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GPod 19: Anime Addicts Anonymous Podcast

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Mitsugi and Chiaki from the Anime Addicts Anonymous Podcast are on the GPod to discuss their top five landmark films that have helped define the world of anime.

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The genre of anime films have exploded in popularity around the world recently and to help us understand this phenomenon Anthony has invited Mitsugi and Chiaki from the Anime Addicts Anonymous Podcast to discuss their top five landmark films that have helped define the world of anime.

Akira
Director: Katsuhiro Otomo
Release Date: July 16th, 1988

akira

A film that was so influential it helped create an anime distribution system in America, Akira is considered a forerunner of the second wave of anime fandom that began in the early 1990s and has since gained a massive cult following.

Akira not only influenced much of the art in the anime and manga world but is also been cited as a major influence on live-action films ranging from The Matrix to Chronicle.

Spirited Away
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Release Date: July 20th, 2001

spirited_away

Spirited Away was the first anime film to win an Oscar and has been heralded by critics and fans as one of the greatest animated films of all time.

Directed by Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki, Spirited Away has been analyzed as Hayao’s social commentary on the Japanese society during the bubble economy of the 1990s.

Redline
Director: Takeshi Koike
Release Date: August 14th, 2009

redline

A landmark in what is achievable with hand drawn animation, Redline is a visually stunning film that took 7 years to produce and used over 100,000 hand-made drawings.

Grave of the Fireflies
Director: Isao Takahata
Release Date: April 16th, 1988

grave

Released alongside the famed, My Neighbor Totoro as a theatrical double feature, Grave of the Fireflies suffered commercially as audiences turned away from the start anti-war message in the film.

While the film might have not been commercially successful it received nearly universal acclaim from critics who have touted it as one of the greatest films of all time.

Ghost in the Shell
Director: Mamoru Oshii
Release Date: 1995

ghost

Ghost in the Shell was one of the first anime films to use a mix of traditional cell animation with modern computer graphics. The film strived for a high level of realism with the animation director pointing out that in the tank battle scene the bullets create sparks when hitting metal, but do not spark when a bullet strikes stone.

It is a film that has defined the cyperpunk genre in anime and critical attention has been paid to the film’s focus on sexuality and gender identity.

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Gakuten Student Art Exhibition

An offshoot of the popular Design Festa art exhibition, Gakuten is an international art festival that is open to any student enrolled in an educational institution.

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GPod 18: Teaching English in Japan

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In this show we talk about the negatives and positives of teaching English in Japan at a large and small eikaiwa school.

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Much has been written about teaching English in Japan, some of it positive and some of it negative. However the fact remains that it is the main entry point for a large number of foreigners choosing to work in Japan.

On this episode of the GPod, Anthony Joh talks to Wesley Christenson who first came to Japan through a teaching program by the large Eikaiwa company, Aeon. Wes talks about the challenges and benefits of working in a large company and ultimately why he chose to leave Aeon for a role in a smaller language school.

Now working at Kids Duo, Wes is excited about the opportunities that the school offers. Even though he took a pay cut to work at Kids Duo, the teacher friendly environment is something he greatly appreciates.

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GPod 17: An American Piano

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An American Piano is based on the true story of a young Japanese girl who played the piano for POWs during WWII and how it affected their lives.

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The film “An American Piano” is based on the extraordinary true story of a young Japanese girl, Youko Koshida, who played the piano for Prisoners of War during World War II and how it affected their lives.

War is only possible when the enemy is dehumanised. “An American Piano” is a story of humanity, compassion and the universality of music in helping to heal the rifts between wartime rivals.

On this episode of the GPod Anthony Joh talks to director Paul Leeming and Writer/Producer Hamish Downie about their film and the challenges and opportunities of being filmmakers in Japan.

We are also joined by Sarah Feinerman from Design Festa who joins us to talk about their new student art initiative called Gakuten. An offshoot of the popular Design Festa art exhibition, Gakuten is an international art festival open to students.

