4989 American Life Podcast

    4989 american life podcast

    Much different than public radio's This American Life that you may know, this podcast is almost entirely in Japanese. The title, "4989" can be shortened and pronounced in Japanese as shikuhakku (四苦八苦), or "trials and tribulations." Therefore, the name roughly translates to "Trials and Tribulations of American Life."

    True to the name, the show is created by a Japanese woman who lives in California, named Utako. Her podcasts cover a wide array of topics covering special events, cultural differences, and unique experiences she's had while living abroad. Perhaps geared more towards a Japanese audience interested in life abroad, it is also helpful for those of us studying Japanese. That being said, those from or interested in the United States will likely find it more relatable.

    Each episode is around thirty minutes long. The target audience of non-native Japanese speakers would be intermediate to advanced level. Because of the content-matter, you'll need to know more vocabulary words than a beginner would. Like all podcasts, you can slow it down to .75x if it's too fast. The only downside is there aren't any transcripts to go along with the podcasts, so if you don't hear something correctly, you can't double-check the notes.

    Update: As of 2020, 4989 American Life Podcast has scripts for recent episodes.