Podcast, Interrupted

This morning I started talking about the things that tend to annoy foreigners in Japan, but I had to cut it short. I’ll continue it on the way home tonight.

Rich Pav

Richard has been living in Japan since 1990 with his wife and two teenage sons, Tony and Andy.

16 thoughts to “Podcast, Interrupted”

  1. Rich, I have been used by Japanese so they can speak English a few times and one time I was taken to a nice place in Ginza so they could use me and I did not speak, to teach them a real lesson, it was funny the person brought a friend and I did not speak the entire time ! I am not a freaking guinea pig for them to study !

  2. Do I remember this correctly? It is impolite to blow your nose in public, but OK to sniff? So when you get on a train you are serenaded by a chorus of nose sniffing! After about a half an hour of this , I want to shout “ENOUGH ALREADY” and hand them a tissue.

    1. It’s not written down anywhere, but in general it’s rude to make enough noise to attract attention to yourself. I think the same thing also goes in the US to some degree, but there’s a lower threshold of tolerance of here.

      (“Baba” is my mom, BTW.)

      1. I enjoyed your earlier podcasts, *sniff* they were entertaining and informative. *sniff* Lately, it seems to be going downhill *sniff*, with your *sniff* (what seems to be) lack of confidence that shows (sounds?) in your voice and manner of speaking. *sniff* Also, *sniff* the show *sniff* seems to be *sniff* a bit repetative *sniff* lately. Perhaps it’s *sniff* because of the *sniff* forced daily ‘casts? *sniff* I think quality over *sniff* quantity would be *sniff* preferable. *sniff* Frogs.. great!, laughing kids, great.. endless droning and sniffing… not so much. Maybe limit yourself to 5-7 minutes for a while?

        I just couldn’t take it anymore and turned off the podcast, but then I thought to myself.. this is just a lesson in patience and resumed listening.

        Please!! step aside, find a bathroom, press pause, SOMETHING, ANYTHING but blow your damn nose!!


        1. Ouchie. You’re right on all accounts, I sniff too much. It’s winter, it’s cold outside and my nose runs. I also lack self-confidence and repeat myself. Guilty as charged. Anything else you need to unload?

          Thanks for the criticism. I was wondering how long it would take to receive some. Hey, if you don’t like my show, go listen to one of the other 10,000 podcasts that are out there, because it’s not like I’m ever going to give you your money back. I’m going to keep doing my best, even if it’s not THE best or not good enough for some people. I’m hoping I’ll eventually get better at it.

          It’s kinda funny how talking too much about patience pisses some people off. I had a feeling it would.

          1. Nope, nothing else to unload. I think you took your first (podcast) criticism very well. 🙂 I probably shouldn’t criticize at all because I have yet to record my first podcast after over a year of trying/wanting to. Partly because of laziness, mostly because of (social?) anxiety. At least you have the ‘nads to put yours out there. 🙂

          2. I deleted the first draft of my reply that simply read, “Eat the peanuts out of my shit.”

            It’s interesting that you want to do a podcast but you’re afraid you won’t be good enough, yet you criticize mine for being flawed. That’s called projecting. I used to do it all the time too. I’ve pretty much gotten over it, but I’m still really tough on myself. As much as I mention it when I’m recoring, I’m still holding back. For me, shitting out podcasts not matter how bad I think they suck is like therapy bordering on psychological torture. I dare you to try it; it’s one of the most difficult things I’ve ever forced myself to do. The only thing that keeps me going is how unbelievably kind and understanding people have been. I never could have expected to hear from so many of them.

  3. Love the podcast. I meant to write earlier when you were down on podcasting, but I didn’t. Fortunately, enough people did…

    I enjoy hearing about your life in Japan. It often strikes a chord, because I’m an expat Canuck living in the US with a Vietnamese wife. We’re starting our own branch office of the UN.

