I'm glad you asked. I've put together this list of online resources and offline meetups to help you plug into Japan's startup ecosystem. Japan's startup community is active and dynamic, so if you know of something that should be on the list, please let me know.

I don’t know.

I mean, obviously I know because I’ve started several startups in Japan, but I have nothing to compare that experience to. I’ve never started a startup in another country, and I’ve never started a startup as a Japanese person in Japan. Starting a startup as a foreigner in Japan is all I know.

The best way for you to get a sense of what it’s like to run a startup as a foreigner in Japan is to listen to the interviews with foreign founders. These founders share a lot of different perspectives and experiences; some quite different from my own. Be sure to listen to their stories.

There are a huge number of innovative, visionary founders in Japan. I could easily do three shows a week if I had the time. But for some reason the image that founders are rare in Japan persists. Of course,  we absolutely do need more people to take the plunge and start a startup here, but there are tens of thousands of people all over Japan doing really cool things. I wish I had time to talk with all of them.

They are all my favorite. I have never released an episode that is not my favorite.

The simple truth us that I can't choose. I'm too close to all of them. Each one has a whole backstory that never makes it onto the podcast itself. However, I put together this page of fan favorite episodes that lists the ones that have been the most popular among Disrupting Japan listeners.

Interestingly, the impression I have right after the interview is often very different from my impression after post-production, which is often completely different from the feedback I get from listeners. I've given up trying to guess which episodes are going to be a hit. I'm never quite happy with any of them, but I do the best I can with each, put it out into the world, and see what the listeners think.

Thank you, but I’m already dangerously over-caffeinated.  My schedule can get pretty crazy, so we probably won’t have time to meet in person, but I’m happy to answer any questions I can by email or in the comments section.

I don’t mean to discourage you, please do feel free to get in touch. I answer all sincere emails I get, but sometimes it can take a little while. I’m always happy to answer questions or point you in the right direction when I can.

If you are a programmer or a designer, you can get by with surprisingly little Japanese; at least in Tokyo.  Of course, the better your Japanese, the more doors will open to you both professionally and socially. So whatever your level is, it’s always best to try to get better.

FWIW, I don’t consider myself a particularly good student of the language. My Japanese is good, but not where you would expect it to be after 30 years of life in Japan. I’ve had a few truly embarassing language failures, and I think the way keigo is taught is all wrong, but I keep at it.

I still study a bit every day.

If you are a completionist (or just really love startups) you can start at the beginning or maybe start with he most recent episodes and work your way backwards. Most of the content is evergreen.

Another option is to pick a topic of special interest to you and start there. If you go to the Podcast menu, you’ll see the shows grouped by type of startup ( AI, FinTech ,etc) and special topics (Japanese culture, female founders, etc.). I’ve also put together a list of the fan-favorite epsiodes, which is also a good way to get your feet wet with Disruoting Japan.

Telling the world about all the cool things going on in Japan is the primary mission of Disrupting Japan, and reaching an international audience means doing the show in English.

I appreciate the extra effort my guests put into the show. Being interviewed in Japanese would certainly be simpler for them since we all find it easier to discuss complex topics in our native language.

But we all need to stay true to our mission.