Gakuten is open to any student enrolled in an educational institution. Click here to register your booth.

gakuten

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GPod 16: WHILL type-A Personal Mobility Device

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On this show Anthony is joined by WHILL engineer Atushi Mizushima and brand evangelist Julia Olson to talk about the impact the WHILL type-A is having on wheelchair users and the public’s perception of people in wheelchairs.


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There has been a lot written about how Japan has lost it’s technological edge and that it’s not as internationally competitive compared to American or Korean companies as it used to be.

While this may be true for the established Japanese tech giants, the same can’t be said for Japanese startups. The start up scene in Japan is alive and growing with small innovative companies pushing the boundaries of what technology and the human spirit can do.

One such company is WHILL, makers of the WHILL type-A personal mobility device which is a radical new design of the traditional powered wheelchair. On this show Anthony is joined by WHILL engineer Atushi Mizushima and brand evangelist Julia Olson to talk about the impact the WHILL type-A is having on the people who use wheelchairs and the public’s perception of people in wheelchairs.

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GPod Random Pick of the Week!

A talented illustrator, Hama-house draws unique speed-sketches of daily life in Japan.

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GPod 15: Let’s Talk About Sumo!

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More than just two big guys in diapers, sumo is considered by many to be Japan’s unofficial national sport. With a long history, complex rituals and spectacular matches, sumo is a fascinating journey into the heart and soul of Japan.


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Dating back over 2000 years, sumo is as much a sport of Japan as it is part of the culture of Japan. With many rituals and customs, the sport of sumo has it’s origins in the Shinto religion.

A sumo match consists of two wrestlers (rikishi) who fight in a ring called the dohyou and the winner is the one who pushes his opponent out of the ring or causes his opponent to touch the ground.

While these rules may sound simple sumo is a vastly complex and entraining sport. To help understand this sport we are joined by Jason Harris who runs a popular YouTube channel dedicated to all things sumo.

Anthony is also pleased to support the Knights in White Lycra and their charity ride to raise money for the recovery work in Minamisanriku. The riders are Tokyo-based salarymen who plan to ride the 465 kms from Tokyo to Minamisanriku, in less than four days. None of them cycle for a living, a few need to shed some weight and a rather greater number have long said good-bye to their youth!

To find out more information about their ride and lend your support visit their Facebook page.

Michael Gakuran makes a return appearance on the GPod to tell us his experience in running the Tokyo Marathon. Not only was this Michael’s first time running the Tokyo Marathon but it was his first time running any marathon. He talks us through the gruelling five and half hour run and offers some training tips for anyone who wants to run next year.

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GPod 14: 42 Japanese Language Learning Hacks

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We continue our Japanese Language Series with Olly Richards, a polyglot who speaks seven languages. Olly joins the GPod to talk about his list of 42 Insane Japanese Language Learning Hacks!


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We continue our Japanese Language Series with Olly Richards, a polyglot who speaks seven languages. Olly joins the GPod to talk about his list of 42 Insane Japanese Language Learning Hacks!

Olly asked some of the top languages learners from around the web to send in their best language learning tips and curated the answers into his list. We don’t have time to cover all 42 but Olly is going to talk about his top five tips for learning Japanese.

  • You must enjoy the learning process.
  • Use full sentences in your flashcards.
  • Write in Japanese and have it corrected by a native speaker.
  • Find ways to start talking as soon as possible.
  • Think in patterns.

For the full list of 42 Insane Japanese Language Learning Hacks visit I Will Teach You A Language.

We introduce a new study series on GaijinPot Study. Written by Olly this series will help you kickstart your Japanese studies in six simple steps. If you are ready to start learning Japanese head over to the GP Study section and Kickstart Your Japanese Study.

We are also joined by Ryoko Takei who is a Tokyo based opera singer and runs a website dedicated to promoting Japanese culture through her music. For anyone who likes to learn through song, or if you’re a fan of Japanese opera visit Foster Japanese Songs for more information.

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Kickstart Your Japanese Study

Follow the steps laid out in these six articles and your approach to studying Japanese will undergo a transformation, bringing you one step closer to fluency!

