The making of Japan Podshow

Hello there. Joseph here. In a cafe in Shibuya, opposite Sakuraya and that bright pink real estate agent on Center-gai. I have an hour to spare before meeting *Twinkle*, so thought I’d pen a few notes on all the stuff that’s been going on. In this blog I’ll be talking about podcasting.

First off then, we’ve finally reached the end of Japan Podshow series 1. It’s been a lot of fun. Through the show I’ve been able to meet a lot of new people, reach out to others whom I respect and admire, explore podcast possibilities that I’ve carried for a number of years in my head, learn a lot more about audio editing, and more recently, learn even more about video editing.

Direct download links for Quicktime / iTunes friendly movie files:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

The Japan Podshow experiment was a big success. I achieved what I set out to do, and feel that our total download figure (which doesn’t include YouTube / facebook / embedded media player views&listens) of approximately 20,000 so far (and the listener feedback we’ve received) is proof that we created something of value that gives pleasure to others.

Whilst this show was not (and was never meant to be) monetised, the rewards have been immense, such as enabling me to get my foot in the door with two of Japan’s largest English language media companies, and helping me get my new job (more on that in another post).

By far the biggest benefit has been the network of Tokyo-based people that it’s put me in touch with. It’s been a real lesson in how knowing people can completely change your experience of a place. Prior to starting out with this project, I had lived in Tokyo for a little over two years. In that time I actually made very few friends, choosing to stick with a handful of mates whom I first met during my first year here in Japan. Since then, thanks to the podcast and Twitter, my network has expanded into something I never would have thought possible to achieve in such a short space of time. Having these people around is a key part of my sense of wellbeing. I may not see them on a regular basis (other than on Twitter), but they are all an integral part of my existence here in Tokyo. They help flesh it out, give it more meaning.

The podcast also pushed me to start using Final Cut Express, and then, with episode 12 (which required the blurring of moving faces in public areas of the Ritz-Carlton hotel) Final Cut Pro. I still have a lot to learn, but I feel a lot more confident with video editing now than I did at the beginning of the year. That’s something I always wanted to get my head around, so I’m delighted about that.

Episode 12 was a huge challenge. The arranging for guests to show up, negotiations with the Ritz-Carlton and actual filming were pretty easy – a lot of this was due to the amazing Linda Beltran, marketing manager at the hotel who was so accommodating that we found ourselves able to put most of our ideas intro practice without any problems. She is a star.
It was after than when I came to edit the hours of video from our three HD cameras that the challenge really began. In the end I think it took me about 5 full days. Trial-and-error was the way I proceeded – in hindsight I should have just sat down and watched a bunch of tutorial videos before I began. I’d never done anything like this before, and was still pretty much a novice when it came to Final Cut (as I think shows). Overall I’m pleased with the result – it’s the best I can do with my current limitations (time, editing skill/experience, quality of the original footage).

One disappointment is the sound. I didn’t plan this carefully enough, and it was only when I finally got to the export stage that I really started to appreciate just how dodgy this was in parts. If I was to do this again I’d have everyone wired up with quality radio mics (if someone would lend them to me!). The one radio mic we had was OK, but I should have tested it beforehand in order to appreciate just how it should be used. As it was this was all new to both myself and our fantastic cameraman Steve, and given time constraints on the day we didn’t do any reviews during testing (something else I’d change next time).

Still, given that this project was totally unfunded and done in time remaining outside of a full time job in the space of a couple of weeks, I think it’s OK. I’m proud to have it in my portfolio (daft though the content is).

The timing of the conclusion of this project is perfect – it coincides with the end of the day job that I’ve had for the past 13 months, and thus a big change in all of my routines. Japan Podshow has enabled me to forge ties that will now help me to move on to the next stage of crafting the life in Japan that I want. For that, I’m very grateful.

I don’t know if or when we’ll create a second series. I have an idea that if we do it will be pretty different. I think it was also need to be monetised in some way, as I don’t think I can justify the time a second series would require. We’ll see.

To finish off, I’d just like to say that I’m very thankful that I’ve had the support necessary to make the project a reality. Writing the credits for the final episode I was reminded of just how many people had taken part in it. Musicians, interviewees, advisers, sources of inspiration and emotional support. All played a part. A big thank you to all of them, it’s very much appreciated.

Here’s the youtube versions. The quality is a bit pants compared to the originals downloadable above.

Part one

Part two

Part three

Part four

Filming at the Ritz-Carlton Tokyo

Quite a memorable day today.

*Twinkle* and George


*Twinkle* and I

For our final episode of this series of Japan Podshow we knew we had to do something pretty special. We wanted to celebrate. Celebrate in Style.

A mysterious chain of events led us to the Ritz-Carlton Tokyo, located on floors 45-up in the Tokyo Midtown complex.

Upon arrival, we were shown to a Carlton Suite on the 49th floor – it was ours for the night.

Over the course of our time there a string of guests turned up to congratulate us on completing series one. Champagne was brought to our room, Bob Cratchit and his wife appeared in our bed, we had live music from Kat McDowell and a Japanese lesson with a very cute teacher.

We relaxed in the jaccuzi, ran 0.08km on the treadmill.

Japan’s First Podcaster, Scott Lockman, presented us with a trophy.

It was all very cool.

