show episodes
 
Discover what everyday life in Japan is REALLY like! Weekly podcast episodes with half-Japanese/half-American Burke (20 years in Japan), Ben from England (15 years in Japan), and Matt from Australia (18 years in Japan). All three of them are based in Hokkaido, which is Japan's #1 domestic travel destination! These guys and their guests share their experiences with dating, marriage, working at Japanese companies, teaching at all education levels, traditions, martial arts, the struggles of lif ...
 
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show series
 
In this episode we are joined by special guest, Jon. Together we chat about what it's like to teach at a Japanese Highschool. We offer insight into the differences between Japanese high schools and high schools back in our own countries. We look at club activities, high school uniforms, bullying, plus a lot more! Sponsors: Bearfoot Bar Located in d…
 
Ben and Matt talk about some of the best places, off the beaten track, to visit in Hokkaido. These include Erimo, Notsuke, Rausu, Mizunashi Kaihin hot spring and more! Sponsors: Bearfoot Bar Located in downtown Sapporo, walking distance from the subway station. There are variety of Japanese made craft bottled beers. A wide range of regular and uniq…
 
On this episode, Ben and Matt discuss the annual Obon event. The visitation of spirits coming home. What do people typically do during this time? And why do people avoid the ocean during Obon? They also discuss the good times and bad times of the increasing popularity of glamping! Plus the government trying to get young people to start drinking alc…
 
On today’s episode Ben, Burke and Matt discuss the good and bad points about working at an Eikaiwa (English conversation school) in Japan. Sponsors: Bearfoot Bar Located in downtown Sapporo, walking distance from the subway station. There are variety of Japanese made craft bottled beers. A wide range of regular and unique spirits and basic cocktail…
 
Ben and Burke (Matt is away somewhere searching for truffles) talk about some trends that visitors may notice when coming to Japan in 2022. These include men's short pants (or trousers), oatmeal, canned sweets, truffle flavoured everything, and more. Sponsors: Bearfoot Bar Located in downtown Sapporo, walking distance from the subway station. There…
 
This is the first episode we'll be releasing in a series about teaching English in Japan - a very popular subject! In this episode, we give an overview of the different English teaching jobs that are available (JET Program, eikaiwa, private ALT companies, university teaching, etc.), the most popular and recommended teaching organizations and compan…
 
On this episode, we talk about the shocking assassination of Japan's former prime minister, Shinzo Abe, who was arguably still Japan's most powerful political figure. While new details continue to emerge regarding the motive of the man who shot Mr. Abe, Tetsuya Yamagami, we look at the information that was available at the time of our recording, Ja…
 
The effeminate style of young men seen in Japan and other Asian countries these days was not something that Matt, Ben, and Burke would see when they were in their home countries. Since last year, Beijing has started cracking down on effeminate male performers in China's entertainment industry, attributing the rise of "unmanly men" on US influence i…
 
Despite Japan being the best place to live in the world, there are some negatives, and perhaps part of the most infamous of those is all the red tape and cumbersome processes that one is certain to encounter multiple times per year. Matt details the very exciting experience (sarcasm intended) of renewing his drivers license - a process where waitin…
 
Summers in Japan equal festival season, and after a 2-year hiatus due to the Covid pandemic, many events have restarted from this year. Matt, Ben, and Burke take a look at some of the popular festivals in Sapporo city that have already taken place or are currently underway, including the Yosakoi Festival, Hokkaido University Festival, and Hokkaido …
 
Prices for as many as 10,000 food items in Japan will be going up an average of 13% this year! Matt, Ben, and Burke take a look at the affected items they buy in their daily lives, the "shrinkflation" tricks food establishments are relying on to survive, and the ways their eating and drinking habits might need to adjust in this new reality. But, be…
 
Starting from June 10th, overseas tourists will be allowed back into Japan!!! Well ... kind of. A very limited number of groups chaperoned under very specific schedules will be able to enjoy tightly controlled tour packages. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan was throwing all its weight into reaching a lofty goal of having 60 million overseas tour…
 
Boom! The podcast is back for its second season, with a little surprise! The boys start off by catching up on what they've been up to, including a Friday the 13th visit to a haunted school in Bibai, Hokkaido - ranked as one of Japan's Top 10 haunted locations. They pay respect to Kane Tanaka who, until her passing last month, was the oldest living …
 
Ben's friend Miyoko joins the podcast to have a look at some stereotypes about Japanese people that many Japanese hate! Are all Japanese people polite? Are Japanese women subservient and docile? Do all Japanese students study hard? And are Japanese people hiding their true feelings? Listen to the opinions of Ben, Burke, and Miyoko on these topics a…
 
There was a powerful 7.4 magnitude earthquake, on March 16, that hit the same area as the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Therefore, we thought it would be a good time to talk about preparing for the next earthquake in Japan. Ben and Burke share some useful resources and phone numbers, what items to stockpile at home, how to secure your furniture,…
 
