One thing that motivated me on this whole podcast creation trial back in the day, besides the fact that I really love the podcast method of storytelling, is the fact that it seems like there’s a surprising vacuum in the Japan podcast scene. If you look up the most listened-to English-language podcasts in Japan, most of them are foreign podcasts (like NPR, BBC) or specific English-learning podcasts sponsored by NHK.
For the relative few that are created in Japan and about life in Japan, maybe the most popular Tokyo-based one is a podcast called “Tokyo Podcast” (very on-the-nose) hosted by a GaijinPot blogger named Anthony Joh. It’s branded as “the essential guide to living and working in Japan.” So it’s not so much a collection of intriguing stories as it is an exploration of basic struggles and surprises that come with living here (renting an apartment, dating in Japan, etc.).
I listened to the beginning of the “Dating in Japan” episode and my first impression was 1) Anthony has a nice podcast voice, 2) I feel like I’ve heard this voice before, 3) He’s a bit rambling and could get to the point in his intro a little faster 4) He needs some serious recording help because this is riddled with hard p’s.
There’s a podcast I really like called LongForm podcast where each episode is a 1-hour interview with someone in media (usually writers, sometimes editors, or someone in radio or podcasting themselves). Basically all of my podcast heroes (including Ira Glass somewhat surprisingly) have made an appearance at one point. When Alex Blumberg was interviewed the LongForm host started with a question about this reverence for “good tape” that everyone in the radio industry seems to have and he said, “I was hoping that we could start with you telling me what ‘good tape’ is?” And he’s said the phrase “good tape” a few times at this point and always pauses and staccatos it out for emphasis with an audible “pop” and Blumberg responds, “Alright well good tape first of all starts with not having the p’s pop.”
I actually don’t know how to avoid hard p’s by adjusting the mic placement, which Blumberg seems to know by the fact that you can hear him after this shuffling around and adjusting the host’s mic. When I did my first and thus-far only podcast interview my tape had a lot of popping p’s, which I had to painstakingly fix in editing. Anyway my point is that I can’t believe Anthony Joh has been doing this for years and is still opening his episodes with a bunch of unedited hard p’s. It really detracts from the otherwise pleasant audio of his voice.
As far as I can tell, there isn’t really a podcast out there at the moment that doesn’t veer towards the more generic breakdown of topics about living in Japan. In my mind, my podcast won’t be a Tokyo or Japan guide, or even a collection of Tokyo stories, but a deep dive on unusual Tokyo lives and the peculiar corner of expertise that they come out of. I kind of like the same “Tokyo Corners” actually…
Anyway I’ve been hitting a wall of inaction lately, so I need to start recording some interviews and see what I can make of this. So without further ado, I’m going to list out 9 interviews I promise to try and get in April + their expertise:
- KB – singing
- Max – videography
- JS – event planning
- KE – art/painting
- JK – podcasting
- TM – event promotion
- Azusa – TV
- JT – coffee
- CD – photography
First interview scheduled for this week. We’ll see how this goes.