Voices in Japan
Voices in Japan
Apr 10, 2019
Slave to the Salaryman Life!
47 min

Looking for a career in Japan?  Get ready for the crazy welcome parties, off the cuff greetings and farewell speeches, morning stretches, meetings on top of meetings, and the possibility of literally working to death, aka karoshi! Can the government policies being introduced actually reform the challenges affecting Japan's labor force? Find out how our podcasters have been navigating their way over the years and surviving the notorious Japanese working culture!

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/voicesinjapan)

Deep Dive from The Japan Times
Deep Dive from The Japan Times
The Japan Times
74: Reimagining Japan’s post-pandemic tourism industry
Our guest today is Alex Kerr, best known for his books “Lost Japan” and “Dogs and Demons.” Through his work in Shikoku’s Iya Valley and Kyoto’s teahouse districts, Alex has become one of the country’s pioneers of new models of heritage-based and sustainable tourism.  On this episode we’ll be discussing what a sustainable future for Japan’s tourism could look like, and whether Covid-19 offers a space to reflect and reimagine the industry, or whether the country will regress to old habits and unsustainable practices as soon as it’s over.  Read more:  Foreign visitors drop 99% from year earlier for sixth straight month (https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/10/21/national/foreign-visitors-japan-drop-99-september-6th-straight-month/) (The Japan Times) Getting the wheels back on Japan's travel industry (https://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2020/06/06/travel/tourism-industry-coronavirus/) (Alex Martin, The Japan Times) Tourism's effect on historic cities and sites in focus as global conference kicks off in Kyoto (https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/12/12/national/tourism-effect-focus-at-kyoto-conference/) (Eric Johnston, The Japan Times) Japan is struggling to deal with the foreign tourism boom (https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/05/05/national/media-national/japan-struggling-deal-foreign-tourism-boom/) (Philip Brasor, The Japan Times) Photo Essay: Tokyo without tourists (https://www.japantimes.co.jp/photo-essay-tokyo-without-tourists/) (Oscar Boyd, The Japan Times) Pandemic derails Abe's strategy to revive regional Japan with tourism (https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/08/07/national/pandemic-derails-abes-strategy-revive-regional-japan-tourism/) (Reuters) On this episode:  Alex Kerr: Chiiori Trust (http://chiiori.org) | Website (http://alex-kerr.com) Oscar Boyd: Twitter (https://twitter.com/omhboyd) | Articles (https://www.japantimes.co.jp/author/oscar-boyd/) | Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/oscar.boyd/) Finding the Heart Sutra Alex Kerr's new book "Finding the Heart Sutra" will be published Nov. 26, 2020, by Penguin (https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/309436/finding-the-heart-sutra/9780241468456.html) . This book brings together Buddhist teaching, talks with friends and mentors, and acute cultural insights to probe the universe of thought contained within the "Heart Sutra." Announcements: Sign up to the Deep Dive mailing list and be notified every time a new episode comes out. Get in touch with us at deepdive@japantimes.co.jp. Support the show! Rate us, review us and share this episode with a friend if you've enjoyed it. Follow us on Twitter, and give us feedback. This episode of Deep Dive may be supported by advertising based on your location. Advertising is sourced by Audioboom and is not affiliated with The Japan Times. Photo: Pre-pandemic, tourists walk along Matsubara-dori street approaching Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto. | BLOOMBERG
33 min
The Korea File
The Korea File
The Korea File
Alternative Education (Contemporary Rebellions: South Korean Social Movements Today Ep5)
What is alternative education in Korea? To answer this question, Contemporary Rebellions welcomes Tae Wook Ha, an activist and professor of Alternative Education at Asia Life University in the city of Daejeon and Minyeong Kim, a graduate of one of the first wave of accredited Korean alternative high schools and a current staff member at the NGO World Without War. In these conversations they discuss the Law on Alternative Education Institutions that's currently in front of the National Assembly, the relationship between un-accredited alternative schools and the government, and the future of alternative education in South Korean society. The Contemporary Rebellions podcast is produced by a non-hierarchical volunteer collective based in Seoul with connections