May 15


Let’s Talk Japan is a twice monthly, interview format podcast covering a wide range of Japan-related topics.  Host Nick Harling (Mie-ken, 2001-03) lived in Japan from 2001 until 2005, including two great years as a JET Program participant in Mie-Ken.  He practices law in Washington, D.C., and lives with his wife who patiently listens to him talk about Japan . . . a lot.

Dear JETs and JET Alumni,

One of the main reasons I started the Let’s Talk Japan podcast was to highlight the positive impact JETs and JET alumni have on their local communities in Japan.  In Episode 10, I interviewed Meredith Smith, Media and Public Relations Director for Smile Kids Japan, a volunteer organization founded by JETs in Fukui Prefecture which encourages visits to orphanages in Japan.  Through its website and volunteer leadership, Smile Kids Japan helps facilitate such visits by serving as a resource for best practices.  This organization is doing amazing work, and I hope this episode helps raise its profile both in Japan and abroad.small dot





If you have not already done so, be sure to “Like” the podcast on Facebook, and follow the podcast on Twitter @letstalkjapan.  Additionally, please consider leaving a positive rating and/or review in iTunes.

May 5

Let’s Talk Japan Podcast: Episode 9, Podcasting About Japan

Let’s Talk Japan is a twice monthly, interview format podcast covering a wide range of Japan-related topics.  Host Nick Harling (Mie-ken, 2001-03) lived in Japan from 2001 until 2005, including two great years as a JET Program participant in Mie-Ken.  He practices law in Washington, D.C., and lives with his wife who patiently listens to him talk about Japan . . . a lot.

Dear JET Alums,

Do you find yourself going through withdrawal while having to wait two whole weeks for the next episode of the Let’s Talk Japan podcast?  If so, check out Episode 9, where I review other great Japan-related podcasts you might want to start listening to.  Categories covered include: Life in Japan, Japanese Language Study, Sports, History, Food, Current Events, etc.



If you have not already done so, be sure to “Like” the podcast on Facebook, and follow the podcast on Twitter @letstalkjapan.  Additionally, please consider leaving a positive rating and/or review in iTunes.

Mar 17

JET alum Nick Harling starts “Let’s Talk Japan” podcasts

A great idea just started by former JETAA DC Vice-President Nick Harling (Mie-ken, 2001-03):

Dear JET Alumni,

I want to let you know about a new project that I recently started in an effort to engage my long-held interest in Japan – The Let’s Talk Japan Podcast.

Up until last spring, I volunteered as Vice-President of the JET Alumni Association in Washington, DC, and through that experience I met many people with interesting Japan-related jobs and life experiences.  After two years in that capacity, it was time to move on to something new, and last fall I decided that that something would be a podcast.

My first episode appeared in iTunes on January 1st of this year.  Topics covered so far have include the JET Program application process, the mission of the Sister Cities International and Kizuna Across Cultures organizations, and discussions with an atomic bomb survivor and an expert on Japanese baseball.  Whenever possible, I will also highlight the contributions JET alumni are making in their home countries.

If you are interested in checking it out, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.  If you like the podcast, feel free to leave a positive rating.  You can also interact with the podcast at, through Facebook, or on Twitter @letstalkjapan.

I hope you enjoy the podcast, and I welcome your feedback.

Nick Harling

Mie-Ken 2001-03


Recent posts from Let’s Talk Japan Podcast:

002 The JET Program Application Process

003 Sister Cities International

005 Kizuna Across Cultures

006 Banzai Babe Ruth Author Robert K. Fitts


Apr 23

Japan Society Presents Hikashu & Tomoe Shinohara in Concert

The Japan Society will be hosting an upcoming concert featuring J-techno pop band  Hikashu & Tomoe Shinohara on May 13.  50% of all ticket sales from this event will go to Japan Society’s Earthquake Relief Fund.

Click Here to find out more information about the show.

Posted by Sam Frank, an ALT who taught English in Hiraizumi-Cho, Iwate Prefecture from 2002-2004 and worked in Shirahama-cho, Wakayama Prefecture as a JET from 2004-2006. He currently manages the New York Division of UnRated Magazine and works as a Project Manager/Web Producer at Arrow Root Media.

Mar 9

クール things JET alums do: dance in a flash mob

JET alum Lee-Sean Huang (ALT Oita-ken ’03-’06 / webmaster, & JetWit) was recently spotted in a flash mob music video for the dance pop girl group Xelle. You can spot Lee-Sean in the back of the train, dancing with the big spotlights.

Read More

Nov 18

No Bubble, Just ROCK!!! Vol. 2


Matt Leichter (matt [dot] leichter [at] gmail [dot] com) (Saitama-ken 2003-05) is a renegade attorney who plays by his own rules.  He operates a think tank of one, The Law School Tuition Bubble, where he archives, chronicles, and analyzes the rising cost and declining value of legal education in the United States.  He also maintains the “Bankruptcy Legal Topics,” and, “Bankruptcy Billables,” sections for Steven Horowitz’s Bankruptcy Bill.  For further reading regarding JETs and the law, he recommends JETs with J.D.s.

Take a break, and listen to some Rock & Roll, primate!