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GPod 13: Intercultural Dating

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In this show we talk to Lorie and Sho about the challenges and rewards of being an intercultural couple. From punctuality to cleanliness we take a look at the extra challenge that cultural differences bring to a relationship.

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Valentines is a special day for many couples but here in Japan things are done a little differently.

While in the West you might see a long line of men buying chocolates or flowers for their special someone, here in Japan it’s the woman’s responsibility to buy a gift to give to their men.

This role reversal is just one of the unique aspects of living and dating in a new country. In this show we talk to Lorie and Sho about the challenges and rewards of being an intercultural couple.

From punctuality to cleanliness we take a look at the extra challenge that cultural differences bring to a relationship.

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GPod 12: How To Rent An Apartment In Tokyo

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One of the first major challenges that many foreigners face when moving to Japan is renting an apartment. To help us understand this process we are joined by Adam German from Real Estate Japan, who is going to guide us through the necessary steps of securing your new home in Japan.

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One of the first major challenges that many foreigners face when moving to Japan is finding a place to live. Renting an apartment in Tokyo is a complicated process filled with all sorts of historic regulations and procedures, strange acronyms, and more fees than you can possibly imagine.

To help us understand this process we are joined by Adam German from Real Estate Japan, who is going to guide us through the necessary steps of securing your new home in Japan.

How Much Does It Cost To Live In Tokyo?

One of the first things that Adam recommends is setting a realistic budget. Many real estate agents will set your rental payment at no more than 30% of your monthly income.

For example, if you want an apartment that is listed at ¥100,000/month then you have to prove you make at least ¥300,000/month.

An important note for anyone who earns their income from outside of Japan, many rental agencies will only consider the income you earn from within Japan.

Another cost to consider when renting an apartment in Tokyo is the large number of fees that you will be required to pay. This amount varies between agents but you should allot up to 6 months of monthly rent for various administrative fees.

Get All Your Paperwork Ready

Japan is a country that loves paperwork, the continued use of the fax machine is evidence of that. As we discussed in the podcast, the better you are prepared with your paperwork the faster the application process will go.

Some of the documents that you will need are:

  • Copies of your passport.
  • Copies of your residence card. (住民票 – Juminhyo)
  • Letter of employment with salary information. (在籍証明書 – zaisekishomeisho)
  • Your Japanese tax documents. (源泉徴収表 – gensenchoshuhyo)

Do You Have A Guarantor?

Having a guarantor is a very important part of Japanese culture and be prepared to hear this question A LOT, even if you’ve only been in Japan for a few days and do not know anyone. Most Japanese who need a guarantor will turn to their parents as the guarantor must be Japanese and living in Japan.

If you do not have a guarantor then you can use a guarantor company. A guarantor company is a third party insurance company that agrees to act as a guarantor. Most likely the property manager of the apartment you wish to apply for will be able to introduce their preferred guarantor company.

If you do happen to have a Japanese guarantor, they will have to prepare the following documents:

Proof of residence (住民票 – jyuminhyo)
Income statement (源泉徴収表 – gensenchuhyo)
Name stamp (印鑑証明書 – inkanshomeisho)

Be certain to give your guarantor plenty of time to get these documents ready as they will have to go to their local government office to obtain them.

Please note that your guarantor will be evaluated the same way you will be. They must show that the rent of the apartment you want to rent does not exceed 30% of their monthly income.

Learn The Lingo

So now that you have your budget and guarantor sorted out, it’s time to decide what kind of apartment do you want.

LDK is a common abbreviation used to describe the size of the apartment. It stands for Living, Dining and Kitchen, and is preceded by the number of rooms. Some examples are:

1K = one room apartment with kitchen
1DK = one room apartment with dining and kitchen area
2LDK = two room apartment with a living, dining and kitchen area

It is important to note that what we in the West would consider as a living or dining room is not the same in Japan. Typically the living, dining, kitchen area is one big room. So a 1DK is just a smaller room compared to a 1LDK.

It is no secret that many apartments in Tokyo are small. Certainly if you have the budget there are any number of sizes that you can rent but for most people new to Tokyo, be prepared to downsize dramatically.