    This podcast struck a particular chord for a couple of reasons. I’ve travelled to Vietnam with my wife and I’ve run into many of the same things you talk about. I’ve also travelled to Nepal, and there it’s the kids that really want to practice their English. I guess I have a completely different attitude from you and the other commenter about that–I enjoy helping people out. I’ve never viewed it as being “used”. One gentleman in Vietnam invited me for breakfast so that he could practice his English. After about half an hour, he started to cry. I got really confused–I hadn’t thought I’d breached any protocols. After a while I got the full story:

    He had worked in Propaganda for the South Vietnamese and American governments during the Vietnam war. He was a civilian, so when the war ended, he didn’t receive the same kind of treatment as military people did. He was, however, forced to continue his job working for the Communist government. He was absolutely forbidden to speak English under threat of imprisonment. (His minders couldn’t understand English, so if he was speaking English, they couldn’t understand what he was saying. They didn’t want to risk the fact that he might be speaking subversion…)

    This continued for 20 years, and he was allowed to retire. The government gave him permission to teach English to children. I was the first adult he spoke with in over 20 years that could carry an English conversation. For the first time in over 20 years, he got to work on his accent.

    The funny story I have about all this involves a trip to the pharmacy to pick up a particularly feminine product. There was no way I was going to get any of this across with my limited Vietnamese, so I carried on the conversation in English. With two young ladies. I won’t go into the details of how I got across what I needed, but they thought it was hilarious. They giggled like schoolgirls and made (somewhat rude) comments along the lines of me being henpecked. It seems Vietnamese men *never* do this kind of shopping for their wives. As I was leaving the shop, in a fairly amused mood, I turned around and said: “Why do you think I don’t understand Vietnamese?” In Vietnamese. The look on their faces was priceless…

    Keep it up. I love the podcast, and I’m glad you’re working through the blocks. I’m dying to give podcasting a try on my next visit to Vietnam.

    1. I agree with Chris and enjoy letting Japanese people practice their English, within reason of course. I’ve never been approached on a train or felt pressured to give a free lesson – that crosses the line. But after a few drinks at a bar or izakaya Japanese can be way more direct in English, so its fun to see them liberated from having to use vague expression and nuance. A negative side effect of speaking slowly and clearly in English to Japanese is that after several years my own English started to deteriorate. Therefore it’s impressive that after 15 years in Japan you still have such a glib tongue, Rich. Regarding comment at top by sakuradamon, the only “lesson” he taught with those antics is that foreigners can be pricks.

  4. Rich the sound quality of your podcasts is absolutley fantastic, I just listened to your bike cast — sorry I’m a little behind — and when you are getting your bike you can hear the train going over you, its really cool.

    Keep up the excelent work.

  5. I’m somewhere betwixt annoyed and bemused that the size “small” has disappeared from the US. Now all sizes begin with “medium”. I once asked a kid at a movie theater for a small popcorn and he said “all we have is medium”. I explained that no matter what they label it (medium, vente) the smallest one is, to me, still small. Other old curmudgeons in line laughed but he didn’t get it, or more likely didn’t care.

    1. The thing I always notice first when I step off a plane in the US is that Americans themselves don’t seem to come in small anymore. What used to be considered large is the new medium, and large to me is holy-mother-of-&%$#-gargantuan. A large coffee at Starbuck’s is practically the size of a brewing pot.

    2. Well it’s different if yo uare asking for a label, or if you are asking for a description. If you say, “I’ll have your smallest popcorn,” then there’s no confusion/correction, because unless there is only one size, smallest applies. I like to go to coffee shops and order their “Fatty” iced mocha (or whatever). And you know what? They always give me the largest size without asking me to clarify. So maybe what you should do is, next time you’re at a movie, order their “Piss-ant” popcorn, and see if they give you the small. Or, medium, rather.

  6. Rich, your microphone setup kicks ass. Why? I was cycling to work in Cambridge, UK and I kept on spinning my head around looking out for the non existent truck or person who’s speaking Japanese on the side of the street.

    Anyway, its interesting why people are listening to your podcast. For me its just because I want to spend a couple of years to live in Japan, so before I get to do that, I’m just interested to hear what people think of life there is like. Not really because I have some sick desire to snoop in on people’s lives 🙂

    1. One time I recorded while taking a stroll around a playground full of kids. Then I replayed it back as I retraced my steps. That was trippy. I could hear kids playing on empty equipment.

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