t really care about the cherry blossoms! If you have a chance to visit Hokkaido during Golden Week, going to this park is a must! It is the first time for the Golden Week holiday to be 10 days long. And, many people are actually complaining that the holiday is too long. Especially, families with young children become stressed and “over-worked” entertaining their kids for 10 days. Some people would actually rather go to work because they can at least relax for a few hours a day! Furthermore, Golden Week is a time when everyone in Japan is on holiday, therefore there are so many people traveling in, out, and around Japan and the prices for travel and accommodation double and sometimes triple! So, it can be a bit of a nightmare travelling during this time, with many many people, including Yumi and the Voices in Japan Podcast hosts preferring to stay home to avoid the crowds during this hectic time. Intro: Hi everyone, welcome to the voices in japan podcast. On today’s episode, Yumi, joins us again to chat about the special 10 day Golden Week Holiday and the end of the Heisei era. Today, we mainly focus on Hokkaido (where we all live), sharing our Golden Week experiences, such as hanami and barbecueing. And we also talk about Japanese words that became popular during the Heisei era. We had a really fun time chatting with Yumi and we hope you enjoy the episode as much as we did, recording it. On with the show! Website: http://podcast.voicesinjapan.com Follow us and check out our other content: https://twitter.com/voicesinjapan https://www.facebook.com/voicesinjapan/ https://www.instagram.com/voicesinjapan/ Get in touch: [email protected]

Interview: Yumi shares the truth about fitness and the mindset of Japanese women!
Apr 24 2019 • 40 min
Special guest Yumi joins the podcast to give the guys a new perspective on life in Japan. In this episode full of laughs, our podcasters learn about the growing exercise trends taking over the land of the rising sun, and discover the great lengths that a Japanese woman will go to avoid the wrath of her mother-in-law, and even other women, in order to maintain the image of being the perfect mother and wife. Also, why do Japanese girls and women find it easier to express their true feelings with foreign guys? Listen to the episode to find out now!

Beer, Sake, Shochu, Sleep......Repeat!
Apr 17 2019 • 45 min
Drinking is such a big part of Japanese life. People drink to build relationships with colleagues and business clients, and of course to relieve stress or relax. Many people, especially businessmen, take full advantage of these drinking opportunities often ending the evening with a pavement pizza, and passing out on the streets. We see it all the time! Conversation highlights: What our podcasters like to drink during a night out on the town. the growing popularity of craft beer in Japan. Do people drink Sake/nihonshuu at the beginning of a night out? Work parties in Japan being a big part of business culture. “nomunication” - drink and communicate. What are some unique customs when drinking with colleagues and friends? Why drinking with co-workers and clients is important in Japan. The infamous Nomihodai (All-you-can-drink) plans and why they work in Japan. Are Japanese people strong drinkers? Drunken businessmen getting wasted and passing out on the streets and subways. Comparing alcohol related violences between Japan, the US and the UK. Alcohol making Japanese people more friendly and open. The best time of the year for our podcasters - The Sapporo Beer Garden in the summer. Jingiskan - A very popular dish of barbecued lamb originating from Hokkaido. Types of Shochu, which is a strong potato based spirit. Cocktails unique to Japan and the growing popularity of Highballs. Japan is so safe that businessmen feel comfortable passing out in the streets, and women walk alone through parks. The most unique drinking custom is the Nomihodai (all-you-can-drink plan), which sounds pretty crazy and would never work in countries such as the UK and the US, but the Japanese don’t take advantage of this. When our podcasters first arrived in Japan, hearing about this drinking plan brought shock and excitement, resulting in many an early night of debauchery and blackouts. Throughout the years, the Nomihodai is still a firm favourite on nights out, but the drink-as-much-as-you-can mentality has slowly worn off. Nowadays, as the guys have aged, so have their drinking habits, having a preference for sipping good quality Sake or a couple of glasses of tasty craft beer over dribbling into empty shot glasses in the dingy nightclubs of Sapporo at 4am. Getting old and boring is real! Follow us and check out our other content: https://twitter.com/voicesinjapan https://www.facebook.com/voicesinjapan/ https://www.instagram.com/voicesinjapan/ Get in touch: [email protected]

Slave to the Salaryman Life!
Apr 10 2019 • 46 min
Looking for a career in Japan? Get ready for the crazy welcome parties, greetings and farewell speeches, morning stretches, meetings on top of meetings, and the possibility of literally working to death, aka karoshi! Can the government policies being introduced actually reform Japan's labor force challenges? Find out how our podcasters have been navigating their way over the years and surviving the notorious Japanese working culture!

