I am heart-broken that the radio show Suntory Saturday Waiting Bar Avanti ended–it was one of my favorite podcasts. To fill the gap for Japanese podcasts about culture, I’ve started listening to a new podcast: TBS文科系トークラジオLife (Life: TBS Cultural Talk-Radio). It’s sort of like This American Life in that that hosts discuss topics centered around a theme, but instead of going out to record stories like Avanti did and TAL does, they just talk with their guests. For example, the February topic was “Transcendence! The poemization of society” (超絶！ポエム化化社会) and focused on slogans, linguistic trends, and poetry.
The full show airs on the radio station TBS 954 from 1-4 am on the fourth Sunday night (read: Monday morning) of even-numbered months; the podcast version shows also come out on the fourth Sunday of even-numbered months and are released day-by-day in 20-minute episodes, usually nine episodes total, including an introduction and two spillover episodes. You can also read over the outlines at the website to improve your comprehension and vocabulary!
There are some faults: the website is pretty clunky–it took me a while to find the バックナンバー section of prior podcasts (scroll far down on the right) and navigation of them is also difficult. iTunes can’t pick up older episodes, though they are available online.
I would recommend this show to listeners who are around the N1 level as the topics can be difficult and the main presenter, Suzuki “Charlie” Kensuke, speaks extremely fast. It’s a great chance to listen to several people having a conversation about contemporary culture rather than listening to one person present the news. (NHK News is another podcast I would recommend, but it’s good to try a lot of styles and subjects, of course!)
Check it out on iTunes or online at http://www.tbsradio.jp/life/index.html.
What Japanese-language podcasts do you recommend?