Adam Evanko is the creative mind behind the Gaijinhunter YouTube account where he’s built up over 280,000 subscribers. He’s also an incredibly lucid communicator and diligent student. We discuss his early time studying Japanese, his work at McDonald’s and a hotel in Japan, and how a job at a translation company helped prepare him for a career in video game production:
- Had you studied Japanese before you moved to Japan?
- Once you were in Japan, were you taking classes or doing self-study?
- Did you have any strategies to help you with the reading section of the JLPT?
- Were there any big milestones in terms of a first game, manga, or novel you completed in Japanese?
- 漢字検定 (Kanji kentei – Kanji aptitude test)
- What were your job hunting strategies in Japan? Are there any strategies you would recommend people looking for work?
- Did McDonald’s or the hotel where you worked have any guidance for 敬語 (keigo, polite speech)? How did you learn 敬語?
- What was your experience like as a translation project manager?
- The word my coworker helped me learn was 必殺技 (hissatsuwaza, special move), not whatever it is I said on the pod.
- Did you do any coding, writing, or game creation when you were growing up?
- What is it like to work as a video game producer? What advice would you give people interested going into video game production?
- What drew you to Monster Hunter and what has kept you interested for so long?
- What was it about Monster Hunter: World that took the series to an international level?
- What are you excited to see in Iceborne?
- Do you think anything about Monster Hunter reflects Japanese culture or values?
- How has it been to raise a daughter in Japan? Did you make a conscious effort to include her in your gaming? Do you monitor screen time?
At the top, I talk about being mindful of the difficulty of your Japanese study – sometimes you need to actively choose to do difficult things when you study Japanese.
Shaun McKenna is the Deputy Manager of the Life & Culture Division of the Japan Times. He came on the How to Japanese Podcast to talk about his experience studying Japanese while teaching on JET and the transition to journalism. He also has some great recommendations on how to pitch an editor at a publication like the JT:
- How has it been to edit the Bilingual page?
- Did you study Japanese before you visited? And was JET the first time you visited the country?
- Did you have success with Japanese for Busy People?
- After you finished the textbook, what self-study techniques were helpful?
- Looking back, is there anything you would do differently?
- Are a lot of Japan Times writers come to Japan without much training in the language?
- What language milestones were important for you?
- How did you find your Japanese teacher?
- Where did you find free Japanese lessons in Yokohama?
- After you returned to Canada, did you start job hunting in Japan?
- Was journalism a long-term goal for you coming out of college?
- What was your job hunting process in Japan?
- How is the workplace culture at the Japan Times?
- What naming conventions are used in Japanese workplaces?
- Are you able to write for the Japan Times now that you’ve transitioned to editor?
- Are you taking pitches from new writers?
- Have you found new writers on Twitter?
- What’s an ideal pitch? And what kind of web presence do you need?
- Are you able to follow the music scene as much now that you’re not Music Editor?
- Are there any venues you’d recommend in Japan?
At the top, I tell the story of crashing a car in Japan and discuss facing setbacks during language study.
Kristi Fernandez has translated a number of light novels, manga, and drama. She’s also the creator of the group Japanese Translators of New York and a champion for translators on Twitter. We talked Japanese study and light novel translation for the eighth episode of the How to Japanese Podcast:
- What inspired your Twitter thread on translator appreciation?
- What was your path to Japanese fluency?
- What self-study strategies were you using? Was anything particularly effective?
- What do you remember about your first encounter with Japanese in Japan?
- How did your college course present 敬語 (keigo, polite speech) versus more casual speech?
- When did you feel like you were making progress with the language?
- What was the first novel you read? And what reading strategies did you have?
- Are you finding time to read in addition to your translation work?
- How did you find a job using your Japanese skills when you returned from Japan?
- How did you get your first translation job?
- What is the marketing process for translation and what kind of work do you do to fill up your schedule?
- Creating an online presence
- What’s the translation process like for you?
- Has anything changed with your translation process?
- Do you work from a digital or paper copy when translating?
- What are your thoughts on The Dark Maidens? Do you think it has anything to say about the Japanese high school experience?
- What has made the foreign market more receptive to light novels?
At the top, I talk briefly about some of the purchases I made on Amazon Japan during my time on JET and the strategy I used to make sure my package was delivered.