Episode 10: Diametrically Opposed

“There are a lot of moments where people start to develop one mental image of Japan and then they just get hit by something that seems so diametrically opposed to that. You get a lot of people going, "Huh?" IT builds up an expectation and then knocks it down, much more than other countries I’ve been to.” — Dru

You can see a peaceful zen garden and then immediately afterwards a neon-colored suggestive anime store, sometimes even in side-by-side buildings.

You can see a peaceful zen garden and then immediately afterwards a neon-colored suggestive anime store, sometimes even in side-by-side buildings.

This conversation is actually one of my favorite ones we've had so far. We talk about the dichotomy between the perceptions of Japanese culture that we Westerners have, some really interesting consequences of that dichotomy. We also dive into the exchange of Japanese and American culture over the last few decades, and how we're able to live here and experience Japan while not giving up any of our American pop culture.

In this episode we cover:

  • The existence and mingling of zen and weird Japan

  • “What Japanese people think American people think Japanese is like”

  • 1,000 year old trees in Omiya Bonsai Village

  • Otakus and weaboos channeling the true spirit of Japan

  • Japan creating all our favorite childhood pop culture


MUSIC LIST

Venetian Blinds by Ping Pong
Half Day by Bad Snacks
Powerup! by Jeremy Blake
Star Wars Cantina Theme (8Bit Remix Cover Version) by 8 Bit Universe
Harry Potter Soundtrack - Hedwig’s Theme 8-Bit by Miles_Metal
Delightful Life by Jekk

SHOW NOTES

Here are links to the articles and videos that I used as reference in the ending section of the episode.

And, as promised, here is the summary of “Harry Potter and the Big Funnel” (from NYT):

After six years at Hogwarts, Harry Potter becomes an intern sorcerer and is assigned to teach at the Honiton School. Harry has a painful time in his aunt’s house, as Dudley has met a belly-dancing girl. As Harry prepares to report to his job, Bat Bug warns him disaster awaits.

At the school, his students become wooden stools one after another. Harry doesn’t know whether an evil student is behind this, or if his old benefactor Hagrid is making a mistake, or if the shadow of Voldemort has returned. Did it have something to do with the big funnel?

Episode 9: The Color Plink

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“It's a very light plink... it's almost like a whitish color.” — Vivian

Through April and early May, Japan experiences cherry blossom season. This is an event that the entire country anticipates, with tons of cherry-blossom-themed items for sale and celebrations. We discuss what we think about the season and how it compares to the rest of Japan's weather.

In this episode, we cover:

  • What a cherry blossom season actually looks like

  • How it is different living here versus visiting during spring

  • Our ranking of the best seasons to come to Japan

  • The long awaited Huel mid-roll ad

To try out Huel yourself, use Dru’s friend referral code at bit.ly/sanfransokyo-huel. (DISCLAIMER: Huel does not actually sponsor us)


SHOW NOTES

This is the second part of a longer discussion of observing Japanese culture through our experienced eyes as well as the first-time mindset of a lot of our visitors.

MUSIC LIST

Venetian Blinds by Ping Pong Club
Leveled Up! by Bad Snacks
Gaiety in the Golden Age by Aaron Kenny
City Night Lights by Bad Snacks
Delightful Life by JekK

Episode 8: One Year Left to Live

We were like people who realized we had one year left to live. There’s so much we have to do before we go back [to the US]. And so as a result, we can’t make the argument, ‘Oh, we’ll just do it later.’
— Dru

In this episode, we talk about best practices while traveling and hosting visitors. We have had over a dozen people visit and stay with us in Japan over the last eight months. Here were some of our top takeaways:

  • How to maintain health and fitness while hosting visitors

  • Cultivating a sense of wonder for the place you live

  • Resetting habits/routines when moving to a new country


SHOW NOTES

This is the first part of a longer discussion of observing Japanese culture through our experienced eyes as well as the first-time mindset of a lot of our visitors.

MUSIC LIST

Venetian Blinds by Ping Pong Club
Space Racer by Bad Snacks
Delightful Life by JekK

Episode 7: Shower for Your Butt

In the last part of our technology series, we talk about how Japan is hyper-focused on convenience but it ends up being severely confusing for foreigners who are not used to doing things the local Japanese way. In this episode, we cover

  • missing a utility bill payment

  • traveling salesman-slash-milkman

  • possible credit card scam, and

  • the wonders of Japanese toilets and bathrooms.

Here we are swimming but we look pretty much the same when taking baths.

Here we are swimming but we look pretty much the same when taking baths.


MUSIC LIST

Venetian Blinds by Ping Pong Club
Kawaii by Bad Snacks
English Country Garden by Aaron Kenny
I Knew a Guy by Kevin MacLeod
Enigma by Kevin MacLeod
Delightful Life by JekK

SHOW NOTES

This episode is the second part of our discussion about “Galapagos” technology in Japan. Listen to part one here.