Nov 16

Roland Kelts radio interview with Tyler Brule of Monocle Magazine on manga and Japanamerica


Here’s a radio interview Roland Kelts (Osaka-shi, 1998-99), author of Japanamerica, did in Tokyo this past weekend with Tyler Brule, founder and editor of the UK-based Monocle magazine, about manga in Japan and overseas, and Japanamerica:

The Japanamerica segment is introduced at 1:00 and starts at 22:00

Jul 27


Check out this interview on Australian radio (ABC) with Roland Kelts (Osaka-shi, 1998-99), author of Japanamerica, about the anime industry in Japan, financial foibles and hentai habits.

Roland recently finished a speaking tour in  Australia where made several appearances.

He also hosted a talk with Hayao Miyazaki in Berkely, CA on July 25.  Click here to see video clips of Roland speaking at the JETAA NY Alumni Author Showcase event held back in March 2009, here for photos from the event and here to read a review of the event.

Feb 14

NPR’s Studio360 Features Bankruptcy Haiku by Steven Horowitz

Bankruptcy Bill is a cartoon created by Steven Horowitz (Aichi-ken, 1992-94) and Gideon Kendall.  To see more strips as well as original bankruptcy haiku, go to

Listen to one of Bankruptcy Bill’s haiku read on the “Haiku-ing It To The Man” feature on NPR’s Studio360.  (Starts with about 1:31 left in the feature.)

Here’s the story lead from the Studio360 website:

Haiku-ing It to the Man

A few weeks ago we asked listeners to submit original haiku inspired by the state of the economy. Dozens poured in: our own unscientific proof that the financial crisis is a boon for creativity. Here are some of our favorites. (

Feb 7

Audio: Robert P. Weston Reads from Zorgamazoo

Robert P. Weston (Nara-ken, 2002-04) has just posted an audio file of his reading from Chapter 1 of his rhyming novel Zorgamazoo on his blog

Have a listen! It’s fun, and you’ll feel younger too.

When you’ve finished hearing ’bout Zorgamazoo!

(Sorry, Rob.  I couldn’t resist. :-)

Feb 6


A sampling of what’s to air on NPR’s Studio 360 Goes to Japan on Saturday at 10 am, featuring Roland Kelts (Osaka, 1998-99):

Feb 6



JetWit just received the official press release from WNYC’s Studio 360 regarding their exclusive Studio 360 Goes to Japan program, featuring a segment written and hosted by Roland Kelts (Osaka, 1998-99), which will air this Saturday on NPR stations nationwide. Content, including video, will go live on the Studio 360 web site ( starting at 6 p.m. today  (See the full press release below.)

The segment Roland wrote and hosted is focused on Japan’s Youth Culture and its various pathologies, especially the struggles of haken, or temporary workers, amid the imploding global economy.

Additionally, JetWit has learned that Roland is booked for an interview tomorrow afternoon with Nippon Television for their nightly news and entertainment program, News Zero.  He will be interviewed by pop idol and actor Sho Sakurai of the band Arashi, and director Takashi Miike, both of whom are in town to promote the latter’s forthcoming live action film version of the 70s anime series, Yatterman.  The interview will be about the Japanese pop culture juggernaut. Read More

Feb 3


Roland Kelts (Osaka, 1998-99), author of Japanamerica, will be at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston on Wednesday, February 11 for a screening + discussion of the animated film Grave of the Fireflies.  More details here.  (Side noteLyle Sylvander (Yokohama-shi, 2001-02) wrote an excellent and succinct review of Grave of the Fireflies for the Spring 2008 JETAAA NY Newsletter.)

BONUS:  Roland’s story on Japanese Youth Pathologies for WNYC’s Studio 360 will air on NPR nationwide as part of this coming weekend’s special Japan edition of the show.  (See the recent JetWit post on last week’s Studio360 Japan feature.)

Correction:  This post previously listed the date of the MFA event as February 9, but it has now been corrected to February 11.  Apologies for any confusion.

Jan 31

NPR’s Studio 360 has a Japan fetish this morning with three separate and excellent stories on different aspects of Japan collectively titled “High Finance & Old Japan.”  Definitely worth visiting their site to listen to the stories and watch accompanying video slide shows as well.

Below are the summaries taken from the Studio 360 website:

Pico Iyer: Outside Man

Travel writer Pico Iyer has lived in Japan for 20 years. And while he knows the locals still see him as an outsider, he told Kurt that this status helps him pay attention to his surroundings. Iyer says Japan is like a “2000-year-old person wearing a micro-skirt, with an artificial tan and carrying a surfboard.” Special thanks to Matthew Cavnar.

No Time for Tea

The tea ceremony is a 400-year-old ritual for making and presenting green tea. But in Japan’s fast-paced techno-centric society – one increasingly fueled by coffee – we wondered how the tea ceremony can survive. Studio 360’s Jenny Lawton talked with tea masters, old and young, to find out.

Suicide Forest

Aokigahara is the name of the forest at the foot of Mount Fuji. It’s been mythologized in Japanese literature as a sacred place for people to end their lives – and every year close to a hundred suicides are committed there. Studio 360’s Pejk Malinovski went to the forest to uncover its haunting allure and how the place lingers in the Japanese psyche.

Jan 19

The Order of Odd-Fish: The Mix Tape

James Kennedy (Nara-ken, 2004-06), author of The Order of Odd-Fish, was asked to do a fun feature on the music blog Largehearted Boy a couple weeks ago. They have a feature called “Book Notes” in which an author is invited to compile a mixtape appropriate for their book, and explain it. So he put together a kind of movie soundtrack for “The Order of Odd-Fish.” You can listen to his “Odd-Fish” mixtape, and read the explanations for his choices, here:

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