Thursday, April 30, 2009

Saturday, April 25, 2009

SMAP's Kusanagi Kun/草彅君 Arrested! - Breaking Japanese News

Some interesting aspects of Japanese culture are discussed after they finish talking about the breaking news involving a member of popular J-pop group SMAP.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Shortening Japanese (Tofugu)

Really well-made vlog helping you speak better Japanese (or at least more natural sounding Japanese).

Deas is a fellow ALT in another part of Japan.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

10 questions

Hello All -

I get tons of email at my YouTube page - most of it from JET applicants or people interested in living in Japan.

I do my best to answer as much of it as I can, but I do get asked the same question a lot by people who haven't looked thru all my videos. And I understand, since I have a lot of videos to look thru! :)

I got the email below a few days ago from a student in high school - much of my mail comes from eager high school students trying to plan out their future, a future that many of them hopes will include a job in Japan.

So have a look at Sydney's 10 questions and my 10 answers below.



My name is Sydney and I am a high school student who is interested in teaching English in Japan in the future. I'm working on a career portfolio project in my English class and I was hoping that I could interview you for the "Ask an Expert" portion. If you are busy and don't have the time to answer these questions, please let me know as soon as possible. Also, I'm very sorry if one of these questions were already answered in one of your videos. My boyfriend recently informed me of your videos on YouTube and I was in a hurry to write you this message. However, I will be watching more of your videos. :) Ah, so sorry about the length of this message. Now for the questions:

1. What do you like most about your job?

2. How did you become interested in your career?

3. Briefly describe some of your job responsibilities.

4. Describe the education and/or training required.

5. Approximately how many hours do you work a week?

6. What is the approximate salary range in your area?

7. What do you like least about your job?

8. Does your job come with any benefits?

9. Do you get along with your co-workers/boss/etc.?

10. How long have you had your job?

Thanks for your time!

- Sydney

Hi Sydney -

Well, seeing as we're both from San Diego, I'd be happy to answer your questions.

Glad you're enjoying my vids - please subscribe when you have time.

1 - The best part of my job is helping my students - not only to learn English, but to learn about America and to help them be comfortable speaking to a foreigner.

2 - Before I found out about the JET Programme, I was in college (at UCSD) and studying with the goal of becoming a high school history teacher. So I was already interesting in teaching, and when I found out about JET I decided to try teaching in Japan.

3 - I'm an ALT, which means Assistant Language Teacher. Even though I'm an assistant, I still have to do many of the same things the regular teacher does - teach lessons, prepare lessons, grade papers, go with the students to school events, help with English speech contests, etc.

4 - To be a JET, you have to have a college degree - a BA or BS. You don't have to have a degree in education, but it helps to have had some teaching or youth volunteer experience when you apply.

5 - 35 to 40.

6 - JETs make 3,600,000 yen per year. With the current exchange rate at around 100yen = $1 - that's about $36,000 per year.

7 - After a few years of being an assistant, you do start to want to run your own classes and make more of the decisions about what to study and how to study it. And being an assistant also means that you have to be asked to join classes by the main Japanese teacher of English, so some days you are very busy and other days you are not busy.

8 - Yes, being a JET includes good benefits - excellent health care in the Japanese National system, 20 paid vacation days per year and subsidized rent for my apartment.

9 - Well, that's a tricky question here since there is a language barrier for many JETs who don't speak Japanese well. But I do get along with most of my fellow English teachers very well, and I wish I spoke better Japanese so I could get to know my other co-workers better.

10 - JET is a one-year contract, but you can renew up to five years maximum. I am in my fifth year, so my job ends this July.

Hope that was helpful.

Jason H.

Friday, April 17, 2009


So this is the most watched video on the Japanese YouTube main page today.

It's two skits from a TV show. Watching it - if you have no idea what they're saying or why people are laughing - welcome to my world. :)

I often channel surf, but I seldom watch any variety or comedy show for too long. While I do get the cultural references some of the time (for example - I think the first skit is a parody of a popular TV show) and I do understand some of the Japanese - most of the humor here goes right over my head.

The actors or comedians on most shows 1 - talk way too fast for me and 2 - often use Kansai dialect full or words and expressions I'm not familiar with.

It's tough sometimes living somewhere where you're never really in on the joke and you can't really make jokes of your own.
Again - the more you can learn Japanese, the more you will enjoy your time in Japan.

My students will most likely enjoy this clip.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Gathering Storm by Coughlan666 (RATED R)

WARNING - this does have a bunch of bad language, but I haven't laughed as hard at anything on YouTube in a long while.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Scrap Teacher eng subbed Ep 1 Part 1/7

I'm lucky that my Jr High is not like the one portrayed in this popular Japanese TV show - "Scrap Teacher."

