Now and Zen Japan

Now and Zen Japan

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!

Episodes

January 23, 2024 47 mins

Discover the art of mastering public speaking, enhancing your presentation skills, and unraveling the secrets to impactful storytelling. Join Dr. Greg Story, the esteemed president of Dale Carnegie Japan and bestselling author of "Japan Sales Mastery" and "Japan Business Mastery," as he shares invaluable insights into successful sales techniques, post-COVID sales process shifts, and a myriad of topics explored i...

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Meet a true Hospitality Professional. Mr. Matthias Sutter, the Rep. Director of Shangri-La Hotels Japan and the GM of the Shangri-La Hotel Tokyo.  We discuss Japanese customer service, how different nationalities have different hospitality expectations, his two requirements for anyone to succeed in the hotel business, and how starting off in Food & Beverage helped craft his strong sense of hospitality.  We also talk Trip Adviso...

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The phrase "Do what you love and you never have to work another day in your life" fits Mac Salman perfectly. Mac left the finance  industry and pursued his passions - Travel, Japan, and tasty spirits. We discuss his customized tour business Maction Planet where he has never conducted the same itinerary twice. Then his pivot to Kanpai Planet when the pandemic halted Japan tourism. We discuss these two businesses and life i...

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Deanna Elstrom is a veteran brand marketer, brand strategist, and consumer insights specialist. She started her own consulting business, Somi Insights, three years ago where she combines her love of branding with a fascination of how culture influences human behavior. The Japanese consumer is a key area of Deanna's expertise where she led two major agencies before starting Somi Insights.  We discuss the the Japanese name "...

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September 26, 2023 42 mins

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 corporat...

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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 ...

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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 ex...

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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 futur...

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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 McCartne...

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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'...

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This episode I speak with Brendhan Kelly, the Hospitality Communication Manager for the Tysons Group of restaurants. Tysons is most well known for Ivy Place, Cicada, Smokehouse, and the iconic TY Harbor Brewery in Tennozu Isle. If you have dinned at any of these restaurants you were most likely impressed with the unique level of personalized hospitality. This is a direct result of Brendhan's input and influence. We discuss Tys...

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February 25, 2023 56 mins

This episode I sit down with Katsura Sunshine, the only Western Rakugo Master Storyteller in the world and only the 2nd in the history of traditional Japanese Rakugo. He shares his fascinating journey from Canadian playwright and musical producer to Master Japanese Rakugo Storyteller.  We dive into the details of his three-year apprenticeship, the hardships and rewards. How he became an international Rakugo ambassador not only on O...

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I’ve been doing the Now and Zen podcast for exactly 3 years. That’s 80 episodes with many great guests, wonderful stories, fascinating insights, and I’m often asked, who was my favorite guest.  That’s a lot like asking a parent, who their favorite child is, it’s obviously a tough choice and one best not publicly announced. However I can say one of my favorite episodes was number #48 from October 2021 with Kaki Okumura.  So it’s wit...

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December 19, 2022 34 mins

This episode I speak with Joseph Delmastro, the author of Cultured Gaijin.   It’s a unique book set in 1970s Japan about what happens when Joseph, an airman stationed in Tokyo, breaks free from expectations and fully embraces Japan’s traditional way of living and loving.  However it’s much more than just a memoir, it’s also a travelog, a cultural and Japanese language reference guide, and it’s also a love story in more ways than on...

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Have you ever thought about working for a Japanese company in Japan, but were turned off by all the stories of long hours, low pay, slow career path, no incentives for performance, archaic hierarchy rule setting, social drinking requirements and more? Then this episode is for you. Alvin Tan is here to discuss his recent  controversial article on Medium titled “Why More Foreigners in Japan Should Work for Japanese Companies, Six rea...

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This episode we deep-dive into well-know, but often misunderstood Japanese culture topics with Kiyoshi Matsumoto. Kiyoshi is the author of the  book “Japan Unmasked, Understanding Japan and its people”.  Kiyoshi is Japanese but has lived outside Japan for 33 years working in the travel industry. During this time he has spend countless hours explaining Japanese culture to his foreign guests and realized there are a lot of common mis...

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Drinking wine should be a relaxing event and lifestyle enhancer, at least this is how Swirl co-founder Federico Fanelli views it. Originally from Italy, Federico came to Japan on a mission to introduce the wine lifestyle to Japanese. After a few years selling wine B2B, he together with his co-founder started Swirl, an online wine subscription service. Swirl is a very user friendly website incorporating gamification, fun navigation,...

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This episode you will hear from Dominic Carter, an expert on Japan market entry, market research, and branding. Dominic shares great insight, knowledge, and current research results, for anyone working in Japan or looking to expand into Japan needs to hear.  You will learn the 3 Golden Rules for Japan market entry success, the 4 Marco Trends shaping modern Japan, as well as numerous great quotes about how to succeed in the Japanese...

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Sean Nichols has been an entertainer on Japanese TV,  a Manzai stand-up comedian, the global representative for Japan's biggest YouTuber,  went on tour with Aerosmith, but is most famous for his starring role in the Ultraman series - the only foreigner to ever appear in the 40 year history of the franchise. This episode he discusses the dream journey from watching Ultraman on TV as a child, to becoming "Sean White" f...

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This updated and re-released episode we get into Hospitality and Retail with professional sales and leadership trainer Masako Yamamura.  We discuss Omotenashi possibly leading to world peace,  Bartenders are the most fun hospitality people, Commissions and culturally why Japanese avoid the system , Fortune-tellers, and the numerous differences and similarities between the retail and hospitality industries in Japan.  Other highlight...

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