How to Japanese Podcast – S02E15 – Mike Grant – Learning by Ear, Craft Brewing in Japan

Mike Grant is the co-founder of Devil Craft brewing and has been operating in Tokyo for 10 years as of this year. Devil Craft has four locations in the Tokyo area. See Craft Beer Professional’s interview with Mike here.

  • “Learning by ear” + Six months of classroom Japanese after an initial stint in Japan
    • Practicing and “playing around” by imitating accents in English
  • Being able to take criticism of both language skills and brewing skills
  • AQ BevolutionAlbert Kuwano
  • Learning how to homebrew
    • Experimentation
    • Online recipes
    • Homebrew books
  • Developing a familiarity with malt
  • Licensing for brewers
    • Previous experience or apprenticeship at current brewery
    • 6-9 month process for licensure
    • Brewing system must be on-site and ready to go; license goes with the physical location
    • Recipes must be submitted one day in advance
    • All equipment must be registered; limits mobile canning
  • Homebrewing in Japan
    • No political motivation to change the current laws; no constituency
    • Japan = fermentation mecca
  • State of the craft beer market in Japan
    • Daniel’s 2016 article on Japanese craft beer
    • 400+ breweries in Japan
    • Lots of breweries that are 50-500 liters in size that are in the industry to brew beer rather than to make omiyage
    • Demographics are working against craft beer
    • Tanakaya in Mejiro
    • Chuhai’s place in the Japanese market
    • Barrel-aging and mixed culture brewing
    • Yeast in Japan
    • Brewing conferences, collaborations, and associations
  • Breaking into the craft beer market in Japan

How to Japanese Podcast – S02E14 – The Katakana Fallacy and 言語の支え

The Katakana Fallacy is the mistaken belief that katakana are more difficult to learn than hiragana (and maybe even kanji?!). A closer look at what drives this believe helps explain why Japanese is, in fact, the easiest language in the world. And in Japanese, I talk about linguistic crutches and how to avoid them.

I’ve been writing about the ideas behind the Katakana Fallacy since this post in 2008. And this is the Anki deck of katakana words that I mentioned might be helpful.

How to Japanese Podcast – S02E13 – Mercedez Clewis – Intensive Japanese Study, JET Program, Writing/Localizing

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.

How to Japanese Podcast – S02E12 – かもしれない and 食中毒

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.

How to Japanese Podcast – S02E11 – Brian Epstein – Patent Law, Working with Japanese Clients, Japanese Emails

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.

Unwanted Coworkers

I was in the Japan Times twice recently.

The first is an extended look at いい歳 (ii toshi, decent/sensible age), which I initially examined in my May newsletter: “What exactly does it mean when someone tells you to ‘act your age’?

And for the second, I mined a survey from a comedy site and a Quora question about the funniest Japanese words: “‘PPAP,’ ‘golden jewels’ and other words that make the Japanese giggle.”

I’ve been putting off this post because I’ve had my hands full the last month traveling, translating, writing, and catching up on ye olde podcast, but I was inspired to get something in shape after seeing this tweet:

I was a little surprised by how much hate it was generating. Yes, I get that “Zoom harassment” (making fun of someone’s room during a Zoom call) and “blood type harassment” (deciding someone will act a certain way based on their blood type) are ridiculous. They are evidence of annoying coworkers.

But two of the others seemed to have more potential for actual harassment, at least based on the U.S. definition. The “confession harassment” in particular seems to present potential overlap with sexual harassment. A lot of the replies in the thread don’t seem helpful:

“Try it, the worst she can say is no”

“Imagine getting shut down by your crush but then you’re also guilty of harassment”

Even if these are jokes, they aren’t good looks!

Not that you absolutely can’t date someone at work, but unwanted attention can absolutely become harassment.

いい年 makes an appearance under “age harassment,” which isn’t the typical “age discrimination.” I thought I explained convincingly why いい年 likely disproportionately affects those who already face so much harassment at work. The best response when asked any questions like these is often, “What do you mean by that?” Generalizations will generally fall apart under scrutiny like this.

And I’ll briefly mention here something I didn’t have the space to get to in the article about the funniest words: There were a lot of country names included in the list, which made me feel kind of meh. There’s nothing less funny than laughing at “foreign” sounds just because they sound foreign to you.

At any rate, Happy Tanabata, y’all!

How to Japanese Podcast – S02E10 – 車検 and 人生初めてのカラオケ

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.

How to Japanese Podcast – S02E09 – Morgan Giles – Reading Japanese, Translation, MEXT Scholarship

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.

How to Japanese Podcast – S02E08 – and のり弁

Living with Japanese roommates in Tokyo was the highlight of my time in Japan. I found those roommates on the website, 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 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.

How to TikTok in Japanese

I’m catching up with my Japan Times articles. I had an article about Japanese TikTok accounts at the end of May: “Immerse yourself in the creativity and language of Japanese TikTok accounts.”

