New Feature: Space To Rant #1

We finally introduce our new feature where the regulars get the chance to sound off on anything they want by themselves. It can be a reflection, it can be a story, and yes it can be an angry rant. But it is all genuine.

In the first edition of Space To Rant, Mike looks back on the NHK Red and White Show, its broadcast history in Canada, and the woman behind bringing it here. Something appropriate for New Year’s.

Mike Nicolas (8:00)

Links of Interest

Official NHK Kouhaku Website (In Japanese)

Susan Tsuji’s Obituary in the Toronto Star

Here’s Akiko Wada’s memorable performance finishing off the 49th Kouhaku in 1998.



  1. Geoff says:

    That was a fantastically done piece, Mike. It was very informative, and genuinely interesting as well. Being the generation I am, I had no idea such a show would have aired in Canada, not to mention a couple hours after it’s Japanese airing.

    I also think it’s great that you were able to show some things like this while you were president of YAMA. While the pre-shows, and similar showings outside the main lineup have been decent in my 2 and a half years in the club; I feel little cultural things like that would have been very neat to show, especially if they had moments of the anime-related songs as you said.

  2. Barely Tea says:

    Great new feature, pretty informative too. If no one’s going to follow through, hope to see more detailed rants outta you Mike.

  3. Mieko says:

    Why do you always have the inability to actually pronounce Japanese words and names soo badly ? Susan Tsuji’s last name is not Tu-gi It’s Hard “S” Tsu ji. I cringe every time you guys butcher Japanese words. We know you guys have 0 Japanese skills whatsoever but you must have at least 1 japanese friend you can offer some help in pronouncing words, otherwise you do nothing but disrespect the language
    and sound utterly ignorant.

  4. Adam says:

    “Why do you always have the inability to actually pronounce Japanese words and names soo badly ?”

    Not to denigrate your opinion on the basis that your grammar sucks, but when one challenges another’s linguistic ability, it would do one well to ensure that one’s own is up to snuff.

    Maybe you haven’t realized this just yet, but this is an English language podcast, by English speakers, predominantly focused on a narrow section of foreign culture. Our use of the Japanese language is utilitarian, and nothing but. That is, we only use the Japanese language because a number of names and phrases that we draw out of this narrow section of Japanese culture are in Japanese. I don’t recall any of us holding ourselves out as experts in the Japanese language (with the exception of Enrico, the host of The Japanese Learner podcast (, whose use of the Japanese language is pretty close to impeccable).

    If the name of an individual, character, manga, anime, etc. is in Japanese, we’re rather forced to refer to it by its own name, despite the fact that said name is not in our native language, and doesn’t follow the conventions of pronunciation in said language. By the same token, I rather doubt that you can perfectly pronounce names in Russian, Punjabi, Turkish, etc., unless you go to the trouble of getting lessons in how to pronounce the particular names ahead of time. Even then, I’d bet, you’d be a tad rusty.

    We don’t script these shows, and as such, it would be impractical (and pretty much impossible) to get lessons on how to pronounce the particular names we’ll be dealing with. As a result, (pay attention, as this is the point of all of this lead-up) we do the best that we can. None of us claims to be perfect at the language, or even its pronunciation rules. I, personally, don’t think that my pronunciation of Japanese is all that bad, but I’m rather mired in a subjective perspective on that issue. You clearly didn’t have an issue determining who Mike was referring to in the rant, so I’m not certain what the big fucking deal is. If you’d politely asked who he had meant, I’m sure he would have clarified it.

    I further find it particularly offensive that you’d suggest that we’re somehow “disrespecting” the Japanese language. We’re just not proficient in the language, nor do we claim that we are. I don’t consider the spectacularly broken English that many Japanese speak to be somehow disrespectful to the beauty and heritage of the English language. Further, it would take a rather bigoted individual to suggest that, for example, a new immigrant, with a native tongue of, let’s say, Punjabi, was being somehow disrespectful to the English language by speaking the inherently broken English exhibited by a novice to the language. So, unless you’re really trying to suggest that non-native Japanese speakers have no business even attempting to speak the language, I’d suggest that you “chill the fuck out”.

    Furthermore, if you’re going to go to the trouble to nitpick on the pronunciation of the people on this podcast, maybe you really don’t enjoy it enough to continue listening. Don’t get me wrong, I, and Mike, I’m sure, am always happy to have an audience, but if you’re only listening to it to find something to complain about, you might want to consider listening to something you’ll actually enjoy.

  5. Enrico says:


    I’d like to add to Adam’s statement that although I might hold myself out as being highly proficient in the language, I STILL make mistakes in pronunciation and intonation sometimes. This isn’t a matter of “ignorance” or “disrespect”; learning to properly pronounce words in a foreign language is difficult.

    And really, I think the spirit of anime fandom in North America is that you shouldn’t have to be fully proficient in Japanese in order to enjoy it and discuss it. I enjoy anime in its original form and I do my best to pronounce Japanese terms in the proper way, but sometimes it is a bit awkward to rapidly switch between the two languages because the way things are pronounced in each are remarkably different. For example, intonation in Japanese is based on “pitch” rather than on “stress”. As an example, consider “piano” pronounced in both Japanese and English (or “banana”).

    Honestly, your entire comment reeks of a certain kind of snobbery that I earnestly hope you yourself have the Japanese language skills to back up. If not, you could probably pick up a few pointers from my own podcast, The Japanese Learner. 😉

  6. Mieko says:

    Actually… I am a Professional Japanese Translator who has done more than enough shows over the last 10 years that you have most likely watched from Geneon & Bandai.

    I find it rather amusing how fans get themselves all riled
    up when they are called out on their shortcomings.
    My point was simply to say that it really does not do anything for your credibility when you don’t take the time or effort to actually learn to pronounce names properly,
    showing the respect it deserves.

    My friends over at AWO are far from being Japanese experts but take the time and effort to actually pronounce
    names and titles properly.

    Us who are actually in “Industry” do listen to podcasts if anything to see what fans are talking about.

  7. forestsprite says:


    Some people have problems with pronunciation and foreign languages in general. It is not necessarily an oversight nor does it mean that disrespect was intended. Picking on someone for it is no better than teasing the handicapped child in class. We all have things we are not good at.

    Perhaps instead of focusing on how the words are being said, you should focus on what he is saying. I believe the content counts heads and shoulders over the occasional slip in a language he has never professed to speak well in.

    I’m not sure how having friends at a rival podcast elevates your argument, nor your alleged profession. This podcast does the best it can, and is run for the enjoyment of those that run it and hopefully for some people that don’t. If you wanted to help us out in a constructive way, feel free.

  8. Okina says:


    I hope this is the last I need to talk about this, but knowing the nature of things…

    In any event, I’ll leave this to the others. Including the lawyer…

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s