“4989 American Life” – Podcast in Japanese Language Review
The “4989 American Life” podcast is for those that are at an intermediate/advanced level of understanding Japanese. Don’t let the title fool you, this podcast is made by a native Japanese speaker that lives in the U.S., and she speaks Japanese throughout the entire podcast episodes. The title is “4989 American Life”, but it is pronounced “shikuhakku American Life”. As you may know, a single Japanese kanji can have many different pronunciations. It is no different for the kanji that are used for numbers, and Japanese companies will often choose phone numbers that they can use to further advertise the company. Like the phone number can be read (pronounced) the same as a catchphrase related to the company’s products, services, or the company’s name. Anyway, “shikuhakku” may be a reference to the Buddhist idiom “四苦八苦”; which means “the four kinds of suffering” and “the eight kinds of suffering”. It has the meaning of being in dire straits, or distress, or experiencing a lot of trouble, or difficult struggle. Basically, the Buddhist belief that life is suffering.
Don’t worry, the “4989 American Life” podcast isn’t that dark. The podcast covers many different topics of American life, and especially the life of a Japanese person living in America. But, keep in mind, Utaco is not making the podcast to teach you Japanese. She is providing Japanese language content which you can use to practice listening. Utaco is on episode 211, but Spotify and Apple only have 100 episodes on both platforms. An episode is released pretty much every week, and they are mostly around 30 minutes long. A few of them are shorter, at around 15 minutes, and a few are longer at around 45 minutes. Utaco posts transcripts of her podcast episodes on her blog, and she also posts them on a YouTube channel. Recently she has been recording videos of herself when she is making an episode, and that is what she puts on YouTube.
The “4989 American Life” podcast sounds like an interesting podcast from what I have listened to so far. You can get a Japanese person’s perspective of living in the United States. There are many different topics that Utaco talks about.
You can find the “4989 American Life” podcast at the following links:
Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/