#011 Why is Naruto Less Popular than One Piece in Japan?


In Japan, One Piece is way more popular than Naruto. In fact, Once Piece is so popular that one time, it occupied the entire top 100 best selling manga. In this episode, I will try to explain why One Piece is so popular, and why Naruto is less in Japan.
It seems that this tendency also exists in Asian countries: Asian countries tend to prefer One Piece while Western countries tend to prefer Naruto.

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#010 The Best Female Singer in Japan? On Saya Asakura


The other day, I bumped into a video where Saya Asakura was singing, and she blew my mind. This girl can really, really sing! In this episode, I will attempt to explain why she is so great. I will look at different aspects of singing: resonance, vocal registers, tones, phrasing, control etc, while presenting examples of her singing.
The songs I quoted in this episodes are: Hana, Mogamigawa Funauta, Kaede, Melt, Let it go, Tokyo by Saya Asakura, and La Solitudine by Laura Pausini.

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#009 How to make friends in Japan (offline)


How to make friends in Japan? In my opinion, there are two types of friends in Japan: group friends and individual friends. You can go out with a group of people without really making personal connections. So if you are looking for individual friends who you can go out with, make friends accordingly.
In university, I tried different approaches to make friends, and I’d like to share some of my techniques.

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#007: Speed Dating in Tokyo – How I survived


The other day, I went to a speeding dating event in Roppongi. I’d always been curious about speed dating, but I’d never gotten around to it.
It was an ‘international’ speed dating event, meaning that there would be a lot of white men and Japanese women. At those events, we Japanese men are a minority and so are western women and other Asian men and women.
At the event, we talked to one person at a time for four minutes. After four minutes, we moved on to the next person and another four-minute chat began. It was almost painful for me to talk to so many random people in a row. I am quite introverted after all.
Nonetheless, I had some interesting conversations: Japanese marriage party, Haruki Murakami, Argentina, etc.

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#006: Why Do Japanese People Blame the ISIS Hostages?

I’d like to comment on some of the ways Japanese people react when extremist groups kidnap Japanese citizens. First reaction is saying that it’s the hostages fault going to an unsafe palace. This is what Japanese people refer to as ‘self responsibility.’ The second reaction is blaming the victims for ‘causing trouble for people in Japan.’ (迷惑をかける)
I have a problem with the second reaction. Sure, sometimes, people are not very street smart and underestimate the danger. But when it comes to professional journalist, I think they have a sense of doing something good for people by telling stories of those who are in tough situations. They take significant risks so that we can know what is going on in the world.
I don’t think people should blame Mr. Goto for taking the risk. He might have been too optimistic, but everyone makes mistakes. It doesn’t mean we need to listen to everything that the kidnapper says, but I think he deserves respect.

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#005 Why is Obama So Popular in Japan?


The other day, I watched a few popular YouTubers interview Obama. It was on The White House’s official YouTube channel and the interviewers were Bethany Mota, GloZell Green, and Hank Green.
During the interview, Bethany talked about China, pointing out that when she was in China, how she felt isolated because of the internet restriction. She thought that China was not part of the ‘global community.’
‘How can we make them part of it?’ she asked.
What she said struck me as quite arrogant and very culturally inconsiderate. I was eager to hear Obama’s answer…

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#004 What the Japanese think of Britain

I think Japanese people in general are fairly interested in Britain. Many Japanese people seem to believe that Japan and Britain are quite similar, both being island countries, but I don’t  think it’s necessarily true. But we do have things in common such as high newspaper subscription rates and fondness of queuing.

Another British stereotype is food. A lot of people think that British food is not tasty. I personally think that it’s not very difficult to find good restaurants in the UK, but I have the impression that many British people don’t cook, given a large percentage of real meals in British supermarkets.

British TV and Japanese TV are very different. I find that British TV tend to be very explicit, which I enjoy. Japanese TV shows less sexually explicit images, although Japanese TV tend to have high tolerance of physical violence.

Humour is also a area where cultural differences manifest. Compared to Japanese humour, which often centres on mocking celebrities and treating common situations in funny ways, British humour can be very explicit and more offensive to some extent. I like Jimmy Carr and Rickey Gervais, but their kind of humours is hardly observed in Japan.

Peep Show, my favourite British TV show, is also very different from the average Japanese TV show.

British accents are also a fascinating topic. Most Japanese people in Tokyo speak standard Japanese regularly. In Tokyo, we have people from all over the countries but it’s often impossible to tell where people are from by listening to their accents (except perhaps for those who are from Kansai region). British people seem to maintain their regional (and social, or educational) accents to a much greater extent.

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#003 My Problem with Japanese Addresses

* Click here to listen to it on iTunes

I think Japan is a very comfortable country to live in, but I find Japanese addresses unnecessarily long. It takes ages to hand-write my home address. My address also contains a few complicated kanji, which I sometimes forget when I have to write the address in front of somebody.

For example, this is the address of a random sushi restaurant in Yokohama: 神奈川県横浜市神奈川区新子安1-8-3 日伸ビル 301号

And this is one of the longest addresses: 京都府京都市上京区智恵光院通り芦山寺上る西入る西社町

Here’s the shortest one: 千葉県旭市ロ1番地

Not only are Japanese addresses long, they are also notoriously hard to find. Without Google Maps and GPS, it’s truly challenging.

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#002 Are You an Introvert?


Are you an introvert? In this podcast episode, I talk about an unofficial introversion scale that Susan Cain, the author of Quiet, introduces.
I’m an extremely introverted person. I’m also sociable so some people thin I’m an extrovert, but deep inside, I have much more introverted qualities than extroverted qualities. In this regard, I’m in the right country (Japan) because Japanese society is much more introverted than many western societies, namely the United States.
So, how about you? How introverted (or extroverted) are you?

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