The show is popular because 4 of the young male actors are from a very popular J-pop boy band called "Hey! Say! Jump!"

But I like the lead adult actor who plays the 29-year-old new teacher at the school.

It's great to be able to watch stuff like this on YT with added subtitles.


For more, just click on the above video YT icon or wait until the end and click the link for part 2.

Friday, April 10, 2009

First Day of school at my Japanese Jr. High - Part ONE

April 8th was the first day of the new Japanese school year.

I'll only be teaching for first term, as my job with JET ends in July.

So it was a bittersweet start to the year this time - knowing that it will end soon made it a bit sad.


Monday, April 06, 2009

Apple's all-new 3G iPod shuffle; it talks to you!

I'm a huge Apple computers fan - ever since 2004, when I got the iBook laptop I'm typing on at this moment , I've enjoyed hearing about each new innovation and product.

I bought my iPod (video, 40gb) back in 2005 or 2006 - I can't even remember now. I still use it all the time - it's been particularly helpful here showing pictures and slideshows in class. And I love having it for long train trips or flights home.

This new iPod Shuffle is pretty amazing - doubt I'll be buying one, but it sure looks cool. :)


Saturday, April 04, 2009

Pictures and vlogs from my Tokyo trip - part 2

Tokyo - Feb 09 trip - Day Four - 3.jpg
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.

Hello All -

I've finally had some time during my Spring Break to update my FLICKR page with the rest of my Tokyo pictures.

These include pictures from Sunday, when I went to a famous Buddhist temple in Asakusa called Senso-ji. And I traveled by train out to neighboring Saitama prefecture to visit the John Lennon Museum.

Both were worthwhile destinations and I recommend them both to people visiting Tokyo.

The picture above is me in the lobby of the JLM - you aren't allowed to take any pictures or video in the actual museum, so that's about all I have, except for a few vlogs I shot at the entrance:

The temple at Asakusa is a very famous landmark in Tokyo and it was super crowded on the Sunday I visited.

Tokyo - Feb 09 trip - Day Four - 10.jpg

But it was interesting to see the mix of commerce, with the path leading up to the temple full of shops on both sides of the path, and the traditional, with people waving incense all over their bodies and making prayers and offerings inside the temple.

It was a great final day in Tokyo - I had just the right amount of time before I had to get the train from Ueno station back to Narita airport. And the weather stayed nice the entire time, altho it did start to get chilly on Sunday.

Unfortunately, I think all the carrying of luggage around the stations, and up and down large flights of stairs, did a number on my back, and after feeling sore all week, my back seized up on me on Friday after I got back and I was in bed all the next weekend, basically unable to move and in great pain, necessitating a trip to the Japanese emergency room that Sunday. Sucks to get old! :P

Anyway - the trip was excellent - I had a great time, met some cool people, saw some awesome sites and ate some great food.

I can't wait to do it again!


Tokyo - Feb 09 trip - Day Four - 20.jpg

100 Scariest Movie Moments - 01 - Jaws

People often ask me what my favorite film of all time is, and I have many, but if pressed I say "JAWS."

For me, it's just a perfect movie. And oddly enough, I never saw it on the big screen when it was originally released in 1976. (I was only 7 years old and I lived in California, so my parents wisely didn't let me see it or I would have never gone to the beach again)
But I never saw "SIngin' in the Rain," "Casablanca," or "Bridge on the River Kwai" on the big screen either, so that's not a big deal.

It was probably the fact that I discovered the movie on VHS and could watch it over and over again (which I did) that has let it become my all time favorite movie.

Everything about it is fantastic - the pace, the plot, the acting, the effects, and of course, the music.

I realized that it's a genre picture and maybe hard to compare to something like Schindler's List or Citizen Kane, but for me, JAWS is endlessly watchable and a great example of everything that Steven Spielberg does so well.


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Behind the Scenes at MyArgonauts Productions

Happy April Fool's Day everyone. This vid has been getting some good reaction from my viewers on YouTube.

Hope you enjoy it. :D


Utada Hikaru - First Love (karaoke)

I really like the style of lyrics seen in the above video.

Watching karaoke vids is a great way to learn Japanese. Many standard karaoke vids include furigana for the kanji, so as long as you know at least hiragana you can follow along. This video is even easier as the Japanese is transcribed into romaji.

Utada is immensely popular here, altho she hasn't had a big hit in over a year.
This song is an early hit for her and one of my favorite sappy J-pop songs.
I'm not sure who to compare her to - maybe Christina Aguilera - since they both are talented vocalists, have had many big hit records, and both started singing at a young age.

The video below is a live version of the song and you can see how Utada looks now.