The final episode, a video episode, will be released late next week over at

In the meantime, here’s a video from my iPhone, and a few pictures all taken by Steve Nagata

Recording at the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton

Recording at the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton
Champagne, kindly provided by the hotel

Recording at the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton
Our Japanese lesson

Recording at the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton
At the hotel bar

Recording at the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton
With the Tokyo International Players

Recording at the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton

Recording at the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton
In the spa

Recording at the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton
On the treadmill

Recording at the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton
With Scott Lockman, Japan’s first podcaster

Recording at the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton
In bed

Recording at the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton

Recording at the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton

Recording at the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton
Waking up

Photos of the solar eclipse taken on Mount Fuji

(This is a repost of what I’ve just posted on Japan Podshow but should interest Mumbler’s too!)

Just a very brief update to bring you a couple of photos of the solar eclipse as seen from Mount Fuji.

The full adventure story will be included in the next episode of Japan Podshow [iTunes] [RSS] – in which you’ll also hear about George’s trip to China to see the eclipse.

As most of our energy went into live streaming the event, we didn’t have much time to take photos. To be honest, it was the communal atmosphere up there that was the most memorable thing – we were united by the sun and moon (how cute). But still, here’s a couple. We were fortunate it was cloudy as we’d taken the wrong filter with us, and thus had to shoot the sun ‘raw’!


Solar Eclipse - as seen from Mt. Fuji

Solar Eclipse - as seen from Mt. Fuji

It was an amazing adventure. It had all the making of a great movie
– extreme hardship on the night climb
– despair and dissapointment as we are advised to get off the mountain before the storm worsens
– an amazing final triumph as having climbed down the most difficult section of the mountain we look back and see blue sky: despite total exhaustion we once again scale the heights to finally see the solar eclipse!

There are about 8 videos shot live on Mount Fuji available here
Here’s the main video taken during the eclipse. It’s 40 mins long. Sorry about the wind noise! It cuts off at the end when I try to go down to Mt/ Fuji’s crater

Japan Podshow Episode 5: Killer Karaoke

Hhmm, I completely forgot to add Episode 5 of the podcast to The Daily Mumble at the weekend. Silly me.

For those of you who hadn’t realised, I’m now using The Daily Mumble as a kind of central library featuring all of my online content. Stuff from Japan Podshow, misc videos, blogs etc

Apologies to those who are also subscribed to my Japan Podshow feeds and get the same content twice (you could just listen to / watch it twice!).

Anyway, here’s Episode 5 of the podcast. It’s very silly I know, but also informative and inspiring I think. Check out the interview with‘s president Heather Russell, and the interview / music from Daniel Edwards.

Feedback welcomed.

Japan Podshow Episode 5 - Killer KaraokeEpisode 5 of Japan Podshow is the most musical to date, as George and Joseph invite you in to their Karaoke booth in central Tokyo.

Listen to the show here

Download it direct here, Subscribe and listen in iTunes or Listen via our RSS feed

Karaoke does of course play a vital part in keeping Japanese society moving, providing an opportunity for stressed out salarymen and swine-flu infected school children to relax and express themselves.

Entrepreneur interview: Heather Russell of in the newsEpisode 5 also features an interview with Heather Russell, founder and president of – the fantastic Japan Auction & Online Shopping Service! Heather is a truly inspirational entrepreneur, and over the past 8 years has built up to be one of the most popular sites for people wanting to buy things from Japanese sites.

Competition time!

We’re GIVING AWAY $100 of Rinkya commision! Listen in to find out how you can win – entering is easy! Just listen to the show for the question – and you’ll find the answer on – you might want to check out their blog too! (See the Rinkya Page in our Guests section)

Next on the show we introduce the kansai-based Nandeyonen podcast, available from

Doctor Foster (left) and Professor Wild

Meet Dr. Foster and Professor Wild!

The doctor and the professor are new contributors to Japan Podshow, and will be appearing on a regular basis. In addition to Japan Podshow, you’ll also be able to catch them on Tokyo’s Metropolis Magazine podcast, the Metpod The professor gives his reaction to some of the stories featured in Metropolis Magazine‘s Small Print section.

We then announce the winners of the episode 4 competition to win vouchers on Edufire – the online video learning platform. Congratulations to the winners who correctly identified the secret voice as saying ‘Zenmaisamurai’ and then a few days after release just ‘Samurai’: Perminder Suman, Sylvain vedrenne, Alexandre Coutu, Jeff Smith and Miako Kuran!

Check out Edufire today – there’s lessons available 24 hours a day, it’s easy to use, and there’s hundreds of subjects to choose from.

If you want to learn Japanese, we recommend Rainbowhill (aka Brett Fyfield), the incredibly popular instructor who featured on Japan Podshow episode 4.

Listener’s feedback

This week, that includes


Thanks also to messages from
BusanKevin and Vinai Norasakkunkit.

…and a very special thank you to Craig and Linda Martin of the Indie Travel Podcast, a fantastic resource for travellers and armchair travellers alike. Check them out!

Smile by Daniel Edwards

Music: Daniel Edwards

We finish off with an interview and song from Tokyo-based musician Daniel Edwards, a very talented guy whose new single ‘Smile’ (and his entire back catalogue) is now available in iTunes. You can also check Daniel out on MySpace, and become a fan on Facebook. In the US, his single Smile is available from

After the interview we hear “Heaven”, taken from his album “Curtain Call”.

There may even be a little bit of bonus material at the end of the show – The show ain’t over till the fat lady sings!

We LOVE getting your feedback! Join our Facebook group, skype us, email us, Twitter us (@japanpodshow) – we love hearing from our listeners, please do give us your feedback!

Background music in the Small Print section is “Calling from Japan” by Comfortable.