across the country. The collective is a group of long-term, bilingual English and Korean speaking international residents in Korea, with involvement in various progressive social movements. Contemporary Rebellions is open to all Korean and foreign members who share our core values, have a background in social activism and would like to join the project. This podcast is intended to be a tool for educators, activists and anyone interested in South Korean social movements. To get in touch or get involved reach out on Facebook, on Twitter @ContemporaryRe3 or via email at contemporaryrebellions@gmail.com. You can find the transcript for this episode at: docs.google.com/document/d/1nntumexOq-LUPHEtmzAHQVUzMGV0j1GmYMSQWysS5lA/edit?usp=sharing People’s Solidarity of Alternative Education: www.psae.or.kr Korean Association of Alternative Education Institutions: kaaei.hompee.org Independent artists you heard in this episode: Kevin MacLeod (Intro): www.incompetech.com Oreum Education Space student album: www.orumedu.org/notice/56790 Seon Mun Bakk Hakyo: smbschool.kr Contemporary Rebellions is on: Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/contemporaryrebellions Look for episode 98 of The Korea File in late December.
1 hr 4 min
Uncanny Japan - Japanese Folklore, Folktales, Myths and Language
Uncanny Japan - Japanese Folklore, Folktales, Myths and Language
Thersa Matsuura
Baku: The Eater of Dreams (Ep. 65)
The baku (獏) is a Japanese mythical creature that, when invited, slips into your room at night to gobble up your nightmares. Below is an example of the Takarabune (宝船) image with the old character for baku (獏) on the sail. Tuck this under your pillow on New Year's Eve for some extra lucky dreams. You can also find me on: Twitter: https://twitter.com/UncannyJapan Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/uncannyjapan/ Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/thersamatsuura Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/uncannyjapan/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqAtoUS51HDi2d96_aLv95w Website: https://www.uncannyjapan.com/ Intro and outro music by Julyan Ray: here. Diving In The Oceans Of Kepler by MusicLFiles Link: https://filmmusic.io/song/7062-diving-in-the-oceans-of-kepler License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ Transcript: Pre-Intro Intro: Have you ever had this happen to you? You bolt awake, your chest tight, and you’re panting, terrified. You’ve just had the most awful nightmare. You look around the room. There’s a dim light, either from your cell phone charger, a soft night light, or the flickering glow of an oil lamp behind thick washi paper. It’s enough for you see by, at least a little bit. After checking all the corners of your room, the foot of your bed, and that half open closet and finding no one there, you relax just a little. Take a few deep breaths. Tell yourself, it was just a nightmare. Not real. But it’s a nightmare you’ve had before. Several times in fact. You wish you’d stop having it. Just then there is a noise. The sound of your window sliding open. You pull the covers up to your chin and watch horrified as the most freaky looking creature you’ve ever seen climbs into your room. Believe it or not, today’s show isn’t a scary one. It’s a sweet one. An endearing one. A downright cute one, if you will. On today’s Uncanny Japan I’m going to tell you about a Japanese mythical creature, often said to be a youkai, although I’ve seen some debate about that. It’s called a baku. And it’s really here to help you. I promise. Real Intro: What is an Baku? So what exactly is that creature making its way across the floor toward you? Let’s take a closer look. That creature is called a baku and has a long nose like an elephant, four feet that look like they belong on a tiger. It’s body resembles a bear. Its eyes? That of a rhino. It sports two tusks, and on its backend flicks the tail of an ox. But keep in mind there are several different varieties. Why such a patchwork beast? Well, one explanation is that when the gods were done creating all the animals, they looked around, gathered up all the scraps and cobbled together the baku. Which is a legendary creature that made its way from China to Japan at about the same time as Buddhism did. The China version is a little different, actually protecting a person from pestilence and evil, while once in Japan the baku’s soul purpose seems to be to eat your dreams, or better, your nightmares. It needs them to survive. It’s said that back in the day, children who woke from a nightmare would know to repeat three times, “Baku-san, come eat my dream.” I’ve seen a couple different versions in Japanese, one being “Kono yume, baku