On this episode, Ben and Burke take a look at things people thought were true about Japan and then found out weren't. Japan Today recently asked this as a question on their Facebook page, and people expressed surprise at things related to technology, food quality, treatment of foreigners and each other, and much more! Sponsors: Bearfoot Bar Located…
 
There are many things that are well-known about Japan. For example, trains are the most punctual in the world, the country has one of the highest proportions of elderly people, Japanese people are interested in your blood type, just to name a few. However, there are some things that many people are not aware about. We discuss some of these which in…
 
Ben and Burke discuss a number of symbolic animals in Japanese culture, including butterflies ("cho-cho"), frogs ("kaeru"), cranes ("tsuru"), turtles ("kame"), cats ("neko"), and many others! To their surprise, only a portion of the symbolism was known by the Japanese people they checked with. Listen now to find out more about which animals symboli…
 
Back in December 2021, Macdonald’s restaurant in Japan suspended sales of all French fry orders except smalls due to a problem with its potato imports. Japan get their fries imported from the U.S. and Covid-19 has resulted in supply issues. Following this other competitors such as Freshness Burger and Mos Burger got in on the action by offering mor…
 
On this episode, Ben and Burke attempt to figure out how nuance in used in the Japanese language. Unfortunately, despite their best attempts, they might have been more confused about how words are used in Japanese by the end of the episode. Listen to hear how they struggle with understanding nuance as they try to follow the explanations in an artic…
 
A recent survey was conducted asking 500 married Japanese men and women what they missed most about being single. Ben and Burke discuss some of the reasons why they missed single life compared to being married. Enjoy the show! Sponsors: Bearfoot Bar Located in downtown Sapporo, walking distance from the subway station. There are variety of Japanese…
 
Japan has been getting slammed with winter weather across the country since the beginning of the new year, and over two hundred people in Tokyo went to the hospital last week with injuries related to the snow and ice. Ben and Burke take a look at what it takes to survive the winter weather in Japan, with a particular focus on clothing. They also st…
 
Special Host Matt joins Ben and Burke for the annual end of year Japan quiz. Matt hits Ben and Burke with questions about events and incidents that occurred in 2021. Join in and see if you can do better than the podcast hosts. It’s the first episode since the pandemic for the guys to record in person, so we were very excited for this one, and we ha…
 
It's that time of year again when expats in Japan do their best to recreate the Christmas spirit if they are stuck here for the holidays. Given that another Covid wave has started to kick up across the globe, chances are many foreigners will not be celebrating with their extended families in their home countries. Instead, some will very successfull…
 
It’s Bonenkai season and time to go drinking with friends and co-workers. Due to Covid, last year’s end of the year party season was cancelled, but things have much improved in Japan, so small groups are heading back into the bars. If you visit Japan, you will be surprised with the drinking culture here. Ben and Burke discuss some unique aspects of…
 
On this episode, Ben and Burke take a close look at whether or not living expenses in Japan are higher than in other countries. Japan certainly seems to have a reputation of being an expensive country, and in one of the articles the guys look at, Americans say that they were surprised at how much more it costs to live in Japan compared to the US. S…
 
Why in a country where gambling and prostitution is illegal will you often see horse racing events on TV, or bright pink fluorescent lights offering “love parlours”? The Japanese are notorious for finding loopholes to avoid breaking any laws, and Ben and Burke do a deep dive into how some industries manage this. Previous Episodes mentioned: Sex est…
 
As the year 2021 winds down, nominations have been released in Japan for newly coined expressions and trendy slang words from various sources. Ben and Burke review some of the top nominations. While they recognize some of the words related to popular TV shows and social issues, they were seeing many of them for the first time, such as slang words r…
 
Following the horrific incident in Tokyo on Halloween night, when a guy dressed up as the joker, Batman's nemesis, attacked people with a knife and set alight a fire in a subway, Ben thought it would be a good opportunity to discuss some notable crimes that have happened in Japan. It's kind of a bleak topic, but we try to keep it light by also incl…
 
It's always best to know some of the local customs and laws if you are traveling or moving to another country. But what about laws that are so strange you wonder if they can actually be true or are ever enforced? With Japan now introducing new guidelines for residents to enjoy going out to restaurants and bars in cities following a dramatic drop in…
 
October 14 was the day that restrictions were lifted in restaurants and bars, so people can finally go out to eat and get lashed again !No more drinking until 7pm and going home at 9 o clock. Hoooray! But, you still gotta wear a mask! When going to restaurants in Japan, you will come across some interesting concepts that you probably won't see anyw…
 
Fan favorite Matt (from Australia) joins Ben and Burke to discuss his recent motorbike trip around Hokkaido. Despite the trip being cut short by bad weather and a modeling gig that came up, he describes some amazing spots he was able to see in eastern Hokkaido, and then gives details on the strange things that occurred as he explored a spooky aband…
 
