I haven't found a ton of Japan-focused podcasts out there, but here are the ones on my playlist:
- Trans-Pacific Radio: An entertaining, informative, well-produced podcast radio show, spearheaded by Ken Worsley and Garret DeOrio. Consistently high-quality stuff; I wish someone would subsidize these guys so they could quite their day jobs and expand it.
- JapanesePod101: A damned well-done Japanese-learning podcast. Its lessons vary in level, though, so you shouldn't count on every podcast suiting you. I'd subscribe to it, and pick out the lessons that seem to fit your ability. Side note: I really like the yojijukugo episodes; they're a great way to build up some secret-weapon Japanese to impress your friends.
- Metropolis Podcast Tokyo: This is soon to be off my playlist, actually. It's the closest thing out there to an American FM radio show, but the production values aren't too hot (abrupt cut-offs and lame reverb on a few voices), and the content's too light and slow-moving for me. If you're into what Bruce Willis is up to on his visit to Tokyo or which clubs are hot this week, though, it might be worth a listen.
- What's Happening in Tokyo: Pretty straight-up music/talk show out of Tokyo, with TokyoDan. Legit musical selections.
- NHK World Radio Japan: Don't expect BBC or NPR quality, but it's what's happening in Japan, in English, fairly frequently, which you're unlikely to find elsewhere.
- Ask a Ninja: While not strictly Japanese-focused, meeting ninjas is pretty common in Japan, and it's a good thing to get your facts straight about them. Highly recommended.
- PlanetJapan: Funny, quirky, intelligent, current. I dig it. Japanese news, with the occasional big story from the states.
- NPR: Ok, not strictly Japan-related, but I couldn't have a podcast list without plugging it. Talk of the Nation and Fresh Air are consistently top-quality, and they keep me sane when I get Japan-ed out. If you're really a Japan purist, you can subscribe to my custom NPR Japan stream here; it will download all NPR podcasts touching on Japan.
Do you have any cool Japan podcasts you listen to? I'd like to do a post on Japanese-language podcasts soon; any suggestions?