81 episodes

Entertaining and insightful conversations with Japan focused business professionals, entrepreneurs, and creatives. Recorded in bars around Tokyo, it’s like eavesdropping on candid conversations with Japan experts who share engaging stories of success, failure, and wisdom gained in Japan. Discover first-hand what it’s like to live, work, and experience the most fascinating country in the world. Direct from Tokyo, this is the Now and Zen Podcast!

Now and Zen Japan Andrew Hankinson

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 15 Ratings

Entertaining and insightful conversations with Japan focused business professionals, entrepreneurs, and creatives. Recorded in bars around Tokyo, it’s like eavesdropping on candid conversations with Japan experts who share engaging stories of success, failure, and wisdom gained in Japan. Discover first-hand what it’s like to live, work, and experience the most fascinating country in the world. Direct from Tokyo, this is the Now and Zen Podcast!

    Parissa Haghirian: Japanese Management Expert

    Parissa Haghirian: Japanese Management Expert

    Parissa Haghirian is an internationally renowned expert on Japanese Management and Leadership and a Professor of International Management at Sofia University.  She is the author of 12 books on Japanese Management, Cross-Cultural topics, and Consumer Dynamics.  We examine these as well as some cultural concepts from her latest book. We also discuss how Japanese management practice is uniquely different,  successful Japanese corporate survival strategies and what foreign firms can learn, why cross-cultural business issues are often Japan specific, and her favorite language concept "50 ways to say No in Japanese which don't actually include No". Other topics of interest:
    In-depth explanation on the fundamental differences between Westerns and Japanese management environmentsHow "Constant Job Rotation" is a benefit for Japanese managementWhy are cute mascots essential in corporate JapanInsight on how Japanese companies are actually very open-mindedThe advantages and disadvantages of the "process driven" nature of Japanese companies "Cross-cultural growth is based on mistakes, it's a tough and emotional learning process"Consumer dynamics and the challenges facing foreign brands entering JapanExplanations of Ganbaru, Gamman, and Enryo from her book "Japanese Business Concepts you should Know"  "The most interesting question for Japanese is how foreigners manage, and the most interesting for foreigners is how Japanese manage" The advise which led to her dedication of researching Japanese management.The question she wishes people had asked her, but has yet had the chance to answer - until nowParissa Haghirian: https://www.linkedin.com
    Japanese Business Concepts You Should Know: https://www.amazon.com/Japanese-Business-Concepts

    More Now and Zen Japan episodes: https://www.nowandzen.jp/

    Grow website traffic = Zo Digital: https://www.zodigital.jp/
    Japan Adventures via Camper Van = Dream Drive: https://www.dreamdrive.life
    Use the code word "ZEN" to receive discounts

    • 42 min
    Jeff Crawford: Digital Marketing Expert, has SEO advise for you

    Jeff Crawford: Digital Marketing Expert, has SEO advise for you

    Jeff Crawford is the president of Zo Digital, a bi-lingual digital marketing agency he founded over seven years ago. He describes many of the mistakes foreign companies make when setting up their web presence in Japan and explains how to remedy these issues. What hidden gems can be discovered in your site analytics to improve  eCom sales. Why Japanese sites are often so busy and loud. Simple and practical advise on how to increase traffic and improve conversion rates through "Authoritativeness" and "Trustworthiness". This might sound a bit technical but Jeff explains it all in a very easy to understand style. I guarantee you will become more digital marketing savvy after listening to Jeff's stories and advise. Other topics we discuss:
    The biggest mistakes foreign firms make when launching web sites in JapanWhat is a "YMYL" site (Your Money or Your Life)How Google ranks and evaluates websitesSimple methods to increase your site's E.A.T. (E = Expertise)Isn't "User Experience" subjective?The best and worst way to create web "content"Google voice search SEO is comingThe most important web site page for Japanese (26:23)Key Word research and how to master the nuanceWhat many Japanese think about the typical western website How much companies should invest in SEO as a % of salesHow does understanding analytics specifically improve ones business (29:34)The Free Unsolicited Business IdeaZo Digital: https://www.zodigital.jp/
    Jeff Crawford: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffcrawford/

