Mercedez Clewis is a Japanese to English localization editor and proofreader as well as a pop culture writer and critic with websites like, Anime Feminist, But Why Tho, and the Anime News Network. She also has previous worked with Siliconera, which is where she got her start with Japanese to English translation. After earning her Bachelor’s and Master’s in History, she taught on the JET Program in Fukushima Prefecture for four years and is currently in the process of returning to Japan. See her website here.
- Japanese Classes
- Japanese Festival – Missouri Botanical Garden
- JET Program and first time in Japan
- Fukushima Prefecture
- Going to a Japanese hospital
- Teaching on JET
- Empathizing with students
- Socializing with teachers at 忘年会 (bōnenkai, year-end party)
- Elementary school vs junior high vs senior high
- Criss cross
- Holiday lessons
- “You get out of JET what you put into it”
- Improving as a teacher
- TEFL Certification
- Prefectural conferences
- JET salaries
- Small pay raises added
- Rural vs urban savings rates
- JET application advice
- “Be earnest”
- “Be humble”
- Becoming part of the community, being open
- JETs of African Descent
- The importance of having a diverse community for support while on JET
- Writing and translation/localization work
- How do you find new manga to read?
- Recommendations from Twitter
- Following new releases in translation
- Taking a chance on a new manga
- Karaoke songs
かもしれない (kamoshirenai, may/might) has subtle nuances, and it can be easy to overuse. I talk about a time when I did, and how many years later that mistake allowed me to become an advice columnist very briefly. And in Japanese, I go into my unfortunate history with 食中毒 (shokuchūdoku, food poisoning) in Japan.
Brian Epstein is a patent attorney with Modal Law who has been working with Japanese clients and patent attorneys for his 14-year career. He started his own practice in 2019 and plans to visit Japan again shortly after the borders reopen.
- Japanese in law school
- International law
- First time to Japan and initial interest in the country
- Advice for law school for anyone interested in working with Japan
- Patent work
- “If you can do patent law, you do do patent law”
- Working with Japanese clients at a law firm
- Starting a law firm
- Marketing work during the pandemic
- Modal Law YouTube channel
- Ex parte prosecution
- Japanese emails
- Go-to Japanese karaoke song
- Modal Law
The dreaded 車検 (shaken, car inspection) is an expat’s worst nightmare, but it’s not a reason to not get a car. Driving in the Japanese countryside is absolutely the best way to get around and make some great memories. I talk about my experience with 車検. I also reminisce in Japanese about the very first time I sang karaoke.
The article I mention about 演歌 (enka) can be found here – lots of good songs to study.
Morgan Giles is a Japanese translator based in London. She’s translated a number of different writers, including Kanehara Hitomi, Furukawa Hideo, and the National Book Award-winning Tokyo Ueno Station by Yu Miri. Find Morgan on Twitter here.
- Japanese study
- Reading Japanese
- 『蹴りたい背中』(Keritai senaka), Wataya Risa
- 『蛇にピアス』(Hebi ni piasu), Kanehara Hitomi
- Akutagawa Prize
- 純文学 (junbungaku)
- 選評 (senpyō) – commentary on award-winning work included in literary journals with the winning work
- University courses
- MEXT Scholarship
- Waseda University
- Taking courses in Japanese
- Application process
- Model MEXT applications
- Karaoke song
Living with Japanese roommates in Tokyo was the highlight of my time in Japan. I found those roommates on the website Roomshare.jp, a great site that I introduce this week. And in Japanese I talk about how I ate のり弁 for nearly an entire year and how I think it’s a useful metaphor for Japanese study.
As promised, here’s the message I posted on Roomshare.jp that somehow convinced people I would be a decent roommate. Use at your own risk:
And extra bonus content: Check out this blog post to see more about the Rainy Season Yamanote-sen Pub Crawl I mentioned.
Jason Coskrey is a sports writer for The Japan Times. He previously worked at the Birmingham Post Herald and the Marietta Daily Journal before moving to Japan in 2007. We spoke about learning Japanese (and how to do sports writing) through immersion.
- Japanese study experience
- Sports writing
- Moving to Japan
- Sports in Japan
- Athlete speak
- Corporate leagues
- Sports sponsorship in Japan
- Region-blocked highlights
- Sports on the rise in Japan
- Japanese for sports interviews
- 振り返る (furikaeru, to look back on)
- Interviewing players after a game
- Professionalizing before or after going to Japan
- Share houses
- Karaoke songs
Adjectives in Japanese are not always what they appear to be! I think part of this is because they function as what I call “performative adjectives.” One of my sixth-grade students helped me finally understand what かわいそう meant. And in Japanese I discuss 系 and how it helped me explain myself.
At the top of the pod I took a minute to thank a few folks for helping me with background for my article for The Japan Times about Jim Breen’s JMDict. That article is here.
Paul Snowden worked for over 40 years in universities in Japan. He taught at Tsukuba University, took a tenure faculty position at Waseda University, later served as the Dean of the School of International Liberal Studies at Waseda, and most recently was Vice-President of Kyorin University. He is also one of the three editors-in-chief of the Fifth Edition of Kenkyusha’s New Japanese-English Dictionary, affectionately known as the Green Goddess.
- Studying Japanese
- Experience studying other languages
- Immersion and translation at Tsukuba
- Using new idioms
- Arriving in Japan by train via Russia
- When the language started to click
- Higher Education in Japan
- Access to tenure for foreigners in Japan
- Being determined to communicate in Japanese with colleagues
- Waseda School of International Liberal Studies
- Teaching in a multilingual classroom
- Reading strategies for foreign languages
- The Green Goddess – Kenkyusha’s New Japanese-English Dictionary
- Dictionary of English Collocations (英和活用大辞典)
- Fourth Edition
- Roman alphabet order vs kana order
- Revision process
- “Reverse authenticity”
- Online version and electronic dictionaries
- Adding new entries and updating existing entries
- COVID-19 and Language
- New paper edition?
- Karaoke Songs
You don’t have to go very far to be a tourist, and looking at the world with that mindset can also be helpful for language study. In this week’s episode, I reminisce about when my parents visited Tokyo and talk about ノーダメージクリア (nōdamēji kuria, completing games without taking any damage).
The book I mention in the episode is Sumiko Enbutsu’s “A Flower Lover’s Guide to Tokyo: 40 Walks for All Seasons.”