Japan Podshow Episode 11 - Harajuku and the Weblish WonderWow, what a week! It’s been pretty crazy, with, until yesterday morning, virtually no downtime and little sleep. I tell you, if you ever think of making a podcast, make sure you have lots of marmite in the house or vitamin B supplements!

But before I talk about that (or the elephant wearing the iPod, or the rhinos who roam the plains of Japan in Sendai), just a quick note about an exciting development that’s come about in the past 24 hours.

Tokyo Live Blogging on www.dannychoo.com

If you’re interested in Japan and blogging, chances are you’ll be familiar with www.dannychoo.com, probably the most popular Japan-themed English-language blog in the world. It’s pretty incredible what Danny’s built over there. The result of a lot of time, effort – and the implementation of strategies to empower others to contribute, and thus build the community.

I can hardly comprehend those figures. I mean, look at any of his recent posts – one that he wrote just a couple of days ago has already had over 52,000 hits!

I’ve been fortunate to get to know Danny over the past few months, with him (or more accurately, his wife!) very kindly giving me a lift home from various events – they live not far from us. Anyway, this, and the stuff I’ve done online, has led to my being invited to join the Tokyo Live Bloggers crew.

The idea behind the Tokyo Live bloggers (whose latest posts appear on the front page of dannychoo.com) is that we’re documenting everyday life in Japan, as it happens. We’re all iPhone equipped, and use these to send our photos and descriptions to the site.

Here’s an example of a story that I posted a few hours back.

Part of the idea is to initiate conversations, which is why the descriptions often end in questions. You’ll notice the style of writing is also a little different from what I normally write – this is because I’m thinking of the target audience, which is a little different from my usual target audience.

Anyway, delighted to be a part of the project.

Japan Podshow developments

So, we finally got episode 11 out, “Harajuku and the Weblish Wonder“. This was a LOT of fun to make – well, I think if you give it a listen you can hear that…!

George and I have been toying with the idea of singing bits and bobs for some time, but it’s only now we’re nearly at the end of series 1 that we’ve actually done it! With an 8,000 yen guitar (about GBP35) and our untrained voices – what do you think? Do we have a career in music ahead of us?!

Accompanying the episode we have two videos, a pretty funny one of some of the people we interviewed in Harajuku, and one of Nobuki Ueda who sang for us in the kitchen. Nobuki is actually *Twinkle*s old classmate, whom she literally bumped into in the street last week. She invited him round, and I decided that it wouldn’t be too cheeky to ask him to perform. Check out his music on iTunes – really fantastic, especially when combined with his band.

In episode 11 we also featured an extract of an interview I did with John Daub of Weblish. It’s pretty incredible what he’s achieved – 100,000 subscribers to his educational entertainment video podcast (aimed at English learners). He’s regularly top of the iTunes Japan charts, passing the likes of Discovery Channel and CNN.

The full interview with John is over on Making it in Japan podcast. Personally, I think it’s a great interview. I love his story of Kilimanjaro, and there’s some great advice for people setting up business in Japan.

You’ll have to listen to japan podshow to find out about the rhinos that roam japan.

Metpod developments

Tonight I met up with radio DJ, producer and general all-round nice guy Kamasami Kong. With series one of Japan Podshow coming to an end, it seems the timing is pretty good for me to take the Pokya project to the next level by accepting an offer to produce one of the daily Metropolis Magazine‘s Metpod Podcast shows. We’re being given total control over production here which is very exciting. Our material will also be included in daily radio broadcasts.

It also means that we can get some experience of monetising. It’s all very well doing this stuff for free, but without funding, the constraints of time will not be lifted. Anyway, watch this space for more on that.

Summary: the way things are

Things are working out really well. I feel the ‘experiment’ in establishing myself in Japan through the use of online media and offline interactions with others is working out a lot better than I could have hoped. Opportunities are being presented when needed, and resources turning up out of the blue. It’s kind of like magic really. Only it’s not magic.

Things with *Twinkle* are great too.