If you are used to measuring a room in inches or centimetres, you will need to learn another unit of measurement called jo (畳). Jo is a unit of measurement based on how many tatami mats can fit in a single room.

For example, a “roku-jo” room is one that has 6 tatami mats in it. The exact size of a single tatami mat (ichi-jo) can vary from city to city so it’s best to ask your real estate agent for the exact size.

Fees, Fees And More Fees!

Besides paperwork, Japan is a land of fees. Administration fees, production fees, registration fees, doing my job fee, etc. If they can name it, they will slap a fee on it and renting an apartment is no exception.

The large number of fees associated with moving into your new apartment can be a big sticker shock for first time renters.

Some of the more common fees are:

Deposit: 2 x rent
Key Money: 1 ~ 2 x rent
Agent Fee: 1 x rent
Guarantor Fee: 1 x rent
Contract Renewal Fee: 1 x rent
Miscellaneous: ¥50,000 (insurance, cleaning, lock change, etc.)

On average you should budget to spend approximately 6 months equivalent rent in fees when you sign the rental agreement.

The No Fee UR Apartments

UR Housing, or ‘Urban Renaissance’ is a public company that offers rental housing in Tokyo without many of the usual fees associated with a traditional Japanese real estate firm.

UR housing charges no key money, agent fee, renewal fee and doesn’t require a guarantor. Additionally, they will rent out their apartments to anyone regardless of nationality.

As you can see the UR apartments offer a substantial saving compared to a regular Japanese real estate company. There are a number of real estate companies that specialize in UR apartments. Their main website can be found here.

Jiko Bukken. Ghosts stay free!

For those of you who are not superstitious then a ‘jiko bukken’ property might be perfect for you. A jiko bukken is a property where the former occupant died of unnatural causes, such as suicide, murder, fire or neglect.

By law all real estate agents must tell you that you are viewing a jiko bukken property.

Due to the superstitious nature of many Japanese people, jiko bukken properties can usually be rented at a substantial discount. As long as you don’t mind the occasional strange noise in the night, a jiko bukken might be a great way to save some money on the rent.

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GPod Pick of the Week!

Wanderlust is a travel website with a manga twist. Author Alex Mamo writes and illustrates her daily life and travels in Japan.

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Ichii Corporation

Ichii Corporation is a fully bilingual real estate company dedicated to supporting people from all over the world in finding their accommodation in Japan.

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GPod 11: The Cost of Living in Tokyo

gpod11

Tokyo is known as one of the most expensive cities to live in but how much does it actually cost to live here?

From rent, to taxes, transportation, food and more, we show you how living in Tokyo is not as expensive as you think.

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Tokyo is known as one of the most expensive cities in the world to live, but how much does it actually cost to live here?

On this episode of the GPod, Anthony is joined by Reno Tibke from AkihabaraNews to discuss the true cost of living in Tokyo.

We break down our monthly fixed living expenses, cover various transportation costs, internet connectivity and annual taxes that you will be required to pay.

While the cost of living in Tokyo can vary greatly depending on the location, these numbers should give you a rough estimate of what it costs to start you new life in Tokyo.

We aslo briefly cover food and entertainment in the show but we didn’t include specific prices as those costs will vary depending on your lifestyle.

Anthony’s Expenses

Rent: ¥75,000
Gas: ¥3000 ~ ¥4500
Water: Included with the rent
Electric: Included with the rent
Home Internet: ¥6121
Mobile Phone: ¥7800
Transportation: ¥7600

Reno’s Expenses

Rent: ¥78,000
Gas: ¥3000 ~ ¥4500
Water: ¥2000
Electric: ¥5500 ~ ¥6500
Home Internet: ¥2500 (¥30,000 router cost)
Mobile Phone: ¥7800
Transportation: ¥12,800

Taxes

Salary Simulation provided by Capital Tax
Year 1 Year 2
Monthly Yearly Monthly Yearly
Base Salary 250,000 3,000,000 250,000 3,000,000
Health Insurance 12,961 155,532 12,961 155,532
Pension Insurance 22,256 267,072 22,256 267,072
Total Insurance 35,217 422,604 35,217 422,604
Inhabitant Tax 0 0 13,459 161,508
Income Tax 5,270 63,240 5,270 63,240
Total Deduction 40,487 485,844 53,946 647,352
Net Salary 209,513 2,514,156 196,054 2,352,648

 

While this list does not cover all expenses of living in Tokyo it does give you a rough estimate.

