Jayne nakata is a New Zealander living in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture, and the voice behind the award-winning podcast “Transformations with Jayne”. Upon returning to Japan after a transfer to Sweden with her family was cut short by the pandemic, Nakata created PodLaunch Family, a podcast network focused on community and women’s empowerment. She has also resumed her involvement in efforts to promote tourism in her region.
1. How did you get started in podcasting with “Transformations with Jayne”? As a mother of two young children living far from Tokyo, I felt very isolated and alone. I went looking for a podcast on foreign women living in Japan and couldn’t find one, so I decided to create my own.
2. What type of guests are you interviewing? My guests are women living in Japan who are making the most of their life here. I like to give people a chance to talk about themselves.
3. How was the move from Sweden to Japan during the pandemic? We were very excited to embark on our three-year assignment in Sweden, just five months before COVID-19 really took hold. It was disappointing having to be home so early, and coming back during the pandemic was not easy.
4. Any advice for those facing a move abroad in the near future? Just know that it will take a lot longer to do everything (four months for our furniture to return to Japan) but that it is possible. Not worrying about things we couldn’t control was essential throughout the experience to avoid getting stressed out.
5. What changes have you seen in the podcast community since your return? With the rise of COVID, there was an increased interest in podcasting in general, and as a podcasting pioneer in Japan, people started contacting me to help me develop and launch their own shows.
6. What is the current situation of women in Japan with podcasting? Women are under-represented in podcasting in general and Japan is no different. Women can have a hard time getting started, and a lot of podcasts never go from idea to reality. I often see the “best podcasts on Japan” and if you look closely, these are mostly men’s shows.
7. When did you start PodLaunch Family? It started this year with one show – mine – and has grown to six shows we currently manage, with three more to launch soon and a growing network of affiliate podcasts.
8. What do you like about it? I noticed as I was helping other women start or run their shows that it was really fun doing this together! So I decided to create a community around what we do.
9. How has life been since I came back to live in Fukushima? Going to Sweden helped me see even more how anaba (well kept secret) that we have here in Iwaki town.
10. In what ways? It is a “hidden” station, as even the inhabitants have no idea that they live in a station! We have beaches, golf courses, onsen (spas), mountains, fishing and even hula dancing.
11. What perspectives are you trying to bring to local tourism? As a new member of Iwaki Tourism Labo (a collective of various stakeholders to promote the region) and a long-time supporter of the spa town of Yumoto Onsen here in Iwaki, I hope I can help the local people to take pride in what is already there and encourage others to visit.
12. Why would you recommend Iwaki to visitors? In just two hours, you can drive the Joban Expressway to Iwaki from Tokyo and be away from the crowds. You can usually park for free anywhere you want to visit, so even if you come by train, using a rental car for a few days is a great way to explore the different bays of Iwaki and directly support businesses. local.
13. How has COVID-19 affected a small spa town like Yumoto Onsen? He has struggled a lot since the events of 2011, and then having the hope of having many visitors to the Olympics wiped out by COVID was such a disappointment. I had worked with the okami-san from Yumoto Onsen to help them learn English, but international guests never came.
14. Yumoto Onsen’s okami-san also have other talents, don’t they? Yes, hula dance! Iwaki was once a mining town and reinvented itself as a “hula town” (as seen in the popular 2002 film “Hula Girls”). Since then, the okami-san of Yumoto Onsen have also started learning the hula and they have held regular performances – in kimono!
15. What aspect of life in New Zealand do you miss the most? I miss the year round outdoor lifestyle that is so easy to have in New Zealand.
16. What is your favorite part of living in Japan and why? I think these are the incredible opportunities that are presented to me. Being able to get involved in things like the Rugby World Cup and travel across Japan for a national TV show was just a couple.
17. What’s the surprising thing that most people don’t know about you? I host a podcast but I am actually very introverted. Being an introvert doesn’t mean you don’t know how to socialize or be with people; it just means it’s draining rather than energizing, as it is with extroverts.
18. What do you know now that you wish you had known when you were 21? That in life, the difficult things are the ones that give you the best chance to grow. You will never regret doing something, only that you did nothing.
19. Where can you usually be when you are not working? I usually take my dog on one of our many walks in our neighborhood.
20. How does it feel to be the interviewee for once? It’s pretty cool actually. One of the things I struggled with the most when starting my own podcast was that I didn’t have any questions for my guests!
For more information on the “Transformations with Jayne” podcast and the PodLaunch Family network, visit jaynenakata.com.
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