This is a fantastic documentary series. Whether you like Japanese culture or not. Filled with insight, heart and a lot of interesting topics to submerge yourself to as the calming music, steady old English man voice of the narrator and the voice of our host Peter Barakan takes through the episodes that are an 101 look in to a culture almost everyone knows something about, but not the particular nuances unless their respective interest takes a peek in to them. And yes, I am talking about Anime.
Peter Barakan is our host, with his awkward charisma and gentle London accented voice he leads us to different aspects of Japanese culture with earnest interest and sense of fun. He is the cool grandfather or uncle one would only wish to have, as well as a teacher for us through the many episodes. Growing up in Britain he moved to Japan in the 1970s and hasn’t looked back since. He is a radio DJ, music critic and author. If Japan declared National Treasures for people he would certainly be on the list.
The series aired in NHK World in 2007 and went on to go all the way through 2016. It has changed throughout the years to include different hosts for different parts for the exploration of the culture, but in the end Peter Barakan is the main host whom every loves dearly and even I tend to skip those newer episodes to just go back to Peter.
Exploring the different aspects of culture from food (Warning! Watch only when eating or after! You WILL be hungry otherwise!), dance, traditions, festivals to even the most obscure topics like vending machines and themes like the seasons and how they are an aspect in Japanese culture. Needless to say, it covers everything you could ever hope in a fantastical way.
So, if you are interested in Japan, are a keen Japanologist or just want something calm to listen to while doing something else. Then this series is just for you! Every episode is on YouTube for free for your listening/viewing pleasure!
Thank you for reading!