Due to time constraints we were not able to cover areas outside of Tokyo but if you are living outside of Tokyo feel free to post your expenses in the comments below.

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Looking for a job in Tokyo?

The GaijinPot Jobs is the largest English language job listing in Japan. Register and start applying for jobs today!

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GPod 10: Getting a University Job in Japan

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Getting a university job in Japan is a goal for many teachers but the path to a university position is not always clear. On this episode of the GPod, Anthony talks to two professors about their experience with working in Japan.

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Getting a university job in Japan is a goal for many teachers and yet the path to a tenured position at a Japanese university is not always clear.

In this show Anthony talks to Matthew T. Apple who is an associate profession at Ritsumeikan University. Matthew talks about his entry to Japan through the JET Programme and how teaching English in a small town taught him the skills he needed to pursue a career in higher education.

Matthew also mentions the importance of networking in Japan. Personal relationships play a key role in many business decisions here and building those relationships in the beginning will lead to better opportunities down the road.

One of the organizations that Matthew recommends is Japan Association of Language Teachers (JALT). Check out the video below for more information about this great organization.

Also on the show is Elizabeth Tasker who is an assistant professor at Hokkaido University. Elizabeth is relatively new to Japan and she shares with us her experiences in working in a Japanese univerisity and how she is learning to cope with the six month of snow they regularly receive in Sapporo.

Anthony also talks about the importance of professionalism when searching for a new job. As a former employer he offers tips on how to make your resume stand out and what you can do to make a personal connection during the interview.

The bulk of the hiring in Japan is done in April and so now is a good time to log into the GaijinPot Job System and make sure your resume and cover letters are up to date.

We are also pleased to announce the winners of the Master Japanese: Learn Nihongo the Fun Way ebook. The winners are:

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Get A Job In Japan

Find the job that’s right for you. Use GaijinPot’s Job System to create a  resume, search for jobs, email employers and start your life in Japan!

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GPod 9: Mastering Japanese the Fun Way

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We are pleased to start our new Japanese Language Series on the GPod. Our first guest is John Fotheringham, author of Mastering Japanese: How to Learn Nihongo the Fun Way.


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One of the challenges with living in Japan is dealing with the language. While it is certainly possible to get by with a smattering of Japanese, not having a good understanding of the language does limit your job opportunities.

To provide some inspiration for learning Japanese, we are pleased to announce our new language series on the GPod.

Each month we will bring you an interview with a different language expert who will offer their suggestions on the best methods to learn Japanese.

Rather than the standard “word of the day type” lessons, we will be looking into the history of the Japanese language, tips on learning it, and the opportunities that open up for foreigners who can speak it.

On this show we are talking to John Fotheringham who is the author of the language guide, Mastering Japanese: How to Learn Nihongo the Fun Way.

More than a simple study book, this guide is designed for busy people who are looking for the best resources to learn Japanese.

Some of the topics that you will find in Mastering Japanese are:

  • Tips and tools to help you master all four Japanese language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing
  • How to learn the natural way, harnessing your innate language acquisition capabilities by working with and not against, human psychology.
  • A massive collection of suggested apps, books, manga, magazines, and online resources, helping you choose the right tools for your learning style, your goals, and your budget.
  • Create a Japanese immersion environment no matter where you happen to live while also harnessing the hidden moments throughout your day to maximize your exposure to the language no matter how busy you may be.

twitter_contest

UPDATE: This Twitter contest is over. Thanks to everyone who entered. For more information about the Mastering Japanese: How to Learn Nihongo the Fun Way visit John’s website at Language Mastery.