    Japan Adventures via Camper Van = Dream Drive: https://www.dreamdrive.life

    More Episodes like this HERE: https://www.nowandzen.jp/

    • 45 min
    Timothy Langley: Renowned Japan Business and Political Advisor & Advocate

    Timothy Langley: Renowned Japan Business and Political Advisor & Advocate

    Introducing the remarkable and iconic veteran of Tokyo, Timothy Langley. With an impressive track record of over 40 years in Japan, Timothy is the visionary founder of Japan's premier government and public consultancy firm, Langley Esquire. What sets Timothy apart is his groundbreaking achievement as the first foreigner to work in the Japan National Diet, collaborating closely with senior Japanese politicians. His expertise extends far and wide, having served as the top Legal and Government Affairs Specialist for Apple Computer (Japan), General Counsel to General Motors (Japan), and as a director for numerous companies, ranging from ambitious startups to Fortune 100 giants.
    Despite his illustrious career, Timothy is also the Host and Executive Producer of Japan's exclusive Public Affairs-related audio/video series, the renowned "Tokyo on Fire!" And the popular video series "Japanese Politics one on one". When it comes to fascinating individuals in Japan, Timothy Langley shines as the ultimate example. Other topics we cover:
    Great stories from serving as handler for Pres. George Bush during his Japan visitRelated stories about "clash of cultures" with the Secret ServiceWhy foreigners in Japan are often "Agents of Change"His own incredible "Agent of Change" storiesSpices up politics and explains how and why the LDP stays in powerWhy Public Affairs is so import in Japan but yet an untapped marketMotivation and insight for starting one of the first Japan YouTube video series - Tokyo on Fire! The "Free Unsolicited Business Idea" What is "Onomatopoeia" and why there are so many in JapanLangley Esquire: https://langleyesquire.com
    Tokyo On Fire! Tokyo on Fire! YouTube
    More on the George Bush visit: My Memory Of George H.W. Bush
    Timothy Langley: LinkedIn Profile
    Great Sleep Starts Here = gugu Sleep Company: https://gugu.jp
    Japan Adventures via Camper Van = Dream Drive: https://www.dreamdrive.life

    • 45 min
    Taro Asano: Traditional Japanese Sword Maker

    Taro Asano: Traditional Japanese Sword Maker

    Dive into the world of traditional Japanese sword making with craftsman Taro Asano. He is one of only a handful of practicing "Kajiya" (a person who forges Japanese swords / Katana) still in Japan. He also offers a workshop in English where people come to make their own custom-forged "Samurai knife". It's a unique once in a lifetime experience. We discuss all things Katana, how he became a Kajiya, his future plans - which include taking on a 20-year old American apprentice and creating a You-Tube channel to chronicle their adventures, and why Japanese sword/ blacksmithing  is more popular with foreigners than with Japanese. Other topics we cover:
    How long and what it takes to become a KajiyaHis thoughts on the Master - Apprentice relationshipInsight on forging steel and the processes he employsLearn why 70% of his workshop participants come from the same fieldThe rules and etiquette around handling a Japanese Katana  Why he makes kitchen knives in addition to swordsIs the myth you have to register your Katana with the police true?Plans for his 20-year old American apprenticeThe Free Unsolicited Business Idea   Asano Kajiya: http://asanokajiya.com/en
    Asanokajiya Studio (You Tube): https://www.youtube.com/channel/

    More Now and Zen episodes: https://www.nowandzen.jp/
    Dream Drive: https://www.dreamdrive.life