Japanese Men's Makeup and Grooming
Apr 02 2019 • 36 min
In uber fashion-conscious Japan, the styles of men and women continue to converge. Did you know that even men are wearing makeup and spending their yen on skincare products? What is driving these trends, and have our podcasters tested their masculinity by taking part? Conversation points: · Getting your forehead shaved at the hair salon or barbers. · Men trimming their eyebrows. · Men using skin creams, lotions, and moisture masks. · Burke wearing makeup on his wedding day. · What types of men do Japanese women find attractive? · The beautiful men in the entertainment and J-pop industry. · Why are the most popular J-pop groups so bad? · Men using women style handbags. · J-pop artist Gakt and how his androgynous style has influenced Japanese society. · The podcasters share their personal experiences with using skin lotions. · Subway operators suing their bosses for being penalized at work for having facial hair. · The rules of facial hair in the Japanese work environment and how the podcasters have been affected by them. The world is constantly changing at a rapid pace that things such as men’s makeup are becoming more common place. Is it a good thing? For the younger generation, trimming your eyebrows and using skin products and lotions to improve your appearance can only be a positive. But, can it go too far? Are men losing their masculinity by using women’s handbags? There may come a day when both sexes look and dress completely the same, and who’s to say that it’s a bad thing. In any case, androgynous Japan is leading the way in the ever-evolving fashion world. Follow Us: https://twitter.com/voicesinjapan https://www.facebook.com/voicesinjapan/ https://www.instagram.com/voicesinjapan/ Get in Touch: [email protected]

Mastering The Japanese Language!
Mar 27 2019 • 42 min
Having lived in Japan for a combined 25 years, how much have our podcasters mastered Japanese? Find out now as they discuss overcoming the struggles of learning kanji, give great advice on studying techniques like finding a Japanese girlfriend or memorizing numerous conversations from textbooks, grinding it out to pass the Japanese proficiency tests, and much more!

Do Japanese Students Really Study That Hard?
Mar 19 2019 • 32 min
Japanese students are mega busy. Many of them go to school 6 days a week! They join school clubs, go to cram school, AND they have homework. It’s not cruisy like their western counterparts. Get in Touch: https://twitter.com/voicesinjapan https://www.facebook.com/voicesinjapan/ https://www.instagram.com/voicesinjapan/ email: [email protected]

Who to Trust?? The Great East Japan Earthquake 8 Years Later
Mar 12 2019 • 40 min
How is Japan still trying to recover from the 9.0 megaquake, tsunami, and nuclear power plant meltdown - a triple disaster that struck on March 11, 2011? Listen now to hear our hosts describe their experience, the ongoing suspicions about the disaster area, and much much more! Get in touch: https://twitter.com/voicesinjapan https://www.facebook.com/voicesinjapan/ https://www.instagram.com/voicesinjapan/ email: [email protected]

Experiencing Hokkaido’s Biggest Ever Earthquake!
Mar 06 2019 • 29 min
In September 2018, Hokkaido was hit by the biggest earthquake ever recorded on the Northern Japanese island. 5 months later, another earthquake hits the same area. Burke and Ben share their experiences during those worrying times.Get in touch:https://twitter.com/voicesinjapanhttps://www.facebook.com/voicesinjapan/https://www.instagram.com/voicesinjapan/email: [email protected]

Becoming An Adult In Japan
Feb 27 2019 • 19 min
The streets are filled with kimono, hakama, and drunk Japanese 20 year olds on Coming of Age Day. But many people question the meaning of this holiday. Find out why in this episode.Get in touch:https://twitter.com/voicesinjapanhttps://www.facebook.com/voicesinjapan/[email protected]

Don't Do THAT On The Subway! The Japanese Hate It!
Feb 20 2019 • 35 min
What do you think annoys Japanese people on the subway? In Japan, there is a lot of things and some of them are not so obvious, such as doing make up. Ben bets with Burke that he can guess what the Japanese find most offensive when riding the subway. Who will win?Get in touch:https://twitter.com/voicesinjapanhttps://www.facebook.com/voicesinjapan/[email protected]

It's A Man's World On Valentine's Day In Japan
Feb 14 2019 • 39 min
Discover the unique twist to how Japanese people celebrate February 14th, and enjoy hearing how these expats first encountered romance upon arriving in Japan.Get in touch:https://twitter.com/voicesinjapanhttps://www.facebook.com/voicesinjapan/https://www.instagram.com/voicesinjapan/[email protected]

Top 3 Reasons To Live In Japan
Feb 11 2019 • 51 min
The Japanese mystique - what makes foreigners stay? There are myriad reasons, ranging from broad to highly specific. For Burke and Ben hot water surging from the earth, beautiful women, and universal access to clean toilets were three primary features to Japan’s allure.Get in touch or ask questions:https://twitter.com/voicesinjapanhttps://www.facebook.com/voicesinjapan/[email protected]

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