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Kickstart your Japanese language learning with our GaijinPot Study series.

The GaijinPot Study lessons are designed for those who love to study using fun and informative lessons that you can use immediately in your daily life in Japan.

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GPod 8: First Time Travellers To Japan

GPod 8 Traveling in Japan

Have you always wanted to visit Japan but are concerned about the high costs, the language barrier or the dreaded squat toilets? Visiting Japan for the first time can be a fun and rewarding experience but it is a destination that does require some planning.


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Have you always wanted to visit Japan but you are concerned about the high prices, the language barrier or the dreaded squat toilets?

Visiting Japan for the first time can be a fun and rewarding experience but it is a destination that does require some planning.

On this show Bangkok based writer Greg Jorgensen joins Anthony to talk about his recent trip to Japan. He offers some tips for the first time travellers and shares how traveling in Tokyo compares to traveling in Bangkok.

In keeping with the travel theme, this week’s Random Plug of the Week is a travel app, video and blog.

Japan Snow Guide – This free iOS app has a simple and easy to use design and gives you the latest information on dozens of ski resorts throughout Japan.

One Week In Japan – Filmmaker Mike Matas took over 4000 photos during his vacation in Japan and combined them into this short video.

15 Days in Japan – Nuno Santos has created a beautiful website documenting his two weeks in Japan. The photo heavy design does a good job of capturing the nuances of life in Japan.

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Find Great Deals On Hotels In Japan

Start your journey in Japan. Browse the best hotel deals for your Japan adventure.

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GPod 7: Top News Stories of 2013

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On the last show of the year Anthony is joined by long time resident Hikosaemon to talk about some of the top news stories from Japan in 2013.


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On the last show of the year Anthony is joined by long time Japan resident Hikosaemon to talk about some of the top news stories of 2013.

They discuss the impact that Abenomics is having on the Japanese economy and what is means for consumers.

A loophole was found that finally allowed Mt Fuji to achieve UNESCO World Heritage status.

Lastly, they cover the new work opportunities that are being created by Japanese companies for foreigners working in Japan.

The era of the rockstar English teacher may be over but they both agree that there are far more opportunities for foreigners in Japan now than ever before.

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Listen to the GPod

True life Japan direct from the people who live here. Tune in every week for a new episode of the GPod.

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GPod 6: Favorite Apps For Living In Japan

GaijinPot Podcast

Japan is one of the most connected countries in the world and the smartphone revolution has brought us a huge selection of apps to make daily life just a little bit easier.


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Japan is one of the most connected countries in the world and the smartphone revolution certainly has taken over here.

With that comes a huge selection of smartphone apps for both iOS and Android to make daily living just a little bit easier.

On this episode Anthony is joined by Reno Tibke from Akihabara News to take a look at some of our favourite apps that we use everyday to help with daily life in Japan.

With thousands of apps we couldn’t cover them all but we decided to break it down into three main categories that we felt are used the most.

Language Apps

Transportation Apps

Social Apps

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GPod Featured Website of the Week!

All you ever wanted to know about Japan: travel guides, photos, culture, religion, work and life as a foreigner in Japan.

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GPod 5: Modeling in Japan

Modeling in Japan

Working as a model in Japan is a dream job for many and on this show we talk with model and actress Cynthia Popper about what it takes to get started in Japan.


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Modeling in Japan is a dream job for many but it’s not all sake parties and adoring fans. Working as a model can be a lucrative job for many foreigners who are prepared to put in the work to make it happen.

On this show we talk with model and actress Cynthia Popper who has just recently moved to Japan after a successful modeling career in America.

After only a short time in Japan, Cynthia has landed jobs with well known brands such as IKEA and GaijinPot.

On the show she talks about how to get started in Japan, getting an agent, overcoming the language issues and red flags to watch out for.

For more information about modeling in Japan check out Cynthia’s articles on GaijinPot.

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Cynthia Popper

Learn about modeling in Japan. Get insider tips on portfolios and auditions, and check out reviews on the best Japanese and Korean beauty products.

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