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A few weeks ago, I was invited to a pre-departure orientation for new JET Program participants, organized by the JET Program Office at the Embassy of Japan.  

The orientation covered a wide range of topics, and I am very grateful to the Japanese Embassy for allowing me to record the event and use the audio on the podcast.  The presenters were all JET Program alumni, who shared their first-hand experiences and advice with the new JETs on a wide range of topics.  

In this episode, I have included three particularly useful presentations; including: (1) Things To Do Before You Leave; (2) Life in Japan; and (3) Life as an Assistant Language Teacher.  These are just a few of the topics covered at the orientation, and I hope to share more of them with you in a future episode.

Recommended JET Program Resources:

Recommended Life in Japan Resources:

Don’t forget to follow the podcast on Twitter @letstalkjapan, and if you’ve enjoyed the topics covered so far, consider leaving a positive rating and review in iTunes.  Doing so will make it easier for others to find Let’s Talk Japan when searching for Japan-related content.  As always, feel free to email questions or comments to: letstalkjapan@gmail.com 

022 Dave Carlson of the Japanofiles Podcast


Japanofiles ImageIn this episode, Nick speaks with Dave Carlson, a longtime resident of Japan and host of the popular Japanofiles Podcast.  Originally from Michigan, Dave first came to Japan in 1983.  Since then, he has resided in Japan on and off for 21 of the last 30 years.  Together, Nick and Dave discuss a wide range of topics related to life in Japan, as well as what Dave has learned from other non-Japanese residents through producing his podcast. 

Some of Nick’s favorite Japanofiles episodes include:

Episode 3 – Buying a home in Japan

Episode 24 – Operating a traditional Japanese inn

Episode 35 – Bicycling in Japan

Episode 40 – Building a cabin in Japan

Episode 43 & 45 – Life in rural Nagano


021 Cinematsuri Japanese Film Festival


CinematsuriIn this episode, Nick speaks with Ambassador John Malott, President emeritus of the Japan American Society of Washington, DC about the inaugural Cinematsuri Japanese Film Festival.  

In addition to discussing what it takes to organize such an event, they cover recent trends in Japanese cinematography and introduce some of the best new films from Japan.

As always, you can rate the podcast in iTunes, check it out on Facebook, or following along with Twitter.

020 Occupied Kyoto


Daimaru1In this episode, Nick sits down with Washington, D.C. native Jan Evans Hauser to discuss her experience living in Kyoto, Japan during the American occupation following WWII.  

At the time, Jan’s step-father was Brigadier General Eugene Harrison, who was the Chief of Staff to Major General Joseph Swing, the commander of the U.S. Army’s 1st Corps.  During the occupation, 1st Corps was headquartered in Kyoto and responsible for administering the Southern half of occupied Japan. 

Together Nick and Jan discuss what life was like in Japan immediately after the war and how Kyoto captivated her imagination, just as it has so many others.

To learn more about the Daimau Villa and its architect, click HERE.  If you’re a fan of victorian architecture and find yourself in Washington, DC, I highly recommend a tour of the Heurich House Museum, built by Jan’s grandfather.

For great reads about Kyoto, generally, and the American occupation of Japan, specifically, check out the following titles:

The Heike´ Story, by Eiji Yoshikawa

The Lady and The Monk, by Pico Iyer

Memoirs of  a Geisha, Arthur Golden

Kyoto Machiya Restaurant Guide, by Judith Clancy

Embracing Defeat, by John W. Dower

Kyoto Journal

If you enjoyed this interview, you should also listen to Episode 4, in which I interviewed a close family friend about surviving the Hiroshima atomic bomb blast and life in Japan during and after the war.

As always, you can rate the podcast in iTunes, check it out on Facebook, or following along with Twitter.

019 – Japanese Translation & Interpretation


In this episode, Nick speaks with Stacy Smith about the joys and challenges of working as a professional Japanese translator and interpreter.  Stacy worked as a Coordinator of International Relations (CIR) for the Japan Exchange Teaching (JET) Program in Kumamoto prefecture before eventually returning to the United States and turning her love of Japanese into a career.  When not on the road with work, Stacy lives in New York City.

Together Nick and Stacy discuss:

  • how she became interested in the Japanese language
  • how she went about deciding to become a professional translator & interpreter
  • the impact of technology on the world of professional translation & interpretation and
  • tips for improving your own Japanese study habits

To learn more about Stacy,  check out her website as well as her blog posts for JETwit.  Also, here’s a great article about Japanese translation and interpretation.

A special thank you to everyone who has left a positive rating and review in iTunes.  The podcast can also be found on Facebook and you can interact with me on a more regular basis on Twitter @letstalkjapan