Content creation has been steadily on the rise as of late and audio-based content is no exception. From the prevalence of audiobooks to the skyrocketing rise of Clubhouse, creators are now turning to new forms of expression as much as consumers are for another form of infotainment. In lieu of travel, podcasts with a focus on Japan have been a way for avid fans to still feel connected to the land of the rising sun. So whether you’re abroad or waiting patiently inside your abode in Japan, tune in to some of these podcasts for a spectrum of Japanese experiences, from the once-bustling metropolitan life to the quiet hum of the Japanese countryside and everything in between.
1. Abroad in Japan
This podcast version of the award-winning YouTube channel of the same name covers everything from travel and cuisine to real-life anecdotes of a foreigner living in Japan. Hosted by independent filmmaker Chris Broad and broadcaster Pete Donaldson, the segment usually includes a topic or interesting current news piece followed by a reading of fan mail, hilariously known as ‘from the fax machine’. What truly sets Abroad in Japan apart from your typical Japan podcast is the excellent banter between Chris and Pete and the comfortable atmosphere the two create that will have you feeling right at home. Yet underneath the layers and layers of jokes, stories and the smattering British sarcasm are Japan travel tips so make sure to keep these nuggets of wisdom in mind for your next trip.
2. Brokyos: 2 Bros in Tokyo
Brokyos: 2 Bros in Tokyo by Ramsey Gomez and Jordan Roth provides that much-needed nuanced perspective to living in Japan. Their show features a true myriad of guests from pop culture icons like ex-Terrace House members to activists, programmers and influencers whose only common thread might be that they all have a connection to Japan. With some light-hearted banter mixed in with serious conversations on racial identity and Japanese bureaucracy, this entertaining yet sobering podcast will give listeners a true on-the-ground take on life here, minus the rose-tinted glasses.
3. Japan Real Estate
Interested in buying your future retirement house in rural countryside Japan? Retirement in inaka (rural Japan) might seem like a long way away for most of us but we can always dream together by listening to Japan Real Estate. Hosted by partner and executive manager of Nippon Tradings International, Ziv Nakajima-Magen, this podcast will give one a crash course into Japan’s real estate market fundamentals with a special focus on investment. From advice on how and where to purchase that ubiquitous onsen hot spring guest house to understanding the differences between investing in Japan versus other foreign nations. If your interest is in Japanese property there’s certainly an episode on Japan Real Estate for it.
4. Let’s Learn Japanese From Small Talk
Many can relate to the uphill and often life-long challenge of achieving fluency in Japanese. Thankfully there are plenty of free tools online to help with language immersion and Let’s Learn Japanese From Small Talk is one of them. With the aim of assisting Japanese learners, this podcast hosted by two Japanese native speakers boasts real conversations and interesting topics pertaining to culture and everyday life in Japan. The variety and timeliness of each episode (i.e. a hay fever episode released on the cusp of spring) will give learners a boost in their language repertoire to sustain conversations in Japanese. Better yet, there’s even a website accompaniment where the hosts of the podcast collate a list of all of the vocabulary used organized by episode so you can add the new words you’ve learned to your Anki flashcard collection.
5. Trash Taste
Trash Taste is both a crash course and entertaining car crash into anime, manga and Japanese pop culture. The podcast features top anime YouTubers, Joey (The Anime Man), Garnt (Gigguk) and Connor from (CDawgVA) who deep dive into their likes, pet peeves and day-to-day struggles of living in Japan as the next generation of online entertainers. Trash Taste episodes are also available on YouTube in video format, giving listeners the added value of seeing real-time interactions.
Did we miss your favorites? Let us know your favorite Japan podcasts in the comments and we might feature them in our next roundup!
Missed our first round of recommendations? See this article.