Sadly, it's officially the end of summer. However, the good news is we are coming into one of our favourite seasons in Japan, so we thought this would be a good opportunity to discuss the best and worst times to visit this country. We talk about golden week, Autumn Fest, Halloween, winter around Japan, the unbearable heat in Honshuu, Japanese tradi…
 
Anywhere you live in the world will have its negative points, and Japan is no exception. Ben and Burke review things about Japan that tourists, new residents, and perhaps even long-term residents might have issues with. Those include cultural differences in eating habits, natural disasters and regional instability, ever-present English problems, to…
 
It is coming up to Burke's 20th year of living in Japan. That's almost half of his life, and for me, I have just passed the 14 year mark, so we thought that it would be the perfect time to talk about the main reasons that have kept us in Japan for such a long time. I'm not going to give away the biggest reasons for staying in Japan long term, so pl…
 
On this episode, Ben and Burke closely look at a few different Japanese behaviors and customs, including the proper way of eating white rice, being mindful of others and not disturbing them on public transportation, the difference between shrines and temples, and much more. They discuss these topics while reviewing an article on Japan Wonder Travel…
 
Are you visiting or have just moved to Sapporo? Ben and Burke talk about some of the best spots to visit in the city, from the perspective of locals (i.e. Ben and Burke), so the places mentioned in this episode are not the usual recommendations that you would find on the web, so hopefully some of them will be new to you, and if you have a chance to…
 
On this episode, Ben and Burke look at the Japanese versions of some of their favorite foods from back home. An interesting one that often comes up amongst foreigners in Japan is Japanese pizza, but they also discuss Japanese curry versus Indian curry, Chinese food in Japan, various cheeses are that aren't quite cheese, American breakfasts in Japan…
 
The summer is here and it has been one of the hottest summers yet. There was a crazy two week heatwave with daily temperatures of over 30 degrees that has just ended in spectacular fashion with a 10 degree temperature drop down to around 20 degrees with non-stop heavy rain. The weather is very strange this year. Well, as it is summer, and surely en…
 
The Tokyo Olympics are now in their second week after getting started under a large cloud of multiple controversies, most notable being Japan going ahead with the games despite a worsening local situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, there has been a lot of excitement on the ground, albeit somewhat muted against a backdrop of protests …
 
Ben and Burke talk about shopping in Japan. If you are visiting Sapporo or Japan, this could be helpful when looking to buy souvenirs, suits and clothes, electronics, furniture, and much much more. All of the stores we mention are available, not only in Sapporo, but pretty much, all over Japan. Enjoy the show! Previous episodes mentioned in the sho…
 
On this episode, Ben and Burke take a look at how their lives have changed since marrying Japanese women. Were there any surprises after they got married? What are some of the difficult life choices foreign guys might face if they marry a Japanese woman? What do Ben and Burke think will help an international marriage be successful within various cu…
 
Japan is hopefully starting to open up to tourism, now that Japan's vaccination program is under way, so if you are planning to visit in the near or not too distant future, there will be some unique challenges that you may come across. The following examples we discuss may help to prepare you for some typical problems that visitors face. We talk ab…
 
On this episode Ben and Burke discuss Japanese superstitions that are weird and eerie, and also ones related to love and romance. Do you know what happens in Japanese culture if you cut your fingernails at night or even whistle at night? Or, what specific locations in Japan can mean the end of your relationship with your significant other, and what…
 
Matt joins Ben and Burke on the podcast again to talk about drinking in Japan and what differences you can expect compared to your home country when going on a night out. We talk about having a drink whilst bartending, all you can drink plans (nomihodai), being invited for drinks with bosses and co-workers, hostess bars and snack bars, and much muc…
 
On this episode, Ben and Burke look at five common sense etiquette in Japan as described in an article from WOW! JAPAN. Those include whether or not you should touch food that is being sold at supermarkets and bakeries, how eating while walking might get you arrested in certain cities, leaving food uneaten at restaurants, and more! We compare our o…
 
On today’s show Burke and I discuss some rules of etiquette and manners that foreigners should be aware of when working in Japan. Some of the ones we talk about are how to deal with Meishi or business card, what shoes to wear and when, accepting invitations from colleagues, taking holidays, and much much more. Enjoy the show! Previous episodes ment…
 
Japanese hot spring baths ("onsen") are one of the best parts of Japanese culture. If you live here in the country or ever plan to visit, enjoying an onsen is a must. On this episode Ben and Burke discuss the top 5 things to keep in mind when you go to an onsen, including proper etiquette, some surprises you might run into, some items to try out at…
 
Chris Carlier, a British writer/illustrator in Tokyo who blogs about Japanese mascot characters joins Ben and Burke on the podcast. He has appeared in articles and interviews for CNN, Vice, GQ magazine, The BBC, and The New York Times, just to name a few. We delve deep into this unique world where there are some very wacky mascots. A good example i…
 
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