    • 38 min
    Guy Perryman: Award-Winning Broadcaster & Radio Personality

    Guy Perryman: Award-Winning Broadcaster & Radio Personality

    Award-winning broadcaster and radio host Guy Perryman.  Guy's soothing and melodic voice has been heard throughout Japan for the past 30 years starting with the launch of Virgin Megastores in 1990 and then Tokyo's InterFM since 1997.   In addition, he's a voice actor, event producer, and writer.  He has DJ'd for British Royalty and interviewed 100's of world famous artists and businessmen from Paul McCartney and Sting to Richard Branson and designer Paul Smith. We discuss some of these interactions and hear a couple celebrity stories as well as learning about being awarded the official title of MBE from the British Government. We wrap up this episode with special Christmas song from the Watanabes, co-produced with Guy Perryman called "Christmas Hummingbird".  This song can be heard at the 45min. mark of the podcast. Other topics we cover:
    How a planned 3-month stint at Virgin Megastores turned into over 30 years in JapanBeing nervous before interviewing world famous artists and who surprised him mostWhy celebrities often let their guard down when visiting JapanThe power of music and importance of mentorsHis frustrations with Japanese media and celebrity cultureWhy it's nearly impossible export Japanese radio shows outside JapanWhat he collects - its not autographsMy unsolicited  business advise for Guy Perryman His unsuccessful attempts to export J-Pop in the early daysWhy "Genki" is his favorite Japanese word Guy Perryman: http://www.http://guyperryman.com
    The Guy Perryman Show InterFM: https://interfm.co.jp/gps/
    The Watanabes: http://thewatanabes.com
    Christmas Hummingbird: https:/.youtube.com/watch?v=X7FEas03Xjg
    Great Sleep Starts Here = gugu Sleep Company: https://gugu.jp
    Japan Adventures via Camper Van = Dream Drive: https://www.dreamdrive.life
    Use the code word "ZEN" to receive discounts

    • 49 min
    Loic Bizel: Japan Fashion Trends Expert / Founder of "Leo & Lea"

    Loic Bizel: Japan Fashion Trends Expert / Founder of "Leo & Lea"

    This episode we discuss fashion in Japan and premium dog food. Not two topics often mentioned in the same sentence, but very related to today's guest Mr. Loic Bizel. Loic started his own fashion consulting business in Tokyo nearly 30 years ago and runs two very successful fashion related websites (see links in the notes below). He was one of the co-founders of the fashion "flash sales" site Gladd.jp in 2009. He's referred to as a "Trendspotter" and "Cool Hunter" by the media and is considered one of the utmost foreign experts on Japanese fashion trends. In 2017 he started a new DTC business focused on premium dog food. Using his experience in eCommerce, spotting new "trends", and understanding the Japanese psyche, "Leo & Lea" specializes in a growing niche for organic pet food with a unique customer experience. This is another insightful and fun listening episode. Other topics we cover:
    Fashion in Japan is about being part of a communityWhy Japanese prefer to spend on fashion over home improvementHow fashion trends start in JapanThe role and importance of "Select Shops"How the Japanese fashion market has changed in the past 30 yearsThe Moncler story of how puffer jackets went from niche to BOOM in JapanDefining Fashionable vs. TrendyWhy Tokyo is the best fashion capital in the worldDogs in Japan are treated as family membersWhy Japanese are happy to pay a premium for organic dog foodIn Japan you are not a pet "owner" you are referred to as a pet "parent"Favorite Japanese word (Shoganai)Loic Bizel: https://lebiz-consulting.com
    Fashion In Japan: https://fashioninjapan.com
    Leo & Lea Premium Dog Food: https://leoandlea.com
    Japan Adventures via Camper Van = Dream Drive: https://www.dreamdrive.life
    Use the code word "ZEN" to receive discounts

    • 45 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
15 Ratings

15 Ratings

LeonBelmont12 ,

Amazing Voice Actor Turned Podcast Host

I initially discovered this podcast due to Andrew’s previous voice work in video games such as “Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness”. I definitely wasn’t expecting him to be hosting a podcast show. I listened to a few of them, and was pleasantly surprised at how invested I was. I’m an artist, and I would often find myself listening to these podcasts while doing some of my drawings. His presentation and enthusiasm really keeps the listener engaged, not to mention some of the topics and guests he invites onto the show are interesting in an of themselves. I’ve actually learned quite a few things about Japanese culture and practices by listening to this podcast, so there’s definitely something to take away from this. I highly recommend giving it a listen!

kasiamich ,

Insightful questions and very interesting!

I’m really enjoying the podcasts: intriguing guests, deep dives into fascinating topics, and overall a lot of fun. Can’t wait to get more!

Atami Tim ,

My new go-to podcast

Andrew, you are a great interviewer because you prepare, ask great questions, have interesting guests, and the perfect “voice for radio.” (As opposed to me, someone with a “face for radio”.). I look forward to your next podcast. ;)

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