Here’s my TikTok translation of the article:


My review of some of the best Japanese TikTok creators ##japanesestudy ##日本語勉強 ##japanese ##日本語

♬ Spongebob – Dante9k

There are so many other great TikTok accounts that I couldn’t fit in the article. I’m enjoying the platform way more than I should. Here are a bunch of Japanese creators that I’m watching regularly, some better for Japanese study than others:

@omuraisupuro has me convinced that I will someday make a respectable omuraisu:


@kyabetu1212 への返信 火力は、関係あるのか検証します🥚 small #omelet #さん太のオムライス教室 #eggchallenge

♬ Athletic tune “heaven and hell” – Shinonome

@tokuiyoshimi seems to be rehabilitating his image on TikTok after admitting to inappropriate tax sheltering. He mostly cooks, has cute cats, and eats out at fancy restaurants.



♬ オリジナル楽曲 – 徳井義実

@syakanani.riisan are a set of twins (?) who are active on YouTube. They’re pretty funny trolls and do skits/trending videos.


@YOLO HOUSE さんの動画を#リミックス #HAHAHA

♬ オリジナル楽曲 – 社会人ですけど何か?

@dpgolf is a virtual golf bar in Hiroshima. The staff make funny videos, some of which are good Japanese study.


#dpgolf #言う事一緒やる事逆#言う事一緒#ゴルフ好きと繋がりたい #オススメに乗りたい #運営さん大好き #広島 #営業後のお遊び

♬ オリジナル楽曲 – FREVIA

@taketv1000 is a guy who drives electric vehicles in Japan. Pretty interesting look at how different electric vehicles are in Japan!


#Honda #電気自動車 #ev #車好き #Honda eーーー

♬ オリジナル楽曲 – TakeTV100

@sumibi_club is a viral charcoal griller who chows down on delicious looking food.


Japanese beef 黒毛和牛 #bbq #wagyu

♬ オリジナル楽曲 – 炭火倶楽部/Sumibi_Club

@shingunkun is a voice actor who made a super viral take on the “Nyan Ichi Ni San” dance.


たまにはこういうのもアリかなって。細マッチョになりたいね。 #細マッチョ #nya #めっちゃライトの調節しまくった #汗だく

♬ オリジナル楽曲 – しんぐん

@aaa_tsushi_ is a Fukuoka-based video artist who shows some of his tricks on TikTok.


舞いに舞う桜吹雪🌸#CapCutに春が来た #tiktokに春が来た #桜 #TikTok教室 #ためになるtiktok

♬ オリジナル楽曲 – あああつし

@gomihiroisamurai are a duo who go around picking up trash in Tokyo. In this video they’re using the viral song なにをやってもあかんわ. They generally have a pretty good selection of Japanese songs as well.


ホントに予想外でした😅 #ゴミ拾い侍 #ゴミ拾い #日常をtikる #pickuptrash

♬ なにをやってもあかんわ (WM night out mix) – 岡崎体育

@chikushowtime are a group of guys who, in their own description, 地元でバスケっぽいことしてます (we play something basketball-ish in the countryside)


答えなさい #好きにしてください #各々で考えて欲しい #狂気の沙汰 #多分理解できない #したいとも思わない #忙しい #悔しい #もうなんでもあり #モハメド有無 #情報量のスクランブル交差点 #生命保険 #世界平和 #国際連合 #バスケ #ストリートバスケ #バスケあるある #畜生タイム

♬ オリジナル楽曲 – 畜生タイム【公式】

@hirokisan79 duets animals and other random sounds. Very entertaining.


@holaasoylilo さんと一緒に #デュエット 元動画は音源ボタンから #おうちで過ごし隊 #Dog #song #犬 #歌うま なんて美声な👏

♬ sonido original – Lilo 🐶

@deliva.offigaycial is a gay comedian. I’m not sure if I get his schtick, but he’s often collaborating with other TikTok stars.


キムタ……ホリちゃんのイケボが素敵過ぎなの♪❤️てかケイリーちゃんはゲイリーちゃんなんじゃなくて!?🔥 #ゲイジャナイ #ホリバズTV #生脚 #おバズりなさい

♬ Gayjanai – DELIVA

@otacraft is an Okinawa-based TikToker who features his grandma.


明日使える!沖縄方言講座⑤ #tiktok教室 #tiktok文化教室 #沖縄

♬ オリジナル楽曲 – 🌺南の島のおばーと孫🏝

@gyamashita_tatsuro is a cover musician who sings some Japanese classics. Check out this cover of Uchiyamada Hiroshi and the Cool Five.



♬ オリジナル楽曲 – 偽ゃま下達郎 by こーすけ

@yoshi30244781481 is a comedian who’s gone viral for his comparisons of Japanese and Korean.



♬ SugarCrash! – ElyOtto

And I’d say there is one viral song worth knowing.

真夜中のドア by Miki Matsubara went viral last December when Gen Zers started filming their Boomer parents recognizing the song.


she didn’t have to go that hard 😭🤣 ##japanese ##japan ##fyp ##asian ##おすすめ

♬ 真夜中のドア/Stay With Me – Miki Matsubara