ni agemasu.” Literally, “I give this dream to the baku.” Either way, after repeating three times one of these lines, or something similar, the baku will enter the room, make its way over, and gobble up the bad dream. The dreamer will never have that particular nightmare again. So that’s what a bizarre looking baku does. It spends the night hoping from rooftop to rooftop, listening for someone to yell out, so it can hurry over and feast on their bad dreams. I read in a couple places that you have to be careful. If you call a baku too often it will get greedy and won’t stop at your nightmares. It will proceed to devour all your hopes and dreams and aspirations, leaving you with an entirely meaningless life. But I couldn’t find that exact sentiment written in Japanese. There’s no way I can read everything about this adorable little guy, so maybe I missed it. There was one thing I did find, though, and that is that, sadly, in recent times, some stories about the baku have flipped the mythology. Instead of eating only your nightmares, it does eat all your dreams. And I guess this could include your hopes and goals, which turns this adorable little weird beastie into a bad guy. But he isn’t, no matter how bizarre he looks and how he might be sneaking into your window late at night. Speaking of that, this month on Patreon I read a Lafcadio Hearn story about the baku. And in it, the baku after being called, actually refuses to eat a lucky dream. Here’s something interesting: If you live in Japan or are planning to visit, you can sometimes still see depictions of the baku at old shrines or temples. Look up. You know how in the corners of those fancy curved roofs where you can sometimes find carvings of lucky mythical creatures, well, at some temples they’ll also have a baku or two looking down at you. Easily identifiable by that long nose. The Baku in History: Okay, let’s look at the baku through the ages. In the late Muromachi Period (around the 1500s) both the image and the character of the baku were used as good luck charms. For example, — and this is something you can try next month, if you’d like, — if you want your first dreams in the New Year to be pleasant and auspicious you can get or make a drawing of a takarabune or treasure boat, that’s the boat the seven lucky gods sail on and slip it under your pillow. To further up your sweet dreams potential, you should write the character for baku on the sail of the boat. Okay, back to the Muromachi Era, I also read that people who were on their deathbeds would be given an image of the baku to hold as protection against evil spirits. More recently, in the Edo era, I found that some people used baku-shaped pillows to fend off bad dreams. And by pillows, I’m not talking about the soft, down-filled things we use today. Pillows back then were made of wood or ceramic with a small cloth tube filled with something like soba husks tied to the top. It’s said that even in the 1910s, Japanese children kept baku talisman by their bedsides. When researching the baku you discover right away that the word baku and the kanji also refer to the Asian tapir, an animal that is also a little funky looking with its long nose and stripped body. I found two lines of thought. One that the mythical baku came first, then when the tapir was seen, because it resembled the dream eater, it was given the same name. But another theory is that there used to be a kind of tapir that lived in China long, long ago, but is now extinct. We don’t really know what it looked like but perhaps the nightmare-devouring creature we have now might have been based on that animal. When reading around, I was pleasantly surprised to find the baku even now hanging out in popular culture. The Baku in Popular Culture: One I already new about was the pokemon Drowzee in English or Suleepu in Japanese. It’s special ability is to put people to sleep and eat their dreams. It tends to like good dreams though. See what I said about turning the myth backwards. Another is author Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, The Dream Hunters (illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano). I’ve got the big hunkin’ The Absolute Sandman — which I had signed by Neil himself when he came to Tokyo so many years ago — but it didn’t have this story in it. Boo~. It seems The Dream Hunters is in Absolute Sandman volume five. It’s a story about a monk, a fox spirit, a tanuki, and a baku. And I even saw that there was an episode of Supernatural that mentioned the baku. I’m sure the little guy is out there in other places as well. Let me know if you know any others. So I’ll finish up with: r…
13 min
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